What you'll do
Tell your story using photography! Learn about equipment basics, taking sharper pictures, lighting and flash techniques, photo composition, approaches, sequencing, and evaluating photographs. Use multiple cameras and even assemble a whole production team.
Photo credit: Sarah K, Benton County 4-H. She took multiple shots and overlaid them using photo editing software. She won a purple ribbon at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair.
Levels of learning
Get started with 4-H'ers in your area
Get started on your own
Online video lessons
- National 4-H activity books (for sale)
- Utah 4-H photography curriculum (free download)
- Photography adventure (free download)
- 4-H Guide to Digital Photography (book)
Photo and video release forms
- Photo and video release form (English)
- Photo and video release form (Hmong)
- Photo and video release form (Somali)
- Photo and video release form (Spanish)
Smartphone photography 101
Try different genres
- Portraits: Photograph people alone or in small groups.
- Photojournalism: Display 3-5 photos together with captions. Together, they tell a story.
- Close-up: Print three images taken with a normal lens, macro lens or microscope.
- Light experiment: Take three photos of the same thing in different kinds of light.
Participate in photo activities
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the Hit Me with your Best Shot Photography Contest. Contest entries came from 12 Midwest states.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the 2022 Photo Scavenger Hunt.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the Black and White Photography Challenge. Contest entries came from 11 Midwest states.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the Family and Friends Photography Challenge.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the 2020 Fall Photo Challenge.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the 2020 Photo Scavenger Hunt.
- See the entries and grand prize winners of the 2020 Elements of Photography Contest.
Fairs and exhibits
- Photo story of 5-7 photos, size: 3.5 by 5 inches or 4 by 6 inches
- Close-up photographs of different people
- Candid action photographs
- Panorama photographs
- Photographs on common themes
- Computer enhanced enlargements
- Computer screen show
- Studies of seasons
- Contrasts photographs (such as texture, pattern, shape, contrast, etc.)
- Poster showing principles of photography or digital imaging
Minnesota State Fair entries (slideshows)
How to prepare your photos for the fair
- How to prepare your photo exhibit for the fair (slideshow)
Some counties require record keeping for fairs.
Extend your learning
Enter your photos into a competition.
Use your photography skills to help a local nonprofit organization tell their story, advertise their services or win a grant.
- Organize a field trip to a local business to see how they use photography to publicize what they do.
- Teach a workshop on photography or image editing at a day camp.
What should be in my photo? What should not? Make photos that tell the story you want them to tell.
Composing a photo means arranging the things in it. 4-H'ers explain the rule of thirds, how to set a mood, background and subject, depth of field and more.
4-H'ers explain perspective: how you see the subject, where to stand, distance, framing, angle, awareness of camera, orientation.
Future study & careers
Photographers need a good eye, lots of practice and usually take classes to understand their equipment and constantly changing software.
Photography is a 21st century communications skill, useful in any profession. Professional photographers may use their skills in many industries. They may become business owners, contractors or artists.
Reviewed in 2018