Free Resources About the History of Photography and Cameras

March 7, 2021

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Out of all the inventions my kids have studied, photography and the invention of cameras have been their favorite. These free resources about the history of photography and cameras will help you teach your kids about these wonderful inventions.

Free Resources About the History of Photography and Cameras text with image of a camera sitting on a table


My daughter took an interest in photography a few years ago. At this time, my family chipped in and got her a good camera.

It just so happened that I started some virtual assistant work for this AMAZING company that provides a huge sale on top-notch photography training. My daughter is able to take any course for free!

My daughter has lifetime access to some amazing photography training, yet some are too advanced for her still.

Therefore, I had to go online to explore resources to teach her about the camera and building photography skills.

Super brief evolution of camera and photography

-Since cameras and photography have become so high-tech and advanced, it is hard to believe that the basic principles of optics and cameras date back to Chinese and Greek philosophers in the 5th to 4th centuries B.C.

-In the 11th century, an Iraqi scientist developed the camera Obscura. The Obscura didn’t record images but projected them onto another surface.

The objects could then be traced onto something to create accurate drawings of real-life objects like buildings on some type of canvas.

-The 17th century birthed an Obscura camera that was small enough to be portable and basic lenses were then able to focus light.

-The very first recorded image (in the late 1830s in France) used an Obscura to expose a pewter plate coated with bitumen to light. I wish I could explain what that actually means, but it is a foreign language to me, to be honest. The success of this image capture led to a slew of more experiments which led photography to progress rapidly by the late 1800s.

-Three new experiments in photography using new chemicals and techniques helped the development of modern photography to emerge – Daguerreotype, Emulsion Plates, and Dry Plates.

-Alas, in the 1880s, a little company named Kodak allowed for photography to not only be for professionals or the very rich but put cameras in the hands of common folk.

This self-contained box camera held 100 film exposures and had a small single lens with no focusing adjustment. (But catch this, consumers took the pictures and had to send the camera back to the factory for the film to be developed and prints made.)

In World War I, photographers captured graphic images of the war that shaped the face of photography forever as decisive moments were here for the whole world to see and react to.

-The 1930s was an era where photographers began to use their cameras to capture images of actual life’s happenings rather than just portraits.

By World War II (1939), photojournalists adopted this style, and capturing events, emotions, and more emerged to become the future of the art.

-35mm film became cheap enough for the majority of consumers to use only in the 1940s.

-Then came Polaroids. By the 1960s Polaroids, were the must-have. Polaroid had figured out a way for a secret chemical process that developed film within a minute – right from within the camera.

Cool Fact: The company stopped making the Polaroid cameras and took their secret chemical process with them. No other company has been able to replicate the quality of the Polaroid until this day.

From advanced image control in the 1950s to the Smart Cameras we have now, many humans across the globe find this invention an integral part of their everyday lives.

The invention and evolution of the camera and the art of photography have been quite incredible.

Explore these free resources about the history of photography and cameras in your homeschool:

FREE Inventors and Inventions Cheat Sheets

Free Inventors and Inventions Cheat Sheets text and illustrated image of a robot and a hammer

A Brief History of Photography and the Camera | The Spruce Crafts

The Art of Photography – Timeline of Photography, Film, and Cameras | ThoughtCo.

How the Development of the Camera Changed Our World (Article) | My Modern Met

Free Resources About Photography and Famous Photographers

Free Resources about Photography and Famous Photographers text with background image of a camera

History of the camera:

Camera History for High School Kids | Digital Art Teacher

The Evolution of the Camera Infographic | Best Infographics

How Does a Camera Work? (Video) | Allversity

History of Cameras: Illustrated Timeline | Photodoto

Fascinating History of Cameras Since The First Camera | Photo Blog

The Evolution of Cameras | Inventionland

History of photography:

Photography: A Short History and Why you need to care about it | Dreaming of Butterflies

History of Photography Timeline FREE Worksheet |

A Brief History of Photography [Infographic] | Southern States Insurance

Brief History of Photography | History on the Net

History of Photography  |

Teach your kids simple photography (with plenty of free resources online):

How to Teach Digital Photography in Your Homeschool | Ben and Me

How to Teach Digital Photography in Your Homeschool text with background image of a woman smiling and holding a camera to her face

Creating Your Own Photography Elective for Teens | Captivating Compass

15 Valuable Lessons to Teach Photography for Kids | Expert Photography

How To Teach Simple Photography To Kids | Layers of Learning

Teach Photography to Children: Ideas, Tips, Projects, Lessons, Skill Sets, and More | Felt Magnet

Learning Photography for FREE in Your Homeschool | Free Homeschool Deals

FREE A Twelve-Lesson Unit for Grades 7-12 | Oklahoma Homeschool

Homeschool Photography for Kids | Homeschooling-Ideas

Photography Courses for Kids and Beginners and Learning About Photography | Homeschool Group Hug

Photography for Kids | A2Z Homeschooling

13 Lessons to Teach Your Child About Digital Photography | Digital Photography School

Hands-on activities to help your children learn about photography and the camera.

Photography for Kids – Online Photography Course (Challenges) Video | Video School

(Boredom Buster) Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids | Craftaholics Anonymous

Photography For Kids: Activities They Can Do! | Click It Up a Notch

FREE Printable Photo Scavenger Hunt | Wondermom Wannabe

5 Photo Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Kids | Global Wizards

40 Intriguing Photos to Make Students Think | NY Times

Photography for Kids: What Kids Learn When They’re Behind The Camera (Challenges) |

2 Engaging Projects for Beginning Photography Students | The Art of Education

Challenge Game for Kids | Playtivities

Learn how to evaluate photographs with your kids:

Photograph Analysis Worksheet and Learning Activities | Art Class Curator

FREE Photo/Image analysis worksheet | Kevin Katz

Writing a Photo Analysis – Media Literacy Lesson FREEBIE | Nouvelle ELA

FREE Holocaust Photo Analysis (for older students only)| Fletcher US History 

Exploring the invention of the camera and its ability to produce and transform photography is a great unit to explore with your students. Students get great history lessons while engaged in the process of creating photographs of their very own.

Explore more about other inventions and inventors with your homeschoolers:

FREE Famous People Mini Quiz Pack Volume 18 Irish Engineers and Inventors

Famous People Notebook Inventors

FREE Famous People Mini Quiz Pack Volume 2 – Inventors

Famous Inventors Series

FREE Famous People Mini Quiz Pack Volume 13 – Scottish Inventors

Inventors and Inventions FREE Cheat Sheets

Unit Studies All About Inventors

FREE Inventors Notebooking Unit

Encourage your student’s reading comprehension skills while they learn about great inventors with this Famous People Notebook Inventors. Head over to Daily Skill Building to grab this great inventor resource.

A camera on a table

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