Collaborative Photography

Self Portrait by Remy using the Pudding app for iPod touch.
Lately, the line in my photography and Remy's is blurring just a teeny tiny bit. (No, I am still not letting him shoot with my DSLR. It just weighs too much and would be too expensive to replace if he dropped it.)

Remy has moved on from the Canon P&S I was letting him use when there were fresh batteries to be found. And he has discovered a love of the iPod camera, just as I have. 

Let's clarify: he discovered that I was taking pictures of him on my iPod, which he calls "Chica" after this app, which was the first I downloaded for him, many years ago. We're now technically on "Chica 2" but I'm not a stickler for formality.
I probably pressed the button on this one...
Remy, being Remy, loves all things electronic and really loves "gramras" (cameras - if you're just joining me, Remy has a pretty serious speech delay and is on the Autism spectrum). Well, considering that his mom is a burgeoning photog, we'll just chalk that up to, like mother, like son! 

So, we've been having cuddle-portrait fests. Oh, goodness, so much fun!!!
Me? Remy? Who can remember?
Basically, I hold on to the iPod as long as possible and let him press the on-screen button (making sure we get pictures of both of us). And I take some, too, because photography is fun. And we giggle and make faces and take serious photos, too. 

And then Remy will decide he wants to go off and shoot more interesting subjects, so I let him do that, too. 

Because as a photographer, I grok that creative urge. 
Definitely Remy, after he moved on to the Hipstamatic app. I also have about ten close up shots of the couch under Elmo that aren't nearly as interesting...
Yes, he's shooting Elmo and Thomas the Tank engines and I'm shooting leaves and cracks in painted walls. But isn't it really the same, deep down, our urge to document the world?
I didn't even have to take any shots of this fire at our friends house, because Remy shot so many that were really interesting
One downside to letting your kid take charge of your camera is that there is a very real possibility of breakage. Remy has been playing with my old iPod touch for years without mishap, though, so I'm pretty confident he and I have about the same chance of dropping it. 
It's a finger! I still kinda like this one, though.
(See my sad face post about when I dropped my iPod, here. The happy face update is that I was able to get a second replacement screen and the home button works on my old iPod again, and then my husband got me a new one for Mother's Day anyway, yay!)

If you are still worried, you can buy a kid-specific camera. None of them review well enough for me to recommend, but they're designed to be more secure for children to hold. If the fear of breakage is keeping you from letting your child explore with your camera, that could be a good stepping stone. 

The other downside is that your child will likely shoot MANY photos and you may or may not be able to delete any of them, depending on your sentimentality at the moment and how able your kid is to communicate which photos s/he doesn't like. Remy is more of a "in the moment" photographer, so I just delete the ones that are all black or all white (or all pink, that's his finger on the teeny lens).And if takes multiple shots of something (clickclickclickclick, which he does), then I'll edit them. 
It's all worth it for gems like these.