So, your teen wants to have a party. Yay. What do you do with fifteen 14 year olds for two hours? Never fear, your camera is here – and so is theirs! They can have lots of fun and work off some energy before the food with a photo contest you design.


Make sure your printer will print from cameras or that you have enough room for saving photos sent to your phone. Alternately, you can use your computer and have the kids email the photos to you. There are a few apps that allow photo sharing in groups, however, the drawback may be identifying the team that uploaded the photo. Have photo copy paper at the ready so that you can print the photos for judging and fun! Go to your local cheap resale store and get some action figures, some wacky clothing items, and other items for fun photos. Make sure that you have enough markers, glue, paper, tagboard, and scissors for each team.

Fun with Photography


Divide the group into teams. Teams of 3 or 4 work the best. Make sure that each team has a camera or camera on their phone. Mix up the teams by letting them choose numbers or letters out of a box. Have them give their team a name and and then give out the instructions to each team. Remind them to rotate the photo taking in their group so that everyone has an opportunity to capture the silliness. Set geographic boundaries so that no one wanders too far from the group, but far enough that they cannot easily see what other teams are doing.



Here are some suggestions for what your instructions might include. Make sure that everyone gets the same general instructions and information so that the results for judging will be more fair! Remind them, too, that they need to return to the supplies location anything they “borrow” after using it so that others may have a chance to use those supplies too. Photos may be taken in any order, but all listed photos must be included in their group submission.

1) Have someone scrunch their body in the shape of a letter or number, that you have chosen for them, and photograph it.

2) Using some of the action or miniature figures, etc that are available, design a scene for them to be displayed. Are they fighting a battle? Having a party? Running through streets? Let them use their imagination to create the scene!

3) Perception and scale are fun activities. How far from the house do they have to get to make the action figures proportionate to the house? What story could that scene tell? Maybe it’s a giant animal stomping on the house or an action figure swooping in to save someone or jump on a car.

4) Using people and things, are they able to spell a word? Make a shape? A number? A Letter?

5) Using people and things, are they able to come up with silly outfits or poses or both? Boys dressing as girls should be off the table so that no feelings are hurt because of perceived mockery.

6) How might they express in photographs the idea of paddling a canoe, or flying a plane, or driving a bus, or riding on a train?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are lots of possibilities. Use your imagination. Be careful that whatever you instruct, the kids understand that mocking or profanity are not permitted.

At last:

Print out each team’s photos. This could be done while they eat, because they will be “starving” when they finish the tasks!

Allow them to display them, according to the judging you decide. Will it be best photo in each category? Best photo overall? Silliest? Most clever?

Choose impartial judges. Perhaps the neighbor might get in on the fun; or a friend who agrees to help with the event. Even other family members are good choices or the parent/guardian of one of the other kids, remarks William Schoellkopf.  Just be sure that the judging is fair and not biased toward one teen!

Prizes can be whatever you want. Candy or soda or school supplies are good ideas. Be creative and think what you can do with not much money invested. Ribbons for the big winners might be a fun idea. You can buy them ready-made, or make your own.

Plan to either upload the photos to a common sharing app or email them to the participants so that they can choose the ones they want to keep. Give them access to all the photo, not just their own team’s photos. Keep things fun and your teen will thank you for a fun party. Make sure that everyone knows the idea is FUN!