Liz Orton / Queens Park Community School / Visual Literacy activities

Activity: Photowalk/ Visual Treasure Hunt

photowalk visual treasure hunt

This is an activity developed by Liz Orton for Queens Park Community School.

A photowalk/visual treasure hunt

This was the first week that pupils had taken their own images. I had a camera for each pupil. To prepare them for the activity I did the following:

1. Handed out black cards with a rectangular hole cut in the middle. Pupils had to look through the hole focusing on any object in the classroom. They had to move the card closer to and further away from the object. This activity introduces pupils to 2 key concepts in taking photographs: the frame and the position from which the photograph is taken (how close/far and the angle). I emphasised these two things as the two things I wanted them to think about while out taking photographs.

2. I handed out the cameras, SD cards and batteries separately giving pupils responsibility to prepare them for shooting. I had numbered each SD beforehand and asked each of them to write their name and SD card no on a sheet of paper, so that I would have a record of which photographs belong to which pupil afterwards.

3. I asked them to show me how they thought they should hold the camera when not shooting, and how they should hold it when shooting (use two hands if possible).I demonstrated good practice.

4. We did a short practice in focus. I explained in and out of focus using a visual example.

5. I asked them to refrain from using the zoom function and to try walking close to the subject instead.

6. I explained that you have to ask permission before you take a picture of another person, even if it’s your friend. Some people don’t like having their picture taken – it’s important to ask and fine to say no.

7. I said I would only print the first 40 pictures per pupil to deter them from snappy happy/thoughtless shooting.

We had an hour for the photowalk. I provided a prepared ‘Visual Treasure Hunt’ to give some goals and structure to the activity. My list is as below (I consider this an introductory list, you can vary it or make it harder as appropriate). We went to the park and then walked along a street with shops so I tried to set the list to reflect that.

1.A reflection


A street scene


Something circular


A close up


A tree or plant


Something unusual


A pattern


An action


The weather


Fill the frame with your favourite colour

11. A shadow


An insect, bird or animal


Light and dark  (contrast)


A self-portrait


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