When children are holding technology in their hands, a digital camera usually isn’t what comes to mind.

When children are holding technology in their hands, a digital camera usually isn’t what comes to mind.
Several kids, however, put down their cell phones and left other technology inside to learn about photographing nature Saturday at the fifth annual Photosquared event at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.
Ranging in ages and mastery levels, the budding photographers participated in a photo contest after a short class introducing the essentials of well-composed photography.
The contest was for children ranging in ages from 6 to 14 using any type of camera. Some students were new to photography, while others attended last year.
John Mills, owner of John Mills Fine Art and a local artist, was happily taking pictures with the rest of the students once class was dismissed. Mills introduced the event hosted by the Neosho Arts Council and taught by a local photographer, Julie Stephens, owner of Calotype Photography and council vice president.
Stephens is a third-generation photographer originally from Seymour, Ind. She lives in Neosho with her husband and three children. The family trade started with her grandfather. She sporadically teaches curious young minds while running her studio on the south side of the downtown square.

Compared to last year, Stephens said, “Kids are getting more inspired and can see someone else’s pictures and think ‘I can do that.’”
Children had fun putting concepts of texture, cropping, foreground and framing into practice.

Lannum Litherland, an 8-year-old homeschooler from Seneca, got to try out his new camera. Parents Lettie and Wayne encouraged him to have extracurricular activities. When their friend, Stephens, told them she was hosting the class, they signed up Lannum.
Saturday was his second year. “He is more excited since he knows what he is supposed to do,” Lettie said.
The family snapped away while taking advantage of time together. They weren’t the only ones who made it a family affair as about four other families also signed up.

Stephens said three repeat students were most exited last year when they saw the finished product framed and exhibited. That prompted them to attend again.
Students are encouraged to take well-composed pictures and choose their 25 best to submit. From these, they are asked to further narrow their selection to one to three pictures that will be printed, framed and displayed Oct. 3 and 4 during the Neosho Fall Harvest Art and Crafts Festival at The Civic in downtown Neosho, where students, families and friends can see the pictures.
Donna Divine Jones, president of the arts council, said students “take pride in the work” and echoes Stephens’ sentiment that “you can see and hear the excitement of the kids when they see their pictures exhibited.”