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How to Take Good Pictures for Your Assignments?
In academic life, there are sometimes when assignments are required to include pictures also that are related to places, objects, recipes, and much more. So are you also one of them who is good at taking pictures but when it comes to taking photos for your assignment, it seems a little tough. Additionally, you might also be worried about ‘Who can write my assignment ?”So, as a student, it might be tough for you to click the right pictures for your academic tasks. So, here’s some great information on how to take good pictures for your assignment:
Six Tips for Beginners on How to Take Pictures for Assignment
Place Your Camera or Phone on a Tripod:
If you are taking pictures for an assignment, then you have to better hold the camera. Keep in mind that the camera should be as far away from the object as possible. In the beginning, you will not be able to find the best angle easily. But you should be able to capture a more perfectly composed image for the assignment. If you don’t have a tripod, then all you can do is buy one, which makes your task easy and perfect. Using a tripod, you will be able to position your camera properly and frame the best shot.
Perfect Structure of Object:
The perfect structure is considered the key part of the photo. Whether you are taking photos with your mobile phone or on your camera, the composition is a must. For the best assignment photographs, you need to follow the rule of third. The rule of third is the composition secret to having a “wow” picture. It means dividing the frame into three equal parts, like a top, middle, and bottom, or on the other hand, left, middle, and right. Hence, whatever method you are using, just keep your camera slightly above the object.
Try Natural Poses:
If you are taking pictures of any person for your assignment, then make sure it is natural. Try out some of the poses that are helpful to present your assignment in the best possible way. It is helpful to amplify your assignment and keep things fresh and interesting. If you are looking for the perfect photo shot, then use a mirror as a prop.
Practice All Angles:
Not every person knows the perfect angle for taking the best shot for an assignment. All you need is some focused practice. After a good practice, you can able to find out about the good angle that makes your objects and photos look perfect. So try each and every angle to get the perfect shot and light for your assignment picture.
Find the Right Lighting:
Light plays a vital role when it comes to photography and in order to take good portraits, you need to focus on the good angles for the light. For photography purposes, natural light is best. Check out the position of the sun, and the best angle of the sunlight, and try to find a simple and noise-free background.
To make photos perfect, learn how to edit photos. By editing pictures, you will be able to get the best out of your assignment photo collection. Each and every individual wants to make their assignment more attractive. You can use photo filters or photo editing apps to make pictures even better than before. There are several photo editors available, so you can use any of them.
After learning the six tips, you know the essentials of how to take good pictures for assignments. So now is the time to practice taking great photos. Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right angle. Keep trying to take the perfect shot but if you are worried that you have a shortage of time because you have a lot of assignments to do, know how you can cope with this situation. In such circumstances, you can contact online experts and ask them, “ write my assignment ” And get top-quality assistance in no time.
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Creative Assignments: Teaching with Images – Part 1
by Cosette Bruhns | Dec 17, 2019 | Instructional design , Services | 1 comment
Photo by Christopher Flynn on Unsplash
Images (e.g. photographs, illustrations, and visual metaphors) can facilitate student engagement and understanding in classroom assignments by making abstract concepts tangible and providing a different way of illustrating arguments to students. Instructors can assign images as submission requirements in order to encourage students to draw connections across boundaries and disciplines through a visual lens. Used with care, images can also support inclusive teaching practices by inviting students to engage with course content through different points of view, facilitating student access to remote objects or collections, and increasing opportunities for students who excel at visual learning to participate fully in assignments. In these cases, images serve as a portal for engaging with course material through a different framework (i.e., not text- or audio-based). Finally, using images in assignments can invite students to exercise different aspects of critical thinking skills, like visual literacy and lateral thinking, by encouraging students to develop an argument about or relating to some aspect of an image.
A Few Examples
Here are some examples of how images can be incorporated into student assignments to help you get started. The assignment types are listed in order of shallow to steep learning curve.
Image Discussion Board Posts
Discussion board posts are often assigned by instructors in order to invite students to expand their thoughts on a course reading or discussion. One way instructors can continue to broaden student learning about a topic outside of the classroom creatively is by assigning an image submission in a discussion board. By assigning an image as a submission requirement instead of text, instructors can stimulate student imagination and facilitate student ability to make visual connections between different ideas.
For example, in a literature course on Ovid’s Metamorphoses , an instructor could assign an image submission as a way to invite students to think about how to visualize an allegorical theme or passage from the text. Students could submit images in response to the selected theme or passage, along with a short one- to two-sentence explanation for why the image is related to the original theme. When the class next meets, instructors can draw on their image responses to engage students visually and creatively by asking students to further explain their reasons for submitting their image and why they think it is related to the original theme or passage.
For this type of assignment, Canvas-supported tools like Discussion Board can help achieve this goal. Follow the instructions on the Canvas resource page for more on how to create assignments using Canvas Discussion Board.
Tip: When creating a discussion post, remember to select “Allow threaded replies” under Options, in order to let students respond to each other’s comments.
Image annotation is the ability to mark up an image with text or visual symbols in order to highlight some aspect within the image. Applied to an assignment, instructors can use the idea of image annotation to introduce skills like visual literacy or visual analysis, by asking students to annotate images in order to make an argument about or pertaining to an image based on close analysis of an object or aspect of the original image. By emphasizing a specific aspect of an image, instructors can encourage students to think critically about the relationship between the image and concepts or themes addressed in class.
For example, in a class addressing early modern Italian art, an instructor could ask students to individually or collaboratively annotate an image of Duccio’s Maestà in order to analyze different historical, political, and theological themes represented in the painting. The instructor could create an assignment asking students to isolate specific elements of the painting, using annotation methods, in order to identify main themes to explore further through individual projects or in-class discussion, strengthening the relationship between the assignment and the course. It might be a useful exercise to create a working list of objects, ideas, or concepts identified through the image annotation assignment that students can build on during the course. In a course that examines multiple images, instructors could return to that set of student-produced themes to see how they are represented in other images representing the Madonna. By drawing connections between concepts and images, instructors can begin to introduce students to skills like visual literacy, which is important for interpreting, understanding, and making meaning from images.
There are a number of easy-to-use tools for image annotation that are readily available. Google Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard that can be shared with multiple students. Features of Google Jamboard include real-time collaboration and a number of creative drawing tools for visualizing ideas. In an image annotation assignment, students could share a Google Jamboard file with the class that creatively isolates an aspect of the original image in order to share an observation or build an argument about that image.
Ex. Duccio di Buoninsegna, Maestà , c. 1308-1311. Google Jamboard can be used to add simple mark-ups to an image as an assignment or in real-time. The bottom tool in the tool bar is a digital laser pointer that can be used during a presentation to highlight an aspect of an image. As part of the Google Suite, Google Jamboard files can be easily shared with multiple collaborators.
Where to To Find Image Resources
A number of images are available for use in teaching and student assignments through fair use laws. There is a list of resources for finding fair use images on the UChicago wiki tools page . Many images are also easily searchable on databases such as LUNA , the University of Chicago’s image collections database, the Getty Search Gateway , and the Met Collection , to name a few. Several museums participate in open access policies, allowing their public domain images to be downloaded, used, and reproduced for scholarly and educational purposes. For further information on fair use policies, reach out to the University of Chicago’s Copyright Information Center , or the Visual Resource Center , which provides support in researching images or digitizing and developing a collection of images for research and teaching.
Getting Help and Next Steps
If you are interested in using image exercises in your classroom or as assignments, contact Academic Technology Solutions for help. ATS instructional designers can help you create exercises that support your broader learning objectives and select the appropriate software tools to use in your class.
Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we will discuss digital exhibitions!
Thanks, Cosette, this is great. Take a look at WeVu for this too. Images and pdfs, with group annotation, with private and public replies to annotations. Can be used for whole-class dialogue about parts of images, or for assignments where students’ annotations are only seen by instructors.
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Monthly Photo Assignments
Lenspiration “shoot to serve” opportunities, learn to take pictures by taking pictures.
Every month, Lenspiration publishes a Photo Assignment. We call them “Shoot to Serve” opportunities because we are taking photos for real businesses or nonprofits that need specific photos for their upcoming projects.
What You should Know about the photo assignments
Anyone can submit photos for the assignments, but they must first have an account with Lenspiration.
If you are a Lenspiration Member, you already have an account so are ready to participate. If you're not a member yet , you can create an account to join the membership (try for free here ). Even if you cancel your membership, you will still have an account, so you can continue to participate in the assignments.
Lenspiration members get paid for their assignment submissions if they are the winner of the assignment.
Every month we provide training on how to shoot the assignment, and then feedback on the photos that are submitted for the assignment during our monthly Live Photography Coaching Webinars .
Participate in a Photo Assignment
Learn How to Shoot the Assignment
Watch a demonstration video and learn how to go about shooting the assignment yourself. You can always use any of the photography resources on the Lenspiration website for additional help.
Gather All the Details
Each assignment is unique. Lenspiration will provide you with the exact details the publisher, ministry, or business is looking for.
This is the fun part! Use whatever camera you have to go and take pictures for the assignment. Deadlines help eliminate procrastination, so you’re sure to get in some photo practice.
After shooting the assignment, use the details provided and the tips you’ve learned in the Lenspiration Photography Program to organize, edit, and submit your photos.
Watch the Live Coaching Webinar
Get invaluable feedback on the photos you submit for each assignment by watching the monthly Live Photography Coaching Webinars. (Members get to watch for free, but anyone else can pay to attend.)
If the publisher chooses your photo as the winner of the assignment, and you are a Lenspiration Member, you will get paid for it! Even if you don’t “win” an assignment, we can help you get your photos published elsewhere.
Ready to Get Started?
Sign up below to get an email every time a new photo assignment goes live!
- First Name *
Need a Photo for a Project?
Are you a business or nonprofit ministry that needs some photos for an upcoming project? Fill out a photo request form to discuss options for getting custom photography through a Lenspiration Shoot to Serve assignment.
Pictures Submitted for the Photo Assignments!
15 Photography Assignments to Challenge and Inspire
By Tata Rossi 23 days ago, Amateur Photography
Photography assignments allow you to experiment with something you have never tried before and play around with different photographic approaches. With such an assignment, you will challenge yourself and develop your skills.
15 Ways to Make Photography Assignments
This list of photo assignments consists of 15 points, so I am sure that you will find the idea to your liking.
1. Self Portraits
The first task is a no-brainer: just take a self-portrait picture each day. Don’t forget to use a tripod and shutter release aside from regular shooting with your arm extended and holding a camera.
Since you will be the model, feel free to unleash your creativity with all sorts of make-up, outfits, poses until you figure out a proper look. Remember to use props as well. Then share your shots with the world via social networks or the dedicated Flickr and Twitter groups.
2. Color Challenge
Here is one of the greatest color photography assignments for the urban environment photos . Bring the camera with you and take pictures for several hours. Pick a color (or ask a friend to choose it for you to complicate the task) and photograph subjects of the chosen color only.
Once you are done, you will find yourself seeing this color everywhere! Then pick the best shots and merge them into a collage or mosaic in Photoshop .
3. After Dark
Practice with night photography and try taking pictures after dark. In case you are outside the city, you may shoot moonlight or star trails. While being in the city, capture light trails of vehicles or buildings with the light-up windows. Regardless of the location, experiment with light-painting by means of long exposure photography and moving a flashlight across areas of the scene.
4. Crop or Rotate All your Photos a Specific Way
One of the best photography practice assignments is to neglect your comfort zone and try something new for a change. For instance, if you have a tendency to snap the same kinds of photos, you should modify their perspective.
Try an approach to cropping or rotating your next 50-100 shots that differs from your regular one. Play around with square photos, 180° rotation or whatever else you can come up with. Once you get out of the familiar artistic routine, you will be able to perceive the world from another angle and get creative.
5. Quit Social Media Temporarily
Social networks can serve as an excellent source of photography inspiration or lead to a complete lack of it. If you use social networks without critical thinking, you may start comparing yourself to other photographers, which will be a total waste of time and effort.
While it may be one of the hardest photography assignments these days, taking a hiatus from social networks is highly important. Log off your Instagram account for some time or uninstall apps that leave you in a bad mood.
In case your job requires staying online on a daily basis, devote some of your time to non-Internet tasks, like taking pictures or gaining knowledge on photography. I suggest taking some online photography courses .
6. Shoot Every Day for a Month
If you wish to become a better photographer , you shouldn’t stop shooting. By taking pictures constantly, you will receive more feedback and will be interacting more actively with the world.
One of the most widespread photography class assignments is to take one picture each day for a month. Do it with the help of the smartphone, DSLR camera or any device that can photograph. But don’t take meaningless pictures just because you have to. The shots you take should resonate with you in one way or another and be valuable to you.
The Zen masters suggest that you have a “daily practice.” When we repeat something, we become closer to recognizing the “truth”. You may read a great number of photo theory books , but you won’t be able to shoot properly. Only through practice, repetition, feedback and constructive criticism, you can grow as a photographer. Remember that this assignment is about forming a habit, not about taking a perfect picture each day.
7. Experiment with a Completely Different Genre
The array of photography genres is truly vast. Underwater photography , glamour, smartphone, landscape photography , portrait photography – that’s only a beginning. If you feel like you are losing interest in photography, switch to another genre.
Try staying away from your primary photography genre for a while. In case you shoot portraits, go outside and capture the area where you live in. If you are involved in photographing pets , play around with self-portraiture. By getting familiar with various photography genres, you are widening your photography horizons and gaining new knowledge that may come in useful one day.
8. Put Together a Photo Album
We live in a digital world, and even nowadays’ photography comes mostly in a digital form. We constantly find ourselves sharing our photos online. It is a rare thing to print photographs, even touch them, let alone create something physical out of them.
That’s why one of the greatest photography tasks is to compile a photo album. You can buy one at a store or online. Print the desired shots in the small 4×6 size. I suggest collaborating on this task with your friend, child or partner. Think of the main idea, theme or story of the album. Put all the printed shots on a surface and consider how you will lay them out in an album, how you will pair them and in what sequence.
No wonder that our parents and elderly relatives used to create a photo book together. It is a nice way to preserve precious memories in a physical form and bring back the moments that we sometimes tend to forget over time.
9. Take Creative Self-Portraits with a Friend
While you may enjoy your own company while taking self-portraits, you may feel bored or lonely after some time. In this case, you can implement one of the most entertaining photography assignment ideas and take self-portraits with a friend (pets are welcome as well!).
Don’t forget to think through the poses, set up the tripod and find the perfect photography light. As you will be engaged in all these activities, you will be able to get a hang of a photographer’s workflow. Then, when it comes to a real photo shoot with the clients, you will be more skilled at dealing with the camera and lights.
10. Attend a Photography Workshop
Photography workshops is an excellent investment in your education as a photographer and one of the most helpful beginner photography assignments.
Pick a workshop that is dedicated to the topic relevant for you. Thanks to workshops, you will get not only theoretical but also practical information. Also, you will have your questions answered by real professionals.
11. Photograph the Same Person or Object Every Day
In case you aren’t as excited about photography as before, try capturing one and the same person or object each day for a week or month. Similar to the smartphone photography challenge, as a result, you will realize the importance of having the freedom to photograph anything you wish.
While snapping pictures of the same object, you will boost your lighting skills. To make the shots differ from each other, don’t hesitate to play around with various types of lighting and photo editing apps .
12. Go a Month Without Using Social Media
Being the photographer of the 21st century, you may find yourself in the never-ending trap of feeling the need to post photos on social networks each day. It all turns into some sort of addiction – all you crave is likes, comments and new followers. If you don’t receive the online praise you need, your photography stops making sense.
In fact, photography is something you should pursue on your own. What truly matters here is your personal thoughts on your shots, not the opinion of users online. Simply uninstall all the social network applications from the smartphone (you can bring them back once the assignment is over). Posting photos and looking through photos of others is prohibited.
If you manage to stay away from social networks for a month, you will acquire a clearer purpose of your photography work. Besides, you won’t be so obsessed with the imaginary social network competition that everyone seems to be involved in.
13. Shoot with a Limited Amount of Equipment
Regardless of whether you are an experienced, amateur or a beginner photographer , you are likely to be after all sorts of photography gear to enhance your results.
How about photography assignments where you have to use a restricted amount of shooting equipment? You can photograph strictly with one camera body or camera lens . There is no need to do it for an entire month.
For this assignment, I suggest coming up with a plan, and do it, for instance, only once a week. Working with the same gear every day will give you more flexibility in both the creative and physical aspects of the process.
So, in case you deal only with a zoom lens, you will have to experiment whenever you shoot indoors . With a wide-angle lens only, you will need to work on cropping and correcting distortions.
14. Limit Yourself to X Photos a Day
Similar to the previous assignment, limiting yourself to 10, 20, 30 or more shots per day, week or month will help you realize what your true creative needs are. Besides, with a photo limit, you will understand what subjects or scenes you are more inclined to photograph.
Another benefit of a photo limit is that it will bring more patience and creativity into the process. You won’t be able to take numerous pictures of one place, so you will be forced to risk and play around with various perspectives.
15. Take Photos with Your Smartphone Camera Only
Take pictures only with a smartphone camera for a week. For better results, download a top-notch camera app and try to figure out all of its settings. A modern smartphone will help beginning photographers get acquainted with the technical side of the shooting process.
To complicate the task, I suggest recreating some of your portfolio photos with the smartphone camera. With this assignment, you will learn all the intricacies of shooting with a smartphone and may even start taking shots not only with a standard camera but with a smartphone one as well on a regular basis!
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10 Photo Assignments to Inspire and Challenge Your Skills
Liz Masoner is a professional photographer and she shares her tips and techniques on photo editing and how to photograph nature, portraits, and events with film and digital cameras. Liz has over 30 years of experience and she is the author of three books on photography.
The best way to learn photography is to practice, though sometimes you can get stuck in a rut and not know what to shoot. That is why photographers love assignments; they give us a purpose and an idea of what to photograph.
Why Are Assignments Important?
Self-assignments are key to any photographer's growth. Even professionals with decades of experience will work on personal assignments that they may never get paid for. The goal of any self-assignment is to spur creativity, solve problems, learn new techniques, and challenge yourself.
As you start out in photography, you're probably filled with excitement and ready to shoot anything you can. That being said, sometimes a little direction and guidance are necessary.
Below, you will find ten photography assignments. Each covers a new topic, skill, or concept and they were chosen to help you learn how to see as a photographer. They are meant to be a personal challenge that you can complete at your own pace and with no outside judgment, simply as a means to practice and improve your photography. Hopefully, you will learn something new with each assignment and be able to use that in every photograph you take in the future.
Remember when composing your images to keep in mind the basics: the rule of thirds, shutter speed , aperture, depth of field , and exposure .
Assignment #1: Up Close
This assignment encourages you to get close and personal with your subject. It is an exercise in viewing a common object in a new way and examining its finer details.
- Choose an object that you see or interact with every day.
- Focus on a small part of it, get as close as your camera will allow you to focus, and shoot away.
- Try to capture different angles and unusual lighting to add to the mystery of this tiny world.
From the whiskers of your cat to a fragile Christmas ornament, and even common soap bubbles, there is an entire world that we often overlook because we don't get close enough.
Assignment #2: Motion
Photography is a static medium which means that it doesn't move. Conveying a sense of motion is often crucial to capturing a scene or emotion and it is an essential skill for photographers to practice.
The goal of this exercise is to understand how shutter speeds can be used to convey motion.
- Choose a subject or series of subjects that will allow you to convey motion in your images.
- It can be slow motions, like that of a turtle, or fast motion, like a speeding train.
- Blur it, stop it, or simply suggest that there is motion in the photograph.
Challenge yourself to capture the same motion in different ways. For instance, you might go to a race track and stop the movement of the cars completely in one image, then leave the shutter open and allow them to blur out of the frame in the next.
Assignment #3: Shadows
Shadows are everywhere and they are vital to photography because this is the art of capturing light. With light comes shadows and when you begin to look at shadows as a photographer, your world will open up.
- Take a look around for shadows and record them with your camera.
- You could show the shadow as the total focus of the image. Perhaps the shadow is incidental to the subject.
- Is the shadow natural or created by flash?
Shadows are integral to creating depth in a two-dimensional medium such as photography. Take some time to seriously explore the "dark side" of the light.
Assignment #4: Water
Water is everywhere in photography and it presents many challenges. There are reflections and movements to work with and in this exercise, you will take a deeper look at water.
- Find water anywhere: lakes, streams, puddles, even the glass on your kitchen table.
- Pay attention to reflections and use them to your advantage in the photographs. Use this opportunity to get familiar with a polarizing filter (a very useful tool in your camera kit) so you can accentuate or eliminate reflections.
- Play with the motion of a stream or the crashing waves. Notice the difference between stopping the flow of water and allowing it to blur to create a real sense of movement.
Be sure to make water the subject and not an accent to the image. Water alone is beautiful and mysterious and your challenge is to explore all of its potential as a subject.
Assignment #5: Leading Lines
A classic assignment in photography schools, 'leading lines ' is a popular and fun subject. The goal of this assignment is to learn how to direct the viewer to your subject using lines.
- Choose a subject then look around for lines in the scene that you can use to 'lead' the viewer to the subject.
- Find an interesting line then determine what the subject of your photograph is.
- Remember that lines can be man-made or natural. For instance, the yellow line down the middle of the road or a tree branch. Even a person's arm can be a leading line of their face.
Use this assignment as an excuse to take an afternoon photo excursion. Walk downtown or in the woods and look around you for interesting lines that lead the eye to a subject. There is an amazing assortment of lines out there in the world and once you begin to see them, you won't be able to stop.
Assignment #6: Perspective
How do you normally stand when you shoot? If your answer is straight up like a 5-foot-something human being then this assignment is for you. The perspective assignment challenges you to view the world from an entirely new perspective, which in turn gives the viewer a new look at the ordinary.
- Take another afternoon or evening for a photo excursion wherever you like.
- This time, every time you find something to photograph, stop!
- Ask yourself: How would a squirrel see that tree? How would a robin view that birdbath? How would a snake view that log?
- Take your photographs from very high or very low angles. Get on your belly or stand on a chair, whatever you have to (safely) do to get the 'right' angle on your subject.
If you pay attention to professional photographs, many of the images that have the WOW factor are photographed from extreme angles. People enjoy these photos because they've never seen an object from that viewpoint. It is new and unique, and you can train yourself to shoot with this in mind.
Assignment #7: Texture
You may have captured a few textural details in the 'Up Close' assignment, but this assignment takes that to the next level. The goal in this one is to study textures and forget about the object itself: the texture becomes the subject. You will also begin to realize how light affects the appearance of texture.
- Find a few objects that have very detailed textures like trees or rocks, even knit sweaters or woven rugs.
- Photograph them as close as your lens will allow.
- Use different angles and capture the same texture as the light changes. Notice how the different lighting directions and camera angles can change how much texture appears.
Textures are all around us and many of the best photographs in the world play up the textural element. This assignment should teach you how to recognize and accentuate those elements in your photos.
Assignment #8: Color Harmony
Color is important to photography because the world is full of color. This exercise requires a bit of study in color theory, which you will then put into practice in your photographs.
Do you remember art class in elementary school? You may have learned that yellow and blue make green, but color theory goes beyond that. There are cool and warm colors, complementary and contrasting colors, neutral colors, and bold colors.
It can get quite complicated, and photographers should have a basic understanding of color so you can use that when composing photographs. You don't have to study color like a painter would but can use tricks used by interior designers to influence your color decisions.
- Once you have an idea of color theory, take another photo excursion and put what you've learned into practice.
- Capture photographs with the primary or tertiary colors.
- Look for complementary colors then contrasting colors to photograph.
- Try finding a scene to photograph that is filled with neutral colors, then one that uses a bold color to 'pop' from the scene.
This is an advanced lesson, but one that any photographer working with color images will find useful. As you practice working with colors, it will become second nature and you will know how to work with color to change the feel of your images.
Assignment #9: Emotions
Take a photo of a person smiling or scowling, right? Not so. The intent of this assignment is to convey emotion in photographs without a face.
- Take photographs that express each of the basic emotions: happy, sad, and mad.
- How would you express the feeling of anger with no person? What about happiness? Sadness?
This is a purely conceptual assignment, but it is important to be able to relay emotion in your photographs and you might not always have a person available to do that with. Challenge yourself to think deeper about this one.
Assignment #10: Don't Look!
Are you ready to put your photography skills to the test? In today's world of digital cameras and the ability to see image captures right there on the LCD screen, photographers are losing some of the skills needed to visualize a photograph.
In this assignment, your challenge is to shoot as if you were using a film camera. That means that you will not look at the photographs you've taken until they are downloaded on your computer. Instead of relying on the camera's screen to see if you 'got the shot' you will rely on your instinct and knowledge, just like photographers did before digital photography. Can you do it?
- Plan a photo excursion to a particular location and permit yourself to photograph only 36 images (a roll of 35mm film).
- Turn off your camera's LCD screen so it does not show you the image after you have taken it.
- If you cannot turn off the camera's screen, cut a piece of thick paper and tape it over the screen. Use masking or painter's tape so you don't leave a residue on the back of your camera.
- Go out and shoot your 36 frames, thinking carefully about each image because you don't have an endless number of shots. Bonus points if you turn your camera to completely manual settings for focus and exposure.
- Don't peek at your photos until you get home and download them.
How did you do? Were you able to get good exposures on your own? How did it feel to be 'blind' and not know how your image turned out right away?
This is similar to what it is like to shoot with film and it does require you to think harder about every image you take. Next time you shoot, slow down and pay attention, pretend that the screen is not there and rely on your own skills to create a great image. You will be a better photographer in the end.
More from The Spruce Crafts
- Introduction to Photography: 8 Tips for Beginners
- A Brief History of Photography and the Camera
- Pros and Cons of Film and Digital Cameras
- The Best Online Drawing Classes of 2023
- How to Make a Beautiful Silhouette Drawing
- Easy Drawing Lesson for Beginners
- An Introduction to Photography Exposures
- Ideas for Drawing and Painting
- How to Control Depth of Field With F-Stops in Photography
- How to Paint Like Monet
- 19 Free Winter Word Search Puzzles for Kids
- Tips for Keeping a Sketchbook or Visual Journal
- Horizontal vs. Vertical Photographs
- How to Use Point of View to Improve Your Photos
- What Are the Autofocus Points on a Camera?
- Learn How to Draw Flowers in Pen, Ink, and Pastel
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Over 140 Picture Prompts to Inspire Student Writing
By Natalie Proulx
- May 23, 2019
Sign up for our free Learning Network newsletter. Receive new writing prompts in your inbox every week.
Updated: May 31, 2019
Think The New York Times is only for readers at a high-school reading level? Think again.
Besides written articles, The Times also offers a rich collection of visuals — photos, illustrations, graphics, GIFs and short videos — that are accessible to learners of all levels. Since 2016, we’ve been featuring these images in our daily Picture Prompts : short, image-driven posts that invite a variety of kinds of student writing.
Teachers tell us they use these prompts in all kinds of ways. Some use them to encourage students to develop a daily writing habit . Others as an exercise to practice inferences , spark discussion or support reading . This year, one elementary school music teacher told us how her class used the visuals as inspiration for writing short stories accompanied by music .
For more ideas, we have a lesson plan on how to teach with Picture Prompts and other Times images, as well as a free, on-demand webinar that explores how to use our thousands of writing prompts for everyday low-stakes writing practice across the curriculum.
Below, we’ve categorized the 140+ prompts we published during the 2018-19 school year based on the type of writing they primarily ask students to do — whether it’s penning short stories and poems, sharing experiences from their own lives, telling us their opinions, or interpreting an image’s message. All are still open for comment.
You can find even more images in our Picture Prompt roundups for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.
If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use photos, illustrations and graphics to encourage writing, let us know in the comments section.
What story could this image tell? Use your imagination.
Three Dots Balloon Face Oars and S’mores Conversation Spaceship at the White House Around the Campfire Special Key Computer Screen 17-Foot Python Batman on a Couch Hanging With Friends Hole in the Ceiling In a Crowd Opossum Among Shoes Your Food Obsession Tech Gadgets Carrying a Letter Reaching Through the Wall Sledding in the Mountains Trees, River, Cottage and Sheep The Ride Headphones Leap In the Stands Shade Under the Table Security Line At Their Computers Tiny Stories Tarot Cards Haunted House? Driver and Bicyclist Red Ball Kneeling and Reaching A Letter in the Mail Campfire
Share experiences from your own life.
One Last Adventure Amusement Park Dog in a Backpack Generation Z Breakfast A New App Met Gala Tidying Up Take Your Child to Work Day New Homes Photos From Space Social Media Star Signs of Spring Literary Protagonists The Story of Your Name Dream Home Momo Gym Class Nostalgic Places Price Tags Night Owl or Early Bird Lunar New Year Rescue Pets Polar Vortex Facing Rejection Dreams Superstitions Holiday Season Astrology Favorite Books Journaling Caffeine Giving and Getting Candy Around the World Journeys Saying Thank You Nutrition ‘The Simpsons’ Man, Seal, Octopus Weddings The Night Sky Remembering 9/11 World’s Largest Prairie Dog
What do you think this image, chart or cartoon is saying?
Falling Bottles Focus Here Emojis Eagle and Gender Symbols Hand and Fist Jungle Gym Stacks of Money Magnifying Glass ‘Freedom From Want’ ‘The Writer’s Block’ Watching Walking Down the Street Gun Parts Globe and Books Head Full of Stuff Tight Rope Adventure New Faces Leaping Over Binoculars Brexit Floating Coins Giant Machine Blue Water Other People’s Burdens In a Maze Chalk Outline Hands on Their Shoulders Past and Future Pieces of a Flag From a Hole to a Balloon
What’s your opinion on this issue?
Spy Cams Jack-of-all-trades Gender Expectations Game Show Winner Royal Baby Movie Theaters Tiger Woods Wins ‘The Image of the Revolution’ Final Four Referees $430 Million Deal Student Climate Strikes Women’s History Month Legos and Battlebots Cash Reward Brushing Beagle Book Covers Super Bowl Commercials Math Fast-Food Buffet The ‘Bird Box’ Challenge Hands-On Parenting 2018 in Pictures The Outspoken N.B.A. Online Video Games Standout Steer California Wildfire Election Day Public Libraries Champions A Computer in Everything Snail Mail Fashion Trends Sleep Deprivation Household Chores Gymnastics on Horseback Song of Summer Giant Ice Disk
Want more writing prompts?
You can find our full collection of writing prompts, added as they publish, here . We also have a list of over 1,000 writing prompts for narrative and persuasive writing gathered from our daily Student Opinion questions . Plus, we have a collection of “ 40 Intriguing Images to Make Students Think ,” taken from four years of our weekly “ What’s Going On in This Picture? ” feature.
These photos of war reenactors hope to ‘challenge our understanding of war’
War is brutal. It leaves death and psychological damage in its wake. It rips us apart. And yet, it keeps rearing its ugly head over and over. At this moment, there is a war raging and ravaging between Russia and Ukraine. You can barely escape it; coverage is everywhere.
The world is often juggling multiple conflicts, some bigger than others. But people are people and will struggle for power and dominion over others, for economic reasons, philosophical reasons. Any reason, maybe.
For all the brutality of war, it is curious how we nonetheless are fascinated by it. It shapes our worldview. I cannot escape the images and stories I was told about World War I, World War II and Vietnam. In this country, we still seem to be grappling with the Civil War and its aftermath. A curious thing, indeed.
Photographer Arne Piepke understands this fascination with war. He spent time documenting war reenactments in Europe for his project “Based on True Events.” The arresting images in his project, he hopes, “challenge our understanding of war, the way we remember it, and how we communicate history.”
Piepke describes his project in more detail here:
“‘Based on True Events’ documents war reenactments in Europe to question our understanding of historical wars and to confront the viewer with the paradoxical aesthetics of war. It raises questions about how history is created and accessed, and what aspects of it may be forgotten or repressed.
“I interweave reality and fiction to provide a complex insight into these enactments and to question the boundaries between documentation and truth.
“With each of these reenactments, the true events behind them, are constantly reinterpreted and thus run the risk of being altered. Reenactments are always a kind of perfect warfare that cannot represent death, displacement and trauma.
“I visit reenactments of the Napoleonic Wars of Liberation, the American Civil War, and World War I and II. While some of these events are performed in front of an audience, many take place on private property and are closed off from the outside world.”
There is a quote that is often dredged up from the philosopher George Santayana that goes like this: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
For all the history books and documentation of war and palpable destruction scores and scores of people have encountered because of it, it persists. Maybe that says something about human nature. Although we have seemingly sufficient memory, we continually repeat our mistakes and the evils of the past. And it goes on and on and on.
You can see more of Piepke’s work on his website here .
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VAGUE PONDERINGS ON VARIOUS TOPICS – MUSIC, LIFE, ART AND……
Tag: images for assignments
More images for you to get excited about……...
I have decided to put more images up for you to use for whatever you want…. By the way, these are copyright free images, so you may use them as you want. So here they are…….
Here is a farmer….. I have no idea why they took this photo, but it is a great study
A sad study of an old man, use it with your imagination.
And now for history!
A soldier from the USA’s civil war.
Abraham Lincoln in the flesh.
A negro family…… in the time of the civil war
An armless soldier from the American civil war……
So, here is a collection of images that you may use freely, and I hope that they are of use to you.
Photos that you can use!
This is a bunch of photos that you can use freely for whatever purpose you want. In other words, they are copyright free.
You may use them in whatever way you want.
So, there they are……….
And the next one…..
A diver…… I think…..
A close up of an elephant……
A curious photo of a giraffe…. Very odd..
An angle sitting in a bus…. Really odd….
So, here you have it…. A collection of odd images that you will be free to use in whatever way you want…..
Images to spark ideas………
As always, I have tried to find some weird and wonderful images to inspire your creative juices – whether you happen to be a teacher or a writer. All of them (see above and below) have been chosen because they are totally weird and wonderful, and generally defy any sort of logical reason for happening. In other words, I hope that they will inspire you to extreme creative imaginings. Do let me know if you use them to inspire or as central to a story please!
I love the addition of the one boot
Er………………. A party anyone?
Well, an innocent way of passing the time, I suppose
Dangerous people to know… I can imagine a serious story about hill-billies here
We have all met such people in Walmart……
More strange and disturbing images to fire your imagination
Once again I have found an intriguing collection of images that I hope will be of use to you guys as sparks to your ideas. In other words, I hope that the images below will give you ideas for stories as opposed to using them in stories.
So, lets get started on them……………
Now this is a restaurant with a difference! A weirdly odd and somewhat Edwardian effect. Many years ago whilst on a winter tour of Scotland with the Little Angel Puppet Theatre we found ourselves at John O’Groats which has a truly odd restaurant as well – and when we arrived there, a totally empty place (it was January after all) we were greeted by this odd building and Hawaiian guitar music blaring out of a public address system… All very odd.
From the sublime to the ridiculous now.
This is simply silly…………… But it is a new look at an old legend perhaps?
Now I have selected three more odd or curious images that give me pause for thought, each one of which seem to me to be ripe with an internal story.
What is happening in them and could one perhaps use all three of them in one story?
If any of these images have been a help for you in any way, please do let me know what you used them for.
More Strange And Weird Images To Fire Your Imagination
Once more I look into the weird world of other people’s imagination, this time via the photographs of Erik Johansson who manipulates his photos to create a totally different and obviously impossible vision, also a collection of simply weird photos of real people – which defy the imagination I confess, but which could be the starting point of some very odd stories, so this is possibly useful for teachers to stir the imagination of their students.
So, here is the first of Erik Johansson’s odd world………………..
More Odd Images For Teachers
Here are some more photos I have found that I felt would be useful for language or writing teachers. If you look at the following images, each and everyone of them should spark off ideas in the fantasy of your students be they kids or adults.
I try and find images that I feel are sufficiently strange or thought provoking so that they are guaranteed to make anyone looking at them stop, think and make up a story about how the situation captured in the photos came about.
As you can see, an image such as this can lead to endless questions, and thus, if handled correctly, can generate an almost endless stream of ideas.
Or what to think of this one?
What on earth is that guy doing? It seems to me that there are almost endless possibilities in this image. Why has he apparently dug a small hole in an apparently perfectly good road surface? I can imagine that it should be possible to write a short story based on this image, one that probably gives away the reason for the man poking his head into that small hole in the very last sentence of the story?
Continue reading “More Odd Images For Teachers”
Bill Yates – Images Of 1973 Tampa
A few days ago I came across an article in an English newspaper all about an American photographer who had just discovered a box full of negatives of photos he had taken in Tampa Florida in 1973, and never actually looked at in all the following years.
Bill Yates is the photographer and this set of images of a roller skating rink that he visited in 1973 looking for subjects to photograph while he was studying to become a professional photographer powerfully document how life was back in 1973 for a lot of people in the USA, and Europe too.
Apparently he went out one evening looking for subjects to photograph and came across the Sweetheart Skating Rink by pure chance, went in and proceeded to take a series of photos, most of which in themselves and at that time, were not of any special interest, and he only saw them as a technical exercise in taking photos of people. However, looking at them in 2016 they have a very different function – they have become a fascinating window into a sort of world that may still exist, but will look very different in so many ways.
For example, look at these images and tell me what it shows that would be totally impossible in the Western World today……
See what I mean?
Continue reading “Bill Yates – Images Of 1973 Tampa”
Curious And Odd Images
This is a photo of what Brisbane used to look like, which is not really important. The reason I chose this image is that it shows a town that was very much a frontier town, farm animals wandering around the street, a mud street you may note… So it seemed to me that there must be dozens of stories lurking in this straight-forward looking photo…
Go for it, and let me know what you (or your students) make of it please.
This is plain weird…. Apparently it is a photo of a gang of KKK idiots on a group outing…. What fun they all seem to be having – or at least if they were honest (and brave enough) to show their faces it might be possible to see how they are all laughing and having a great time on that Ferris Wheel… Anyhow, politics and decency to one side for a minute, this is an epically odd image seems to me, and once again, surely any of you could find a story in it?
Apparently this is a photo of an abandoned Lunatic Asylum, has to be a story there I feel….
Continue reading “Curious And Odd Images”
Strange Images For Creative Writing
Continuing my search for images that might be useful to give kids the needed nudge to start to write creatively, here is a collection of extremely odd images of even odder people doing odd things.
To be honest, most of these images seem to me to be completely impossible to find any sort of rational explanation for, but that is precisely why I have chosen them, as in order to explain them one needs to let fantasy rip, and venture out into the uncharted regions of one’s imagination.
You see what I mean? Try and find an explanation for this one that is not totally insane.
OK, even Yetis need to get to work I suppose……..
Don’t even ask what she is doing!!!!
This must be part of some sort of Balkan or Scandinavian folk dance?
No idea! But I find the creature on the left deeply worrying…. And why on earth would she want to sit on a small alligator I wonder.
Continue reading “Strange Images For Creative Writing”
More Curious Photos To Play With
Here are some more images that I thought might be helpful to you teachers to get your student’s minds moving. Show them one or more of these and suggest they use them as a starting point for a story. In fact these images can be used by anyone for a similar purpose.
And for the rest of us, well, they are simply curious, and thought provoking. At least I find them so. All of them were taken in the 19th Century, some as early as 1820, and none later than 1890, so all the people in them are now long dead and buried. This is an aspect of such old photos that never fails to move me. One gazes at the features of these people, and wonders about their lives, their hopes and dreams, and were their lives good ones or sad ones.. did they live to a ripe old age, or did they die the day after the photo was taken?
So many questions are asked by these images – endless material for thinking and creating.
So here you go… A load of images, with no explanations about any of them,as I prefer to leave that up to your imagination.
Continue reading “More Curious Photos To Play With”
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Assignment Images Stock Collection - An Overview
When it comes to creating visual content, choosing the right image is crucial. Whether you are designing a presentation, building a website or creating social media posts, the image you choose will impact the overall look and feel of your project. That's why we are here to introduce our assignment images stock collection , which is carefully curated to provide a wide range of images for various tasks.
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Our assignment images stock collection offers a wide range of high-quality images in different formats, including JPG, AI, and EPS. These formats are perfect for use in various projects, including web design, graphic design, presentations, and many more. From nature and landscapes to technology and business, our collection has images that suit your needs.
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- Images And Photography
Free Images, Copyright, And Creative Commons: A Simple Guide For Students And Teachers
Please note, this post was last updated in 2020 and I no longer update this website.
To learn more about this topic, check out my Beginner’s Guide To Copyright And Creative Commons.
Students’ classwork is becoming increasingly digital.
Whether creating a slideshow, blog post, presentation, or document, images are always needed. Teachers also regularly need images for things like class blog posts, assignments, presentations, and course work.
Where do teachers and students find quality free images for their work?
Google Images is not a good idea because most images are protected by copyright. However, there are options!
This guide walks you through the process of easily and ethically finding quality images for classroom use. I’ve included a comparison table of different free sites so you can find a resource that’s right for you and your students.
Short On Time? Get My Free eBook
💡 Want a free eBook to learn the basics of copyright, Creative Commons and finding free images?
Just enter your email address here and I’ll send it to you. The eBook is an extension of the information in this post plus a number of printable posters you can use in your classroom.
Where Do Students And Teachers Find Images?
There are five main choices for teachers and students looking for images. Let’s go over the choices (spoiler alert: number 5 is the easiest option!)…
1) Should students create their own images?
This is a safe option. Students and teachers can take their own photographs and/or create images with online tools.
- My favourite tool for making graphics is Canva. I’ve written a post about how to use Canva for The Edublogger
- Adobe Spark is also a good option as it’s free for teachers and students
- Check out 5 Useful, Free Photo Apps for Teachers and Students for more ideas
The downsides of students creating their own images are:
- They might need an image of something they can’t photograph or create
- The image creation process can be time-consuming and take away from the actual point of the assignment
- Some online tools are 13+
2) Should schools purchase images?
We know purchasing stock photography isn’t really an option for students and schools BUT it’s still important to talk about.
We pay a hairdresser when we get a haircut, pay a baker for a loaf of bread, so why not pay a photographer for their work?
Many businesses pay for stock photos when they need images for their documents, websites, and other work. This is worth students and teachers being aware of.
3) Should students use Google Images?
From my experience, many students learn how to search and download Google Images early in their schooling.
They might pick up this skill themselves or learn it from friends, teachers, or parents. Unfortunately, this is also often the default option teachers fall back on.
While this is a quick way to find the image you desire, it’s generally not a good option to rely on Google Images.
Although you can do an advanced search to find Creative Commons images, most images in your standard Google search are protected by copyright.
Even if you cite the source of the image, you are not allowed to use images that are protected by copyright. This is called copyright infringement ; it is illegal and unethical.
4) Should students use Creative Commons Images?
5+ years ago I was teaching my student bloggers (aged 7-10) how to source and attribute Creative Commons images for their blog posts and online work.
This was a worthwhile task, yet it required a certain investment in time to develop the students’ understandings. There are a number of Creative Commons licenses to understand, not to mention the concepts of locating, saving, and attributing images.
Again, going through this process repeatedly can take away from the actual learning intentions for your lesson.
T ip: Not sure what the difference between copyright and Creative Commons is?
- Copyright means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does not allow anyone to use it. Everything that’s published online is protected by copyright by default.
- Creative Commons means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does allow people to use it IF they agree to certain terms, called licenses. Read more about Creative Commons Licenses.
Learn more about copyright and Creative Commons in simple terms in my free eBook.
5) A solution for students and teachers: Copyright free images
Fortunately, over the past few years, there has been a rise in the availability of free images that are licensed under public domain or Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This is the easiest way to find images for your work.
- Public domain works can be used freely for any purpose. Their licenses have expired, or they are released with no restriction on their usage.
- CC0 is a Creative Commons license that allows copyright owners to release their works with no usage restrictions.
Some of these sites with CC0/public domain images can be very useful in the classroom, however, they’re not all created equal. Some copyright free image sites:
- Include some inappropriate content
- Have age restrictions
- Have confusing advertising for other websites with paid stock images
All these obstacles can lead back to an ineffective workflow and present obstacles to digital fluency. Let’s break down the best sites so you can decide what will suit you and your students.
Six Useful Options For Copyright Free Images
I’ve curated six useful sites where students and/or educators can search for free images to use without restriction. They are:
- Photos For Class
Scroll down to see a table that compares the features of all six resources.
Images can be used freely for any purpose without permission or attribution. The user experience is excellent.
The Unsplash website is easy to search and browse. The advertisements are minimal/unobtrusive.
There is the option of signing up to join the Unsplash community where you can organise image collections and even submit photos yourself. However, you don’t have to register to download photos.
There is an app available for iOS and a Google Slides Add-on.
Users are required to be 13 +.
This is another excellent site. It is similar to Unsplash in that:
- High quality images are donated by photographers
- Sign up is optional
- Images can be used freely without attribution
- It’s easy to search and navigate
Unlike Unsplash, Pixabay also includes free videos, illustrations, and vector graphics. Another benefit is the availability of a free app. iOS | Android
When you’re on the download page some suggested similar images show up from paid stock photo sites.
Students would need to be made aware of this so they understand they are not free photos (this could be a worthwhile teaching point: how to distinguish between free resources and paid advertisements).
Pixabay does have a SafeSearch option which would certainly be a good option if used properly.
Another handy feature is the addition of a Microsoft Office plug-in to grab images for Word and PowerPoint without leaving your document. Users are required to be 16+.
Images on Pexels are either sourced from other photo sharing websites, or uploaded by users.
Additionally, there is a free video page , and an app.
This site also has the option to sign up but it’s not a requirement. Like Pixabay , there is some suggested content from paid stock photo sites. This service is for users aged 13+.
4) Photos For Class
Photos For Class is a good option for younger students.
The terms of service state that children under 13 can use Photos For Class under the supervision of a parent, guardian, or teacher.
The other advantage of Photos For Class is the images are filtered and age-appropriate. They come from Pixabay and Pexels.
I’ve written a whole blog post about Photos For Class which includes two posters that explain how to simply download an image from Photos For Class and how to add an image to a blog post.
Unlike the three above options, the images require attribution, however, this information is automatically included when you download an image.
The attribution appears as a caption below the image.
Clip art and vectors can be useful for students’ creations. Rather than just an attractive image, their work might require a map, sign, icon, or flag etc.
Openclipart provides hundreds of thousands of images that can be used freely without attribution.
I couldn’t find information about age restrictions on the site, but an email confirmed that this site can be used by students under 13 (it doesn’t seem to be totally filtered so I’d recommend supervision).
While Openclipart doesn’t present the most modern interface, it’s easy enough to search for images.
There is advertising for paid services on this site which would need to be pointed out to students.
Openclipart includes a tool where students can edit clipart. They might enjoy playing around with this feature as you don’t need to be signed in to use it.
Images can be downloaded, or you can use the HTML code to embed the clipart like I’ve done here.
I added Pics4Learning to my list as a late 2018 addition. I didn’t add it originally because I found the images a little restrictive and amateurish, however, some teachers have mentioned they find it useful.
It’s probably an easy option if you teach students under 13.
Pics4Learning actually contains “copyright-friendly” images meaning the creator maintains the rights to the image but allows teachers and students to use them. The images can only be used for educational purposes and not commercially.
I have created the following table to easily compare the six tools mentioned so you can decide what best meets your needs and your students’ needs.
There are a number of issues that can be discussed in the classroom around the topic of Creative Commons and free images.
- Should photographers and artists give away their work for free?
- Why are artists and musicians more likely to be asked to give away work for free than professionals in other industries?
- Why do photographers give away their work to copyright free sites like Unsplash and Pixabay? What are the benefits for them?
- Who is hurt by copyright infringement?
- Some free sites have the option to either donate to the artist financially, or publicise their work through voluntarily giving credit or sharing to social media. Should we always attribute, even if it’s not required?
Another issue that is important to be aware of is, there have been cases where people have used images from free sites like Unsplash and then were hit with a copyright infringement case.
Sometimes people put images up on these sites in order to sue.
This is a dark side of Creative Commons Zero that’s important to be aware of. To encourage a discussion on attribution and Creative Commons with younger students, check out this post and video by Linda Yollis and her third grade students . This is an old post by one that Linda still repeats today because it’s so powerful. You might like to try the experiment they conducted yourself.
All of the sites I’ve reviewed, apart from Photos For Class and Pics4Learning, are not designed for children.
- Not surprisingly, some inappropriate content can be found on these sites when you search for it (especially Pixabay and Pexels it seems, although Pixabay does have a SafeSearch option ).
- Photos For Class is designed for children but is not foolproof and relies on the community to help with reporting unsafe images.
While I don’t think this is a reason to ban these sites for older students, it’s certainly something to be aware of. Using these resources would just provide an avenue for discussing appropriate online behaviours in an authentic way.
Learning about safely and legally finding images online is an important part of digital citizenship.
To make life easier in your classroom, I’ve created some free printables which I can email to you . You’ll be able to print them off as handouts, embed them on your blog, or display them as posters.
1. Task Card for Students Under 13
This document walks your younger students step-by-step through the process of finding and downloading an image on Photos for Class and Openclipart . Remember, younger students could try Pics4Learning too but it’s not the most comprehensive site.
2. Poster for Older Students and Teachers
This document references the five sites that are most useful for teachers and older students.
3. Summary of Options For Finding Images
Most students and teachers regularly need images to enhance their digital work. A clear and simple workflow is required for this process.
The skill of legally and efficiently obtaining images is something students need to be fluent in, otherwise, time and focus can be taken away from learning goals.
If students or teachers see the process as too arduous, they often default back to using a picture from Google Images. Not a good idea. A little time invested in getting used to sourcing free images can really pay off!
To gain more of an understanding of Creative Commons and copyright, check out my Beginner’s Guide To Copyright And Creative Commons (Simple Explanation For Teachers And Students).
It’s important to note that I still think it’s a worthwhile skill to teach students about the full range of Creative Commons licenses and attribution, however, sometimes a shortcut is needed to save time and improve workflows.
Public domain, royalty free, and Creative Commons Zero images are a better shortcut than using an image that’s protected by copyright.
Find Free Images For Students On Photos For Class
5 Tips for Teaching Students How to Research Online and Filter Information
Teaching Digital Citizenship: 10 Internet Safety Tips For Students (With Posters)
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How to Create an Engaging Photo Essay (with Examples)
Photo essays tell a story in pictures. They're a great way to improve at photography and story-telling skills at once. Learn how to do create a great one.
Learn | Photography Guides | By Ana Mireles
Photography is a medium used to tell stories – sometimes they are told in one picture, sometimes you need a whole series. Those series can be photo essays.
If you’ve never done a photo essay before, or you’re simply struggling to find your next project, this article will be of help. I’ll be showing you what a photo essay is and how to go about doing one.
You’ll also find plenty of photo essay ideas and some famous photo essay examples from recent times that will serve you as inspiration.
If you’re ready to get started, let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
What is a Photo Essay?
A photo essay is a series of images that share an overarching theme as well as a visual and technical coherence to tell a story. Some people refer to a photo essay as a photo series or a photo story – this often happens in photography competitions.
Photographic history is full of famous photo essays. Think about The Great Depression by Dorothea Lange, Like Brother Like Sister by Wolfgang Tillmans, Gandhi’s funeral by Henri Cartier Bresson, amongst others.
What are the types of photo essay?
Despite popular belief, the type of photo essay doesn’t depend on the type of photography that you do – in other words, journalism, documentary, fine art, or any other photographic genre is not a type of photo essay.
Instead, there are two main types of photo essays: narrative and thematic .
As you have probably already guessed, the thematic one presents images pulled together by a topic – for example, global warming. The images can be about animals and nature as well as natural disasters devastating cities. They can happen all over the world or in the same location, and they can be captured in different moments in time – there’s a lot of flexibility.
A narrative photo essa y, on the other hand, tells the story of a character (human or not), portraying a place or an event. For example, a narrative photo essay on coffee would document the process from the planting and harvesting – to the roasting and grinding until it reaches your morning cup.
What are some of the key elements of a photo essay?
- Tell a unique story – A unique story doesn’t mean that you have to photograph something that nobody has done before – that would be almost impossible! It means that you should consider what you’re bringing to the table on a particular topic.
- Put yourself into the work – One of the best ways to make a compelling photo essay is by adding your point of view, which can only be done with your life experiences and the way you see the world.
- Add depth to the concept – The best photo essays are the ones that go past the obvious and dig deeper in the story, going behind the scenes, or examining a day in the life of the subject matter – that’s what pulls in the spectator.
- Nail the technique – Even if the concept and the story are the most important part of a photo essay, it won’t have the same success if it’s poorly executed.
- Build a structure – A photo essay is about telling a thought-provoking story – so, think about it in a narrative way. Which images are going to introduce the topic? Which ones represent a climax? How is it going to end – how do you want the viewer to feel after seeing your photo series?
- Make strong choices – If you really want to convey an emotion and a unique point of view, you’re going to need to make some hard decisions. Which light are you using? Which lens? How many images will there be in the series? etc., and most importantly for a great photo essay is the why behind those choices.
9 Tips for Creating a Photo Essay
Credit: Laura James
1. Choose something you know
To make a good photo essay, you don’t need to travel to an exotic location or document a civil war – I mean, it’s great if you can, but you can start close to home.
Depending on the type of photography you do and the topic you’re looking for in your photographic essay, you can photograph a local event or visit an abandoned building outside your town.
It will be much easier for you to find a unique perspective and tell a better story if you’re already familiar with the subject. Also, consider that you might have to return a few times to the same location to get all the photos you need.
2. Follow your passion
Most photo essays take dedication and passion. If you choose a subject that might be easy, but you’re not really into it – the results won’t be as exciting. Taking photos will always be easier and more fun if you’re covering something you’re passionate about.
3. Take your time
A great photo essay is not done in a few hours. You need to put in the time to research it, conceptualizing it, editing, etc. That’s why I previously recommended following your passion because it takes a lot of dedication, and if you’re not passionate about it – it’s difficult to push through.
4. Write a summary or statement
Photo essays are always accompanied by some text. You can do this in the form of an introduction, write captions for each photo or write it as a conclusion. That’s up to you and how you want to present the work.
5. Learn from the masters
Making a photographic essay takes a lot of practice and knowledge. A great way to become a better photographer and improve your storytelling skills is by studying the work of others. You can go to art shows, review books and magazines and look at the winners in photo contests – most of the time, there’s a category for photo series.
6. Get a wide variety of photos
Think about a story – a literary one. It usually tells you where the story is happening, who is the main character, and it gives you a few details to make you engage with it, right?
The same thing happens with a visual story in a photo essay – you can do some wide-angle shots to establish the scenes and some close-ups to show the details. Make a shot list to ensure you cover all the different angles.
Some of your pictures should guide the viewer in, while others are more climatic and regard the experience they are taking out of your photos.
7. Follow a consistent look
Both in style and aesthetics, all the images in your series need to be coherent. You can achieve this in different ways, from the choice of lighting, the mood, the post-processing, etc.
8. Be self-critical
Once you have all the photos, make sure you edit them with a good dose of self-criticism. Not all the pictures that you took belong in the photo essay. Choose only the best ones and make sure they tell the full story.
9. Ask for constructive feedback
Often, when we’re working on a photo essay project for a long time, everything makes perfect sense in our heads. However, someone outside the project might not be getting the idea. It’s important that you get honest and constructive criticism to improve your photography.
How to Create a Photo Essay in 5 Steps
Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh
1. Choose your topic
This is the first step that you need to take to decide if your photo essay is going to be narrative or thematic. Then, choose what is it going to be about?
Ideally, it should be something that you’re interested in, that you have something to say about it, and it can connect with other people.
2. Research your topic
To tell a good story about something, you need to be familiar with that something. This is especially true when you want to go deeper and make a compelling photo essay. Day in the life photo essays are a popular choice, since often, these can be performed with friends and family, whom you already should know well.
3. Plan your photoshoot
Depending on what you’re photographing, this step can be very different from one project to the next. For a fine art project, you might need to find a location, props, models, a shot list, etc., while a documentary photo essay is about planning the best time to do the photos, what gear to bring with you, finding a local guide, etc.
Every photo essay will need different planning, so before taking pictures, put in the required time to get things right.
It’s one thing to plan your photo shoot and having a shot list that you have to get, or else the photo essay won’t be complete. It’s another thing to miss out on some amazing photo opportunities that you couldn’t foresee.
So, be prepared but also stay open-minded and experiment with different settings, different perspectives, etc.
5. Make a final selection
Editing your work can be one of the hardest parts of doing a photo essay. Sometimes we can be overly critical, and others, we get attached to bad photos because we put a lot of effort into them or we had a great time doing them.
Try to be as objective as possible, don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and make various revisions before settling down on a final cut.
7 Photo Essay Topics, Ideas & Examples
Credit: Michelle Leman
- Architectural photo essay
Using architecture as your main subject, there are tons of photo essay ideas that you can do. For some inspiration, you can check out the work of Francisco Marin – who was trained as an architect and then turned to photography to “explore a different way to perceive things”.
You can also lookup Luisa Lambri. Amongst her series, you’ll find many photo essay examples in which architecture is the subject she uses to explore the relationship between photography and space.
- Process and transformation photo essay
This is one of the best photo essay topics for beginners because the story tells itself. Pick something that has a beginning and an end, for example, pregnancy, the metamorphosis of a butterfly, the life-cycle of a plant, etc.
Keep in mind that these topics are linear and give you an easy way into the narrative flow – however, it might be difficult to find an interesting perspective and a unique point of view.
- A day in the life of ‘X’ photo essay
There are tons of interesting photo essay ideas in this category – you can follow around a celebrity, a worker, your child, etc. You don’t even have to do it about a human subject – think about doing a photo essay about a day in the life of a racing horse, for example – find something that’s interesting for you.
- Time passing by photo essay
It can be a natural site or a landmark photo essay – whatever is close to you will work best as you’ll need to come back multiple times to capture time passing by. For example, how this place changes throughout the seasons or maybe even over the years.
A fun option if you live with family is to document a birthday party each year, seeing how the subject changes over time. This can be combined with a transformation essay or sorts, documenting the changes in interpersonal relationships over time.
- Travel photo essay
Do you want to make the jump from tourist snapshots into a travel photo essay? Research the place you’re going to be travelling to. Then, choose a topic.
If you’re having trouble with how to do this, check out any travel magazine – National Geographic, for example. They won’t do a generic article about Texas – they do an article about the beach life on the Texas Gulf Coast and another one about the diverse flavors of Texas.
The more specific you get, the deeper you can go with the story.
- Socio-political issues photo essay
This is one of the most popular photo essay examples – it falls under the category of photojournalism or documental photography. They are usually thematic, although it’s also possible to do a narrative one.
Depending on your topic of interest, you can choose topics that involve nature – for example, document the effects of global warming. Another idea is to photograph protests or make an education photo essay.
It doesn’t have to be a big global issue; you can choose something specific to your community – are there too many stray dogs? Make a photo essay about a local animal shelter. The topics are endless.
- Behind the scenes photo essay
A behind-the-scenes always make for a good photo story – people are curious to know what happens and how everything comes together before a show.
Depending on your own interests, this can be a photo essay about a fashion show, a theatre play, a concert, and so on. You’ll probably need to get some permissions, though, not only to shoot but also to showcase or publish those images.
4 Best Photo Essays in Recent times
Now that you know all the techniques about it, it might be helpful to look at some photo essay examples to see how you can put the concept into practice. Here are some famous photo essays from recent times to give you some inspiration.
Habibi by Antonio Faccilongo
This photo essay wan the World Press Photo Story of the Year in 2021. Faccilongo explores a very big conflict from a very specific and intimate point of view – how the Israeli-Palestinian war affects the families.
He chose to use a square format because it allows him to give order to things and eliminate unnecessary elements in his pictures.
With this long-term photo essay, he wanted to highlight the sense of absence and melancholy women and families feel towards their husbands away at war.
The project then became a book edited by Sarah Leen and the graphics of Ramon Pez.
Picture This: New Orleans by Mary Ellen Mark
The last assignment before her passing, Mary Ellen Mark travelled to New Orleans to register the city after a decade after Hurricane Katrina.
The images of the project “bring to life the rebirth and resilience of the people at the heart of this tale”, – says CNNMoney, commissioner of the work.
Each survivor of the hurricane has a story, and Mary Ellen Mark was there to record it. Some of them have heartbreaking stories about everything they had to leave behind.
Others have a story of hope – like Sam and Ben, two eight-year-olds born from frozen embryos kept in a hospital that lost power supply during the hurricane, yet they managed to survive.
Selfie by Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer whose work is mainly done through self-portraits. With them, she explores the concept of identity, gender stereotypes, as well as visual and cultural codes.
One of her latest photo essays was a collaboration with W Magazine entitled Selfie. In it, the author explores the concept of planned candid photos (‘plandid’).
The work was made for Instagram, as the platform is well known for the conflict between the ‘real self’ and the one people present online. Sherman started using Facetune, Perfect365 and YouCam to alter her appearance on selfies – in Photoshop, you can modify everything, but these apps were designed specifically to “make things prettier”- she says, and that’s what she wants to explore in this photo essay.
Tokyo Compression by Michael Wolf
Michael Wolf has an interest in the broad-gauge topic Life in Cities. From there, many photo essays have been derived – amongst them – Tokyo Compression .
He was horrified by the way people in Tokyo are forced to move to the suburbs because of the high prices of the city. Therefore, they are required to make long commutes facing 1,5 hours of train to start their 8+ hour workday followed by another 1,5 hours to get back home.
To portray this way of life, he photographed the people inside the train pressed against the windows looking exhausted, angry or simply absent due to this way of life.
You can visit his website to see other photo essays that revolve around the topic of life in megacities.
It’s not easy to make photo essays, so don’t expect to be great at it right from your first project.
Start off small by choosing a specific subject that’s interesting to you – that will come from an honest place, and it will be a great practice for some bigger projects along the line.
Whether you like to shoot still life or you’re a travel photographer, I hope these photo essay tips and photo essay examples can help you get started and grow in your photography.
Let us know which topics you are working on right now – we’ll love to hear from you!
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Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.
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Teaching Students to Legally Use Images Online
November 13, 2017
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As our students create more and more digital products —blog posts, videos, podcasts, e-books—they should be using images to enhance them. Images grab an audience’s attention, they can illustrate key concepts, set a certain tone, and present a more complete understanding of the ideas you’re putting out there.
And the internet is absolutely teeming with images students can grab and use in a matter of seconds. But in most cases, they SHOULD NOT GRAB. Despite the fact that these images are easy to get, using them may be illegal.
Does this Matter at School?
Is legal image use really a big deal with school projects? If our students are just using images to enhance assignments for class, it might be easy to shrug off the technicalities, since most of these images will never be seen by audiences outside the classroom.
Two things to consider:
- Even if your students are working within a tightly monitored, password-protected, closed online environment, there’s no guarantee that the products they create will always remain private . Proud parents might share their child’s work on social media, a student might place their work in a digital portfolio for future use, and household guests might ultimately view things inside that “closed” environment. So it makes sense to operate under the assumption that all digital products could eventually become public.
- Why not prepare students for the day when these rules will carry more serious consequences? As students move out of school and into professional contexts, being trained in the proper, legal use of images will serve them well. And legal use of images is also closely tied to ethical habits and plagiarism.
So in the spirit of complying with the law and preparing the next generation to participate responsibly online, let’s review the different approaches students can take to add images to their written work, blog posts, videos, presentations, and other digital products. We’ll start with the safest, most affordable option.
Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert. My goal is to raise awareness of the complexities of online use of images and get teachers to pass on that awareness to their students. If you find inaccuracies, please point them out and I will make corrections.
Option 1: Make Your Own
If students create their own images, then they own the copyright and can use them without having to pay any money or get permission (unless the photos are of someone else…but we’ll get to that).
When I first started this website, I couldn’t afford to buy nice photos, and I didn’t want to use the same free ones I saw everywhere else online, so despite the fact that my artistic skills are nothing special, I just created my own doodles in MS Paint, like the one shown above. This is a great route to take, because you can get started right away, it’s free, and there’s no copyright to worry about.
Students can create their own illustrations in two ways:
- Handmade : Students can draw or paint an image on paper, create a paper collage, or even build something in 3D like a sculpture, then take a picture of it and use that photo for whatever digital product they are creating.
- Digital : Using simple programs like MS Paint for Windows, Paper by 53 for iOS devices, or web-based tools like Google Drawings , Adobe Creative Cloud Express , Canva , Autodraw , Piktochart , and Sketchpad . On any of these platforms, students can create just about any illustration they can think of, save it as a PNG file, then add it wherever they like.
Students can take their own digital photos and upload them in a heartbeat, using sites like PicMonkey and Pixlr to edit or enhance them for free. When using photos they take themselves, students should keep the following rules in mind:
- If you took the photo at a public event and the photo will be used for journalistic purposes (to simply describe the event, for example)
- If the person is not recognizable in the photo (their face isn’t showing, for example)
- If you’re going to use the photo for commercial purposes (to sell something) or promotional purposes (to promote a product, service, or idea), you need permission from the subject.
- If the photo was taken on private property, even if it is not the subject’s property, you must get permission from the subject to use that photo.
- If you are holding an event, like a festival, party, or concert, and you plan to take photos that you might share with the public, you should get permission from attendees. Event organizers often use crowd release forms at the point of registration: They’ll require attendees to check a box giving permission to use photos of them. Another approach is to hang up crowd release signs at the event itself. Learn more about event release forms in this post from SLR Lounge and this one from Mark Schaefer.
- If you are taking photos of students at school, it’s likely that the parents or guardians of those students signed a media release form at the beginning of the school year, giving the school permission to use that student’s image in various non-commercial publications throughout the year. These permissions may also extend to student photographers, as long as you are using the images for school-related projects. Students should check with their teacher and administrator to make sure.
- If the photo contains an image of a store or business logo. Some businesses have rules about using images of their facilities or that prominently feature their logo, so if you are going to be taking photos that will include any kind of business logo or store, get written permission from the business owner first.
- If the student has a job that includes taking photos, photos taken as part of the job may actually belong to the employer.
Option 2: Use Creative Commons Images
Creative Commons is an organization that has made it much easier for people to share artwork. They have established a set of licenses that artists can place on their work that automatically gives others permission to use that work in their own projects under specific terms and conditions.
A photographer, for example, might use a Creative Commons licenses on a collection of her photographs, so that anyone who finds them online can easily check the chosen license and follow the restrictions of use specified in that license .
If your students want to use images they find online, they should look for images that have Creative Commons licenses. You can learn about all of the licenses here , but the safest bet is to steer students toward pictures that have the two least restrictive licenses:
CC0: Creative Commons Zero This is the least restrictive level, and the one students should look for first. Items marked as CC0 can be used by anyone, for any purpose without having to get permission or give credit to the artist. In other words, an image licensed with CC0 is the same copyright-wise as an image in the public domain .
CC BY: Attribution Items with this license can be used for non-commercial OR commercial purposes, and all the user has to do is give credit to the original artist.
[Both license images above came from Creative Commons and are licensed under CC BY 4.0 ]
WHERE TO FIND CREATIVE COMMONS IMAGES
Free Stock Photo Sites These fantastic sites curate free, high-quality images that are all CC0 licensed. Simply search for what you need, download the photos you like, and use them. Unfortunately, many free stock photo sites contain adult content, so unsupervised students should not use them, but if your students are working under adult supervision, they should try these sites. Here are a few good sites that don’t appear to contain inappropriate content: StockSnap Good Free Photos Foodiesfeed (all food-related)
Flickr Commons Flickr is where thousands of photographers store their photography for public display, and many of these photos have CC0 and CC BY licenses.
Photos for Class This is a handy search engine for finding school-appropriate images. My only hesitation with recommending this site is that it automatically adds attribution to each photo. Although this could be seen as a good feature, I feel it doesn’t really teach students how to give appropriate attribution, because it does the work for them. Also, students may not always want the added black bar with the attribution information at the bottom of each image, and they may be tempted to simply crop it out, which would defeat the whole purpose.
Google Image Search Although a Google search will pull up plenty of images students don’t have permission to use, the search can be filtered so that the results only show images that are licensed for re-use. Just be sure to open up the Tools after you search, and check one of the options under “Usage rights” that will remove all of the photos that have not been labeled for some kind of reuse. Checking “Creative Commons Images” should give you images that have the least amount of restrictions.
HOW TO GIVE PROPER ATTRIBUTION
If students use an image that requires attribution, students should simply add a line of text underneath the image providing four pieces of information (Creative Commons recommends using the acronym TASL to remember these):
T = the title of the image A = the author (or artist) S = the source (or where it is located online) L = the license for the image
Ideally, the attribution should be placed fairly close to the image, so that those who view it connect the information to the picture. Here are some examples of properly attributed images:
Online If you use the image in a blog post or on a website, you can place the attribution in the caption or on a line of text below the image:
Blood Orange Shine by Derek Gavey is licensed under CC BY 2.0
In the above attribution, I included the title , “Blood Orange Shine,” the name of the author , Derek Gavey, and the code for the license . Because the image will be displayed online, I can include the location by just hyperlinking the title to URL of the site where the image is stored. I can also hyperlink the author’s name to his page on Flickr, the photo sharing site where the photographer stores his photos, and the name of the license to the license page on the Creative Commons website.
In Print Because print publications don’t allow hyperlinking, I would need to add the URL information to the attribution:
Blood Orange Shine (https://www.flickr.com/photos/24931020@N02/14995800960/) by Derek Gavey is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
If doing this right by the photo would make my product look less attractive, I can add the photo credit to the bottom of the page or on a page of photo credits.
In a Video or Slide Presentation Attribution can be placed in small print right on the slide or frame where the image appears. Because giving full attribution, including URLs, would take up a lot of space and could interfere with the enjoyment of the image, one solution is to place an abbreviated attribution where the image appears (giving the title, author, and license code), then add full credits on a slide or frame at the end.
Here’s what an on-slide attribution could look like, using a simple black rectangle at the bottom with a white-font text box on top of it:
And here is what the photo credits page might look like at the end of the presentation or video:
Option 3: Buy Images
Although it’s not necessarily within most students’ budgets, they do have the option to actually purchase high-quality stock photography and illustrations. When making these purchases, students should read the licensing agreements carefully: In general, the more widely a user plans to distribute the product, the more the image will cost.
- On graphic design sites like Canva , where users can create their own designs with drawing tools and free images, there’s also the option to buy photos and illustrations to use in a single project for as little as $1. If the student wants to use the image in multiple projects, the fee for a single image can go as high as $100. Learn more about Canva licensing here .
- Other sites, like iStock , sell the images without the graphic design tools. These images can be quite expensive depending on how they are going to be used and distributed. Learn more about iStock licenses here .
Don’t Make This Rookie Mistake!
When doing general searches for images, paid items will come up in the results. The way to identify a paid image is if it has a watermark: a translucent design that covers the image but doesn’t prevent you from seeing the picture behind it.
These watermarks are only removed after someone actually pays for the image, but it is possible to download a watermarked image, and people will sometimes do this without realizing that they are basically stealing the image AND broadcasting that fact to the world.
Teach your students not to do this.
Making a Good Effort
With all of this said, using images correctly can be an inexact science: Sometimes you can’t always contact a person for permission. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find the name of a photographer. The best rule of thumb is to make a good effort to give credit where it’s due and ask for permission as much as possible. If we can build these habits in our students from an early age, we will be helping to make the internet a more respectful and cooperative place.
Want a Ready-Made Lesson on Image Use?
I’ve pulled the concepts from this post into a ready-to-use lesson you can teach tomorrow. Using Images Correctly includes a beautifully designed PowerPoint (also available in Google Slides), two student handouts that summarize the key points, and a Team Challenge students can take to test their knowledge of appropriate image use. Come check it out !
To Learn More
The Copyright Laws website is a great place to read more about these issues. They even have a course you can take on legally using images online.
All of the images in this post that have no attribution are licensed by CC0 or were created by the author.
What to Read Next
Tags: distance learning , library/media , remote learning , teaching with tech
As always, your inquisitive mind leads my lesson planning! I am just introducing eDocs to students and will include your TPT photo credit slides in my presentation. Students will benefit from developing these good habits from the beginning 🙂 Thank you –
This is also an ideal lesson to use your librarian for. Your librarian can talk about the reasons why we cite sources and provide the proper way to cite materials. This lesson can also be added on or extended when talking about plagiarism, note-taking and generally locating, evaluating and using sources. It is important to note that students should also be evaluating the images they use to make sure they are accurate and reliable for whatever they are using them for.
Thank you for making the task of teaching our students about copyrights such a fun and interesting experience.
My #1 go-to site for photographs is Pixabay. All public domain, some really terrific photographs. https://pixabay.com/
Thanks so much for creating this great resource. It’s certainly one I’ll be able to share with others!
We must really be on the same wavelength as I recently posted an article on a similar topic http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2017/10/09/where-to-find-free-images-for-students-and-teachers/
As a primary school teacher, one issue I find a real obstacle is that a lot of the sites to either make your own images or find Creative Commons images are 13+. In my post above I’ve listed some good options for students both over and under 13.
Sadly, I have also recently discovered the PicMonkey is no longer free. Canva and Adode Spark are still great options for 13+.
Thanks again, Jennifer. I always enjoy your work. Not only the content, but it’s always so visually pleasing and easy to read too! 🙂
Thanks for sharing. You have certainly shed lights on how students are also in need of great images. We are giving away free images that students and everyone can download the image to be used in their personal/school/commercial project safely and for free. Would be cool if you could take a look and see if you would be keen to add it to the list :). We are also trying to curate public domain illustrations from the past I found the ones on fish, astronomy and botany very interesting and educating.
Hi Tip! I took a look at rawpixel.com and I am REALLY impressed with your mission to bring more diverse images to the world! (Anyone reading this: Go to their site, do a search for “girl” and check out all the variety you get back. SO much more interesting than standard stock photos.) They are beautiful! Since I am trying to encourage students to go with CC0 images, I want to mention to my readers that the licenses at rawpixel are not technically CC0, but they do allow for most of the same uses that a CC0 license would, so this would also be a good option. Just have students read the license details (click “view license”) on each photo page. Load time is really slow on this site, but the images are worth the wait.
I used this in class and it worked really well – a lot of students are using visuals in their final presentations, so it was timely (and worked well for the two days before Thanksgiving Break.)
I also used this article to explain to them why this is important: http://www.livingfornaptime.com/starting-a-blog/blogging-mistakes-to-avoid/ In it a blogger was charged $7,500 for using an image of a pepper illegally. It fits in perfectly with your lesson.
Hi, David–I’m a Customer Experience Manager and wanted to say thank you for adding this to the discussion. Wow. And THAT’S why we have to learn and teach about this stuff! Thanks again!
Thank you so much for the sharing and its an eye opener for me and my teacher librarian and subject teachers too. I’m now actively giving talk on Information Literacy to schools. Can i use your write up and interpret it in simpler way and using my language ie Bahasa Melayu. I always share it on my FB Pages Literasi Maklumat – Malay version of Information Literacy.
Regards, Norhayati Razali
Great article! If I could recommend one more possible source for Creative Commons/free to use pictures that might make this post an even bigger resource, it would be https://pikwizard.com
Have you tied Unsplash. I might have learned about here or on my twitter PLN. It is free as long as you credit the individual as mentioned above. They are images shared by photographers from around the world.
Thanks, Jennifer! For several years now, we’ve been teaching students what how images are, and are not, tagged for free use and how to attribute them, in particular when publishing to their blogs. It’s great to see your succinct and informative presentation of appropriate use, credit, and format. Interestingly but not surprisingly, students who incorporate this into their practice influence teachers who do not yet.
I really appreciate your message on properly using images, especially when to give credit (important foundation) and resources (meaningful application) available. As I reached the section on citation I wondered why not use MLA format? I advocate for proper use and credit in and out of the classroom and want to be sure I am aware of best practices.
Thank you! Stephanie
Hey Stephanie, I agree that this is an important topic for teachers to go over with their students, both in terms of foundational knowledge (why we do it) and application (how we do it). I think the answer to your question comes down to the difference between citation and attribution. For a good comparison of the two, see here . The MLA format, as you mention, is one option for citation that’s used mainly in academic settings. Attribution, on the other hand, is used mainly for legal purposes, which is what Jenn is focusing on here in her post. Neither one is better than the other; it just depends on what your purpose is.
Hi Jen, So helpful, as always, this is a great resource, thanks so much. Such an important topic, and one I want to broach soon with my staff, so this is perfect (I’m a teacher librarian so it falls into my area of responsibility).
Thought it might be worth mentioning that teachers should be aware that each country has its own copyright laws, with the link to copyrightlaws.com only relevant for US teachers. Here in Australia we have our own laws and there are different laws again for schools, I presume other countries are similar.
But of course the principles are the same, I love all the various ways you have suggested to avoid violating copyright. Brilliant!
A great resource, many thanks!
This is a great resource and good reminders.
Thanks so much!
I think students need to understand how to use images properly, and to have fun.
I agree with authentic teaching to be most effective. Why not teach from the elementary level the legal and illegal use of images?
As an elementary teacher, I absolutely think this can get started with younger kids.
I agree, Debbie. I think the earlier students learn these the better.
It all makes sense.
I was just referred to this article/blog and found it to be VERY useful and informative. As a secondary school educator I feel there is not enough emphasis put on the ethics of using the internet – basically becoming a free-for-all take what ever you can get a hold of – forgetting the effort it took to create much of what the internet contains.
Hats off to a job well done Jennifer.
Paul, Thank you so much for sharing this positive feedback. It’s so good to hear that as a secondary educator you are finding value in Cult of Pedagogy. Let us know if you have any questions or need help finding a resource. Katrice
I really appreciate all of the great advice regarding teaching students the legal and proper way to select images. I also loved your idea of having students draw their own images and to post them on Pixaby or other sites like PicMonkey. How exciting for students to see their creations posted on a Pic website to be seen and used by others.
Hey! I have a quick question as this has been a source of discourse in some of my studies.
How does the Fair Use policy come into account, in the specific case of private research within study? It is my understanding that this means we do not need to cite copyright or get permission from the image owner. Especially in the case of high-level tertiary study, it can be INCREDIBLY difficult to find scientific diagrams or anatomically correct images on free stock sites. For example, I recently did a research paper on chronic kidney disease in canines, and we had to use images under the fair use policy, as that level of image does not exist for free. This level of research isn’t exactly ‘fun’ either haha!
I understand what you’re going for, but one of our lecturers is determined that we only use free images, even though my institution does not have any rules around using images under the fair use policy, which makes high-level research reports nigh on impossible. They have used this blog to tell us why we must only use free images.
At a secondary level of teaching, I understand what you’re going for and support it, as I’m sure many high school (or younger) students do not understand referencing and copyright laws, I’m just frustrated by being restricted at a higher level of learning.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Hi there! Really good question, and I’ll be up front about the fact that my knowledge of fair use standards does not run deep. I think a good rule of thumb to follow is if you’re not going to make money from the use of the image, attitudes toward use become much more lenient. As you suggested in your comment, my article is geared toward helping K-12 students break the habit of just grabbing any old image off the internet and sticking it into their own creations; even though their work is not likely to have an audience outside the school building and will therefore not be likely to get the attention of anyone seeking to nail them with copyright infringement, if they never learn the right way to do it, they will take those bad habits into their adult lives, where the consequences could be far more serious.
With all of that said, I’m not quite sure what your options are. I wonder if you could create your own images by using a tool like EasyAnatomy and doing screenshots when you get just the right image you need, then crediting the site as the source. I looked at their FAQs and I’m not sure what the legality of that might be, but it seems like it might be an avenue worth exploring. Outside of that, you might try networking with other students in your field (through something like a Reddit discussion or Facebook group) to look for solutions others have already found.
I hope this helps!!
Thanks for your feedback, that’s awesome. I’ll definitely check out that anatomy app! Creating our own images is definitely viable, just tricky to do without high levels of artistic ability so an app like that might just be perfect!
I appreciate the thought and for taking the time to reply. 🙂
Many thanks! For the first time, I’m attempting to create something. I was under the idea that most internet pictures were protected and that this discovered me to produce photographs from them! https://pathedits.com/blogs/tips/100-places-to-find-free-stock-photos-for-your-website-and-social-media
This resource provides an invaluable guide to help students cultivate a culture that not only gives credit where it is due but also encourages accountability. Irrespective of a person’s background, cultural disposition worldview, or environmentally conditional influences, originality when well modeled will always be chosen over mediocrity.
Helping my students own their material, giving credit to who it is due grows ethically driven professionals and citizens.
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How To Use Photoshop's Generative Fill Feature (With Examples)
Introduced in May 2023 , Adobe Photoshop's Generative Fill feature has been making photography professionals' and hobbyists' lives so much easier. This artificial intelligence tool, driven by Adobe's generative AI model called Firefly, lets you modify your image using only text prompts. You can use Generative Fill to insert a new element (e.g., dog, cloud, building) into the picture, expand the canvas of your picture, remove anything from the photo, and even generate an entirely new image based on your imagination.
If you're looking to try it out, we've got you covered with a tutorial that comes complete with prompt examples for your convenience. However, before you get started, it's important to note that the Generative Fill feature is only available for Photoshop version 24.6 and later. Make sure you have the right one installed. Generative Fill also largely depends on cloud processing, so get your device connected to the internet first.
Adding an object
Generative Fill lets you incorporate new and realistic-looking objects and backgrounds into your photos. Follow these steps to use it:
- Launch your Photoshop app.
- Import your preferred image.
- With any of the selection tools in the left side panel, choose the area of the photo where you want to place your new element. If you want to change the entire background of the photo, hit the "Select subject" button on the contextual taskbar to select the primary subject in your photo. Then, click on the invert icon to select the background.
- Click on Generative Fill. Alternatively, go to Edit > Generative Fill from the menu bar at the top.
- If a legal dialog appears, hit the Agree button.
- Sitting brown and white corgi with its tongue out
- Opened red wine bottle next to an empty wine glass
- Pink convertible sports car with the roof off
- Long blond and wavy hair with red ribbon
- Wet reflective pathway
- Pyramids in the desert
- Green mountain range with a calm lake
- Tall buildings full of windows
- Arizona's Grand Canyon
- Sunset at the beach
- Choose your preferred variation from the properties window on the right.
- Save your photo.
Expanding a photo
When using Photoshop's Generative Fill feature to expand the photo, there's no need to think of prompts, unlike when adding objects. Photoshop will automatically fill the extra canvas with a scene that fits the surroundings of the original photo. Here's how you can extend your picture:
- With your image imported to Photoshop, click on the crop tool in the left side panel.
- Zoom out to give your photo more space on all sides.
- Drag the edge or corners of the photo until you get to your desired size.
- Hit Enter on your keyboard to save the size.
- Click on the Rectangular Marquee tool from the left side panel and select the empty area on your canvas. Alternatively, you can select the image itself and click on the invert icon on the contextual taskbar to inverse the selection and select the empty regions.
- Choose the Generative Fill button on the contextual taskbar.
- Leave the prompt box empty.
- Select your favorite variation. Photoshop offers more than just one result to give you options.
- (Optional) Edit the image as you please.
- Save the photo to your desktop.
Removing an object
On top of adding new elements to the existing photo, Generative Fill lets you do the opposite and delete any element from the photo too. Here's how:
- Open your photo in Photoshop.
- Click on any of the selection tool icons in the left side panel (or hit a keyboard shortcut for the tool you feel like using). If it's a large object, it's recommended to use the Rectangular Marquee tool, as it avoids overly tight selections that may cause distortion. If, however, you want to remove objects from tight spaces, like a person from a group or an old box in the middle of a flower patch, use the Lasso tool for better accuracy.
- Select the object you want to remove from the photo.
- In the Generative Fill contextual taskbar, click on Generative Fill.
- Don't fill out the prompt box.
- Hit the Generate button to delete the selected object from the photo.
- Under the Variations section in the properties window on the right, pick your preferred edited version.
- Save the edited photo to your local storage.
Creating an image from a blank canvas
Generative Fill can expand an existing photo or incorporate new objects into it. However, the capabilities of this feature don't stop there. You can also use it to make a new picture entirely from scratch.
- Download a plain white image. The size can vary depending on your preferences.
- Open the image in Photoshop.
- Use the Rectangular Marquee selection tool to select an area on the blank image. To make a symmetrical picture, start from the bottom third or half of the canvas.
- Click on Generate Fill.
- White sand beach with small rocks
- Reflective, calm lake
- Wide lavender field with pine trees
- Hit Generate.
- Eiffel Tower with sunrise
- Clear sky with mountains in the distance
- Colorful northern lights
- Broken-down rusty car
- Coffee shops with customers
- Running Golden Retriever with red collar
- Save your picture.