The Way it Was
The Way it Is
What does this mean to me as an educator? Tons! First off, I don't need to spend hours trying to find the right photo to enhance my projects through a Google Image search. This was never a good practice to begin with. While I might find a photo that I like, chances are that I don't have permission to use that image. Also, that image was likely created to serve a purpose different from my own, leaving me with images that are too large (and eat up too much memory) or too small (and pixelate when I try to make them bigger). Now I can shoot and edit my own image, leaving me with an image that fits my purpose exactly and that is legal for me to use.
To be fair, there are still times when an image search will be a more efficient use of my time, but thanks to the generosity of other amateur photographers, I can at least now search for images with Creative Commons licensing via websites like Photopin.com.
Also, with a little more effort, I can edit photos so that they include text, arrows, and highlighted elements to be used to demonstrate concepts. I can even make my photos interactive using ThingLink, so that they become rich learning objects.
Most importantly, I can teach my students to do the same, so that they are never limited by the photos they can search for on the Internet. I can expect that my students are using images to demonstrate understanding, to enhance communication, and to express their own world views.
What Do I Need to Know
1. Remember the Rule of Thirds
Here is an example:
2. Think About Light
You can also choose not to use a flash in dark spaces or at night so that you don't nullify the effects of lights that would be drowned out by the flash. Just make sure that you hold the camera very still and that your subject holds very still. Here is an example that a friend of mine took:
3. Think About the Background/Foreground
I have a great photo of my daughter playing in the ocean, but in the background behind her is another person whom I don't know and whom I wish wasn't there. I can Photoshop that person out, but it would have been better to have been conscious of the other person from the beginning.
4. Hold Still!
5. Get the Shot You Want
In addition to taking the time to direct your shot, make sure that you choose your focus. Many digital cameras will auto focus, but that often means that you are leaving it up to the camera to decide what the subject of the photo is. Learn how to reset your focus. With cameras, it often only requires a half-click of the shutter button. With smart phone cameras, you can often just tap the area you want in focus before you shoot the image:
6. If You Don't Get the Shot You Want, Fix it in an Editor
Most cameras today come with simple editing software that will enable you to make a world of difference with your photos. From cropping the photo, to adjusting the light, to adding filters for a special effect, most editors are versatile enough to make an average photo look great. There are also a plethora of great web 2.0 photo editors that are free and easy to learn. If you get good at those, consider purchasing a high-end photo editing package like Adobe Photoshop. You may find a new avocation to be passionate about.
7. Be Courageous and Experimental
daily photo challenge. Over time, you won't think twice about doing something crazy like my very talented photographer friend, Leslie Fisher, shown here risking a very expensive camera to try to get the photo below:
8. Change Your Perspective
9. Learn What You Need as You Need It
A lot of folks shy away from things like photography because they believe that the amount of learning needed to be good at a craft is just too monumental to tackle. It's true that really amazing photographers know a whole lot that you don't know about photography, but they also know a whole lot that you don't need to know in order to take the pictures you want. Thanks to the Internet, a simple YouTube search for tutorials will typically provide ample instruction for any learner wanting to, say, place a person's head on another person's body. Until you need to do that, just know that you can learn it when you need it. That said, here are few resources to get you started:
Learn Photography: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide
Cambridge in Colour Photo Editing Tutorials
Digital Photography School
ePhotozine Techniques Page
Geoff Lawrence Photography Tips and Tutorials
PhotoShop Basic Tutorials
62 Photo Editing Tutorials
Web Tools for Teachers: Photo Editing
10. Think of Yourself as a Photographer
photo credit: unleashingmephotography via photopin cc
photo credit: jgarber via photopin cc
photo credit: borman818 via photopin cc
photo credit: Yuxuan.fishy.Wang via photopin cc