Time to have a little fun. There are so many apps and websites that allow us to amp up the creativity of our photography that I will not be able to discuss them all (I will share the ones I use the most in class). Also, this is where mobile photography has an upper hand for the classroom, it is so easy to create fun photo projects right on the device. Then, in most cases, hand in the finished project from the device. The second part of this post will deal with how to share the photos. All right, let’s have a little fun.
PicMonkey: The site is free to use, but there are features that are for members only, which cost $33 dollars a year. PicMonkey has some cool options. It has a collage option that has different preset layouts. A theme section that presents all the effects you need to change your photo to match the theme. For example they have “Santa Land” that has touch-ups like “Jolly Beard,” overlays and fonts that create a Santa tone to the photo. PicMonkey also has preset sizes for web publishing.
befunky: There is a subscription option for this site, $25 dollars at the time of this posting, which has more tools than the free option. Befunky has some original fun options. There is an Artsy tool that changes the photo in one click. One example is the Cartoonizer, which changes the look of the photo to that of a cartoon. There are five filters (two free, three more with membership) with the ability to fine-tune the effect to your liking. Another fun option is the Graphics section. Think stickers, think a lot of options, and think fun with this section. Befunky also has a collage maker, too. The app version is similar to the website with just a few different options.
FotoFlexer: This site is free, with an option to become a member, but all tools are free to use. FotoFlexer may be the most advanced of the websites. There is a resize tool, which is great for changing photos for web publishing. FotoFlexer can distort the photo with four options: Twirl, Stretch, Squish, and Pinch or Bulge. You can also add animation text and stickers. These options change your photo to a gif so that the animation will work on for the web. FotoFlexer also has a layer option, like Photoshop, that will allow you to do some graphic art work.
Unlike the websites, many of the apps I will share are designed to do a few options only.
Pic Collage: This app allows you to make a collage with your photos. You can clip photos, add frames, text, or even stickers (there are sticker packs you can buy in the app). A unique option with this app is to collect photos from the web (including Facebook and Instagram) and videos from YouTube. A great option for the classroom.
Pic Jointer: This tool allows you to combine multiple photos into one framed photo. There are some fun effects with an “in app” purchase, but the main idea is to create a framed collage of your photos.
ColorBlast! ($0.99) This app allows you to make your photo black and white then to “erase” that filter to highlight the color of a section or item in the photo. This creates a dynamic focal point to the photo.
Instashake (1.99) (Google Play Link) I use this app all the time for my own photos. Instashake takes two photos and blends them. There are preset “blends” with options to fine-tune the effect. It is cool to blend two photos with different themes. It creates a unique project.
PhotoFunia (There is a website, but I use the app) This app allows you to take a photograph and make it almost anything you want. You can be the person on a 100-dollar bill, or the center of attention on a city billboard. There are hundreds of effects to use with your photos. PhotoFunia is one of the best creative apps for photography I have used.
The best part of photography is sharing the photos. But sharing is not always easy in a classroom setting, especially if the photo is part of an assignment and handed in. But there are options that allow the whole class to enjoy the photography projects.
The easiest thing to do is to print the photos and hang them in the classroom. But that doesn’t happen very often, even though I think it should.
Many schools us a Learning Management System. LMS’s are getting better at allowing students to share projects. Schoology has the best option at the moment with the “Media Album” tool. This function allows students to upload different media files into the album just as they would an assignment. The difference is that the album is open for the whole class to browse through. For many of my photo based assignments I create an album for the assignment and instruct the students to hand in their project to the album.
I also give my students the freedom to share their projects on social media. I think it is a great way to build school pride and highlight what students are doing in the classroom.
But there are other ways to collect and share students’ work.
I use Flickr because it allows me to create albums or “sets” that I can control the privacy settings on. With the public setting the students or parents can download the photos on their own computer. The new Google Photos app has the many of the same options (I have not fully investigated all the features). There are other sites like Shutterfly, Smugmug, Photobucket, and Snapfish that you may like to investigate. Each has their unique options.
But if you are looking for away for everyone to share photos in one place and you don’t have a LMS, I have a few suggestions.
Yogile: This site has a free and paid membership option ($45 for a year). This site is easy. You make an album and share the URL to everyone so that they can upload their photos. It is that easy.
Dropmark: The site is designed for more than photos, but is still a great way to collect class projects. There is a free and paid option. The idea is easy to use. You create a “collection” and share the URL to individuals so they can upload their photos.
Cluster: This tool has the same basic idea as the tools above but is meant to be mobile. Most of the work is through the app. The user sets the privacy and access to albums. Everyone has to be a member of Cluster though.
We all love photography. The tools today add an element of fun. It is also important to share the memories. This is not always easy in a classroom, but Google, Flickr and other sites allow us to share photos in just a few clicks.
For the last post on Friday I will share lesson ideas and tools that involve photos in unique ways. Be ready to investigate some new possibilities to add to your curriculum. Share any of your great ideas in the comment section.