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134  MEMBERS DID THIS ACTIVITY

Photo Manipulation

For this introduction to photo editing, members can use computers or smartphones with internet access. They could edit photos of themselves or use photos they find online. 


WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Computer or Phone
 

STEP 1
TIME: 10 MINUTES

What is photo manipulation?

Watch this time-lapse video of someone editing a photo of an old man. How is the photo manipulated, or changed?

 

Now click on the links to the images below. Do you think any have been manipulated? Photo manipulation is the process of editing or changing a photograph after it has been taken. If you are working with other people, talk about which aspects of the photos you think may or may not have been manipulated and why.

 Subway swimmer Bike in tree Giant crystals

Subway swimmer Bike in tree Giant crystals

After you’ve made your final guesses, read this article (or check the staff view) for insight into which photo is not manipulated.

Ask: Have you ever seen any wild photos, photos that were, perhaps, hard to believe? What types of clues do you notice in photos that help you decide whether or not the photo has been edited. After some discussion, project the following three images and ask if members think they have been manipulated and why:

Subway swimmer
Bike in tree
Giant crystals

After members have made their guesses, tell them that the first and second photos have been edited heavily, but the photo of giant crystals is real. Here is an article from National Geographic on the phenomenon. Share it with members whose interest is piqued by the photo.

Next, play this time-lapse video of someone editing a photo of an old man. To save time, you can play the first minute or two of the video and then skip to last minute or so. Ask: How is the photo manipulated, or changed? Was anyone surprised by how much the photo could be changed? After watching this video, what do you think about editing photos?


STEP 2
TIME: 10 MINUTES

What are some reasons people manipulate photos?

Check out this photo gallery of digital images from Club members around the world. Many of the featured artists edited or manipulated the photos they submitted. Why do you think these artists chose to use photo manipulation rather than unedited photos to create the images you see? Why do you think artists manipulate photos? Can you think of reasons you support and reasons you disagree with?

Read the blog post Picture Imperfect — Digital Image Manipulation Ethics or watch this Dove Evolution video. Did your ideas change at all? Talk about what you learned, and what you think about it, with someone else. If you are working alone, journal your thoughts. What do you think about using photo manipulation to create art versus portraying a manipulated image as reality?

Next, show this photo gallery of images from BGCA members around the world. Ask: Why do you think these artists chose to use photo manipulation rather than unedited photos to create the images you see? Why do you think artists manipulate photos? Can you think of reasons you support and reasons you disagree with? Challenge your members to list a few “good” reasons to manipulate or edit photos and a few reasons they disagree with or think are “bad.”

As a group, watch this Dove Evolution video and ask members to share their thoughts on the editing they saw and the way they think advertisements take advantage of photo manipulation. Ask whether any of your members will look at advertisements differently and, if so, why.

Option: Club members may bring up the print fashion industry and its use of manipulated photos in advertisements and magazines. To help facilitate the discussion, the group could watch and talk about this video on photo editing/manipulation in the fashion industry and/or look at this short article and series of photos on cultural standards of beauty.


STEP 3
TIME: 20 MINUTES

What changes will you make to a photo of yourself?

Now that you’ve considered some of the good and bad reasons to edit photos, set a goal for your own photo-editing project. For example, you might set a goal like these:

  • I want to edit a photo of myself so that I appear to be underwater
  • I want to add a filter to a photo so that it looks old-fashioned
  • I want to manipulate a photo so I can place myself somewhere I’ve never been before

 Download a free photo editing app from the list below.

If you are using a computer instead of a smart phone, try editing photos through one of these websites:

Ask someone to take a picture of you, or take a picture of yourself. You might want to try starting with a head-and-shoulders shot. Open the photo in the editing app and start experimenting with editing it. Play around with the different tools. After you have given the different tools a try, start editing again from the beginning and edit with a specific goal in mind. For some photo editing advice, read these tips

If you’d like, make a collage of the images you edit, like this

Tell members to download the Photo Editor by Aviary app. If members don’t have a smartphone or tablet available, they can take photos with a digital camera, upload them to a computer, and edit them through Sumo Paint.

Challenge your members to come up with a goal for their photo editing projects. You might brainstorm together and write different ideas on a board or chart paper. A few examples are:

  • Edit  a photo to make myself look older
  • Edit a photo to make myself look like I have my dream job
  • Edit a photo to make myself look like I am meeting a celebrity
  • Edit a photo in a way that changes the mood or tone of the photograph

Next, say: Ask someone to take a picture of you, or take a picture of yourself. Try starting with a head-and-shoulders shot. Open the photo in the editing app and start experimenting with editing it. Play around with the different tools.

After members have had time to get comfortable using the editing features of the app, call the group back to attention. Ask members to start fresh and edit a photo of themselves and this time edit for a different purpose, perhaps picking a new goal from the list you generated earlier. 


STEP 4
TIME: 10 MINUTES

What feedback do you get?

When you have a manipulated image, or series of images, that you are happy with, save and share your work other people. Talk about your work and ask people questions about their interpretations of what you made. Ask for suggestions and ideas for next time. How do you think this feedback will influence your work in the future?

Gather members for a share session. You may want to help set the tone and goal of the feedback sessions. For ideas on how to structure them, check out this guide to Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process.


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