Thing 3: Photo Sharing, Editing and Fun (2013 Version)

(2014/15 workshop begins in November 2014. These older pages will remain, but look for updated versions and new topics as the workshop progresses.)

Mia (with Camera)Thing 3 is a topic that will encourage you to play – photos, photo sharing sites, photo editing and other things to do with photos. With the holiday season coming up, you’re likely to have some opportunities to take some fun photos to play with in this lesson.


There are so many different types of photo-sharing sites these days. Some are focused on organizing and storing your photos, others are primarily social sharing services and others are special purpose sites, like geolocation sites that place your photos on maps. Some do all of these!

Traditional Tools: These are the tools that emphasize online storage, organizational tools and some social aspects. One of the oldest and most popular photo sharing sites is Flickr which lets you upload a limited number of photos for free, organize the photos into sets and share them with friends or the world. Other similar services include: PicasaWeb, Snapfish and Shutterfly.

Social Tools: With the growth of smarthphone ownership, services that rely on quick uploads from a phone camera and emphasize social sharing have become increasingly popular. Of course Facebook is the monster in this category. Instagram and tumblr are also incredibly popular. Even Pinterest could be used to create and share photos sets. Just don’t look to these tools for solid organizational tools and backup storage, they may have those options, but they’re not as full-featured as tools like Flickr.

Geolocation Tools: Have travel photos or old photos to share? Panoramio, HistoryPin and What Was There all have interesting map-based sharing features. Build a tour of your town, share historic photos, explore far flung locations.
And then there are tons of tools for editing photos and creating fun projects with your images (some examples in the “More To Explore” section at the end of this page.)


So, what kinds of things can libraries and schools do with photo-sharing?

  • Post photos of school & community events.
  • Create a school group on Flickr for students & staff to share photos of events
  • Hold a “Day in the Life” event where the community shares photos representing one day in the life of the school.
  • Challenge your students to a “Dear Photograph” type of project.
  • Photos to chronicle library/school renovations and keep community up to date..
  • Share photos of art work and crafts created by students.
  • Book spine poetry photos. 🙂
  • Scan & post historic photos and ask community to share memories through the comments feature.
  • Taking Pictures, Telling Stories Part 4 : Fun with Photos at Library Events
  • Share ideas for library displays, program ideas and more.
  • Create slide shows that can be embedded on your web page. (examples of slide shows)
  • Public photo sharing sites like flickr are great resources for Creative Commons licensed images to use in presentations.

NOTE: Photo Permissions If you’re taking photos of students in school, make sure you know what your school policy is about posting images of students.


It is so easy to find and ‘borrow’ the perfect image for papers, presentations and other projects. But much of what is on web is copyrighted. Use of an image (or other content) may be legitimate under “copyright fair use”, but do make the effort to be sure! This guide is a quick read and very helpful:: Fair Use Guidelines for Multimedia Projects

Working with images is a great opportunity to educate students about copyright, fair use and Creative Commons (CC) licensing.  Creative Commons licensing allows for reuse of a image (and other intellectual content) under certain conditions. The licensing is easy to understand and having students select how they want to license their own work is a great way to get students thinking about copyright, reuse and attribution. The Creative Commons site includes a summary of the licenses and a handy license chooser tool.


There are so many services that let you to upload and share your photos. Each has its pros & cons and some people absolutely love one tool or another. If you already have an account with one of these photosharing sites, feel free to use your existing account for your project. If you don’t have an account, we recommend Flickr or Instagram to get started.

Traditional Photo Sharing Sites

  • FlickrOwned by Yahoo, but easy to setup an account with your Facebook, Google or Yahoo account. Flickr is probably the largest and most popular photo-sharing sites. You can tag your photos, comment on the photos of others, search by tag or user, use RSS feeds for photo feeds, download images in multiple sizes, create sets (sets are like photo albums), create groups for sharing among colleagues, use geotags (location information), and much, much more.
  • PicasaWeb A Google product. Another very popular tool for uploading and managing your photos. Public albums are searchable through Google image searching. Also has a very useful free desktop application called Picasa, for managing the photos on you own computer. (Review from PC Magazine)
  • Snapfish – From HP. Free unlimited photo storage with the ability to organize, edit, and add borders, tints and other creative touches. Create calendars, albums and other printed products. Share photo albums with friends and family.
  • Shutterfly – Unlimited free storage. Print photos to pick up at local stores and create printed photo albums. Offers an online community where you can share your work and see projects created by others as well as a blog full of great ideas. Shutterfly Share offers free webpage space and templates for showing and sharing your photos.

Social Sharing Photo Sites

  • Instagram – Fun photo app for your iOS or Android mobile devices. Take a photo, apply fun filters (or not), share with followers. Allows for commenting and ‘liking’. Simple and fun way to quickly share moments from your day. Now owned by Facebook, there is a new web-based profile page for each member. (eg: Polly’s profile page) Photos can be also be posted to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
  • tumblr – What started out as something of a cross between a full blown blogging tool and the quick posting of something like twitter, tumblr has become a hugely popular social network where people post their own photos and content, as well as content reposted from all over the web. What drives me a bit nuts about tumblr is the difficulty finding the original source for an image. A photo of a beautiful vacation spot may have been reposted so many times, that it’s next to impossible to find the original source. Still, this is hugely popular with teens. Use with caution though, much of the content my be NSFW (not safe for work). A quick read about tumblr: Why Teachers Should Try Out tumblr
  • Pinterest – Not strictly a photo sharing site, but a great place to create a public display of your photos. Create a board for an event or a class project, make it a collaborative board so others can add to it. Students could create their own photo boards here too. Very simple to use and free. Also has a new option to create private boards.Warning, any content posted to Pinterest should be CC licensed and understand that great images will be reposted to other people’s boards.

Geolocation Based Sharing

  • Panoramio – Uploaded your photos and share them with the world. Photos are accessed as a layer in Google Earth and Google Maps.
  • HistoryPin – Great tool for exploring the world through photos. Students can also add their own photos, create tours and more.
  • What Was There – Similar idea as History Pin.

Apps: If you have a smartphone, chances are you’re using that for taking some of your photos. And you probably already have some favorite apps. Here are a few more to explore!


Don’t forget to log your blog post when you’re done! When you finish this lesson by fill out the log form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.

OPTION 1: Getting your feet wet

If you’re not ready to join flickr, instagram or one of the other services, this activity is for you! You’ll look for a photo that interests you and post it to your blog.

  • Photopin is a great place to start looking for Creative Commons licensed photos.
  • Search for a topic that interests you. When you roll your mouse over a thumbnail, use the “Get Photo” option.
  • Select a size and click on Download to save the image to your computer.
  • Copy the HTML code to use as photo caption to give credit for the photo.
  • Post the photo to your blog by uploading it from your computer to your blog post. You may need to check the help files for your blogging platform, each one has a different process
  • Your Blog Post for the week:
    • Please label your post “Thing 3 : Photo Sharing”
    • Comment on your experience finding images and how you might use photos in your school or anything else related to the exercise.

OPTION 2: Join and explore

Ready to join one of the sites? Or dig deeper into one that you’re already using?

  • Join one of the photosharing services and share some photos. If you’re already a member of a service, but aren’t really familiar with it, go ahead and use that to explore more advanced features.
  • Explore features such as organizing photos into folders, sets or whatever the tool you’ve chosen uses.
  • Your Blog Post for the week:
    • Please label your post “Thing 3 : Photo Sharing”
    • Comment on your experience with the service you tried. What did you learn? What advanced features did you find useful? How could you use these tools with students?

OPTION 3: Edit, create, share and more

If you’ve already joined a photosharing site and are ready to explore some more, here are some ideas! (all the tools are listed in the More To Explore list below) Then share what you’ve learned through your blog post. Please label your post “Thing 3 : Photo Sharing”

  • Test out an editing tool
  • Create a collage and post it to your blog
  • Explore Big Huge Labs and make something fun. A magazine cover, a Trading Card
  • Create a slideshow to put on your website or blog
  • Explore the search tools to see how
  • Have an iPad, tablet, smartphone? Try out a photo editing app or collage making app for your device.


  • Photo Editing– try your hand at editing a photo using one of these online photo editor.
    • Pixlr – A popular replacement for Picnik.
    • PhotoShop Express – a free online photo editor from Adobe.
    • PicMonkey – In addition to photo editing features, it includes a collage tool,.
  • Photo Fun– Make posters, slide shows, collages and so much more. Lots of interesting ideas here.
  • More ways to find photos
    • Colr Fields – Pick photos by color
    • flickrCC – Searches for Creative Commons licensed photos on flickr.
    • PhotoPin – Another Creative Commons search tool
  • Explore Pinterest– the hot new image sharing, social bookmarking, curating obsession.

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