Sunday, 11 October 2015


I love taking and using photos. In fact, when I bought my first digital SLR (a Sony A100 - the first SLR Sony made - it's now been replaced with a Sony A58), I signed for up for an evening class "Get your camera off of auto" as I realised I wasn't using even half the features on it. From there, I took an A Level in photography and since then have found myself delivering extra-curricular photography sessions at school!

I still don't use half the features on the camera but I feel I have a bit more knowledge to help me take better photos and an idea of what to do when things go wrong with light, exposure, noise, etc.

Having taken one of those tests to determine what sort of learner I am, it was no surprise to be told I was a "visual mathematician" .... I like images but also order! Lists rather than mind-maps! Which means I would rather communicate with images and my presentations have become pictures more than words. The advantage of this is that, unless you are there or have my notes, they don't mean very much - definitely a barrier to plagiarism.

So I use images constantly in my job ... often my own but if not then I'll use copyright free or give credit to the owner. We live in a very visual world and when I now see a presentation without images and with a lot of text, it doesn't seem to hold the same interest. Certainly my students would quickly switch off if I just presented slides of text to them; I am quite sneaky at using an image to catch their attention and then relaying the appropriate fact or point. So I can completely see how sites such as Flickr or Instagram could be used within an educational context but if I can't find a photo I can use then I'll take my own.

Regarding putting my own images online, I post personal ones on Facebook (holidays, family, etc.) and professional ones on Twitter ... often these will be images of books, signs, photos from book launches or conferences. My Twitter account is open and in the public arena; my Facebook account is friends and family only - hence the difference in the images I share.

I was quite interested in this module and decided to sign up for Flickr. But I'm not sure why it wants so much personal information. Why does Flickr need my mobile number? They could send me an email verifying the account rather than a text. I am getting more and more wary of websites than insist you supply all manner of personal information to sign up; after all, I can purchase all sorts of things as a guest at other websites without giving this information thus I didn't complete the registration process.

I also think that it's wise to restrict the number of social media sites you use, unless you happen to work in this arena. Using Instagram as a means of publicity entails regular input, much the same was as Twitter and whilst I use social media, I don't want to spend my time checking out numerous sites, updating them, worrying about "being forgotten", etc.!

My world as a school librarian revolves around physical books and real-time contact with the students; I would much rather talk to a student and take them around my shelves suggesting books - you cannot beat the personal interaction for creating readers - than post a photo of a book online in the chance of somebody seeing it and seeking it out to read.


  1. As much as I've been enjoying Google Photos lately (I really like the animations it creates), I've found the capacities of photo apps (filters, etc.) de-motivating in terms of learning what all the buttons on my camera do. It would take me forever to get good enough to be better than my app filters, so what's the point?

    Couldn't agree more that images are crucial in presentations. All the open-copyright resources available have made finding good images to use a lot more fun, I've found.

  2. I don't worry about not being able to use all my camera's capabilities. I guess if I was a professional photographer then I'd get to grips with it a bit more but as long as it does what I want then I'm happy. It's like any item of technology - I mean, how many of us use every single function on our computers? Or even our phones? We don't , we use the ones we need.

    I have to admit that I tend to switch off when I see that photos have been created using apps, Photoshop, etc. It's a bit like cheating (unless your intention is to create an unreal, distorted image) and I have far more admiration for a "real" photo, taken without the use of any enhancements. I think these images show a photographer's skills.

    The other thing with using online images is that there are so many of them and I find that I can spend way too much time looking for "the right one", convinced something better will be on the next site ... instead of just using something that is perfectly acceptable.