Serif in Education

Photography to get the best out of PhotoPlus X8

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

A popular quote attributed in the early part of the 20th century to Frederick R. Barnard, who published a piece commending the effectiveness of graphics in advertising with the title “One look is worth a thousand words“, in Printer’s Ink, December 1921. Barnard claimed the phrase’s source to be oriental by adding “so said a famous Japanese philosopher, and he was right”.

A picture tells a story, and connects to the senses – becoming an important aspect that can be represented in works as photographs, a hand drawn or computer generated image or words.  It allows an emotional connection to be formed with the user, and it is hardly surprising therefore that a critical part of any website, design project or similar is imagery and pictures.

The creation of digital images:

As part of the Teacher resources on the Serif website there is a unit designed to guide students in the creation of digital images for use online or in print for assignment purposes using Serif DrawPlus and PhotoPlus. It covers both bitmap and vector graphics.

How can I find real life photos?

There are several ways you can find photographs for your work.  There are sites such as iStock, or Getty Images who allow you to purchase the rights to specific photography or imagery.  But one of the most original, creative and cost effective is by producing your own photos.  They can be as complex or as simple as students like, but can lead to stunning effects.

So which device should students use to take photos?

There is no hard and fast rule but it is generally accepted that a professional style camera is the best to use when working on professional projects. Sam Byford wrote a great article comparing an iPhone 5s Camera to a standard Pro Camera. You can read the full article here:

However, for school projects, a smartphone can work just as well and are easy to plug in and download images.

What tips can I use when taking the photos?

For the best images on your smart phone you may wish to check your photo settings and override some if necessary.  The settings you use for your own photos may not be the same as you want for extreme product close ups or darkened rooms for example.  And it may help to invest in something to keep your smartphone steady when taking a phot to reduce blur.  The zoom feature also has a tendency to inhibit the quality of your photos, so use this feature with care.  For more tips on using smart phones in photography see here:

For the best on your professional camera, make sure you know your camera features and modes correctly.  Beware of dust spots on the photos, and format your memory card.   There are some great tips on Digital Camera World – See here:

How and where do I edit my photos?

As part of the Serif Suite, PhotoPlus X8 will allow your students to creatively communicate image ideas and learn key digital literacy skills for the classroom and beyond by developing their photo and digital literacy skills.

Students can add artistic effects to their work by instantly transforming any image into a retro comic book style poster, fine art painting, or black and white studio style photograph.

If there is any blurriness from a phone or digital camera, PhotoPlus X8 can be used to quickly sharpen an out of focus image without losing detail, resulting in a clear professional image that can be edited further.

And with noise reduction, photos that are speckled from low light conditions can be restored, while preserving all the essential details.

Features such as the smart selection tool allows students to cut out even the most intricate parts of photo with a high degree of precision, ready to then layer on another background to create a composite image, meaning they can transport images into almost any work or project.

Any questions?

Heads of Departments can apply for a free trial of the Serif PhotoPlus Software by contacting us via our website:

We would love for you to share your photo and editing skills with a before and after photo!  Tweet us your pictures @SerifEducation