Town Hall Square in Tallinn This week we will focus on something that most of you have probably done many times before — taking digital photos. I hope that all of you will learn something new about that topic, whether it is about composing the photo, editing it on the computer or sharing in the web.

Even if you are using automatic mode on your camera you can improve your shots by careful composition. Perhaps the most widely known composition principle is the rule of thirds. You can see an examples of this and other composition rules from Digital Photography School. If you want to know more about the basics of photography you can watch a nice lecture by Joi Ito:

After reading about the composition rules you are ready to put it into practice. Take a digital camera and shoot some photos in your home town. Choose one or two pictures that can be used in learning resources.

When you have chosen the photos you probably need to do some basic image editing on them. One new and very simple image editor is Adobe Photoshop Express. It is a web-based software that you can use without installing anything on your computer. It only requires Flash player that you probably have anyway. Other options include Gimp, Paint.NET, Picasa, Seashore and various commercial image editors. I typically start editing by cropping out this part of the photo that I want to have in the final image. By cropping you can often also improve the compensation. Then I fix problems with exposure and white balance, add saturation (if needed) and sharpen the image. From YouTube you can find a lot of helpful videos about using different image editors.

Last two years I have used Flickr to post my photos online. The benefit of having your photos in Flickr is its large user base — more people have a chance to notice your photo. I publish my photos under Creative Commons Attribution license. This gives other people more freedom to reuse my photo, because they are free to choose any license they want for the derivative works that contains my photo. It is important to notice that only part of the photos in Flickr are under Creative Commons licenses. You can search and browse these at http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/.

As a practical task you should join Flickr and upload the photos that you selected. Describe photos with tags, place them on a map and add a Creative Commons license. Please also try to upload one photo to Wikimedia Commons or LeMill. In LeMill you can add photos in the Content section. Just choose adding new content and upload the photos as media pieces.

What if you don’t have a digital camera? Don’t worry. You will definitely find a Creative Commons licensed photo from your home town or country. Find a photo that is under Attribution or Attribution-ShareAlike license. Maybe you can improve the photo by cropping out this part that you want to focus on. When you are done, please upload the result to LeMill as a media piece. Don’t forget to add who was the original author and where you found this photo.

Finally write a blog post where you summarize what you have learned from the task. Also add links to the photos that you have uploaded and found online.

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