I love photography. Once a year, our Year Six embark on a photography project that involves us taking images of ourselves and turning them, among other things, into glossy magazine covers and CD covers for fictional pop groups. It is a remarkable testament to modern computers that ten- and eleven-year-old children can make a CD that looks as good as one produced by a professional graphic designer.

The requirements are simple:

  • a decent camera
  • a good printer
  • some desktop publishing software
  • a photo-processing package.

The last ingredient is the trick. Photoshop is too expensive (at least for a primary school), and Picture Manager is too, well, rubbish.

Get Picasa. It’s free to download from Google and can be installed on your network or on stand-alone machines in minutes. It’s the kind of thing that you might use for the basic processing of your holiday snaps, but it’s perfect for what we need to do.

We can crop, alter brightness and contrast, and change colours. There are a few basic effects, but not too many. I find that this is a good thing, as some sort of limitation often stimulates creativity. I think there’s a proverb about it, but all that comes to mind when I try to think of it is Frank Zappa.

Have a look: http://picasa.google.com. It’s free!