Megan Williams
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Sep, 12

How Teachers Can Use Stock Photos To Enhance Their Lessons

Teachers have an onerous responsibility of ensuring students learn their lessons effectively. They make use of different methodologies to enhance the learning process. One of the ways to make learning more effective is to use photos or images while teaching.

It is a well-known fact that a picture speaks louder than words. Using photographs can help students understand the topic being taught better. This is true whether the students are at primary school or at college.

Using photographs to enhance learning

A photograph provides a lot of information. It has the advantage of offering visual imagery that makes the student perceive things better. Displaying a photograph in the classroom is a good way to grab the student’s attention. Imagine a history lesson where photographs of people, places, and monuments are shown. This makes learning very effective.

The following explains how using photographs can enhance learning.

  • Photographs can help in improving the concentration and retention of students. Seeing a photograph while listening to the teacher makes students remember the lesson better.
  • Explaining a difficult topic becomes easy when images are used. A biology lesson on the heart becomes effective when images of the heart are displayed, so students clearly know what the heart looks like.
  • Photos can be used for storytelling. A series of photos can be used to explain the lesson in the form of a story. It is a visual form of storytelling that would be very effective. Students will listen with greater interest and the images displayed can help them remember what was taught.

How teachers can use stock photographs

If you are a teacher and want to use photos in your lessons, then you can consider using stock photos. A stock photograph is a standard or ready image available for your use. There are various websites like that offer a vast collection of stock photos to use. Before getting into details, it is important to know the types of stock photos:

  1. Royalty-free photos: These photos are essentially free images. You can download them and use them in whatever way you want, and don’t have to spend money. These photos are good for teachers who do not wish to spend a lot of money. However, these photos are generic, and you may not get the exact photo you are looking for.
  2. Rights-managed photos: These photos are paid for, and you need to pay a royalty or license to use them. The payment may be for one-time use or for use in a particular location.
  3. Enhanced photos: When you buy these photos, you can use them in whatever way you want. You can even use them for commercial purposes.

The following guidelines will help you use stock photos in the best possible way.

  • You need a combination of generic photos, as well as specific photos. For example, if you are teaching history and the topic is a war then you need a war photo. You will get generic stock photos that can be useful. However, if you are teaching about a specific war then a generic photo may not be helpful. If you are teaching about a famous person, you need to display their photo.
  • You need to look for photos relevant to the lesson you are teaching. This will make the teaching process effective. Using unrelated photos will not make students interested. Rather, they may lose interest in the lesson.
  • Use the photos to tell a story. This is the best way to learn. If you are teaching the life cycle of an animal in biology, get photos of different stages of the life cycle. Put them one after the other on the screen while explaining what is happening. This makes learning interesting and effective. This approach is great for teaching history.
  • Sometimes, you can get representative images or metaphorical images. It is a different way of explaining a topic to make students understand it better.
  • You can find stock photos on hundreds of websites. Some of them would be of poor quality. Such photos are uninspiring and can make the student lose interest. Look for a reliable website that offers photos of good resolution. The photograph must be visually striking. This helps you grab the student’s attention. It helps you create interest in the topic. You can create emotional connectivity in the classroom by using quality photographs.
  • Make sure you download photos as per the license guidelines. Don’t download photos from websites that are copyrighted by others. You can get into trouble.
  • Apart from using photos in the lesson, use them for quizzes and exams. This makes the assessment process interesting.
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