Taking and Using Pictures in Documents

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12397

"A picture is worth a thousand words." Pictures are easy to take and add to your work, and they add so much professionalism to your projects! Picture yourself taking great photographs with these tips!


Communications, Visual Arts

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start
  • What is wrong with this picture?
  • Can you do better and avoid this problem?

Technology is becoming an increasingly more common aspect of writing papers and completing projects for school, and knowing how to use different types of technology in your work is a vital skill in the world today.

In this lesson, you will learn how to take pictures using a digital camera and how to insert those pictures into your writing and projects.

Think of pictures you have seen that did not look good. Describe the picture to your teacher or parent and tell them what you disliked about it. Maybe it was too blurry or it was not centered.

Taking pictures is often easier said than done. When you are incorporating pictures into your writing or a project, you want to make sure you take good pictures that clearly illustrate the purpose of your writing or project. Remember, when using pictures, the pictures should be used to enhance what you are saying and should not leave your audience confused or asking more questions.

Use the following tips and strategies when you need to take pictures for a project. For each image you see, discuss what is wrong with the image. Then, click to check your answer. You may want to keep your digital camera nearby so you can practice taking pictures as you read the different tips and suggestions.

Image - Video

When taking a picture, you want to make sure to focus the camera so the picture does not turn out blurry. If the picture is blurry, like the image above, your audience will spend time trying to figure out what the picture is of, rather than connecting the image to the topic of your project. The way you focus the camera will depend on the type of camera you are using.

  • Some cameras have an automatic focus built in, so they automatically focus when you take the picture.
  • If you are using an iPhone to take pictures, double tap the center of the screen to focus the picture.
  • Other digital cameras have a knob to turn that focuses the picture.
  • Some cameras require you to hold the button used to take the picture halfway down.

Also, holding the camera still while you take pictures will ensure they do not turn out blurry. Some photographers like to place the camera on a tripod or other stable surface to make sure it does not move while they are taking pictures.

Look at the digital camera you will be using to take pictures and determine how the camera focuses pictures. You may need to ask your teacher or parent for help. Practice taking a few pictures in your learning space, experimenting with how to focus the image.

Image - Video

Lighting plays an important role in taking good pictures. The picture above does not use enough lighting, making it difficult to determine what the picture is of or what is happening in the picture. Using too much light can also have a similar effect by making the picture appear too white. Professional photographers say natural light (light that is not created by man, such as the sun) is the best light to use in pictures. If you are taking pictures inside, try to open the curtains to allow lots of natural light into the space. If you are taking pictures in an area that does not receive a lot of natural light, utilize artificial light sources, such as lamps and overhead lighting. Practice taking a few pictures in your learning space, experimenting with different lighting. Compare how the pictures look using natural and artificial light.

  • Which lighting source do you think makes a better picture?

Image - Video

When taking pictures, it is important to make sure your subject is centered in the picture. The subject is the person or object you are taking a picture of. Digital cameras have a screen that enables you to clearly see the picture you are taking. Make sure your subject is centered on the screen. Some cameras even have a marking or a box in the center of the screen to help you see where the center of the picture is. Practice taking a few pictures in your learning space. Try to center the subject in each picture.

Image - Video

When taking pictures, it is important to check the background to make sure there is nothing distracting from the subject of your picture. In the picture above, someone is making funny faces behind the subject of the picture. Before and after taking a picture, check the entire image to make sure there is nothing that seems out of place or potentially distracting for an audience. Take a picture of something in your learning space.

  • Is there anything in the picture that is distracting?

Now that you know how to take good pictures, it is time to learn how to use them in a digital document.

The first thing you want to do is upload your image(s) to a computer. The way this is accomplished will depend on the type of camera and computer you are using.

  • Most digital cameras, including iPhones, have a cord that attaches the camera to the computer.
  • Some computers also have a Secure Digital (SD) drive where you can insert the camera’s SD memory card into the computer.

Once you have linked the camera and computer, follow the instructions on the computer for uploading images. Ask your teacher or parent to help you determine how to upload pictures from the digital camera you will be using to your computer.

After your images are saved to your computer, you need to know how to upload them to a document. This is an easy process and, once again, the exact way you upload pictures to a document will depend on the type of program you are using, although most programs work the same way. The images below show how to upload pictures to a Word document. To upload images:

  1. Open the document you are working on. It could be a Word document or a slideshow presentation.
  2. Near the top of the program, click the tab that says “Insert.”

Word Insert button

  1. Then, click on the icon that says “Pictures.”

Word Pictures button

  1. A box should appear with pictures that are saved to your computer. Select the picture you want to use.

After your picture is uploaded to your document, you can move it around and experiment with the editing tools to get your picture the exact way you want it. Take some time practice uploading some of the practice pictures you took of your learning space to your computer. Then, insert a few of those images into a document or slideshow.

After you have had to time practice uploading and inserting images into documents, answer the following questions:

  1. How can taking your own images be helpful for enhancing your writing or projects?
  2. What is an assignment you worked on recently that could have been better if you inserted your own pictures?
  3. Why is it important to understand how to use technology?

Discuss your answers with your teacher or parent.

  • Can you think of any careers that might require you to take pictures?

When you are ready, move onto the Got It? section to practice identifying errors in pictures.

Image - Button Next