You know all of those photographs that you take in school? What do you do with them? We take thousands, in fact last year it seems we took 28,000 of them. Many of them are never edited and are simply uploaded onto the Photo drive on the server. So what happens to them?

We use them there and then to show the children and we put some on the blog either as standalone pictures or as part of a Photopeach/Animoto slideshow, but then what? Most of the pictures that we take are ‘action’ shots of the children learning and we don’t really need to keep them all year after year, but at our school we produce end of year reports made by the children and the children add their photos to this. We also like to share photos when the children leave the school in Year 6, so we would like to keep them but they are too big. The 28,000 photos from last year represents 49GB of storage space. The server we had in school 3 years ago only had 50GB of Hard Drive space, so it shows how many we have taken!

I think my top tip for cameras and storage in school is to collect the digital cameras, find the size/quality setting and change it to 3-5mega pixels. After all, how many pictures do you need to be bigger than this? This handy chart shows how big pictures can be printed and still be in good quality. So a 10MP camera will happily give good quality 20x30inch pictures. Most schools wouldn’t print colour photographs A4 size, let alone any bigger. Now if you only need them for the blog, they should be resized. But which tools can be used?

I’ve always liked using Microsoft Picture Manager as it quickly sorts one folder and lets you resize images, but what about subfolders? I don’t think it does these too, so I needed to look for something else. It took a while, but the Free Picture Resize tool (yeah I love the names of these too…) does just that.

To resize pictures in bulk, simply:

  1. Load the program and choose Batch
  2. Choose ‘Copy to my computer’ – This leaves the original large photos and makes a copy containing the smaller ones
  3. Browse to the folder where the originals are and where the copies should go – you have to make the new empty folder first e.g. “2011-2012 resized”
  4. Make sure ‘Subfolders’ is ticked and press Next
  5. Add effects or rotate etc if you need to
  6. Choose a size – 800×600 or 640×480 should be fine for printing
  7. Press Next and you’re done.
Remember that it will take a while if there are loads of photos! You can then backup or remove the original photos.
I would say that we do use some high-quality images and these do need to be more than 3MP. Last year we had canvas prints made up to go around the school, but these represent 10 or so photographs (out of the 28,000).

Download Free Picture Resize Starter:

Looking forward we are wondering what could be done with the photos to extend their life even further. Could we use a tool such as Picasa to share the photos online? After all, 100GB is less than $5 a month. We could happily keep a year or two’s worth of photos online, made available only to parents and pupils. This could mean that they could see them at home and download them if they wanted to keep copies. There must be photos of every child if we have 28,000 on there! I’m not sure if this is possible though due to child safety and Facebook. Although we wouldn’t have children’s names on there, what if a parent downloaded a picture from our library and posted it online but it contained other children too? The same thing could happen if they came to sports day and took photographs themselves, but we wouldn’t be helping them to do it. Maybe we try it and see if it works?

We did run a small trial after a residential the children went on. I uploaded all of the photographs to a Dropbox account and shared the link with children in that year group so that they could see them and download them if they wanted to. This didn’t lead to any issues from parents but if we did it on a larger scale, would there be issues? Obviously we wouldn’t be sharing photographs of the few children in school whose parent’s permission we do not have.

Does your school share photographs with parents beyond the blog? Can they order copies of photos that the school has taken? Could online galleries be used easily enough? What do you think?