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Photography Manipulation Lesson Plan

8th grade

5 / 2.5-hour classes



Students will use critical thinking to generate a personal theme and a plan to work with multiple images to create one image using Photoshop.



Need for purpose - Talk about how this skill can be used for making video games, personal art, greeting cards. Ask students how else this skill can be used.

Need for autonomy – Allow students to create a unique design. Check in with individual students to give positive feedback. Phrase comments with suggestions for success.

Need to belong – Greet students at the door, say hello. Ask students how they are doing. As the lesson plan progresses, ask students if they have ideas/plans/sketches they would like to share. Let students who want to sit together sit together. Allow for harmless socialization.

Need for mastery – Go over rubric at the beginning of the lesson so students are clear about how to get the best grade possible.



The intention of the lesson is to create one photo image exported as a .JPG (flattened) and as a .PSD (5 layered file) that uses elements from 5 photographic images. Students will create a written theme and visual plan /sketch prior to the activity.


Sketch book 8.5” & 11”

Drawing tools



Microsoft Word


Class 1: Look at examples of Photoshop collages. Study Photography/Photoshop terminology. Open and look around Photoshop.

Class 2: Write your theme in Word. Draw your visual plan / sketch.

Class 3: Demonstration of creating layers, resizing images, copy and pasting in Photoshop. 

Class 4: Create your image. Export your image.

Class 5: Class exhibition

Photoshop terminology:

Active layer - The layer currently selected in the Layers panel.

Aliasing - The jagged edges seen at the edges of diagonal lines, arcs, and so on, caused by pixels lining up in a saw-tooth pattern.

Anti‑aliasing - The smoothing of jagged edges in digital images by averaging the colours of the pixels at a boundary.

Background layer - The bottom-most layer in an image, usually containing the image data. The Background layer is always locked. If you want to change its stacking order, blending mode, or opacity, you must first convert it to a regular layer.

Canvas - The workspace around an existing image, within the image window. Layer data may lie outside of the canvas, but it will be clipped to the canvas when the image is flattened. You can change the size and color of the canvas by choosing Image > Resize > Canvas Size.

Clipboard - The temporary holding area for data stored with the Cut or Copy commands.

Cropping - Trimming a portion of an image to improve its composition or to create a frame.

Definition - Sharpness or clarity of detail in an image.

Dots per inch (dpi) - A measure of printer resolution. High dpi settings produce prints with fine detail. Also used for monitors. (See also pixels per inch (ppi).)

Feathering - The softening of an edge of a selection.

Flattening - Merging all visible layers into the Background layer to reduce file size.

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group. A committee of experts that develops algorithms for compressing computer image files. Also, any graphic file to which a JPEG algorithm is applied. JPEG is the format generally used to share photographs over the web.

Layer - A mechanism for overlaying and combining multiple images. Layers are like transparent sheets of glass that you can stack and rearrange.

Levels - Functionality for adjusting color and tone. With a Levels adjustment, you can set shadow and highlight values to use a full tonal range, adjust middle tones only, correct colour casts, and so on.

Locked layer - A layer in the Layers panel that has the lock icon applied. No changes can be made to a locked layer. A Background layer is always locked.

Pixel - The basic, rectangular unit of data that a digital image consists of. The edges of pixels can produce a saw-tooth pattern unless anti-aliasing is used.

Pixel dimensions - The number of pixels along the width and height of an image. This is a measure of the amount of image data in the photo, not its physical size when printed or displayed on a monitor.

Pixels per inch (ppi) - A measure of image resolution stored in a camera or computer file. High ppi settings produce photographs with fine detail and large file size. (See also dots per inch (dpi).)

PSD - The native uncompressed file format of Adobe Photoshop, based on the TIFF standard.

Resolution - A measure of the clarity and sharpness of an image. In digital images, it is measured in pixels per inch.

Selection - A part of an image selected for manipulation of any kind, duplication in a layer, colour correction, deletion, rotation, and so on. The selection consists of all the pixels, fully or partially selected, contained within the selection boundary.

Sharpening - In photo-editing programs, any functionality that enhances the details at the edges of photographed objects and people. Sharpening is often applied as part of in‑camera processing as well, although no sharpening is applied to camera raw file images.

Transform - To scale, shrink, enlarge, skew, distort, rotate, or change the perspective of a layer, selection, or shape.

Transparency - In digital photography, the functionality that supports transparent areas in an image or image layer. Certain image formats do not support transparency.

Finding a theme:

Write a statement that interests you, for example:

"I am worried about the environment and the climate. I would love to make my home more sustainable and watch the earth become healthy."

List the nouns and verbs in the first column of the visual literacy chart and find two sets of synonyms and a symbol for those synonyms.

vis lit chart.png

Use the items listed in your visual literacy column for an internet image search.



  1. Open a Photoshop file and save as YourNamePhotoMan.PSD

  2. Set the image size to 5” x 7” landscape position or 7” x 5” for portrait position and resolution at 150 dpi.

  3. Open 5 Photographs into photoshop as individual files.

  4. Begin to make selections from each of the 5 photographs. Copy and paste the selections into your main .PSD file.

  5. Manipulate the images to create the final image.



Students will be instructed save all open files and to shut down and store computers before dismissal


Assessment Rubric:

photo rubric.png

Barbara Bjerring

Art Educator

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