Free English Lessons

Photo Editing – Listening Lesson (B2)

Are you interested in photography? In this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English, you can listen to a dialogue about photo editing, including useful English words and phrases for talking about photography and digital editing. This is a lesson for upper intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

A: What do you think?
B: It’s a nice shot1, but it needs editing a bit, I think.
A: Ok, that’s not really my thing2. What do you think needs doing?
B: Well, first of all you should crop3 it. There’s too much blank space at the top.
A: Ok, like that?
B: Yeah, I think that looks better, but I would do a bit more. You can bump up4 the colour saturation5 a little, maybe add a bit of red. At the moment it looks a bit washed-out6.
A: How do I do that again?
B: Click on the window on the right – no, top right – yeah, that’s right. OK, now use the sliders7 to adjust the colour.
A: There we go—much better!
B: Err… no, you’ve overdone it a bit. Now it looks fake. Dial it back8 a little.
A: Like that?
B: Yeah, that looks cool.
A: So now what?
B: Save the file, and you’re done.
A: What format should I save it as9?
B: Just as a JPEG is fine.
A: Okay, done! I’ll email it across to you.
B: Great—good job!

Some of the words contained in these notes are the answers to exercise 2. You may like to try the exercises first and refer back to these notes if you need to later.

1. A nice shot = a good photo
2. That’s not really my thing = I’m not good at this; I’m not an expert.
3. Crop = make a picture smaller by cutting a part off
4. Bump up = increase (conversational)
5. Colour saturation = how rich the colours in the picture are; higher saturation = richer colours
6. Washed-out = colourless
7. Sliders = something you use to increase or decrease a setting on a computer; for example, you might use a slider to control the volume of your computer.
8. Dial it back = turn it down, decrease it (very conversational)
9. The man wants to know what type of file he should save the photo as (JPEG, PNG, GIF etc.)

Photo Editing – exercise 1
Comprehension: understanding gist

The ‘gist’ is the general idea of what a text or conversation is about. Typically, when you practise listening, you are encouraged to ‘get the gist’, then listen again to identify details. In English exams and coursebooks, the dialogues are often recorded by a man and a woman, to make it easier to follow, but real life is not so convenient!

Answer five questions about the two men’s conversation.

Photo Editing – exercise 2
Vocabulary: photo editing words

Understanding the detail of any conversation depends on knowing the meaning of the vocabulary used. If any words are new to you, take what you can from the context to make guesses about what the new words mean.

Read five definitions of words that you hear in the dialogue and write each word exactly as it is used by the speakers.

Photo Editing – exercise 3
Grammar: verb forms for making suggestions

Native English speakers are less direct than some other nationalities, particularly in Britain. Even between friends, like in this dialogue, we add layers of politeness when telling other people what to do.

Listen to excerpts from the dialogue and complete five sentences about how to make suggestions politely, using a range of grammatical structures.

Photo Editing – exercise 4
Pronunciation: consonants in connected speech

There are a number of ways in which sounds can change in connected speech – when one word meets another. What happens to consonants can be put into three broad categories: liaison (consonants that are added), elision (consonants that disappear) and assimilation (consonants that become something different).

Listen to one excerpt from the dialogue which features all of these things and create five statements about what happens to consonants in connected speech.

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