Friday, February 22, 2008

Are You Managing Your Digital Photos With Picasa?

Picasa screenshot

Are you using organizing your pictures with Picasa? If you have a digital camera, you probably have hundreds (if not thousands) of pictures on your computer, so managing them can be challenging. There are lots of applications and programs that can be used with digital pictures, so deciding on what applications to use can be overwhelming. Picasa is a handy photo application that isn’t too complex for the “digital newbie” and its free.
This is the first strategy in the book.

An appealing feature of Picasa is that you can see all your pictures quickly. Have you ever fumbled through Windows Explorer trying to find a picture before? While Windows Explorer (and many of its substitutes) will give you a thumb view, the navigation with photos cumbersome. My digital camera uploads pictures in new folders buried about 4 levels deep, so that makes it that much more difficult to quickly find pictures in a normal Windows Explorer utility. Picasa lets you quickly see all your pictures and move from one folder to another. You can also apply a couple of different views to your tree of folders.

Picasa keeps an eye on your pictures so you can keep an overview. After you have initially indexed your pictures, Picasa watches your folders for new pictures. Picasa updates its information on your pictures only when it is open, so when you start it up, it will look for changes to you watched folders. You can determine what folders you would like to have watched, so it ignores all your other folders, so it doesn’t hijack any system resources.

Picasa Photo Editing Options

Picasa lets you do some simple editing, which is good for new or amateur photographers. While it doesn’t offer all the features of the more expensive photo software programs, it does offer many basic editing tools that you might need. Once you have selected a picture that you want to edit, you can remove red eye, crop pictures (remove unwanted portions of your pictures), as well as adjust the contrast and color all under the “Basic Fixes” (see "Picasa Photo Editing Options" screeshot above). Under the “Effects’ tab you can turn your picture into a black and white photo, give it a grainy look, apply a “Soft Focus”, and apply a “Glow” or a “Focal B&W”.

"Photo Tray"

Picasa services

I often order pictures online via Picasa. As you click through your pictures, the active one will appear in your “Photo Tray” located in the lower left corner of Picasa (see "Photo Tray" screenshot above). By clicking on the “Hold” button, you can gather pictures that you want to order. You can also star your pictures. I like to do this with pictures that I have ordered so that I can quickly find them (for those times that Oma wants more copies of the pictures to send to her friends). Finally after you have select the pictures that you want to order, you can click on “Order Prints”, found in the lower right corner of Picasa (pictured above in the "Picasa services" screenshot). You can also use your printer on your photos (the “Print” button is pictured above in the "Picasa services" screenshot as well). After doing some calculations I determined that it was cheaper to order prints online than to print them off my computer. After clicking on “Order Prints”, you can select the region that you’re ordering from and there will be various services for you to select regardless of weather you’re in the U.S., Germany, New Zeeland, or many other locations. Picasa transmits my pictures to the service that I use and then a window will pop up in your web browser where you can then determine the size of pictures wanted as well as the quantity. I have to note here that how this part works will probably vary depending upon which store or service you use. One final point on ordering prints online, is to consider the file size of your pictures when they’re being transmitted. If they’re larger files, you’ll want to limit the number of pictures that you order at a time, this cuts down on the transmission time as well as the likelihood that your transmission will be disrupted! You might want to limit the pictures you select at one time to 30 or less anyways.

Picasa is part of the Google family so it integrates with other Google products and is fairly user friendly. From the lower right hand corner, you can put your pictures in Google’s “Web Album” or “Blogthis” and post your pictures directly to a Blogger blog. There is also an option to do Geotaging on your pictures with Google Earth.

Picasa also offers some other features that make it easier to organize and find your pictures. You can associate keywords with your pictures as well as adding descriptions to them. You can rename folders as well providing a place taken and further description. In addition there will be a separate album for all of your starred pictures. You can also create new albums of specific types of pictures or themes. There is also a simple batch edit that allows you to rename multiple flies. You can put a name in the box that will be applied to all pictures selected in addition to including the date in the filename.

As you can see, Picasa is a very useful photo application and it can help you to manage much of the things that you’ll want to do with your pictures. If you’re using Picasa, how are you using it? Have you found any unusual uses or applications of it? What other applications are you using to manage your pictures?If you have any comments or suggestions for items that you’d like to see covered in this blog, please feel free to leave a comment. If you like what you’ve read please help spread the word.

If you liked this article, please share it on or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

blog comments powered by Disqus