Organizing Your Digital Photos – Made Easy
by Jeff Bonsteel, Bonsteel Computer Services
Google’s free Picasa software is great for organizing, editing and sharing your digital photos. The first feature you will encounter after installing Picasa might be its best. It will search your entire hard drive for all your photos and put them in your Picasa library. The number of photos I had squirreled away and forgotten about amazed me. And what is even better, you can setup Picasa to “watch” for new photos. That means, any photos downloaded from your camera, scanner or email are automatically added to your Picasa library.
Once Picasa has located all of your photos, it displays all the photo folders and images on your computer. This makes it super easy to re-organize your photos, allowing you to rename folders to names meaningful to you or shuffle photos to different folders.
Each individual photo can then be labeled. A single photo can have multiple labels. For each label, Picasa makes a “virtual” copy of the photo and puts it in a “virtual” folder. By “virtual” they mean that the actual files are not moved on your hard drive but Picasa provides a front end for you to view your photo library that is much friendlier than the Windows© file system. This is a useful tool when organizing photos for slideshows or photo albums.
Picasa has cool editing tools. You can crop and straighten photos. It can also be used to remove redeye and enhance the color and contrast. With the effects feature you can choose from many options to change or enhance your pictures. The edit options include the capability to add captions to your photos. One missing feature is the capability to add text directly to photos.
With Picsa, sharing your photos couldn’t be easier. Photos can be emailed directly from Picasa. It automatically resizes them making it easy to send and open. Picasa can be used to create slideshows with one click of a mouse. The slideshow can be written to a CD. Family photo slideshow CDs might make a great gift for the grandparents.
Printing is not a problem with Picasa. You can print to your printer or upload them to your favorite photo printing website.
Backing up photos couldn’t be easier. Picasa even keeps track of which photos that have and haven’t been backed up.
Each of the features mentioned, I have personally used. There are more but Picasa is so feature rich that these are too numerous to mention. If you are interested in trying Picasa, click the more>> link on Google’s home page (http://www.google.com), then scroll down to Google Tools.
Minimally, the Picasa authors say you need 64 Megabytes of memory when managing your digital photos. To reduce your frustration, we strongly recommend 128 megabytes – 256 megabytes is even better. And to make CD’s, movies and backups, you want a CD burner. If you don’t currently have at least 128 megabytes of memory or if you need a CD burner, ask your computer repairperson for upgrade options. Simple upgrades to your hardware can often be much cheaper than a new computer.
Jeff Bonsteel spent 20+ years as a developer of network and security software. Jeff has always been involved in cutting edge technology including software development for the McAfeeâ Personal Firewall now on over 4.5-million desktops worldwide. He has been serving hundreds of