Managing your photos? Shutter to think

Dear Larry,

I’m drowning in a deluge of photos on my computer. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for managing, editing and printing them?

 

— J. M.

 

Dear J. M.,

Start by keeping your photos all in one place. The pictures folder would be the obvious choice. Next, create folders within pictures that indicate the date and event during which each group of pictures was taken.

Here are some examples: “2005-12-25 Christmas with Grandma”; “2006-01-28 Ski Vacation at Vail”; “2006-02-04 Jon’s Bar Mitzvah.” Notice that by naming the folders in year, month and day format, you can automatically keep your pictures sorted in chronological order.

An easy and inexpensive way to manage and edit your photos is with the use of Picasa, a terrific program brought to you by the same people who created Google. It works on PCs and Macs, and best of all, it’s free. You can download and install it from picasa.com.

When you run Picasa for the first time, you’ll be asked whether you want the program to manage photos on your entire computer or just those in your documents and pictures folders. I strongly recommend you choose the latter; otherwise you’ll be bombarded with all sorts of images stored on your computer that have nothing to do with your digital photo collection.

When you start up Picasa, it will scour your folders looking for all your photos and present them to you in its Photo Library. Photo folders will be displayed on the left edge in reverse chronological order. You can alter this view by clicking view, folder view in the menu bar. When you highlight a folder on the left, the photos stored within that folder will appear on the right in thumbnail view. You can alter the size of your thumbnails using the slider in the bottom right corner of the Picasa window.

Double-click a photo to edit it. Here you’ll find all of the typical controls needed to make your pictures picture-perfect: crop, straighten, fix redeye, correct contrast and color and lighten. Additionally there are cool digital tools such as sharpen, sepia and soft focus that can be found in the effects tab.

Back in the photo library section of Picasa, you can select photos for rotation, printing, e-mailing, and such by clicking a photo and then clicking hold (which is located near the bottom of the screen) to hold the image in Picasa’s photo tray. Other standard selection tools such as shift clicking and lassoing will also work.

You can use Picasa to print your photos to your color printer or, if you so desire, Picasa will upload your images automatically to your Shutterfly or similar photo printing account on the web.

Your digital images will doubtlessly form a large portion of your irreplaceable files stored on your computer. So don’t give them short shrift — back them up on a regular basis.

And keep on clicking … the shutter button, that is.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.

 

 

Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm now in its 15th year of business catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 625-7575, visit accentoncomputers.com, or send email to [email protected]

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