If you love photos and would either like to organize them, tweak them, or share them, Picasa may be what you are looking for. I’ve been using Picasa from Google for several years now and love it.
I had already put my photos in folders in My Pictures, but with Picasa it’s easy to see the content of those folders. (See to the right).
You can also do a sort by a timeline or a search (which will bring up specific folders and photos with that search name so you can quickly locate photos).
It’s also very easy to use Picasa to make a photo album page on the web. Instead of filling our blog with photos from a trip, I will send our family and friends a link to a slideshow of our trip. (For example, click here to see our online Picasa photo albums or watch a slide show with captions of a trip to Tampa Bay.) Again, Picasa makes it easy to put all this together, but if you have any questions when you try it, feel free to write in the comments for help. Picasa offers help, too, of course, and a getting started guide.
You can tag your photos by geographical location either in Picasa on your computer or in your photo albums on your internet site.
The name tagging is similar to Facebook. Picasa’s incredible face-recognition feature will find other photos of that person once you tag a friend or family member. When I first started tagging, I had to laugh because Picasa recognized Planter’s Mr. Peanut on a can in the pantry in the background of a family photo! Of the many times I had seen that photo, I had never noticed poor old Mr. Peanut smiling in the background!
Tagging goes fairly quickly. After you have done your tagging then you can use the tags to help you find specific photos. For instance, I searched for my son, Josh, and also for “Steve Douglass” and found a photo of the two of them at a high school graduation dessert. I found the photo a LOT faster than if I had just tried clicking through My Pictures’ semi-organized folders.
Unfortunately, when I upgraded my computer, I “lost” all the tags, so I haven’t bothered to label the tags for people again. I mention it here as a warning to you to not spend a lot of time tagging photos. Either that or find out how to save the Picasa folder which would have the tags in it. Maybe just do your significant people.
Picasa has basic editing tools. I often use straighten to fix a horizon. Red eye is a nice feature and will remove most glowing red eyes. You can adjust color, contrast, and lighting and add special effects. You can tell from the duplicate photos of my dad (see photo to the left) that I was able to make several color and lighting adjustments to fix old photos.
You won’t be able to do some photo editing, like removing unwanted background items from a photo. So, if you want to do more complex photo editing, you can spend a lot and buy Photoshop. (If you follow the link, have fun tossing the pictures around!) Or you can use the free download, Gimp. We’ll have a series of articles in the future about using Gimp.
Download Picasa for free here.