Five Deadly Sins of Picasa

Have you heard the one about the lumberjack who decides to turn in his trusty old axe for a new chainsaw?  After struggling for several days with the chainsaw and not felling even one tree, he decides to return it to the store.  He tells the salesman that the chainsaw doesn’t work and he wants his axe back.  The salesman decides to see what is wrong with the chainsaw so he starts it up.  The lumberjack jumps back with surprise saying, ‘What’s that Noise?’

Picasa is easy, but it’s not foolproof.  It’s important to take some time up front to learn how it works.  There are 5 things I keep seeing people do with Picasa that are wrong.  Because they don’t have a good foundation of understanding the program, they use tools the way they *think* they work, rather than learning how they really work.  The results is a mess.

  1. image Using the Import tool instead of the Folder Manager.
    As you collect more and more photos, I see people putting photos on an external hard drive.  This is a wonderful idea, BUT – when they open Picasa they use the Import tool to be able to see them.  The Import tool is meant to copy pictures from an external device (usually your camera) to your computer.  Now they have the pictures twice!  Once on the External Hard Drive, and again on their computer’s built-in Hard Drive.  What they should have used is the Folder Manager.  The Folder Manager tells Picasa to watch the pictures in their original location – not copy them.
  2. imageCreate an Album – then delete the original picture
    Picasa is designed to be an efficient manager of all your pictures.  You store your pictures in Windows (or Mac) Folders with some simple, logical storage system either by event or by month.  Without changing your folders, Picasa gives you tools to view your pictures in different ways.  The Album feature is a way to create different categories of pictures regardless of the folder in which they’re stored.  (Note: This is *not* Picasa Web Albums I’m talking about here … it’s just ‘Albums’ in the Picasa software on your computer.)
    So often, I hear people say, “I copied my picture into an album, then I deleted it from the folder.”  NO!!  The picture only exists once – and that is in the folder – albums are like playlists, they just point to the picture in whatever folder it is stored.  If you delete it from the folder … IT’S GONE.
  3. imageMoving pictures with computer tools outside of Picasa
    If you want to move pictures from your computer to an external hard drive, *don’t* do it with Windows Explorer (or Mac Finder.)  If you do, your Albums in Picasa will be destroyed.  Remember, an album is a list of pointers to pictures in their folders.  If you move a folder’s location the album pointer needs to know about the change.  PIcasa makes it very easy to move folders and, when you do it with Picasa, it will update all the album information to follow the new locations.
  4. imageUsing Export instead of Save
    When you edit a picture, Picasa doesn’t change the actual picture.  Picasa remembers all your edits and displays the picture to you accordingly, but if you look at the picture outside of Picasa you won’t see any of the edits.  To make a picture outside of Picasa that looks like the edited version, many people use the Export command.  This creates an entirely new picture … now they have two!  If they had used the Save command instead, it would have applied the edits to the one existing photo.
  5. imageI don’t Need Backups because I use Picasa”
    This one truly surprises me, but I hear it over and over.  People have heard that Picasa includes Picasa Web Albums and, for some reason they think that it automatically puts all your pictures on the Web Albums.  No, No, No.  Picasa is software on your computer, PIcasa Web Albums is a free online photo-sharing website that is a companion to Picasa.  First of all, even if you do upload your pictures to Picasa Web Albums, I don’t consider that a backup.  Picasa Web Albums is a method to share your pictures with friends and family.  You still want your original safe on your computer and backed up to CD/DVD or external Hard Drive. Secondly, Picasa doesn’t do anything automatically … it’s good, but it’s not magic!  Picasa includes a command to ‘Backup Pictures’ … it’s very easy … USE IT!

Standard links for Geeks

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

 

Although Picasa is easy to use, it is SO important to understand how it works.  A little up-front time spent learning will save you so much time in the long run.  We have lots of resources to help:

Advertisements

Upgrading to Picasa 3.6

Yes, you heard right … there IS  a Picasa 3.6 now.  You can view all the notes about what has changed at Picasa 3 Readme from Google.  You can get here from your Picasa menu.  Just click Help and Online Readme, or Release Notes.

There’s no huge changes from 3.5.  The only real difference is the Import screen – you can now have it automatically import into a folder named with the date of the photos.

If you haven’t upgraded yet, watch this video to see how.

http://content.screencast.com/users/ChrisGuld/folders/Showme-Picasa/media/f75acdc6-ee1f-4f21-997a-4d746cc7f61e/pic330_update36_controller.swf

The best way to learn Picasa is with our book, “Beginner’s Guide to Picasa 3.” It includes  Show-Me-How videos.

More Help from Google on Picasa

Where do we (Geeks on Tour)  go when you all ask a question we can’t answer?   We go to the Google Picasa Support Forum.  This is where thousands of people ask their questions about Picasa.  If you have a question, odds are that someone else has had the same question and there are also people on that forum who give great answers – including some folks from Picasa.

In addition to the users’ forum, there are help articles on all the basic topics you need to know about Picasa.

Frequently Asked Questions

And, now there is a new addition – the Picasa Resources FAQ page. FAQs are just that – the questions that are asked most often in the forums and elsewhere.  If you’re just getting started with Picasa, I highly recommend reading thru the FAQs.  You might get some questions cleared up before you even realize you have the question.

The FAQ page is maintained by the people who answer the most questions in the forum – the ‘Top Contributors’ – and we’re proud to say that they see enough value in the Geeks on Tour videos to include a link to our site as well.  There is also a link to the Picasa YouTube channel.

Free Picasa Webinar

If you haven’t registered for the webinar yet – there’s still time. Here’s the link.  This free live webinar will happen tomorrow, November 13 starting at 10 am Pacific time.  That’s 11am Arizona time, 11am Mountain time, 12 noon Central time, and 1pm Eastern time.  Now that it’s over, you can watch the Youtube recording of the webinar.

If you can’t make it at that time, not to worry, it will be recorded and we will post the link here when it is ready.

Free Picasa Webinar by Google and Geeks on Tour

This Friday, November 13, you can watch a one hour Picasa Seminar on the Web.  Geeks on Tour will be in Mountain View, California to co-host this webinar with Google. 

You can check it out and register for the event by visiting the Picasa Help page. 

Here’s the Webinar description:

New to Picasa? Want to learn how to edit and organize your photos? The Picasa team, along with Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour, will be hosting a free webinar tailored to Picasa newcomers. You will learn quick and easy ways to crop, add effects, change the coloring and improve your photos. Following the demo there will be a Q&A portion hosted by the Picasa team and Geeks on Tour. Hope you can join us!

Register for the event

Picasa 3.5 Import Screen

The latest upgrade to Picasa came out on September 23. They’re calling it 3.5. The biggest change is in the ‘Import Photos’ screen. In the prior version, Import was on 2 screens; first you selected what you wanted to import (All, or Selected, Exclude duplicates or not) then the next screen asked where you wanted them – the folder specification. In Picasa 3.5 it’s all on one screen. So, you have to specify the target folder before you click ‘Import All’ or ‘Import Selected.’ (Tutorial Videos: Import from Camera)

Notice in the screenshot below the Import From, Exclude Duplicates and Progress note are in the upper left. Everything else is at the bottom. Your procedure, therefore, goes from top, to bottom – then left to right.

Picasa 3.5 Import

A couple things to notice:

  • Picasa creates a folder name for you with the current date (2009-10-05 above.) You don’t have to accept that – and you probably shouldn’t. You can delete 2009-10-05 and type anything there that you want. I usually put all pictures in a folder for the month, so I put 200910 in that place. In the older version, it would remember the folder name where I put the last imported batch of pictures – I could just select 200910 from a dropdown list. It doesn’t seem to do that anymore, but I can just type it in again and the pictures all go to the same place.
  • There is a new option to ‘Upload.’ This means that you can upload to your web albums at the same time that you import to your pictures on your computer. I would never do that, because I like to look at the pictures and do a little editing before uploading.

 

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Backup! Backup! Backup!

by Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour:

I sometimes feel like a broken record, telling people to backup their photos.  Just when I figure that *everyone* has the idea and I can rest, I read something like this post in the Picasa Help Group where someone lost 15,000 photos when their computer crashed.  !?#!!??@!!

How can anyone possibly collect that many pictures without at some point wondering, “What would happen if my computer crashed, or it got stolen, or it fell out of the car, or it burned up in a fire or … “

One of the biggest reasons that I recommend Picasa so highly is that it makes backups SO easy.  First, let me make sure we understand each other with the term ‘Backup.’  It means having a copy of your photos somewhere separate from your computer.  These are for emergency purposes.  I recommend using CD-Rs or DVD-Rs.  I buy the discs in bulk, they come 50 to a spindle.  I make a backup every month, of that month’s photos.  Then I put the backup discs on an old spindle and keep them in a cupboard.  I’ve been backing up photos and other important files this way for over 10 years.  I had occasion to look thru some of the older backup discs the other day, and the pictures were in perfect shape.

Here’s a step-by-step of how you might back up Pictures, using Picasa, for a whole year:

  1. Tools, Backup Pictures
  2. Click ‘New Set’ give it a name of 2009
  3. Check the box next to every folder of pictures in 2009 (that’s easy for me because I store all my pictures in folders by month)
  4. Picasa reports that I’ve selected 4,347 files and I’ll need 18 CDs or 3 DVDs.  I choose DVDs ( I use the DVD-R type)
  5. Put a DVD in the drive and click ‘Burn’
  6. Wait until it completes that DVD.  It will spit it out and display a message requesting the second DVD.  Then it repeats for the third.
  7. When it’s all completed, label the disks with a Sharpie marker then take the disks to another computer to test them.  There’s nothing worse than thinking you have good backups and finding out much later (when you need them) that they didn’t process correctly.  When you first put them in the drive, you should be prompted to do a Restore.  You don’t want to restore, you just want to look and see that the pictures are there, so cancel the restore prompt.  What you want to do is ‘Explore’ or ‘Open Folder to View Files.’  If you see that option, just choose it.  If not, you can go to My Computer and right click on the DVD drive, then choose Explore.  You should see a folder called $My Pictures. That’s where all your photos are. (Tutorial Videos:Backup your Photos to CD)

Do it!  Do it now!  Here’s a very short video I made a while back that goes thru the process:

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

 

Dark Photo? Use Fill Light

You will love the fill light slider. Pictures you thought you needed to throw away can be saved. When a photo is dark, just drag the fill light slider (right on the basic fixes tab) towards the right and it will fill it with light!(Tutorial Videos: Basic Edits)

image

Just drag the slider to the right and it will take you

From this:

image

To this:

image

or From this:
image
To this:
image

This tip is taken directly from the ‘Beginner’s Guide to Picasa .’

If your original is *really* dark, the fill-light effect will make the photo grainy, reducing the quality.  But, hey!  It can make the difference between a photo that you would just throw out, to one that is viewable!

From this:
fill-1
To this:
fill-2
This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

For Fun Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.