Picasa Collages–Learning with Geeks on Tour

We’re really excited about using Google Hangouts On Air to deliver live webinars thru Youtube.  Our next webinar is:

  • Topic: Making Photo Collages with Picasa
  • When: Thursday, December 19, 2pm EST (Miami time)
  • How Long: 30 – 45 minutes
  • How to Register: Enter your name and email on this registration page.
  • How to View: After you register you will receive reminders with a link to go to when it’s time to view the live webinar.  You will be directed to a simple web page, nothing to download, no special equipment or software needed.  If you can watch and hear Youtube videos, you can watch and hear this webinar.
  • What if you miss it?  The live hangout is free to the public.  It will be recorded and the recording will be available below.

We use Picasa Collages nearly every day.  It’s so easy, yet so powerful!  Whenever you have more than one picture you’d like to print or share, you could consider putting them together into one collage.  The basics are quite simple, just select all the pictures you want to use, then click the Create menu and Picture Collage… command.  If you have the Collage button at the bottom of your screen, that is the same thing.  Now you have lots of options.  Most people don’t experiment beyond the “Picture Pile” default, but Mosaic, Frame Mosaic, and even Multiple Exposure give you many interesting styles to explore.  Add to that the ability to use borders, colors, backgrounds, page formats, captions, and you start to see the power available.  You can see more examples of collages we’ve made.



In fact, the informational image above was created using the Collage feature.  It’s a collage of collages if you will!  We’ve already made several videos on how to use the Collage feature. You need to be a Geeks on Tour member to view the Shortcourse on Collages and Banners.  If you are a member but don’t know your username, please contact us.  If you’re not a member, you can join now!

We also have several free articles on collages on our PicasaGeeks.com website.

We hope you can join us for our free, live webinar on Thursday, but in any case … Make Some Collages!


Webinar on Holiday Cards with Picasa and Send Out Cards

Do you wish you knew how to take some of those great pictures you have and make Holiday cards with them?  You can do that with Picasa and the File->Order Prints command.  And, if you want to have a service that will customize your beautiful cards with individual messages, AND mail them out for you – then you need to look into Send Out Cards.

Here at Geeks on Tour, we’ve been wanting to teach online in the Webinar format, but we’ve been waiting for the perfect tool (i.e. free!) to do it.  We think we’ve found that with Google+ Hangouts On Air.  We did a live webinar last week and now, we can share the recording with you.  It’s about an hour long.  If you just want to read a synopsis, we wrote up some quick notes in this forum post.


Our next live Webinar is on creating Picasa Collages.  You can register for the live event here.

Picasa Tip: Emailing Pictures – Don’t Make it Difficult

Picasa's Email button

I’ve heard of people going to great lengths to prepare and email a picture.  First they (1) edit it and save the changes, then they (2)export it to get a smaller size, then they (3) open their email program and use the attach feature, having to (4) hunt thru their folders to find the exported picture(s) to attach.  Finally, they write their email, address it and send it.


Picasa has an Email Button!

One click of the email button takes care of all 4 steps mentioned above.  Take a look down at the bottom of PIcasa’s screen and you’ll see the Email button.  All you have to do is select the picture(s) you want to email, click the email button, then compose your email and send it.  In the image above, you should see 4 pictures in the selection tray.  When you click the Email button all 4 images will be sent in their edited form and resized according to your settings.  What settings?  The ones you’ll find at Tools->Options->Email (Windows) and Picasa->Preferences->Email (Mac.)

Picasa Email preferences


Picasa is not an Email Program

When you use Picasa’s email button, it opens the email program you specify.  Either the default email program that is installed on your computer, or Gmail.  We recommend Gmail, since both Picasa and Gmail are Google products, they work together very well.  If you prefer not to use an @gmail.com address, you can set Gmail to ‘Send mail as’ another address.  If you want to use your computer’s email program and it’s not coming up automatically, here’s the Official Picasa Help on setting up your default email program.

Don’t Email … Share

Last, but not least, we recommend that you not email pictures at all!  If you send me 20 pictures of your latest vacation via email, what am I supposed to do with them?  I’d rather you sent me a link to where I can view them online any time I want without them filling up my Inbox.  So, use the Share button to upload to Picasa Web Albums or Google+, or Export to your Dropbox/Photos if you have a Dropbox account.

For our Geeks on Tour members, we have some videos you should watch:

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 using your smartphone, 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.

Picasa Tip: Keeping Slideshow Pictures in Order

make-movieOne of the most often-asked and troublesome questions we get is “How do I keep my pictures in the order I want?”  You see, although you can drag pictures around into any order you please, it only takes one click on ‘Sort By Date’ or ‘Sort By Name’ to lose all that manual sorting work you just did.  And, if you use the Gift CD feature, the pictures will be shown in filename order on the Gift CD, not your manual order. In a previous article, we wrote instructions on how to rename your photos while they are in the order you want.  Then, any time they are sorted by name, everything is cool.  But, what if you don’t want to rename them?

We’ve written several articles on the topic of sorting and slideshows:

Why not Make a Movie?!

Your first step needs to be selecting the group of pictures you want to show.  Once the group has been identified, and shown as an album, then you can play a slide show, or use the command Create->Gift CD.  But, there is another choice.  Right below Gift CD is Movie.  You can create a movie from a selection of pictures – they don’t even need to be in an Album.  Once you click Movie, you’ll see a screen like the picture above.  Notice all the pictures are on a timeline at the bottom.  You can drag pictures into any order your heart desires.  When the movie is rendered you will have one file, a .wmv file (windows) or .mov (Mac) that will play on anyone’s computer and the pictures order cannot be changed.  For more information on Picasa’s Movie Making function, see this past article: Picasa Tip: Make a Movie

Putting your Movie on a DVD

Once you have a completed movie file, you can use DVDMaker on windows to burn the movie onto a DVD that can be played on any DVD player.  See this past article on DVD of Pictures that plays on your TV. On Macintosh, iDVD used to be the free, included app akin to DVDMaker.  It is no longer available.  If you have it already, it still works fine.  Here’s what MacMost (a Macintosh resource I trust) has to say about alternatives to iDVD.

Geeks on Tour Member Videos

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, using Smartphones, 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.

Picasa Tip: Are You Using Google+ Yet?

Change is hard. Those of us who have been using Picasa Web Albums for years, to share our pictures on the web, didn’t like that Google is changing to Google+ Photos and leaving Picasa Web Albums (PWA) behind.  At first, the Google+ picture display fanned out your pictures in each album like cards fanned out in your hand.  I found that to be annoying.  They don’t do that anymore. There were several features in Picasa Web Albums  that were initially missing from Google+, like slideshows, and downloading albums.  Google+ is catching up, those 2 missing features are there now.  For the few features that are still missing, it’s easy to go to Picasa Web Albums and use them there.  What I really love about Google+ Photos now is the way it displays my pictures. It fills the screen with just my photos.  And it automatically enhances them.  Once in a while, I go to Picasa Web Albums and the display makes my pictures look old and plain by comparison.    Here’s a sample of the pictures from my most recent album – shown with Google+ Photos.

google photos

Reasons to Join Google Plus for your Photos

I’m not saying that the confusion is gone.  There’s still a lot to learn when it comes to sharing with Google+, but you can still just share with a link like we’ve always done with PWA.  See this past article on What Happened to Picasa Web Albums.  But, if you tried it before and didn’t like how it handled your pictures, it’s time to give it a second chance. Whenever you log in to your Google account, you probably see this screen (below) where you can join Google+.  Just make sure your name is correct, add your gender, and birthday and you now have Google+ as part of your Google account.  If you should decide you don’t like it, you can always remove the Google+ info from your profile – just make sure you don’t remove your whole account. 

google join

That’s it.  Now, when you upload from Picasa on your computer – you will see them online using Google+.  Here’s Google’s official page explaining Picasa Web Albums and Google+.  Here are the reasons I like using Google+ Photos:

  1. Unlimited free online photo storage if you agree to limit your uploaded photos to 2048 pixels.  That’s plenty big enough for sharing online, or even printing, and the resizing is handled automatically by Picasa on your computer.
  2. Automatic uploading of pictures from your phone or tablet and stored privately online for free.  Just install the Google+ app on your phone or tablet.
  3. Ability to share with ‘circles’ of friends, in addition to the existing public, or private sharing.  You can still share with link.
  4. Beautiful display of your pictures, including auto-enhancing (you can turn this off if you don’t like it – I love it.)
  5. Photo editing, organizing, displaying, and sharing procedures are getting better all the time since Google is putting their efforts into the Google+ product and not Picasa Web Albums
  6. Why not use Google+?  Picasa Web Albums is still there, just use the link: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 and you’ll be seeing the same albums using the Picasa Web Albums interface.

Try Searching

You can do this with Picasa Web Albums as well, but it’s just nowhere near as obvious as in Google+ Photos.  In Picasa Web Albums, when you search for ‘beach’ the default is to search all the public photos anywhere on Picasa Web Albums.  In Google+ photos, the default is to search your own photo library.  It picks up the word ‘beach’ in captions, tags, or album titles, just like Picasa on your computer.  In the sample below, these beach pictures come from Oregon, Florida and Mexico – all from my Web Albums. 

google PhotoSearch

What about You?

Do you use Google+ Photos now?  Are you avoiding it? 

Printing Pictures with Picasa

I don’t print.  We live in an RV – there’s no place to put printed photo albums!  I love being able to share my pictures by uploading them to Picasa Web Albums / Google+.  (see Member Tutorial Video: Intro to Web Albums)  But that’s me.  I know that some people still like to have prints.  And, I have been known to print some pictures for my Mom to have.   

Printing to Your Own Printer

Just select the picture (or pictures) you want to print and click the Print button at the bottom of Picasa’s screen (see Member Tutorial Video Printing).  You will have options for print size, Shrink to Fit, printing captions on borders, printer setup options, and number of copies.  For a quick way to get something printed, this works great, but keep reading and I’ll tell you a much better way to print your pictures.

Let the Pros do the Printing

You will get much better results if you use commercially available photo-printing services like Walgreens, Walmart, Shutterfly, or CVS.  Many people know that already and they export their photos to a USB thumb drive and take them to the store for processing.  Oh no!  It’s so much easier than that!  Picasa will upload your pictures (the edited version) directly to Walgreens, Walmart, Shutterfly, and more.  Then you can go pick up the finished prints in an hour!  Or you can have them mailed to you – or whoever you want to get them.

Here’s how:  Just select the pictures you want to print and click the ‘Shop’ button at the bottom. 

What’s that you say?  You don’t see a Shop button?  The same command is available on the File menu, Order Prints …


Choose the provider you want to use – e.g. Walgreens, then you will need to log in or create an account at that provider.  It’s free to create the account.  Once you’ve logged in Picasa will upload the full size picture to Walgreen’s in your account.  When the upload is finished you will be taken to Walgreens website and you’ll see the pictures in your account.  Now you need to learn to navigate their website.  You should see buttons to order prints and select the size you want.  Often the price is less than 10 cents per print!  I’ll bet your printer’s ink would cost you more than that!  And you get professional photo paper and process. 

You will need to pay for whatever you ordered using a credit card, then select whether you will pick them up or enter a mailing address for the prints to be sent.  I have done this several times ordering prints for my Mom to see and having them mailed directly to her.  I’ve even ordered framed photos, coffee mugs, mouse pads and tshirts using Picasa’s ‘Shop’ feature. 

Have Fun!

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.

Picasa Tip: Google+ Photos Automatically Uploads Pictures from your Phone

InstantUploadI take lots of pictures with my Android smartphone.  But, then what?  They’re just on my smartphone right?  In my case they are also in the cloud – in a private album called Instant Upload on Google+.  The Instant Upload album is also viewable thru Picasa Web Albums.  Google+ Instant Upload is available for Android and iPhone – or other iOS devices.

So, if I take a bunch of pictures with my smartphone, later in the day when I’m at my computer I will be able to view them by going to Google+ and opening the Photo Album called Instant Upload.  I gotta admit, the first time this happened it was a little freaky.  How did those get there?  So, I looked into it a bit and realized that I had recently installed the Google+ App on my phone, and Instantly Upload photos is a default setting.

Unlimited Storage on Google+ Photos

When Google+ does the uploading, it resizes the picture to a maximum of 2048 pixels on the longest side.  So the picture of our dog, Odie above is 2048X1155 pixels and takes up 1133KB of space.  I use my pictures primarily on web pages, and I think 1024pixels is plenty big, so the 2048 limitation imposed by Google+ is just fine with me.  The picture that still is stored on my phone is 3264 pixels on its longest side and takes up 3.25MB of space.  As long as you accept the default size that Google+ imposes, you have unlimited storage space for your photos!  For Free!

For Geeks on Tour Members, here are some tutorial videos that discuss sizing of pictures, see Explanation of Sizing Pictures, Exporting Pictures for Use in Another Program, Resizing a Batch of Pictures, and Resizing Pictures to Width and Height

How to Start

If you want this feature, first you need to be a member of Google+.  If you have a Google account, you almost there, just go to www.plus.google.com and find the blue ‘Upgrade’ button.  This will upgrade your Google account to a Google Plus account.  Be aware that you are joining a social network – kind of like Facebook.  (see member tutorial videos: Picasa 3.9 and Google Plus Sharing, and Removing Google Plus if you Don’t Like it)

googleplus-playNext, you need to download the Google+ App to your phone.  go to your Google Play Store on your phone and search for Google Plus, then click Install. It’s free.

Third, and last, check the settings on your Google Plus App to be sure they match what you want.  For example, if you have a limited data plan on your phone, you may want your photos to be uploaded ONLY when you are connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot – that’s a setting.  OR, in my case, I have unlimited data, so I don’t mind the upload taking place when I’m using my Verizon data, but I don’t want to drain my battery any more than necessary, so I set the setting for Battery to only upload pictures when the phone is plugged into a  charger.  With the Google+ app opened, just touch the menu button on your phone, then Settings, and you’ll see all the options.

From now on all the pictures you take on your phone will automagically be uploaded to your Google+ Photos, in the private album called Instant Uploads.  Then, if you want, you can download them to your computer!  (see tutorial video: Import Pictures from an Android Smartphone – to see how to get pictures directly from your phone to your computer.)

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.