Picasa Tip: Using DropBox to get Pictures from your Smartphone

imageIf you’re like us, you find yourself taking more and more pictures with your smartphone instead of your normal camera.  That really messes up our procedures of getting the pictures from the camera to the computer and organizing them there.  How do we get the pictures from the smartphone to the computer?  If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch some past tutorial videos on how to transfer pictures by attaching a cable from the phone to the computer: Import Pictures with Android and Import pictures from an iPad/iPhone.  But now, there is an even easier option.

Dropbox, is the indispensible Cloud storage and synchronizing utility.  We’ve written about it several times, and mention it in almost every seminar since it’s our Dropbox folder where we store all our seminar materials!  Dropbox also has a special feature called “Camera Upload.”  It is nothing short of magic!  Now I take a picture on my phone and the next time I sit down at my computer, that picture is there in the Dropbox/Camera Upload folder.

Add More Dropbox Storage Space by Using Camera Uploads

The Free version of Dropbox starts you out with 2GB of storage space.  If you’re going to upload pictures from your smartphone to your Dropbox account, you’ll need more!  The folks at Dropbox realize this.  If you install the latest version of the Dropbox App on your Android or iPhone, you will earn up to 3GB in additional storage.  You will earn the additional storage for every 500MB that you actually use in Camera Uploads.  Once you’ve used it, you can delete the photos from your dropbox folder and you still have the extra storage available to you.

Steps to use the Camera Upload Feature

  1. dropbox-androidYou must already have a Dropbox account.  This means you have an account on www.Dropbox.com and you also have downloaded the app to your computer and have a Dropbox folder on your computer.
  2. Download and install the latest Dropbox App on your phone.  Get it from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or the Play Store on your Android phone or tablet.
  3. Make sure the Camera Upload option is turned on for the App on your mobile device.  Notice in the screen image at right that you have the option to allow the uploads only when your phone is connected to WiFi.  This means that it won’t use up the GB on your data plan.  It also means that the upload may not be instant.  If you want the upload instantly, and don’t mind using your cellular data plan, then choose the second option.

That’s it!  From now on, when you take a picture using your phone, it will automatically be uploaded to your Dropbox account online, AND synchronized with your dropbox folder on your computer.

We have such fun showing this in our seminars.  I feel like a magician.  I take a picture of someone in the front row of our seminar using my phone.  Then I immediately set the phone down, raising my hands in the air.  “Look Ma, No hands!”  While Jim is sitting at the computer, which is projected onto a big presentation screen, he opens the Dropbox Camera Upload folder and voila! the picture I just took is there.

Viewing the Camera Uploads with Picasa

The Camera Uploads folder on your computer, is within the Dropbox folder.  You can view it using Windows Explorer (or Macintosh Finder) just like any other folder.  I check it regularly and move the pictures from the Camera Uploads folder to a current folder in My Pictures.  This leaves the Camera Uploads folder empty for receiving new uploads, and Picasa will see the new pictures in My Pictures the next time you open Picasa.

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.

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Picasa Tip: Framing Photos

Doesn’t a frame make a normal photo look like a work of art?  Picasa 3.9 has several options for framing your photos, and you won’t believe how easy they are.  There are 5 new options that all relate to framing your photo.  They’re all on the last tab of Picasa’s editing tools.  So, just pick any picture and try clicking on these options. Just like all the other editing features, if you don’t like it, you can just click Undo.

frames

Here’s a picture I took in the Bahamas.  I’m just going to try each option in turn.

My picture with NO framing
DSCN1878
Vignette – one click
vignette
Border – one click
border
Drop Shadow – with all sliders at the extremes
dropshadow
Museum Matte – one clickmuseummatte Polaroid – one clickpolaroid

The real fun comes with combining the different framing features, and adjusting the options on them.  Notice that most of the samples above are the results of simply clicking once on the option specified.  But, let’s take the museum matte as an example, there are several options.  The museum matte puts two borders around your picture, inner and outer.  For each border you can specify it’s width and its color.  You can even pick up a color from the picture itself by simply clicking the spot with the color you want.

museumoptions museumX2

You can even add the museum matte a second time to have 4 borders!  I like to use the Vignette to start, then I use border and I increase the Corner Radius to the maximum to get the oval effect.  Lastly I add a museum matte or two in my specified colors.  Here’s the result:

DSCN1878

Way Cool?  or Too much?

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.

Want some hands on training?  If you’re near Bushnell, Florida at the end of April 2012, check out our Techno-Geek Learning Rally.

Do you take crooked photos?

by Chris Guld, www.Geeksontour.com

I’m always snapping photos out the window of a moving RV, and more often than not they come out looking like this one I snapped this summer as we crossed Lake Champlain into Vermont:

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It was such a pretty scene, but this picture is unusable because it’s so crooked (that big orange road marker doesn’t help either!)

Using PIcasa, just click on the straighten tool and you will get a grid of dotted lines and a slider at the bottom. Drag the slider left or right to change the angle of the picture. When the horizon lines up with the grid, click Apply.

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And, just a couple more clicks crops out the road marker and makes the sky bluer.

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Yes!  That’s more like the scene I saw.

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.

All the details of how to make your pictures look better with Picasa are included in the Geeks on Tour new booklet: Beginner’s Guide to Picasa  Check it out … it could make a great gift for all the amateur photographers on your list!

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

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)

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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.