Did you know we have over 200 Picasa tips on this PicasaGeeks.com website? This is where all of our Picasa Tip of the Week articles are – you can sign up for email notification by entering your information in the sign up form in the right sidebar of this page. Every once in a while I browse thru them and read a couple. Whenever I do, I say to myself, Wow! That’s a really good tip! So, this week, rather than writing a new tip, I’m giving you a list of 20 of my favorite tips. Most all of these tips take you beyond the basics of Picasa. Read thru a few of them and you’ll start to understand some of the power that exists in this free program. In no particular order, here are 20 of my favorite Picasa Tips:
- Picasa Tip: Slideshows with Music
Describes just how easy it is to play a slideshow of your pictures using Picasa. Also shows how to add music.
- Blue Skies with Graduated Tint
You can see a dramatic difference in your sky using this feature.
- Blurring Someone’s Face
Ever take a picture of someone who doesn’t want to be identified?
- Finding Pictures with Two People
Amazingly fast way to find a picture with two named people using Picasa’s face recognition feature.
- Forget about Picasa and Learn Files and Folders
An important reminder about the knowledge you need to successfully manage your photos.
- Making a Banner Picture
An example of using Picasa’s collage feature that you may not have considered.
- Personal History in a Face Movie
Probably THE coolest feature of Picasa!
- Picasa and a Cell Phone are Genealogist’s Tools
Even if you’re not a genealogist, this tip will help you preserve old photos.
- Picasa Tip: 4 Clicks to Dramatically Improve your Photos
Very simple techniques for much better pictures.
- Picasa Tip: Add a Watermark to your photos
How to add a copyright message to your pictures on the Web.
- Picasa Tip: HDRish = Super Sharpen
I use HDRish when a picture is too soft and needs some edges. Once you try it, you’ll find lots of uses.
- Picasa Tip: Make a Collage for your Facebook Cover Photo
Another great use for the Collage feature! The article includes a step-by-step tutorial video.
- Picasa Tip: Pick Text Color from Picture
Instructions on how to pick text color, or background color, directly from the picture itself.
- Picasa Tip: Screen Captures
PIcasa makes it incredibly easy to take screenshots on your computer.
- Using Picasa for Maps
An idea for using Picasa’s screen capture feature to capture maps.
- Picasa Tip: Using Search to Find your Pictures
If you’re not using the Search feature, you’re missing the power of Picasa!
- Quiz: Picasa and Your Picture Files
10 multiple choice questions to test your knowledge.
- Scan 4 Pictures in One Pass, then Separate with Export
A good example of using crop and export to create multiple pictures from one original.
- Pictures at Your Fingertips with Google+ Photos
How to see all your pictures using your smartphone or tablet in addition to your computer.
- Captions or Text on Pictures?
I say a feature is “my favorite feature” a lot but I think Captions really IS my favorite feature of Picasa!
There’s lots, lots more! Check out the page that lists ALL our Picasa tips in alphabetical order.
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.
- 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.
- Create 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.
- Moving 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.
- Using 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.
- “I 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!
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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: