Organizing, sharing, and managing digital pictures

“Susan, what’s the best way for me to store, manage, and share personal photos I get by email, CD, or one of those little stick thingies?

Picasa!

Picasa is another free tool by Google and a really great option for hobby photo enthusiasts.  For those of you who know me, I’m all about finding solutions that work, that are practical, inexpensive, and easy to use. Picasa fits those criteria in a heartbeat!

I’ve been using Picasa now since it debuted in 2004, on both PCs and Macs, and I have used it with Sony, Canon, and Kodak digital cameras.  And even though I’ve tried many other digital imaging programs – you know, the ones that come with each digital camera and seem to gobble up hard drive space and computer memory? – I keep coming back to Picasa.  iPhoto ranks a close second in my book but I still prefer Picasa.

Why? Picasa is simple and intuitive to learn (even for a novice computer user). The footprint is small, and the software works reliably on both PC and Mac computers. I like it because Picasa does what I need it to do and Picasa doesn’t introduce unnecessary functionality that adds more work to my already busy life. Picasa recognizes when my digital camera (or a friend’s) is connected to my computer, it imports photos quickly, and I have many quick options for sharing the photos with others.

Picasa’s feature that ranks near the top for me is its free private, secure web storage space for photos. Currently Picasa offers 1 GB of free online photo storage. Currently I have 63 photo albums online (private to me until I decide when and how to share), with an average of 10 photos per album, and still I am only at 34% of my 1 GB (free) allowance….since 2004!

To upload a photo, all I need to do is tell Picasa which photos are my favourites, select them, and then click on the upload button. Is that a total of 3 steps?! Very user friendly! Couple that online web storage functionality with your own monthly photo backup to an external hard drive and you will have all your favourite photos securely backed up in two places. Built-in redundancy – smart!

There’s so much that I can do with Picasa quickly and easily that organizing my photos is no longer the multi hour chore that it seemed when I used other programs. Picasa offers decent photo retouching tools – cropping, fixing red eye, straightening the photo, or adjusting the lighting. When you improve the photo, Picasa even asks you whether you want to save your original. Cool!

Other easy to use features that I love include adding captions, emailing photos in one step that are properly resized for optimal email transfer, exporting videos, linking to my online web albums via email or a link on a web site, or even posting to Facebook! Try Picasa out and let me know what you think.