Digital Photo Management for Dummies

Digital cameras – they are everywhere. Inexpensive, easy to use and a great thing to show off also at times. cool! it’s not very uncommon to see people using their equipment to go clickety click and capture all that makes sense to them. But what happens once they go home? do the photos get shared with friends and relatives? are they printed or even plain admired at?

Most of the camera users around me are very active for about 2-3 months after the purchase of the camera then the craze dies out and photos don’t make it past the memory cards. This is a small tutorial for all such people.

Agreed, digital cameras although easy to use; management of digital photos ain’t that easy. Earlier it was easy – you loaded the camera with a roll, clicked it all and put in the roll for development. Most often all 36 photos got developed perfectly and you made an album to share with all at the next dinner party.

This little guide will not only help you to manage your digital photo collection better but also tell you a bit on what more you can do with your photos and make them more exciting. Because man is continuous learning process I shall update this post whenever something interesting can be added here. So keep checking.

First off, a few basic tips on how to handle digital photos:

  1. Digital cameras make it easy for you to click a lot of photos. Once on the computer select which photos you want to keep and which you want to discard. Save space, you’re going to need it later.
  2. Not everyone needs to have your photos in print quality size, so downsize them before sharing [More on this later].
  3. Share your photos. It’s no use if your photos are going to be stuck in your machine. If you’re telling people you had a great birthday party atleast show them the cake you had.

Your basic photo tool: If you are going to play around with images, you surely can’t do without this tool – Irfanview. Makes image re-sizing, cropping etc a jiffy. A light-weight, freeware program every user should load onto their machine. Remember when you import photos from the cameras most often they will be high-quality images which make they heavy in size. These heavy images can take a lot of time to get uploaded and be shared via email. So next time re-size the image before you put them online for others to see.

Manage your photos better: Importing photos into the computer ain’t enough, you should be able to sort them and even label them correct so that they make sense when you look at them a few years later. Besides if you are an active photographer just putting photos into folder is not going to be enough. You would want to do a lot more. Picasa2 should help you do just that. Another great tool from the same people who got you the very loved and popular search engine Google.

  • Web Album lets you easily share photos online. You will need a GMAIL account for this feature.
  • Email is a very useful feature where you can easily attach photos from within Picassa2 and send it via email. You can even set the size of photos which should be used to send out the email. Not everyone needs to see print quality images.
  • Printing photos from Picasa2 is very easy and it gives a lot many options.
  • Order prints is possible but I think it’s only via a few suppliers. Check if your country is listed.
  • BlogThis! – do you have a blog online? then you can put the photos directly there
  • Collage – interesting tool to experiment
  • Export – into a folder onto your hard disk

Another great feature available in Picasa is basic photo tuning for color, contrast and other few tweaks. Check the panel tools to see if your photo can be improvised.

If you want to play around with the color tones check “Effects” for sepia and other interesting effects.

Picasa also makes exporting photos onto a CD very easy and provides for a nice slideshow feature. Great to make Gift CDs and send it out to friends and relatives.

Putting your photos online: The Internet has made photo sharing a lot more easy. You could always email out photos to friends but there is a better way to show them all. Just upload the photos to a common site like flickr and give them the website address where everyone can see them. There are a lot many photo sharing websites but my personal favourite if flickr.

flickr lets you leave notes on photos so that when users move their mouse around the photo the comments pop up.

See original image here

You can leave a description with every photo. flickr has two levels of photo viewing. One where everyone gets to see your photos. Second level lets only friends and family members whom you allow to see the photos.

You can put photos into groups started by other members to see what they think about your photo and you too can see similar photos there to know more about the subject you just shot. Uploading photos to flickr is easy and there are multiple tools for you to choose.

If you want to be inspired and see what others are sharing at flickr head over to something called the “flickr interestingness“.

Excited? Want to start using flickr? Here is a Newbies Guide to get you going.

Do more with photos: The power of digital photos is that you can do a lot more with them – here are few interesting places which will help you add bells and whistles to your photos making them a lot more fun to share with others.

  • Photo flipbook – this one’s my favourite but I am yet to make one out of my photo collection. Take a look at George Lange’s 2006 photo flipbook to get more ideas.
  • Comeeko – Use your photos and tell a story, share a joke just the way it happened. Comeeko lets you create comic strips from your photos.

More links for you to enhance your photography experience: Flickr Blog, Photojojo, Digital Photography School

[I shall make an effort to continuously add more tools and sites as I go along, so please share your personal favourites and I’ll add them here with a credit.]

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One thought on “Digital Photo Management for Dummies

  1. Dear Kapil,

    interesting point you are making here.

    At KoffeeWare, we think that simplicity is an important part of the digital photography experience. With this in mind, we’ve put up our KoffeePhoto free and unlimited photo sharing solution. The solution combines a local software for great ease of use and free web pages for universal access. Pictures can also be viewed using streamed slideshows on both computers or mobile phones or using widgets on personalized home pages.



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