A lot of people have photos stored in folders on their storage drives, so it makes sense that if you’ve never used a photo manager before, they can seem a little daunting as far as understanding how they interact with your photos already being stored on your computer.
In this Q&A style tutorial video, I answer a question I received from a reader of Scan Your Entire life on how Picasa fundamentally works to select which photos on your internal or external storage drives are used inside of the application.
Basically, I feel what’s in this video is the most important thing to understand in order to get the most out of Picasa.
Entering photo captions inside a photo managing application can be a very liberating experience. These programs make it so easy to keep track of your photos’ captions — basically the information you or one of your family members may have taken the time to write on the back of your prints that explains if nothing else, what and who is in the photo you’re holding.
But, once your photos are being viewed outside of your favorite photo manager, how do you then see and possibly even edit this same caption information?
This is a question I get asked a lot, and in the video below, I answer Sylvia who specifically wants to know how she can view the caption information she entered in using Google’s Picasa photo manager while using a Windows PC.
In June of 2014, we all learned that Apple had been building a whole new photo managing program called Photos for Mac OS X. Later in the same month, Apple dropped a bomb and declared they were also ceasing future development of both of their current applications — iPhoto and Aperture.
Apple did however say they would update iPhoto and Aperture to run indefinitely with Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite. So, as long as you are willing to run 10.10, you could in theory use iPhoto or Aperture for as long as your heart’s content.
For the rest of us, we were left sitting there last year, befuddled, with the assumption that Apple must intend for us to eventually move our previous photo libraries over to their new Photos application when it’s released sometime “next spring.”
This is a cool way to add captions to your scanned photos without having to rely on embedded metadata. In other words, this way would allow you to have the written caption as a part of the JPEG or TIFF file itself. The main advantage to this idea is not losing your captions over the years (possibly even centuries) should an application “accidentally” delete or write over the metadata contents.
Programs change, data conversion can get lost — this way your caption is part of the photo itself and thus your written information for your photos shouldn’t be lost (the only way this could happen would be to crop it off from the photo). So years from now, people will know who or what is in your photo, and/or any other tidbit you might want to include.
Choosing an appropriate file name for the photos in our digital photo collection is something we all have to deal with. And not being able to come up with a consistent system that we are happy with turns out to be one of the biggest reasons we put off starting the entire project.
To help you get past this hurdle, I created a 3-part post series called “What Everybody Ought to Know When Naming Your Scanned Photos” that walks you through the system I came up with and use to name my own photos.
Dan Keiper had already been working his own naming method when he came upon my 3-part series. After a bit of thought, he wrote me to see if he should make changes to what he had already been doing, and to seek answers to further questions that he had.
Maria Ricossa from Toronto, Ontario, Canada wrote to me with the following question:
“Hi Curtis, I have recently purchased a new camera and vowed to be better organized in the photo storage and processing department. A couple questions:
1) Someone told me I should not store my albums in iPhoto but should create picture files elsewhere on my computer. What would you suggest?
2) I am currently using Photoshop Elements to process my photos. Do you have any thoughts on Lightroom as opposed to PE?
Thanks. I look forward to reading your newsletters.” ~ Maria Ricossa.
Photos are the driving force behind the story told in most albums—no photo, no story. But should it be that way?
I want to help you tell a lifestory in your scrapbooks using the events and relationships of your life, not the photos you happen to have on hand, as your primary organizing element. This ordering principle, more than any other, will help you make meaningful lifestory photo albums using photos, captions, and cameo narratives.
It’s very likely there are a bunch of photos in your iPhoto collections that are displaying the incorrect date and time when the photos were taken.
And this isn’t just a problem when your photos won’t sort chronologically. This will also be an issue for you every time you create a new Event or album inside of iPhoto and it constantly tries to identify them using the wrong date.
Maybe the date and time weren’t set correctly in your digital camera before you took these photos. Or it’s possible you scanned a bunch of prints or film negatives and they are still reflecting the dates and times when you actually scanned them.
If you’re a photo enthusiast who uses, or has even thought about using both Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom, you might want to at least consider this deal that Adobe is still offering — but not for long!
For $9.99 a month, when you sign up a one-year plan, you will have ongoing access to the latest versions of both Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) and Lightroom (currently version 5) via their new Creative Cloud subscription model. This is not an introductory price.
But don’t spend too long deciding if this is right for you — this deal is only being honored until December 31, 2013.
Honestly, I’m thinking about signing up for this.
It’s very likely there are a bunch of photos in your Picasa photo collection that are displaying the incorrect date and time when the photos were actually taken.
And this isn’t just a problem when your photos won’t sort chronologically, this will also be an issue for you every time you create a new folder or album and it constantly tries to use the wrong date.
Maybe the date and time weren’t set correctly in your digital camera before you took these photos. Or it’s possible you scanned a bunch of paper prints or film negatives and the dates are still incorrectly reflecting the date you did the scanning.
Either way, you’ll be happy to know as of version 3.5 of Picasa (changelog), you now have the ability to easily correct the date and time of your pictures and videos using the following steps.
iPhoto is so good at protecting your precious photos, that in those very rare times when something actually does go wrong, it’s hard not to just freak out and think you really have lost all of your photos!
Luckily in situations like this, you are able to recall some clues that could make you realize your photos are actually still on your computer. It’s just that you can’t figure out how to get them to show up again in iPhoto.
This is exactly what happened to Abdullah and his iPhoto collection.
Did you ever notice those little 2-digit numbers printed at the top of your 35mm slides?
I have to keep in mind some of you reading this may have never even touched a roll of film in your life!
It’s scary for guys like me to think that’s even possible, but it really is since we live in a time when digital cameras have been affordable since about 2000.
For the uninitiated, [cough] when you shot pictures that would be developed as those little plastic or cardboard slides you later projected onto a large screen for family viewings, you used a special roll of film in your camera.
One of the choices you had to make when picking out a box of film was how many exposures you wanted.
If you’re an iPhoto user, have you ever wondered to yourself where your original photo files are actually stored on your computer?
I mean, you know they’re stuffed in there somewhere. You just honestly haven’t really seen them with your own eyes in a long time.
I can’t think of anything that should be more important to an iPhoto user than knowing where they are really saved.
In fact, it’s so important that I decided to put together a nice little tutorial video explaining these basics.
This is the foundation of how iPhoto works.
Q&A: A couple of years ago, I started organizing my digital photos the way you showed in your naming scanned photos post, instead of by subject, etc.
I’m just now starting to archive all the photos my Mom has. As we are taking them out of the albums (which, by the way, I hate those old “magnetic” albums–the photos stick to the pages), she is telling me who is in the pictures, etc.
Most of the ones we are doing now are the real old ones–her family photos and my Dad’s family photos. Some are dated and/or have captions to help identify them, but several don’t.
The problem is she can’t always narrow down the date enough to come up with a year. So that’s causing me to have a lot of photos with ’19xx-xx-xx’ as the date. There aren’t really any other family members who will know the answer so I doubt if the dates will ever be completed.
Any suggestions as to how to handle situations like this so I don’t have a long list of ’19xx’ photos?
Whether you keep all of your scanned master (original) image files in folders on a hard drive, or you allow an image manager like Picasa, iPhoto or Aperture to manage them inside a library file, you will still be required to give each photo a filename.
It could be as simple and non-descriptive as “photo-1.jpg” or maybe even simple yet somewhat descriptive like “mom at the beach 1984.tif”.
But, it’s actually a very important part of the process of scanning photos, that if done with a little bit of forethought, can save you a lot of time and headache later.
A reader writes, “Hi, Firstly, thank you for your tips about adding descriptions in your post ‘The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos.’ I tried what you suggested with iPhoto (’11), but the description was not exported to Preview and it wasn’t included in emailed photos.”
Hey Carol, thanks for your comment! And you know I bet there are a lot of people having this problem, so let me try and shed some light on this.
You bring up a shortcoming that I think iPhoto has — well really, a lot of the image managers and photo editors. I mean Apple makes it so easy to change the titles (names) of your photos and add descriptions (captions) to them, but it seems anytime you want to do something with these titles and descriptions, well… you can’t.
The problem is iPhoto and a lot of photo managers appear to be a little stingy with the information you type into them. It almost seems like they are afraid that at any moment, you are going to consider jumping ship and leave them for a different photo manager, so they make it harder than it should be for you to get all of your hard work out from it.
The good news is there are ways to get your photos and descriptions out, you just have to do it in the few ways iPhoto allows you to. It’s basically the equivalent of as asking, “pretty please?”
Ah, there’s nothing quite like reading a great caption to go along with a special photograph. Sometimes they’re so effective, they just seal the emotional experience of being there—as if you were right there when that photograph was taken—even if you weren’t!
I think it’s so important that you record these “priceless” descriptions as soon as you can. Some of us might think we can remember all of the details. But face it, you probably won’t be able to. They’re fleeting. And even if you could, you and your memory aren’t going to be on this earth forever.
With prints, it was easy to record this information by writing the stories by hand on the back. But, now that we are wishing to move our prints, slides and negatives to a digital form in our computer, how do we easily add this information so that it can live with each master image file?
Sometimes your scanned or digital camera photo collection is just so massive it takes over your entire hard drive. Maybe even to the point where it’s now completely full!
If you don’t want to replace your current hard drive with a larger one, moving your photo collection to an emptier hard drive is always another option.
This 4-minute video tutorial will show you the secret trick how to safely move your iPhoto libary to another hard drive. Do it wrong and you might accidentally ruin your entire collection.
It was seriously a life changing day when I discovered the magic of a “non-destructive” photo managing program.
With “non-destructive” editing, all of the edits (enhancements) you make to your photographs are managed by the program itself. Your original photo remains untouched. It’s like having a guardian angel that protects your master images at all costs. It’s brilliant and is 100% absolutely indispensable to me now.