Looking for Picasa Help? Keeping your pictures safe and sound in the age of digital photography is no easy task -- and, for most people, this requires help from a good software program such as Picasa. Available via download from the web search engine Google, Picasa provides a myriad of tools for organizing, editing and sharing your home snapshots. It's true that this calls for amateur photographers to develop computing skills that were not necessary in film photography. So here's an overview of Picasa to help you navigate the free application.
To use Picasa, you'll need:
- Personal computer running either Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7 operating systems or Apple Mac OS X 10.5 and with 256 MB of RAM.
- 100 megabytes of free hard-drive space
- 256 megabytes of free RAM (random access memory.)
- Internet service (for download)
- The basics. Picasa is an organizational and editing tool - it does not provide storage capabilities. Upon opening Picasa, the program will inventory all of the folders on your hard drive and then display the images, in the way you want them displayed. Importantly, Picasa also preserves your images in original form. In other words, all the edits you make are viewable only in Picasa; if you want to save the edited images, the program will give you the opportunity to do so. Even then, Picasa saves a copy - it does not write over the original image, a great help if you make a mistake.
- First things first. Assuming you already have Picasa on your computer, the first step for you is to add photos - either from folders already on your computer or as imports from your digital camera. You do this initially in the TOOLS > FOLDER MANAGER menu, which enables you to choose or "unchoose" which folders Picasa will root through to find pictures. Picasa also allows you to expand or contract the file types that display - click on either TOOLS then OPTIONS in PC or PICASA then PREFERENCES in Mac. This is for dealing with existing images.
- Newcomers to the party. Of course, Picasa as a tool will also help you organize and track your newest photos, directly from your camera, or from other digital sources -- even webcams. The basic tool to help you do this in Picasa is the IMPORT menu. Follow the prompts to instruct Picasa where to import photos from and where to deliver them to.
- Putting photos in order. Picasa offers three ways to work with photos, and it's important to understand the basic distinctions. There are folders -- but these represent the folders you have already created on your own computer. For instance, if you create a "Christmas photographs" folder on your PC, it will appear in Picasa. Working within folders in Picasa is like working within folders on your computer -- in other words, if you delete an image in a Picasa folder, it's also deleted on your computer. The other two ways of working with photos are specific to Picasa -- albums and people.
- A word about people. Picasa has a very unique feature. The program uses facial recognition to find and group similar faces from your photographs. If you add nametags to these groups, then you are creating new people albums. You can then search for those tags and see all pictures of a specific person or persons in your collection.
- Editing. Picasa helps improve your photos by offering three types of possible improvements. They are: basic fixes, tuning and effects. Effects are the most fun to use, enabling you to sharpen, convert to sepia and more.