Picasa comprises two components, including both desktop and web album programs that manage images on your computer and web albums that can only be accessed with your password – providing only access to those intended.
Edits are non-destructive, leaving a photo’s original unaffected. When saving new versions of photos, they receive different file names but remain stored at their original locations on your hard drive.
Organize Your Photos
Picasa quickly catalogs every folder on your hard drive containing pictures and displays them chronologically on the left side of its screen. Pictures within each folder are presented in a picture tray at the bottom. To keep an eye on an individual photo, click its star button within its picture tray – this will make it stand out among your other photos and later, move starred ones from folder to folder or album (more about that below).
Once your pictures have been uploaded to Picasa, it’s easy to organize them using Albums and search features of the software. Albums are collections of pictures from multiple folders that can be accessed for viewing, printing or sharing; Picasa even provides People Tags that allows face recognition technology to find images of similar subjects together.
Folder View provides an easy way to browse your images either in flat folder format or tree-view, switching between these modes by simply clicking on its icon in Picasa toolbar.
Renaming individual files is another effective way of organizing photos with Picasa, and this process can be accomplished easily in bulk. Simply locate the folder containing your photos you’d like to rename; select each photo individually by clicking them or using Shift key; once selected click File then Rename then type your new name for them and hit Save.
Once your pictures have been assembled into an album, they can easily be shared with friends and family. You can embed an album by selecting “Embed This Album” in the album menu and copying and pasting its HTML code into your web site.
Create a label by selecting File > New Label from the menu bar or pressing Ctrl+N. In the dialog box that appears, name your label, select an application date for all images in its scope, and enter any caption text you may require. Your new label will appear in Folder List but does not correspond directly with physical folders on your hard drive.
Print Your Photos
Picasa allows you to print photos directly from either your computer or photo printer, automatically cropping or shrinking them to fit on the printed page. A variety of print layout options are presented on the left side of your screen for selection; once chosen you can see how it will look before selecting one for printing or sharing. Moreover, Picasa can save a PDF document with this layout of selected photos that can then be printed or shared later.
Clicking the Print button at the bottom of Picasa’s screen opens a Print Preview window, in which you can select how many copies to print as well as print size and paper type settings. If using a color printer, further settings can also be customized by clicking Settings button.
The Print Preview window includes a toolbar to let you configure margins, bleed settings and background color of printed images. You can also enable or disable copyright notices or your name appearing on every printed image and specify printer location or whether to print date/time stamps on every image printed.
Before printing photos, it’s essential that they possess enough resolution for the size you intend. Otherwise, their resolution won’t look crisp and clear and may even blurrify – rendering a page full of them more unusable than expected.
If you want to search your pictures for specific items such as Brad with Sue or a dog, use the search bar in the upper-right corner. Picasa searches file names, captions, tags and metadata associated with each photo as well as geotagging allowing you to assign locations like Yellowstone National Park for each image. Furthermore, using this same search bar you can locate photos uploaded directly onto Picasa Web Albums.
Share Your Photos
Picasa can import images automatically from a user’s computer and connected hard drives, then tag them so they can be organized into virtual folders such as “Company Picnic.” Additionally, its advanced search feature enables users to locate photos by filenames, captions, tags, geolocation or face recognition.
Picasa makes photo preparation for external use such as emailing or printing very straightforward by reducing image sizes and setting page layouts. Its basic editing functions, such as red eye reduction, auto white balance adjustment and cropping can make image preparation effortless, plus Picasa supports most image formats – including Google WebP format images as well as raw ones.
When sharing photos with family and friends, Picasa Web Albums offer an easy solution. By pressing the “Publish to Web” button you’ll create a link you can copy and paste into an email or message sent out directly by Picasa itself – as well as sharing albums directly on Facebook and other social networks from within Picasa itself.
Picasa makes it easy to combine multiple images into a single one by offering the option to do so by holding down Ctrl while clicking them, followed by selecting both and holding down “Ctrl.” Picasa will display options such as Grid Spacing – which controls how much space should exist between images – and Picture Collage to give you more options for this process.
Picasa makes it easy to create slideshows of your photos with music that play automatically on either a computer or television screen, complete with time-lapse movies and 3-D globe maps featuring your images showing where they were taken.
While Google discontinued support of Picasa on March 15, 2016, meaning no new versions would be released and bugs wouldn’t be fixed, the software still works perfectly well for most people. If you are a Picasa enthusiast, downloading and saving the latest version could still prove worthwhile; though be mindful that any functions that require web connectivity could cease working over time and switch over to Google Photos in order to maintain these functions.
Edit Your Photos
Once Picasa has scanned all the image files on your computer and attached hard drives, you can begin editing using its non-destructive features. Picasa stores edits as separate files so that the original photographs remain untouched. When editing photos in Picasa it automatically syncs up with your online Picasa web albums thereby updating any existing links to it; alternatively you can manually rearrange photos within an album or move one from one album to another if needed.
Clicking the Edit button in Picasa will bring up the Editing view, enabling you to choose from various effects, adjust contrast and brightness levels, change resolution settings as well as crop your pictures for printing out or uploading online.
Picasa makes editing photos simple with its clearly labeled functions and most can be adjusted using slider bars, making this an accessible application suitable for anyone from amateur photographers to advanced professional photographers alike. Picasa can even correct crooked scans or spot any blemishes quickly compared with more complicated programs such as Photoshop.
Tuning tab allows for more advanced adjustments of images’ colors. It features sliders to control Fill Light, Shadows, Highlights and Colour Temperature, in addition to an option called Colour Balance which lets you make photos look warmer or cooler by adding or subtracting certain hues.
Picasa provides the unique option of opening edited photos in other applications like Photoshop if your editing requirements exceed what the program can handle. As your photography and image manipulation skills advance, more powerful software may become necessary; but for beginners Picasa remains an excellent solution.