I have been using a digital camera for years, and always struggled with how to manage all of my photos. A few years ago I stumbled upon Google’s Picasa program. At that point in time it was in beta, but I tried it anyway, and loved it.
The photo editing capabilities, while not extensive like PhotoShop, do a really nice job. Available functions are Crop, Straighten, Redeye, Contrast, and Color.
You have the ability to create captions for each photo, and since they use the IPTC standard, the captions are saved within their pictures and stay with them, whether you export as a web page or make a CD presentation. Picasa captions are fully editable and searchable, and you choose whether to display them or not.
Once of my favorite features is sending photos via email. Simply click on the photos you want to send, and click the email button. Your email program will open with the photos already attached to a new message. Picasa automatically resizes the photos for best viewing in email.
Picasa has also launched a web album service that allows you to create a web photo account, upload your photos into albums and then invite friends/family, etc to view them. If any of you have ever used Webshots, it is very similar.
Another really cool feature of Picasa is the ability to burn a slideshow of a photo album to CD. Once it is burned to CD, you can pop it into any CD drive and the slideshow will begin to play automatically. They call this the “Gift CD”.
Picasa also gives you the option to create movies, collages, or posters from your photos. Picasa is a free download from:
PC with 300MHz Pentium® processor and MMX® technology. 64 MB RAM (128MB Recommended) 50 MB available hard disk space (100MB recommended) 800 × 600 pixels, 16 bit color monitor. Microsoft® Windows 2000 or Microsoft® Windows XP, Microsoft® Windows Vista Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5.01 or better (6.0 recommended). If at any time you get an “unable to authenticate” error, you should upgrade to IE 6.0. Microsoft® DirectX 7.0 or higher (8.1 ships with XP, 9.0b recommended). Optional: 56K Internet connection speed or better (for access to any online services and picture sharing via Hello).
I highly recommend Google Picasa!