Sometime in our second year of RVing (2004), we discovered Picasa. Instead of taking an hour or two to go thru our pictures from each day, pretty them up, identify them, and pick the best ones to share in our blog, it now only took a few minutes. Picasa was just SO much easier than any other photo editing software! We would tell anyone who asked that Picasa was the software they should get if they take a lot of pictures. And, it is free.
We soon started teaching little seminars at the RV parks where we stayed, and by 2006 we taught Picasa seminars at the FMCA Conventions. We developed quite a specialty in teaching Picasa, and our tutorial videos even caught the attention of Google – they own Picasa. In 2009 Google flew us out to their headquarters in Mountain View, CA and we presented a joint webinar on using Picasa for photo editing. We were told it was the first time they brought in anyone from the outside to do a webinar. We were thrilled.
We now have over 10 hours worth of video lessons on Picasa, a Picasa Tip-of-the-Week newsletter, and a separate website devoted to it – www.PicasaGeeks.com. Picasa is not quite as simple as it used to be – they keep adding more and more features, but we still think it is the best software with the shortest learning curve.
It’s important to understand that Picasa is software for your computer, to manage the pictures on your computer. It is available for Windows and for Macintosh, you download it from Picasa.Google.com. Google is focused these days on putting everything in the ‘Cloud’ (aka the Internet) and their Google+ Photos offering is where you can have an account and store your pictures online. The Picasa software makes it easy to upload pictures from your computer to the Cloud, but the Picasa software is on your computer – no Internet required – to manage the photos on your computer and connected hard drives. There is no Picasa App for smartphones or tablets, it’s for Windows or Macintosh.
View All of Your Photos
With Picasa, you can see all your pictures, even thousands of them – in one, easy to navigate, library. I even keep the first 10 year’s worth of pictures on an external hard drive, and just the last couple years on my computer. Picasa shows them all to me in one searchable library. Picasa sees the pictures in your folders, and gives you more organizing tools to group them in multiple ways. Want a slide show of all your wildlife pictures you’ve taken over the years? Just tag each of them with the word ‘wildlife; and then you can group them together without moving them or making copies!
Improve All of Your Photos – Easily
Making pictures look better is simple, fun, and stress-free. As I view each picture I just imported, I can just click a couple simple buttons to make the pictures look so much better. If I don’t like the new look, no problem, just click Undo. So easy, So effective, and no downside. Also, as I view my pictures for the day, I’ll type a few words of description for each one. Even years later – those pictures will be searchable by any of those words.
Share Your Photos – All Free
And, of course, what good are pictures if you don’t share them? It’s a single click to send your best pictures to a website – Google+ Photos (aka Picasa Web Albums.) How much do you have to pay for this? Zero – zip – nada. Now you have a home on the web for all your pictures, and you can just give your friends the address. For example, here is our Web Album from August 2014 with some great pictures of our time on the West Coast.
Or you could use Picasa’s File->Order Prints feature to send your images to your favorite printing vendor and get framed enlargements, or even gifts like coffee mugs, mouse pads, or tshirts.
Picasa is not the only good photo management software available. If you’re comfortable with what you’re using, we won’t tell you to switch. But, if you feel it takes you too much time to find your pictures, make them look better, and share them, you owe it to yourself to give Picasa a try.