Identifying People in Group Photos

 Picasa, Special Features  Comments Off on Identifying People in Group Photos
Jul 172015

imageHave you ever taken a group photo and wanted to identify the people? If the group is small enough, you could use Picasa’s text tool and just write their name above or below their face. In a large group, and especially in a busy color photo, those names will be difficult to read.

Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Make a copy of the photo (File->Save a Copy) to be the legend. Convert it to a black and white drawing by using the pencil sketch feature on Picasa’s last tab of editing tools
    image You may need to adjust the sliders on the Pencil Sketch feature to get just the right effect.
  2. Use Picasa’s text tool to add the numbers right below each person’s face. Just click in each place you want to type to create separate texts for each person.
  3. Write their names in a document with a numbered list

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have tutorial videos on how to use these features:

Jun 082015

Picasa isn’t going anywhere. Picasa is software on your computer for working with the photos on your computer. It’s freely available at and, once you have it, it is yours to keep. Millions of people praise Picasa for being easy to use and allowing them to do things with their pictures that they never thought possible all with a click of a button or a drag of a slider. What makes us Picasa users nervous is the fact that Picasa has not changed in several years. Google owns Picasa and Google changes stuff constantly! So what’s the deal? They are clearly neglecting Picasa. Google is living in a world devoted to mobile devices and the Internet. Computer software like Picasa just isn’t sexy any more. Google Photos is sexy.

Google Photos is big news.

Google Photos for mobile devices and webGoogle Photos gives smartphone and tablet users a way to store all their pictures, in almost full-resolution 16 Megapixels, in their Google account online. Simply download the Android or Apple iOS Google Photos App and turn on the setting for Backup and Sync. From now on, every picture you take with that device will be uploaded to your Google Account. Then, you can view them online with any device or computer browser. You can edit them and share them also. So, Google Photos is online photo management for your mobile devices.

What about the pictures that are stored on your computer? Ones that were not taken with your smartphone or tablet? You can install the Auto Backup app for your Mac or Windows computer as well. Then, all the photos on your computer are uploaded to your Google Account as well. Now you have one place for all your photos, whether they were taken with a mobile device or a regular camera and stored on your computer, they are now ALL in the cloud – in your Google Account.

A while back Google bought a photo editing product called Snapseed (by Nik software) and it became a Google product. Snapseed technology is used to edit your picture online when you click the pencil icon. In the Android Google Photos App, you can tap the menu and “Edit in Snapseed.” They are using the Snapseed tools for online editing rather than Picasa because Picasa’s technology does not translate well to web-based tools.

Picasa is Still the Best Software for Working with Pictures on your Computer

Picasa is for working with pictures on your computerPicasa still does just exactly what it has always done. It is software on your computer (Windows or Mac) that works with the pictures that are on your computer. You can improve the pictures on your computer with various Picasa editing tools. No Internet needed. You can crop, color correct, add frames and add text. You can make collages. You can print. You can add captions and then use search to find pictures on your computer based on those captions. Picasa can help you organize your pictures into named folders, or dated folders. Picasa has tools to add tags to pictures and to view groups of pictures together in Albums.

Picasa works together with Google Photos – sort of

Picasa has always had a button to Upload pictures to online albums. It was first called simply, “Upload” and pictures were sent to Picasa Web Albums. Then Google upgraded Picasa to work with Google+ and the button changed to “Share on Google+.” That upgrade also gave us the option to upload at a size called “Best for Sharing” and get unlimited free online storage at that size. The “Best for Sharing” size was defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. If you had a picture 2048X2048, that would be 4.2 Megapixels. Today, if you use the “Share on Google+” button, the pictures will be sent to your online Google account – the same place used by Google Photos! But, until Picasa is updated, the pictures will be limited to 4.2 Megapixels instead of the new 16 Megapixel size.

So far, Google has neglected to update Picasa to the new 16Megapixel size for uploads. They are allowing Picasa to become an orphan. I still expect the update to happen, but I don’t know when. Meanwhile, I’ll use Picasa to upload my pictures to my Google account in the 2048 pixel size. That’s plenty big enough for online viewing.

For the time being, I am perfectly happy with this photo workflow:

  1. Use the Google Photos App on my Android and Apple iOS mobile devices. I can edit right on my phone or tablet if needed. I can view my entire online library of photos as well as the photos on my device from the Google Photos App.
  2. I use Dropbox to transfer the full size picture from my phones and tablets to my computer. There, they are added to the original photos taken with my “good” DSLR camera as well. A complete library of my original-size photos on my computer.
  3. Google Photos Auto-Backup is installed on my computer and it automatically uploads ALL my pictures to my Google Account in 16 Megapixel “High Quality” size. A complete library of all my photos online, including all photos that were uploaded during 2006-2012 in the Picasa Web Album days, AND 2012 – 2015 in the Google+ Photos days. They are all available to me at
  4. I use Picasa to view, edit, caption, and tag photos on my computer, then I use the Picasa button called “Share on Google+” to upload my best photos to named albums in my Google Account. I can see these albums at –> Collections –>Albums. I can also see them using my Android or Apple devices and the Google Photos App.

I am still expecting the update to Picasa that adds “Upload to Google Photos at 16 Megapixels.”  But, if it never comes, I’m still good with using Picasa as is.

Apr 252015

tagsTags are the keywords that you can attach to pictures. They are not meant to be visible. They are meant to give you multiple ways to find and group pictures. In our 11 years of RV Travel in the United States, we have been in Texas several times. I store my pictures by month, so I have Texas pictures from April, 2015, we’re in Texas right now Smile, and I also have Texas pictures from March, 2006 and November, 2005 and March 2008, etc. etc. I try to add a tag for Texas to all the best pictures that I took while in Texas. To add a tag, you just select the picture(s) and then click the Tag button, type the tag and click the green +.  That way, any time I want, I can view all our pictures from Texas, regardless of their folder location on my computer.

If you Want the Tags to be Visible

1. If you just want to see what tags have been applied to any given picture, the easiest way is to set your thumbnail caption to show tags.

  • View->Thumbnail Caption->Tags

2. If you want to see what tags have been applied to a group of pictures

  • Select the Group (by clicking on a folder or an album)
  • Open the Tag Panel by clicking on the Tag button
  • You will now see the list of all tags used in the selected pictures

3. If you want to see your complete list of all tags you’ve ever used – you’re out of luck. Picasa doesn’t have a way to manage the list of tags. I wish they did! I do have a workaround though. You need to be able to select ALL your pictures so they are one group, then you can see the tags for the group like in #2 above.

  • Search for .jpg – this should give you a group of ALL your pictures (unless you shoot in RAW)
  • Click on Search Results in the top left, this should select ALL your pictures. For example, my selection tray now says “Album Selected – 55,550 photos”
  • Open the Tag Panel by clicking on the Tag button and you should now be seeing all tags applied. Unfortunately, you’ll notice that they are not sorted Alphabetically, they are sorted by popularity.

My favorite use of Tags is to create Albums.  See this past article: Picasa Tags can Make Albums

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can also watch these Tutorial Videos:

Apr 172015

We have been getting lots of message like the one below lately:

I have tried to download PICASA and each time I get a message that it is not a safe site. Please advise.

Is Picasa Safe? YES, IF you get it from the official source.

Picasa is software for your computer made by Google. I have been using it for over 10 years. It is absolutely safe. The problem arises when people go to the wrong source and don’t read the fine print.  If you simply use Google, or Bing to Search for Picasa, you will get a listing something like this:


Problem with Unofficial Sites

Downloading from the ‘wrong’ sites listed above may be fine, but you have to read the fine print to be sure you’re not getting unwanted software tagging along. On one of them I see the following warning:

By clicking the button above you will get the software through a 3rd party ad supported download manager. We are not associated with Google. … Optional Software Included.  The download manager may present users with various software offers like the toolbar below, but none are required to be accepted in order to download the chosen software. …

Get Picasa from the Official Google Site

What you need to do is type into the address bar of your browser. Just typing will also work, you should notice that your browser automatically changes it to


Nov 292014

We took a beautiful drive up the mountain thru a town called Jerome in Arizona. Jerome is perched right on the side of that mountain with a sweeping view of the Verde Valley in the distance. Unfortunately, when I took the picture, the town was in deep shadow and sunlight filled the sky and the valley below. If I had taken the picture with my smartphone, I would have used the HDR setting to better expose both parts of the picture, but this was taken with my digital SLR. If I had set my camera to auto exposure bracketing and taken 3 pictures of this scene, I could have created an HDR later, but that’s a whole other article! The picture you see at #1 is all I had to work with this time – let’s see what Picasa can do with it.

The original picture.

Use the Fill Light slider on the basic fixes tab to add light to the town.


Some photo editors, like PhotoShop, give you tools to add light to just the dark part of the picture, but Picasa is not that sophisticated. When I drag the slider to increase fill light, the entire picture gets lighter, leaving the sky and the valley pretty washed out. Use Fill Light sparingly – your picture can get very grainy.

Screenshot 2014-11-29 04.51.02

To get some color back in the sky, I use the Graduated Tint button on the third tab of editing tools. This fills the top third of the photo with a blue tint. You can adjust the area of the fill by dragging the crosshair. The crosshair first appears in the middle of the picture. I angle the fill by dragging the crosshair control down and to the right. Watch this free Tutorial Video: Graduated Tint
4 (optional)
Lastly, I added a bit of the HDRish effect in order to accentuate the details in the picture.







This ‘fixed’ picture may not stand the test of scrutiny. I wouldn’t blow it up in a large print, and I wouldn’t submit it to a photo contest, but these fixes do help preserve a memory in a web album when the original picture was simply not good enough to keep. Using the simple buttons and sliders in Picasa’s editing tools, you don’t need to know a lot about layers and levels of color and light. Just click a button, drag a slider, if you don’t like what you see, drag a slider the other way.  Still don’t like it? Click the Undo button!

Moving Pictures from a PC to a Mac for Picasa

 File Management, Picasa  Comments Off on Moving Pictures from a PC to a Mac for Picasa
Oct 072014

imageQuestion from a subscriber:

I love Picasa and I am grateful for the service you provide.  I want to get a Mac computer and I want to know how to transfer all my pictures from Picasa (with edits) to Picasa for Mac.  I know (from you ) that the pictures are really in the files in My Pictures but they are not with the edits.  I have been to the Apple store and a computer Tec department in a computer store and nobody seems to know the answer.  I can’t seem to find an answer on the Web either.  Can you lead me in the right direction?  Thanks for you great work. Linda J

Great question!

Picasa keeps the edits in the file called picasa.ini. This file is located in the same folder as the pictures. So … if you just copy the complete folder of all your pictures from your PC to your Mac, then tell Picasa where those folders are with Folder Manager – you’re all set.

Step by Step

  1. Copy complete folders of pictures from PC to an External Hard Drive
  2. Connect that hard drive to your Mac
  3. Do NOT “Import” pictures from the Hard Drive to your Mac using Picasa – that will get the original pictures
  4. DO either 1) copy complete folders to the Mac using Finder OR 2) Leave hard drive connected to Mac and use Picasa Folder Manager to work with them there

Here’s the member video I recorded that shows exactly how to do it:

357. Picasa: Transferring your Picture Library from Windows to Mac (this was recorded for members, but I really want you to see it, so I’m making it free for the first 10 days)

See this video on Folder Manager. It was recorded on Windows, but it works just the same on Mac:

  1. Folder Manager #233 Free

Picasa Tutorial Videos

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have nearly 100 videos – over 10 hours worth of training – on all aspects of using Picasa. Here is the complete list of videos, even non-members can watch the ones n the Free section.

Sep 152014

Geeks on Tour present Picasa SeminarsDid you know we have over 200 Picasa tips on this website? This is where all of our Picasa Tip of the Week articles are – you can sign up for email notification by entering your information in the sign up form in the right sidebar of this page. Every once in a while I browse thru them and read a couple. Whenever I do, I say to myself, Wow! That’s a really good tip! So, this week, rather than writing a new tip, I’m giving you a list of 20 of my favorite tips. Most all of these tips take you beyond the basics of Picasa. Read thru a few of them and you’ll start to understand some of the power that exists in this free program. In no particular order, here are 20 of my favorite Picasa Tips:

  1. Picasa Tip: Slideshows with Music
    Describes just how easy it is to play a slideshow of your pictures using Picasa. Also shows how to add music.
  2. Blue Skies with Graduated Tint
    You can see a dramatic difference in your sky using this feature.
  3. Blurring Someone’s Face
    Ever take a picture of someone who doesn’t want to be identified?
  4. Finding Pictures with Two People
    Amazingly fast way to find a picture with two named people using Picasa’s face recognition feature.
  5. Forget about Picasa and Learn Files and Folders
    An important reminder about the knowledge you need to successfully manage your photos.
  6. Making a Banner Picture
    An example of using Picasa’s collage feature that you may not have considered.
  7. Personal History in a Face Movie
    Probably THE coolest feature of Picasa!
  8. Picasa and a Cell Phone are Genealogist’s Tools
    Even if you’re not a genealogist, this tip will help you preserve old photos.
  9. Picasa Tip: 4 Clicks to Dramatically Improve your Photos
    Very simple techniques for much better pictures.
  10. Picasa Tip: Add a Watermark to your photos
    How to add a copyright message to your pictures on the Web.
  11. Picasa Tip: HDRish = Super Sharpen
    I use HDRish when a picture is too soft and needs some edges. Once you try it, you’ll find lots of uses.
  12. Picasa Tip: Make a Collage for your Facebook Cover Photo
    Another great use for the Collage feature! The article includes a step-by-step tutorial video.
  13. Picasa Tip: Pick Text Color from Picture
    Instructions on how to pick text color, or background color, directly from the picture itself.
  14. Picasa Tip: Screen Captures
    PIcasa makes it incredibly easy to take screenshots on your computer.
  15. Using Picasa for Maps
    An idea for using Picasa’s screen capture feature to capture maps.
  16. Picasa Tip: Using Search to Find your Pictures
    If you’re not using the Search feature, you’re missing the power of Picasa!
  17. Quiz: Picasa and Your Picture Files
    10 multiple choice questions to test your knowledge.
  18. Scan 4 Pictures in One Pass, then Separate with Export
    A good example of using crop and export to create multiple pictures from one original.
  19. Pictures at Your Fingertips with Google+ Photos
    How to see all your pictures using your smartphone or tablet in addition to your computer.
  20. Captions or Text on Pictures?
    I say a feature is “my favorite feature” a lot Smile but I think Captions really IS my favorite feature of Picasa!

There’s lots, lots more! Check out the page that lists ALL our Picasa tips in alphabetical order.

Aug 082014

Computer Clubs are great ways to learn! We wanted to share with you how Google+ Hangouts on Air allows us to present a seminar remotely and then automatically have it recorded as a Youtube video.

As we travel the country in our RV, we often pass thru the corner of Iowa/Illinois referred to as the Quad Cities and we’ll give a live presentation to the Quad Cities Computer Society. We were there in June and presented a seminar we call “What is Cloud Computing” to the general meeting of the whole club. The people involved in the digital photography  SIG (special interest group) then wanted to know – “How do we use the Cloud for our photos with Picasa?” So we agreed to give a follow up seminar to their next monthly meeting where we would answer questions. The problem is that we would be a couple thousand miles away by then! So, we used Google+ Hangouts on Air to do the presentation. Since it is recorded, we can also share it with you! If you are interested in a Geeks on Tour presentation to your club, use the Contact Us form.

To watch the entire presentation will take you about an hour. I have gone thru it and marked the places where certain topics start so you can click on those links and get straight to the point.

  1. Watch the seminar starting at the beginning (well, actually, this starts after the few minutes of technical difficulties with sound.)
  2. Start at 7m22s:  Using Dropbox Camera Uploads
  3. Start at 15m37s: Autobackup Discussion
  4. Start at 29m38s: Question about Ordering Prints
  5. Start at 38m29s: Question about Making Movies with PIctures and Music
  6. Start at 43m16s: Question about Resizing Pictures
  7. Start at 56m23s: Demo of Picasa Web Albums vs. Google+ Photos


This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Viewing Pictures on a Map

 Google+, Organizing, Picasa  Comments Off on Viewing Pictures on a Map
Jul 182014

We take hundreds of pictures every month and, since we live in an RV, we are constantly traveling. I might look at this picture and have no idea where we were when it was taken. If I’m lucky, the photo includes location information, then Picasa, or Google+ Photos can display the picture on a map:

I may not remember where this picture was taken just by looking at it.
If the photo contains location information (GPS latitude/longitude) then Picasa can show me a map


How does a Picture get Geotagged?

If your camera is equipped with a GPS, there is a setting that allows the camera to tag pictures with that location information. This is most common with smartphone cameras. For example, on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, when I’m using the camera, I can tap the gear icon for Settings, find the Location setting and turn it on. If that setting is on, then you will be able to view the picture’s location on a map using Picasa, or Google+ Photos.  You need to check this setting often because when you turn off your phone’s GPS, this setting also turns off and you need to manually turn it back on. If your camera does not geotag for you, you can use Picasa to manually set the location information using the Places Pane. (Geeks on Tour members can view the tutorial video on Geotagging)

2014-07-18 15.15.21

2014-07-18_9-27-41When this picture is imported to your computer and you see it in Picasa’s library, you will notice a red location marker icon in the lower right image. When you see that icon showing on a picture’s thumbnail, it means you can click the same icon in the lower right of Picasa’s screen and the Places Pane will open at the right of your screen. The map that shows here is Google Maps and it comes from the Internet, so this will only work if your computer is online.

When you share your picture to Google+ online, you can click on the picture, click on ”Photo Details” at the right and see a map. If Location data is not stored with the picture, you will see a link to “Add a Location” then you can manually drop a pin on a map to indicate the location of the picture.







Picasa Web Albums Map View

Picasa Web Albums still has the best way of viewing pictures on a map. To get to your uploaded pictures and view them with the old Picasa Web Albums interface, use this link: Now you’re viewing the same albums as with Google+ Photos, but with the older Picasa Web Albums tools. When you click on an album and look to the right, you should see a map image called “Photo Locations.” There is a link below the map to “View Map” which will show you a map with the pictures showing as little thumbnails right in place on the map.

I love it!


This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Picasa Tip: Fancy Frames

 Picasa  Comments Off on Picasa Tip: Fancy Frames
Jun 182014


Picasa has many framing options including Vignette, Museum Matte, Border, and Polaroid.  But if you really want to get fancy with clipart frames, there is nothing built in to Picasa’s features.  This article will show you how to use a clipart border/frame, and use Picasa’s collage feature to put your picture into a fancy frame.

First you need to find the clipart.  There are many sources of free and pay-for clipart on the web.  You can google for free clipart, but free clipart sites have been known to be distributors of viruses and other malware, so be careful. If your browser gives you any warnings, or if the URL looks suspicious, do not download artwork from there. I downloaded the colorful border above from  I used the search box and entered “border.” There were hundreds of results. If you see something there you like, notice the Download section toward the bottom (do not click on any download button at the right – the right sidebar is all ads), click on Medium PNG and you’ll be seeing an enlargement of the image.  Now you can right-click, choose “Save Image As” (or “Save Picture As” depending on what browser you’re using) and save it in a folder in your My Pictures.

Now you should be able to view the border in Picasa’s LIbrary.  If not, check Tools->Options->File Types and be sure that the .png file type is checked.

Make the Collage

  1. Select both the frame image, and the photo you want in the frame
  2. Create menu->Picture Collage (or click the collage button at the bottom if you have one)
  3. Collage settings = Picture Pile
  4. Click on frame image and use orange handle to make it big enough, and make it straight
  5. Drag the photo into the frame area.  If it disappears underneath, right-click on it and Bring to Top
  6. If the width and height of the photo do not fit the frame, you need to crop the picture accordingly.  Click on the photo and then click the View and Edit tab at the bottom.  This will take you back to Picasa’s editing tools and you can choose Crop.  Make sure the dimension is set to manual.  If the picture was too wide for the frame, just crop the width.  To high, just crop the height.  When you’ve applied the crop, click the Collage tab at the top to return to your collage already in process.
  7. When you have the picture fitting properly in the frame, click the Create Collage button
  8. You should now be looking at the finished collage picture.  You will probably have some extra space around the frame left over from the collage process.  Use the crop tool to get rid of that.

Picasa’s Limitations

I find this technique quite simple to make pictures like that above, or these below, but notice that the framed areas are clean rectangles.

2014055 201307 Teton Yellowstone

Picasa does not support transparency, so you cannot make a framed picture like the oval frame below.

To do something like this, you need an image editor that can work with transparency.  I used Snagit for this, but PhotoShop and many others would do the trick.
If you tried to use Picasa, here’s what you would get:
yuk!  not so good



This is a relatively advanced use of the Collage feature in Picasa.  If you got lost after the first couple of steps, you need to go back and learn the basics of Collages.  For Geeks on Tour Members, we have a complete ‘short course’ on using the Collage tool. The Short Course includes 8 video lessons and a ‘cheat sheet.’

  1. A Basic Collage – Mosaic Style #289
  2. Basic Collage: Picture Pile style and options #290
  3. Where is the Collage Picture Stored? #291
  4. Using Collage to Create a Banner Picture: Setting Size and Adding Text #292
  5. People Collage #293
  6. Using a Picture as Collage Background #294
  7. Using a Collage as Facebook Cover Photo #295
  8. Multiple Exposures #296
  9. Printable ‘Collage-Quick-Reference Sheet’

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.