Jun 262013

imageIf you’re like us, you find yourself taking more and more pictures with your smartphone instead of your normal camera.  That really messes up our procedures of getting the pictures from the camera to the computer and organizing them there.  How do we get the pictures from the smartphone to the computer?  If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch some past tutorial videos on how to transfer pictures by attaching a cable from the phone to the computer: Import Pictures with Android and Import pictures from an iPad/iPhone.  But now, there is an even easier option.

Dropbox, is the indispensible Cloud storage and synchronizing utility.  We’ve written about it several times, and mention it in almost every seminar since it’s our Dropbox folder where we store all our seminar materials!  Dropbox also has a special feature called “Camera Upload.”  It is nothing short of magic!  Now I take a picture on my phone and the next time I sit down at my computer, that picture is there in the Dropbox/Camera Upload folder.

Add More Dropbox Storage Space by Using Camera Uploads

The Free version of Dropbox starts you out with 2GB of storage space.  If you’re going to upload pictures from your smartphone to your Dropbox account, you’ll need more!  The folks at Dropbox realize this.  If you install the latest version of the Dropbox App on your Android or iPhone, you will earn up to 3GB in additional storage.  You will earn the additional storage for every 500MB that you actually use in Camera Uploads.  Once you’ve used it, you can delete the photos from your dropbox folder and you still have the extra storage available to you.

Steps to use the Camera Upload Feature

  1. dropbox-androidYou must already have a Dropbox account.  This means you have an account on www.Dropbox.com and you also have downloaded the app to your computer and have a Dropbox folder on your computer.
  2. Download and install the latest Dropbox App on your phone.  Get it from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or the Play Store on your Android phone or tablet.
  3. Make sure the Camera Upload option is turned on for the App on your mobile device.  Notice in the screen image at right that you have the option to allow the uploads only when your phone is connected to WiFi.  This means that it won’t use up the GB on your data plan.  It also means that the upload may not be instant.  If you want the upload instantly, and don’t mind using your cellular data plan, then choose the second option.

That’s it!  From now on, when you take a picture using your phone, it will automatically be uploaded to your Dropbox account online, AND synchronized with your dropbox folder on your computer.

We have such fun showing this in our seminars.  I feel like a magician.  I take a picture of someone in the front row of our seminar using my phone.  Then I immediately set the phone down, raising my hands in the air.  “Look Ma, No hands!”  While Jim is sitting at the computer, which is projected onto a big presentation screen, he opens the Dropbox Camera Upload folder and voila! the picture I just took is there.

Viewing the Camera Uploads with Picasa

The Camera Uploads folder on your computer, is within the Dropbox folder.  You can view it using Windows Explorer (or Macintosh Finder) just like any other folder.  I check it regularly and move the pictures from the Camera Uploads folder to a current folder in My Pictures.  This leaves the Camera Uploads folder empty for receiving new uploads, and Picasa will see the new pictures in My Pictures the next time you open Picasa.

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.