Feb 242016

I went for a walk with my Mom the other afternoon. We have this favorite little park, and it was a gorgeous day. She’s walking pretty slow these days, so I had ample opportunity to take my phone out of my pocket and snap pictures. I showed her each picture I took and she would point out something else worthy of a shot.

Editing Pictures as you Take Them is FUN

I was excited to catch the duck in flight just as it came in for a landing. Then I looked at the photo on my phone and realized that you couldn’t even see the duck! It needed to be cropped. No problem, with no tools other than my finger and the phone, I tap on the little pencil that brings up Google Photos editing tools, tap the crop tool and drag a corner in closer to the duck while still leaving some of the lily pads in the shot. I tap the checkmark to signal that I’m done with cropping, Then, one tap on the Auto adjustment gives me a better look.

The second picture below just has an auto adjustment applied, and the third has a crop and auto adjustment.

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Yes you can make a collage on your phone

I took a few more pictures, including a selfie of Mom and me that needed no improvement at all! It was such a nice day I wanted to share it with my friends on Facebook, but I didn’t want to post multiple pictures, so I decided to make a collage. Still using nothing but Google Photos on my phone:

  1. I select 7 pictures
  2. Tap the + button in the upper right
  3. Choose Collage
  4. Voila!


While viewing the collage, I tap the share button image, choose Facebook, and post to Friends. I also tapped the + and added the collage to my monthly Web Album on Google Photos.

During this lovely one hour walk, I took pictures, enjoyed having Mom point out more pictures, had fun editing them, and shared a collage to Facebook, and added the day’s collage to my monthly album … all before even getting back to the car!

Google Photos has removed all the work and left only the play

In years past, I would have taken my digital SLR camera – a Canon Rebel T3i – and taken many of the same pictures. After getting home I would need to transfer them from the camera to the computer, decide where to store them, spend some time doing the editing, upload the best ones to the web, make the collage and upload that too. That would probably take me a half hour using Picasa, much longer with other software. A half hour may not sound like much, but when you multiply that times all the days and all the pictures I like to take – well, I think you get the idea. And, worse than the time it takes is when I didn’t take the time and never enjoyed my pictures or shared them.

I love playing with my pictures and trying out the different creations that Google Photos includes. And, at the end of the day, I’m done. All my photos are safely, and privately, stored in my Google Account in the cloud. I can delete them from my phone to free up space for taking more! I also have Microsoft OneDrive grabbing a copy of all my phone’s photos for the ‘belt and suspenders’ protection. This is all automatic.

No work and all play makes me a happy girl!

You can learn to use Google Photos with Geeks on Tour tutorial videos. Some are free. To watch them all, you need to be a Geeks on Tour premium member. Here’s a video that demonstrates exactly what I did in this article:

Jan 292012

Below is my original picture, taken from a cruise ship in Miami Beach, looking back toward the city skyline at sunset.  It’s pretty, but quite unremarkable.  Once I brought it into Picasa 3.9 and started playing around with some of the new image processing features, I could create an entirely new image, just using the photograph as my starting point!

Original picture:

After applying multiple fun image processes in Picasa:


Here are the steps I went thru to create the final image.  Geeks on Tour members can watch the video.  

Cropped and  HDR-ish effect added – Strong
Darken shadows so there is no detail in the buildings
Apply neon effect with color option of blue.
Apply Vignette effect to darken edges
Apply Museum matte for double border, picking up colors from the picture itself.
Apply museum matte a second time to achieve quadruple border.
Apply HDR-ish effect again to accentuate outlines.
Add text in a modern font with colors picked from the picture.


Using the exact same picture but other editing options, I also came up with this image.


See if you can create the same end results!  I have uploaded my original picture for you to use.  When you’re viewing the picture, you can right-click and download the picture to your computer so that Picasa can edit 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, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Oct 282008

I just read a question from a Picasa user, Joe, who needs to use his photos in a Website. He makes all his edits with Picasa, cropping, fixing red eyes, retouching a spot … but when his website software uploads the photo from his My Pictures folder, it’s the original photo. It still needs the red eyes fixed, it needs to be cropped and it needs to be resized to something a lot smaller than his original photo.

What Joe needs to know about is the Export command. After making all the edits to make the picture(s) look good:

1. Select the photo or photos you want to use on your website
2. Click the Export button at the bottom
3. Choose or create the receiving folder – e.g. My PicturesWebsite photos
4. Choose a size (I use 400 pixels for most web photos)
5. Click OK

Now when you use the website software to upload your photos, upload the ones in the Website photos folder instead of the original folder.

There are a couple of videos in the classroom at GeeksOnTour.com on using Picasa to prepare photos for websites. You need to be a member to view them in their entirety, but here’s a 30 second preview of one:

To receive your Picasa Tip-o-the-Week, submit your name and email in the form at right.