Jul 222011

We travel a lot, so I take thousands of digital pictures.  I always tell myself, “I need to figure out all the settings on my camera so I can take better pictures.”  And, someday I will!  Meanwhile, I can make my pictures better, later, with just a few clicks in Picasa.

Picasa Photo Editing Workshop

As ‘Geeks on Tour we travel the country and present our computer seminars to other travelers.  We wanted to have a hands-on workshop for Picasa, so we’ve just developed a Photo Editing Workshop.  We’ve carefully picked sample pictures that best explain each of Picasa’s many editing features.  After learning each feature, students in class will take these pictures:

Original Pictures ... Before

And turn them into these pictures:

Same pictures ... After - just a few clicks with Picasa

Rule of Thirds by Cropping

Have you heard of the Rule of Thirds?  It means that a picture is more pleasing if the primary subject is off-center.  Notice the first picture, Minneapolis, above – the bridge covers approximately the top third with the water being the bottom 2 thirds – if they were equal, it wouldn’t be as nice a picture.  Then, in the second picture, the hull of the tall ship is in the lower right third of the picture.  Some cameras today even have the lines drawn on the viewfinder screen so you can line up your subject according to ‘thirds’.


But, if you don’t pay attention to your thirds when you take the picture, no problem, you can crop it!  In the original red bird picture I took, the bird was almost dead center.  But, in Picasa I cropped it so the bird was off-center.

Basic: Cropimage

Most every picture can be improved by cropping.  Some of the other editing features used in the samples are I’m Feeling Lucky, Straighten, Tuning: Increase Shadows, Effects: Sharpen, Effects: Graduated Tint, Effects: Saturation, and, of course, Add Text.

Try Them, You Can Always Undo

Picasa’s Editing Features are all so quick and easy!  Play with them.  Don’t like how it turned out?  Just use the Undo button to go back to your original – Picasa won’t let you lose your original.  If you save your changes, (I never do) you can even undo the Save.  If you need more help understanding how to use the features, the Geeks on Tour Learning Library includes many Show-Me-How videos on all of them.  Membership costs $39/year.  Some of the videos are freely available on the Geeks on Tour Youtube channel, including the 40 minute webinar that was a joint production of Google and Geeks on Tour.

Show us Your Best Edits

What about you, do you have a picture that improved substantially after you edited it in Picasa?  Let us see!  Here’s a couple ways to send us the pictures:

  1. Upload the before and after to your public Web Album (or wherever you upload your pictures) and send us the link to view them.  Send email to pictures@picasageeks.com
  2. Email the pictures to us at pictures@picasageeks.com – remember to email both the original *and* the improved.
  3. Just send us an email requesting a link to our public web album where you can upload the pictures.
  4. All pictures we receive will be posted on a public web album.  We’ll give the link next week.
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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Picasa Basic Fixes

Picasa Tuning

Picasa Crop Size Options


Attend our Hands-on Picasa Photo Editing class

Offered  at Rallies and campgrounds see our upcoming events