Windows Live Photo Gallery is a free program and one of the free Windows Live Essentials programs which you can download from download.live.com. Live Photo Gallery makes it easy for you to:
- copy your photos and movies from your camera to your computer
- edit your photos, for example, adjust colour, rotate and crop
- backup your photos and movies using your 25,000 megabytes of free online space
- share your photos with family and friends
- organise your photos with descriptive and people tags
- view photos taken by your family and friends
Copying photos from your camera
When you plug your camera into your computer, Windows Vista and Windows XP will automatically load any drivers that connect your camera to your computer. In other words, you can forget about installing any software that came on a CD with your camera.
After plugging in your camera, look at the bottom of the screen for an orange notification that reads Autorun; click this to bring up a list of choices to use to copy your photos to your camera. Choose the one that says Import photos and videos using Live Photo Gallery.
On the next dialogue box, choose Review. This option will result in Live Photo Gallery looking at what photos you already have on your computer and compare those with the photos on your camera. Live Photo Gallery will then show you only the photos you haven’t yet copied from your camera to your computer. This feature may seem superfluous when you first start storing photos on your computer but with camera memory cards being so cheap and able to store hundreds of photos, the capability to easily see the most recent photos that need copying saves lots and lots of time.
The next part of the copying process involves using the slider at the bottom right of the dialogue to adjust the time span so your photos are grouped by date and time. So, for example, if you’ve taken a large group of photos on just one day, then adjust the slider so your photos are grouped every few hours. On the other hand, if your photos are spread over a week or two, adjust the slider according to days.
You need to enter a name (click in the Enter name box) which turns out to be a folder name into which your photos will be copied. Don’t worry if you miss this step – Live Photo Gallery will create a folder according to the day’s date, e.g. 2009-02-26, and if you have several groups of photos, folders will be named 2009-02-26 001, 2009-02-26 002, and so on. But folder names aren’t important because you’re going to add tags to your photos so they’re organised and you can easily find them when the need arises.
Tagging photos to organise and find them
Depending on how your grouping works out from the step above, you should be able to add a descriptive tag or two before the final step to import your photos. If not, we’ll do it after importing. So click Import to copy your photos from the camera to your computer.
After the photos are imported, Live Photo Gallery opens to show your photos in the folder you named (or the first folder if you grouped your photos into several sections or folders). Now it’s time to add tags.
There are two types of tags: descriptive and people, the latter using face recognition. You can select a single photo or a group of photos to apply a general tag such as Holidays and then add further tags that best describe one photo or a group of photos.
The purpose of tags is so you can view photos with a single click on a tag name from the tag list in Live Photo Gallery. Staying with our Holidays photos, over time you’ll be able to view all your holiday photos and then focus in on that holiday you took at Byron Bay or Margaret River. You took some photos on the beach (another tag) at sunrise (another tag). Your holiday photos from Margaret River include some magnificent sunsets (another tag).
Now that you have tagged your holiday photos, later when looking for a photo of a sunset, simply click the Sunset tag to view them.
Remember, too, that colours are important so add tags to your photos so you can later view all your photos that feature a colour. For example, you have photos of red roses – that’s two tags to use.
Saving and sharing your photos all in one step
Using a Windows Live ID (a Hotmail account in an earlier age) you’re able to store and share your photos online. You have 25,000 megabytes (25Gb) of free storage – that’s enough space for about 8,000 photos.
Live Photo Gallery gives you access to your online storage through the Publish menu item. So after tagging your photos, it’s time to upload them.
Choose a group of photos that will make an album about a particular theme such as Sunsets at Byron Bay 2009 and click Publish then Online album to begin the upload step. Note that you have a choice about who you share you photos with – everybody, those on your Live network, or just you.
It’s up to you to choose the most appropriate. After you upload your photos to an album, you can let other people know where to view your photos and they can download the ones they want.
People in your Live network will be automatically notified that you’ve uploaded a new album so you don’t need to do anything else except wait for the accolades that your photos deserve.
Some things to do
- Take lots of photos in different conditions, e.g., close ups, landscapes, indoors and into the sun, so learn the capabilities of your camera (remember, one day you’ll be asked to take photos for a special birthday, wedding or family event so be prepared)
- Live Photo Gallery can stitch photos together to create panoramas so try this feature (just overlap your photos by about half) under the Make menu item
- Live Photo Gallery can combine your photos to create a 3D view that uses Photosynth (see some samples by the webDotWizards in today’s list of sites)
- When changing batteries, some cameras lose the date and time setting so check your camera
- Learn about depth of field and test how well your camera performs
Download Windows Live Essentials 2009: download.live.com
Explore Windows Live: windowslive.com/Explore
Latest version of Windows Live Photo Gallery fixes publishing issues: blogs.msdn.com/pix/
Mercedes SSK Photosynth: photosynth.net
Quickly find your best (or worst) photos: blogs.msdn.com/pix/
The Art of Photography: kevplew.spaces.live.com
Update to Windows Live Messenger and other Live Essentials (Feb 13 2009): windowslivewire.spaces.live.com
Waimea Canyon Hawaii Panorama: photozoom.mslivelabs.com
Why “people tags”?: blogs.msdn.com/pix/
Whroo open cut mine synthed: photosynth.net
Windows Live Photo Gallery Features: download.live.com/photogallery
Posted using the latest version of Windows Live Writer 2009.
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