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Organizing Your Vacation Photos

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It doesn’t take much time (or money) to make your vacation photos easier to find and enjoy. Photo expert Mark Soper shows you how to use a trio of popular photo programs to organize your photos for continuing enjoyment. Use Microsoft’s free Windows Live Photo Gallery, Google’s Picasa 3.6 (also free) and the Organizer function in Adobe’s Photoshop Elements to make organizing and finding your photos a snap! You'll learn how to tag photos, group photos, add star ratings and store your photos so that you can put your hands on the photos you're looking for and share them with family and friends!

Preparing for Photo Organization

You’ll probably bring back hundreds digital photos from summer vacation. Before you go on vacation, take a little time to make sure that your computer is ready to keep your vacation pictures well-organized. In this article, I'll show you how to get your photos organized so you can enjoy your vacation again and again.

You need software to help you organize your photo collection: just using the folder structure built into Windows isn't sufficient, because the folder structure doesn't make it easy to find your pictures any other way than by folder. Let's face it, digital camera photos don’t have friendly names like Jimmy's Wedding or Grand Canyon Day 2 but use alphanumeric names such as IMG_9999.JPG. In other words, it's up to you to create an organizational scheme.

Fortunately, there are lots of programs[md]many of them free[md]that can help you do just this. In this article, we’ll discuss how to organize your photos with Microsoft’s free Windows Live Photo Gallery, Google’s Picasa 3.6 (also free) and the Organizer function in Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (under $100; 30-day trial available).

All of these programs enable you to:

  • Transfer your photographs into your choice of folder names
  • Provide star ratings for your photographs
  • Tag your photographs during or after transfer
  • Group your photographs by ratings, date taken, tags, and other criteria
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