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Chapter 2. Create Your Image Albums > Downloading Images from Your Camera

Downloading Images from Your Camera

Now it's time to move pictures from your digital camera to your computer by using Picasa! Here's what you do:

  1. Connect your camera to the computer— Make sure that your camera is turned off, and then connect the cable that came with the camera to the camera and then to the computer. (If you're uncertain about the procedure, check the user guide that came with your camera.) Some cameras connect directly, while others use a cradle or dock in which the camera sits. You might also use a card reader to download image files. (See the sidebar “Getting Connected” for more information.)


    Many digital cameras plug right into your computer by using a USB cable (typically supplied with the camera). The cable may have one tiny connector to plug into the camera and a standard USB connector at the other end to connect to the computer.

    However, there are other ways to connect a camera to a computer. Some cameras use a cradle or a dock, a separate piece of hardware that's connected directly to the computer. The cradle/dock stays connected (if you want to leave it connected), and you put the camera in the device to charge the camera's battery and to download images.

    Another alternative is a card reader. To use a card reader, you remove the recordable media from the camera and insert it into the small device, which remains connected to the computer. Many card readers can be used with different types of recordable media, making them very handy if you have multiple cameras. And, generally speaking, card readers download images to the computer much faster than camera-to-computer connections.

    From top to bottom: a direct connection, a cradle/dock, and a card reader with various recordable media.

  2. Turn on the camera— Windows should automatically recognize the camera. It is likely to launch the software that came with your camera. Quit that program and switch back to Picasa.

  3. Click the Import button— You'll find the Import button toward the upper-left of Picasa's window (see Figure 2.9). You then see a menu with locations from which you can import images (which is discussed in the next step).

    Figure 2.9. You can use the Import button to download pictures from your digital camera.

  4. Select your camera from the Select Device menu— As you can see in Figure 2.10, your camera may be listed by name or it may appear as Removable Drive (which is also visible if you use a card reader to transfer your images). Picasa then gathers the images available on your camera.

    Figure 2.10. Picasa sees some cameras by name, but in this case, two additional cameras are listed as Removable Drive.

  5. Preview, rotate, and exclude as desired— Click an image in the Import Tray area to the left in Picasa (see Figure 2.11). Use the left and right arrow buttons below the preview area to navigate among the images. Use the rotate buttons to change the orientation of images (or you can rotate at a later time in Picasa). If there are any pictures you don't want to import, select the images in the Import Tray and click the Exclude button. A red-and-white X symbol indicates an image that will not be imported.

    Figure 2.11. The first and last pictures are rotated, the third picture is excluded and will not be imported.

  6. Click the Finish button— After you have rotated and excluded images that you don't want to import, click the Finish button to move to the next step in the process.

  7. Name the folder and complete the download— In Picasa's Finish Importing dialog box (see Figure 2.12), naming the folder in the Title field is mandatory—the Finish button isn't available until you assign a title—and you can add any additional information you want in the Place Taken and Folder Caption fields. Click the Finish button when you're done to complete the import. Picasa imports each download into a new folder, just like the ones created when you scanned your computer for existing pictures earlier.

    Figure 2.12. A folder title is required, but the other fields are optional.

  8. Disconnect and remove your camera— Before turning off or disconnecting your camera, always use the Safely Remove Hardware shortcut in the Quick Launch area in the bottom-right corner of the screen (see Figure 2.13). After a couple seconds, Windows lets you know that it's safe to shut down and unplug. (And, yes, turn off the camera before disconnecting the cable or removing the camera from the cradle/dock.)

    Figure 2.13. Click the Safely Remove Hardware shortcut, select the device, and wait for the Safe to Remove Hardware message before turning off and disconnecting your camera.


    Always follow the proper shutdown sequence before disconnecting the camera from the computer. While there's little chance of damaging your camera or computer, you should err on the side of caution.

  9. (Optional) Label your images to create albums— After Picasa imports the images, you can click one or more image previews and then use the buttons at the bottom of the Picasa window to add labels (see Figure 2.14). If you like, you can also add stars to signify the best of the best. When you assign a specific label to an image, it's like copying the image to a different folder—a great way to create albums for slideshows (see step 10). You can assign pictures from many folders the same label and then view them as a group.

    Figure 2.14. Using labels and stars can help you keep your images organized and create digital photo albums.

  10. (Optional) View a slideshow of your new images— Click the Slideshow button (see Figure 2.15), and, Picasa shows you each of the pictures in your folder, in order, full screen! It's a great way to not only review the images but also show them to friends and family. Remember that you can use Slideshow with Labels or folders of images.

    Figure 2.15. You can play a slideshow to see your images in sequence.


    If you think Slideshow view is cool, click the Timeline button for a fun way to navigate among your folders to select one for a slideshow!

  11. (Optional) Create a backup CD of your images— If your computer has an optical drive that is capable of recording to CD or DVD (called burning a disk), you can easily create a backup copy of your pictures for safe storage. Select the folder you want to back up and then click the Backup button. Picasa tells you which folders and files have not yet been backed up and walks you through the process of burning the disk.


    Use Picasa's Backup button to create a CD of images to take to your local photo lab for printing.

  12. (Optional) Collect pictures in the Picture Tray— As you may have noticed while working in Picasa, any time you click an image in the large area to the upper right, it also appears in the lower-left corner of the Picasa window. (Go ahead and try it—click any image in the current folder.) That area to the lower left is Picasa's Picture Tray. Images in the Picture Tray can be easily printed, emailed to friends and family, blended into a photo collage, exported to a folder, and otherwise shared from within Picasa. But odds are, you'll want to work with more than one image at a time. To gather a number of images in the Picture Tray, select them in the upper right and click the Hold button (see Figure 2.16). Images that you're holding in the Picture Tray are identified there with a small green symbol. You can then even switch to another folder and select more images, and again click the Hold button.

    Figure 2.16. You can click the Hold button to keep images in the Picture Tray, even when switching folders.


    Did you notice the Clear button in Figure 2.16? If you decide you don't really want to keep a specific image in the Picture Tray, click it in the Picture Tray to select it and then click the Clear button. If you want to empty the Picture Tray, make sure no individual picture or pictures are selected and then click Clear.

  13. (Optional) Email pictures from the Picture Tray— Once you've gathered images in the Picture Tray, you can quickly and easily email them to friends and family. Simply click the Email button (to the right on the Picture Tray) and select which email account you want to use (see Figure 2.17). You can use the email program that's on your computer (Outlook Express, in this example) or one of the Google-sponsored email services (Gmail and Picasa Mail). Picasa makes email-friendly smaller copies of the selected images to avoid overloading anyone's email Inbox.

    Figure 2.17. You can click the Email button in Picasa and then choose which program or service to use.


    You can access Picasa's online service for sharing, distributing, and printing your photos by using the Hello, Blogger, and Order buttons.

    For more information about these services, check Picasa's Help.





    Pets aren't always easy to photograph. First of all, few of them are willing to pose for a picture. Second, their eyes sometimes show up in the photograph with a strange greenish shine. This site offers all kinds of photography tips, including ideas on how to take portraits and spontaneous pictures of your pet. While researching this topic, I also remembered an article from Martha Stewart Living a few years ago on taking pictures of your dog. Luckily, I found it on the Web. Check out the article on Dog Pictures. This site also has some beautiful pictures of many breeds of dogs.

  14. (Optional) Export pictures from the Picture Tray— You might want to make a new folder with copies of the images you've gathered in the Picture Tray, perhaps to use in a project or maybe to manually create a backup. After selecting images and holding them in the Picture Tray, click the Export button (to the far right of the Picture Tray). As you can see in Figure 2.18, you can assign a name to the new folder, click the Browse button to choose a location for it, and even elect to resize the images and assign an image quality percentage.

    Figure 2.18. Exporting images to a folder is great for gathering materials to use in creative projects.



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