Thursday, June 7, 2007

Create your own Photo Album

So, now that you have returned and unpacked after a great vacation, it’s time to go through all the pictures you took! But, first things first. You are going to want to make sure your pictures are backed up on your computer for safe keeping. If you use a digital camera, you can simply connect the camera to your computer and copy the pictures. If you use a film camera, then after you get home with your prints, you can use a scanner to copy the pictures. But, where will you put the pictures on your computer? Organizing your pictures should be a priority. You don’t want to have to spend time hunting for them later, do you? So, let’s begin with a little bit of planning before you copy those pictures to your computer.

Windows XP makes it simple to organize your pictures. Windows XP even provides a default folder called My Pictures to help with organizing your pictures. I recommend creating your own subfolders within the My Pictures folder for easy access to your pictures later on. After all, you won’t be able to forget where your pictures are if you copied them into a folder with just “pictures” in the title! So, before you copy your pictures, let’s create a new subfolder for them.

First, access the My Pictures folder through the Start menu. Click on Start, My Documents and then My Pictures. This will display the My Pictures window. I recommend setting the My Pictures folder to display in a Thumbnail view. This view allows you to see small versions of your pictures in the My Pictures window instead of just picture names. To set this view, use the View menu and select Thumbnails. To create a new folder, click on the Make a new folder link under the File and Folder Tasks menu to the left.

A new folder will be displayed in the My Pictures window with the name "New Folder" highlighted in blue. You can type in a new name for the folder while it is highlighted in blue. Or, you can select the folder and click on the Rename this folder link in the File and Folder Tasks menu.

Make sure you give the folder a descriptive name so that you will know in the future what this folder contains. A picture from your vacation pictures could be named “Family Vacation 2007,” for example.

Now, you are ready to copy your pictures into the new folder. Once the pictures are copied over, you can customize the folder to optimize it for pictures. To customize the folder, right click on it and choose Properties from the pop up menu. Select the Customize tab from the Folder Properties dialogue box.

Use the “Use this folder type as a template” drop down list to select the Photo Album template. You can also select a picture to be displayed on the folder icon by clicking on the Choose Picture button under the Folder Pictures section. You will now be able to select one of the pictures in the folder to be displayed on the folder. Click OK to save this setting. The picture will only be displayed on the folder while using the thumbnail view. Click Apply and OK to save your customizations and close the Folder Properties dialogue box.

You have just created a photo album for your pictures! When you open this folder, the pictures will be displayed in a film strip type view.

The first picture in the folder will be displayed in a larger size with the other pictures in the folder displayed along the bottom, in smaller thumbnail versions. You can use the horizontal scroll bar to see all the thumbnail images. Also, note that beneath the first picture, there are four icons. The blue arrow icons will allow you to view the next or previous pictures in the folder. The green and blue buttons allow you to rotate your pictures so they are displayed correctly.

Once you have your photo album set up with all the pictures rotated so they are displayed correctly, it’s time to think about sharing your pictures as a slideshow. Open your new photo album. To start a slideshow of your pictures, click on “View as a slideshow” in the Picture Tasks menu to the left.

A full screen slideshow of your pictures will begin. Note that you have a toolbar at the top left. There are controls for Play, Pause, Previous, Next and Close. The slideshow will advance the pictures automatically. But, if you wanted to speed up the process, you can advance them using the next button. The slideshow will loop until you end it by clicking the Close button.

A slideshow is a great way for sharing your pictures quickly and easily with others! Plus, it's so simple to put one together using a folder customized just for your pictures. Have fun!