One thing I failed to reference in my previous column was printing pictures from your digital photo images. Some of us want pictures that we can hold in our hands or even place in scrapbooks. Unless you are in a hurry for a pic or two, let the pros do the printing.
Professional photo services can do a much better job than your home printer and save you money to boot. You can send your images to any of a dozen or more photo printers from your home PC and either pick them up or have them mailed to you or to your friends and family.
For example, if you use Picasa, they currently link to Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Shutterfly, Snapfish, CVS and 11 other printers. Another advantage of printing from an online printer is that many of them will save uploaded pics so that you can return later and purchase additional copies.
My Wal-Mart photo account includes snapshots that I took at the beach in 2007. It’s also very easy to personalize mugs, calendars and other stuff using an online printer.
What you can contribute to the process is adjusting the light, removing red-eye, cropping to size and picking the best shots. Do your own editing using your choice of software and remember when you crop images, crop to the aspect ratio you plan to print, 4×6 for example.
I don’t know about you, but I personally prefer looking at my pics on a PC monitor to looking at the still shots that I’m holding in my hands (maybe it’s keeping up with packets of pics or albums that turns me off). I just like seeing the big, richly colored images on my desktop better! Sharing that experience is easy with any number of free photo sharing Webs: Flickr, Zoomr, Photobucket, Photoshop Express and Picasa Web Albums to name a few of the best.
If you are a devotee of this column, you’re already using Picasa, so why not give their share site a try? I recommend the others as well, but you can only use so many. If you’re a newbie, keep it simple.
Another fun ways to share pics is to create photo slide shows that you can copy to discs and share with your friends or family on their PCs. If you are a Windows user (XP and later), you may already have one free slide maker installed, Windows Movie Maker (note: Movie Maker is part of the free Windows Live Essentials package if you are using Win 7).
This software can accommodate still shots and video clips. If you own a version of Microsoft Office, you could also use PowerPoint to make slide shows with its own advantages.
My personal choice for free slide show creation is Photo Story 3 which you can download at: http://tinyurl.com/4f869. This versatile software allows you to do most of the things you’d want to with your pics: edit, add opening effects, insert titles and captions add music and a feature that I like, pan from side to side within a photo which gives the effect of movement and allows you to focus in on objects of interest.
Unless you readers have additional questions about digital photography, this concludes my series on this fascinating subject.