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If you are like most people today, you have a digital camera, and if you have a digital camera, you need to store and manage your ever-growing collection of photos on your PC. Now, this could be as simple a process as copying the photos off your camera's memory card and keeping them in your Pictures folder on your computer. But that's probably not the best plan for organizing your photos, especially if you shoot a lot of pictures. Microsoft offers an excellent piece of free photo management and editing software called Windows Live Photo Gallery, but it doesn't come built into Windows. Instead, it comes as part of the Windows Live Essential suite of applications, which includes Windows Live Mail which we looked at in a previous chapter, as well as Movie Maker, Messenger. You can actually see all the programs that comes with right here.
So if you haven't yet downloaded and installed Windows Live Essentials, you can open your web browser and visit explore. live.com/windows-live-essentials, or if you don't feel like typing all that in, you can also click your Start button and in Search Programs and Files, type Windows Live and then find and click the link that says Go online to get Windows Live Essentials. That opens up the exact same web page and here you can click Download Now to download the suite and then follow the instructions for installing the Windows Live Essentials applications. I've already installed the Windows Live Essentials suite on my PC.
So let's see how to import photos into Windows Live Photo Gallery. I'll start by opening Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button, going to All Programs, finding Windows Live, and opening Photo Gallery. By default, Photo Gallery displays the photos and videos it finds in your Pictures and Videos folder. These are the folders in your own user folder you can get to by selecting Start > Pictures, and here you can see Sample Pictures. Let me switch these to the icons, so you can see. These are the exact same pictures we're seeing here, being displayed in Photo Gallery.
This video you're seeing here is also in Videos inside of my Public Videos folder. Now, it's important to note that the photos in Photo Gallery here are still in their exact same location in your Pictures and Videos folder. Photo Gallery does not move or copy the photos to another location. So if you delete a photo here in Photo Gallery, the real photo gets moved to your Recycle Bin. So be careful when it comes to deleting photos in Photo Gallery. We'll talk a little bit more about that later. Okay, so what I have here are just the sample photos and video that comes with Windows. I'm much more interested in managing my own photos.
So, what I'm going to do now is plug the memory card for my camera into one of my PC's USB ports. Now depending on your camera and memory card, you might plug the camera itself in via USB or you may use your PC's built-in SD card reader, if it has one, or use an SD card reader that plugs into a USB port. Whatever the case may be, after a moment, you should see the AutoPlay window open, asking you what you want to do with the device that's detected. Notice one of these options is to view pictures using Windows Live Photo Gallery. So I'll select that option. So now, we're looking at the photos on my camera card via the Photo Gallery window.
The photos are still on the card and had not been imported into my computer. So if I were to remove my card, I'd no longer to be able to view the images on my computer. I can browse through them using the arrows down here. Now to import these pictures on to your computer, you're going to click Import to Gallery. That opens a window here where you have a decision to make. Do you want to take the time to review your photos and organize them into folders with Photo Gallery's help or do you want to just import everything all at once and worry about organizing them later? Now, currently, my option to import all new items now is grayed out and I can't select it because I've actually already imported these photos previous to recording this movie when I was testing out this feature.
But the first time you insert your memory card or attach your camera and Windows Live Photo Gallery detects new photos, you'll have both options available. Now, if you're on a rush, you could select Import all new items now. But if you have a few minutes, I highly suggest going with Review, organize, and group items to import. We're going to be talking about things like organizing and tagging your photos a little later in this chapter, and this is a good way to get a jump on organizing your photos right off the bat. As you add more and more photos to your library, it's going to be more and more difficult to find specific ones unless you take the time to organize them.
So keep Review, organize, and group items to import checked and then click Next. Notice that Photo Gallery is smart enough to know which photos you took on the same dates, and it uses that information to organize your photos into separate folders. So I have four different events I shot with my camera and it'll be nice to have them organized into their own folders. Now you can use this Adjust group slider to determine how much time difference has to exist between photos in order for a new folder to be created. So, if I drag this to the right, notice that eventually they all end up in one group.
I'm going to drag it back, so there's about four hours between groups and that looks about right again. Now at the very least, while you're in here you should try to enter a name for each folder. Again, it'll make it much easier to find your photos in the near or distant future. Just type names that mean something to you. So this one would be Santa Barbara Zoo. This one would be July 4th Fireworks, this one is Downtown Ventura, and the fourth folder is Horseshoe Curve, Altoona, PA.
Now you can also click the Add Tags button, which we'll talk about later, but I'm going to skip that step for now. But when you're ready, go ahead and click Import. And in just a few seconds, depending on how many photos you're importing, the photos are copied into Photo Gallery. But in actuality, they have been copied into my Pictures folder. Photo Gallery is really, again, just the management device you use to view the photos stored in your Pictures Folder. So, if I go to the Start menu and click Pictures, notice the photos are organized into their own folders with the names that we provided.
Downtown Ventura, Horseshoe Curve, July 4th Fireworks, and Santa Barbara Zoo. Now, currently in Windows Live Photo Gallery, I have all photos and videos selected which is why I see them all in a block like this. But I can toggle open My Pictures and here are all the folders I created and I can click those individually to see just the pictures in those folders. So that's how you import photos from your camera or camera memory card. Now in case that AutoPlay window did not open or if you closed the window used to view the pictures on your memory card, you can still import photos at any time by clicking the File menu and choosing Import from camera or scanner.
You'll then be asked to select which device you want to import your photos from. in this case, I only have the one, and then you click Import and then the rest of the process is the same as we just saw. So I'll just close that. Also, if you don't want Windows to ask you what to do every time you connect your camera or card to your PC, you can go into AutoPlay settings by clicking Start, type in autopsy, and click the AutoPlay control panel and in here, you can determine what your computer does when it detects certain types of media.
Click the menu next to Pictures, and choose View Pictures using Windows Live Photo Gallery. That way Photo Gallery will automatically open each time you connect your device to your PC. Go ahead and save that. And lastly, we've seen the Photo Gallery automatically displays photos it finds in your Pictures folder. If you store your photos elsewhere on your computer, you can have Photo Gallery display and manage them too. Just choose File > Include a folder in the gallery, which will let you browse through your computer to find whichever folder you want to use, and then once you select it, Photo Gallery will display its content in the main gallery here as well.
All of my photos are in my Pictures folder though, so I'll just cancel this. So, that's how to import and do some basic organization using the free Windows Live Photos Gallery application you can download from Microsoft. Now Photo Gallery is not the only free photo management and editing software out there. There's an application called Picasa that's available from Google as well as several other applications from other companies. But you should still be able to figure out how to import photos into whichever application you're using, based on the steps I've shown you here.
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