Or also known as Picasa…it’s free, so learn how to use it!
This is how you can access Picasa Web Albums. I highly recommend bookmarking your Picasa Album Homepage once you open it up for easy access in the future. When you click on the Picasa Web Album Link, it will take you to a page that looks like this:
Option One: You can upload it from your computer straight into your blog (as we demonstrated in our last 101 post) this is the way most people place a photograph(s) into their blog post. But say this pictures needs a little tweeking and you don’t own photo editing software such as Photoshop, is there a way to still make your pictures look better? Well, glad you asked because yes there is! Option Two: Is you can upload your photographs straight to Picasa.
First you will need to access your Picasa Web Albums as we noted above. Then you will need to locate the option to upload photos, which is located in the dashboard above the list of your web albums (see above screenshot) This will allow you to upload photos straight into Picasa from your computer, bypassing Blogger for now.
Next you will chose to create a new album or you can choose an existing album. Also you can choose the visibility of this specific album. We choose anyone with link except for a few which we make private such as graphics we might create or new projects we don’t want public yet. Then you will select “continue” which will take you to your computer files where you will select the photo(s) you want to upload.
I chose to upload this photo to our web albums. You can see it is now uploaded to Picasa. After you upload your photo there will be a button in the lower right hand corner titled “Ok” select this and your photo will now be placed in the album you selected. At this point you will be redirected to that album. Scroll down and locate the picture you uploaded. It should be the last picture in the album because it is the most recently uploaded. Select that picture, and it will open up into a screen where it will be featured by itself.
Now located the Edit button in the top right hand corner of your screen. It will have an image of a sky next to it (as seen in this screenshot). Click on the Edit button and Picasa will open up the photo editing part of it’s website. Welcome to Picnik!
Up first we are going to resize our photograph. Why you ask? Because the larger the photograph the more space it takes up in your Picasa Album, and you are only allowed so much space before they will charge you a small fee to buy more space. Afterall, it is free and they are going to make some money off of you eventually. grin. So keep your sized as small as possible. Here you can see mine was uploaded at 1944 X 2896 pixels. That is because my camera is set at a large file setting. This is fine for printing actual physical photographs but WAY too huge for a blog. If you ever wondered why it takes so long to upload a photograph to your blog it’s most likely because you are uploading a HUGE file such as this one. Here is where we can resize those photographs to a more managable size. This allows you to have control over the EXACT size of your photograph so that when you place it in your blog and select “original” for the photo size (as we learned in our last 101 post) it will be the exact perfect size you like! I changed this photo to 600 height by 400 width) I might resize it a little manually when it is place in the post using the edit html tip we learned, but I won’t know this until it is actually in the post so for now I approximate the size I want. Make sure “Keep Proportions” is selected as seen in the snapshot or else your photograph will become distorted. When you have it at the size you like select “Ok”.
Here is where you can now edit your picture to brighten it, sharpen it and fix your lighting. There is a learning curve that everyone needs to go through when it comes to editing pictures. I am still learning so much. But here are a few tips I can pass on.
The first thing I do when I edit a photo is neutralize the color. Neutralize the color? Have you ever had a picture that appeared too “yellow” or too “blue”? This is because your white light was not balanced in the picture. The picture to the left was taken on a cloudy day with very little natural light. It washed out my whites and made them appear gray. I can fix this by choosing the Color option under Edit. Than selecting the “Neutral Picker” Button on the dashboard (see above snapshot). A small eyedropper will take the place of your cursor. Place the eyedropper on any part of your photo that should be white and hit enter. This will change the temperature of the white in your photograph to a more pure white. If it is too yellow it will become a more “bluer” white, and vice versa if it is too blue. You can than tweak this even more using the Temperature slider at the top. Most photographs are too yellow, especially those taken at night or with a flash. Once you get your whites corrected move over to the Exposure button.
Exposure is where you can “brighten” your photo up to make up for lack of natural light, etc. You can play with the sliders at the top but I like to use the Advanced feature. In the Advanced feature you can tweak your photo even more by changing the highlights, shadows, brightness and contrast of your photograph.
Choose the Sharpen option in Edit. You can use the sliding scale to auto sharpen your photograph or if you’re daring select Advanced and play around with it. Remember it is better to make it slightly less sharp than to over sharpen it thus pixilating your photograph. Slide the scale all the way to the right and you’ll see what I mean. Play around with the sharpening too until you get the photograph as sharp as you’d like and select Ok.
First we will add a frame. There are several options for frames in Picnik. And we’ve used many of them on our photographs and graphics. For this photo I am choosing Museum Matte. This will give my frame an outer frame and an inner matte, just like a professionally framed photograph. I have the option to choose the color of both the frame and matte as well as the size. This is where it’s fun to play around and get the look you like. In frames is where you can also round the edges of your photographs. If you round your edges be sure to select transparency for your edges so your photograph will not show white corners on your blog if your background is not white. Play around with the different frames until you get the look you like. Nothing is permanent until you select Apply.
Next, we are going to add some text to our photograh. This is where you can add a “watermark” or some type of identification to your photo. It is also where you can add fun fonts to graphics or buttons. There are dozens of fonts available to you in Picnik. Most are free some are premiere fonts you will have to purchase. In the upper left hand corner you will type in the words you want to be located on your photo. The words will appear over your photograph in a box and will be much large than you want. You can reduce the size of the box until the text is the size you like. You can also rotate the text. If you would like the text to appear on several lines just return to the text box where you typed in your text and hit enter between the words to create several lines of text. You can play around with the different fonts as long as are still within the text box you are working with. If you want different lines of fonts on the same picture just create a different text box for each line of type and font and then move the boxes around to you like the layout.
Here is my text. Reduced and placed in the lower right hand corner as a watermark. You can see the box around my text. A window will open up as seen in the screenshot allowing you to choose the color of the font, the justification of the font as well as several other options you can play around with. Once you have chosen the text you like. You can save your photograph.
You have two option when saving your photograph. You can replace the original or save the edited photograph as a new file. I usually replace the original if I’m happy with my edited photo to save space in our Picasa Web Album. Remember your original is still located on you computer. I will create a new file if it is a blank graphic that I change often such as my Blogging 101 graphic. That way I always have the blank original to work with.
Better?? I think so! So, are you wondering now how I created the Before and After photograph? Well I did that using Picasa 3 which can be downloaded onto your computer! With Picasa 3 you can create collages, headers for your blog, add even more text….and it’s free as well! See Google isn’t always a pain in the tooshie! grin! Here is the link to download Picasa 3 software to your computer.
And don’t forget…there is still time to enter to win our MathBlaster Giveaway! Scroll down to the next post to find out more about how you can win this fabulous prize.
Even if you don’t want to enter the Giveaway, it’s worth taking a peek just to see Vanessa and and my nephew Ian doing their video review!