Techno Files...with Riley Gay
Organizing digital photos now even easier

Digital photography has made it so easy to take great pictures. Itís gotten easier, too, to share your shots with family and friends.

And, since you donít pay for film or processing with your digital camera, you can snap away to your heartís content.

But, what do you do with all those photos after you offload them to your PC?

Just dumping your precious pics onto your computerís hard drive is a lot like stuffing them into a virtual shoebox and hiding it under the bed. You need to find a way to organize your photos if you ever hope to find that one particular shot when you need it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to help bring order to the chaos. The following examples range from moderately priced to completely free, but all will help take the drudgery out of organizing your shots. 

For most casual photographers, one of the easiest to use photo organizers on the market is Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0.

It will not only let you organize your photos by date, but you can also apply keyword tags that will allow you bring together photos, even from different folders, that share a common subject or other element.

Photoshop Album allows you to easily create slideshows of your photos that you can burn to CD or email in PDF format.

Using the included photo editor, you can apply fixes with a single mouse click, or you can pair it with Photoshop Elements 3.0, Adobeís excellent consumer-level photo editing application, for a formidable set of tools that will handle just about any digital photo challenge.

You can buy Photoshop Album 2.0 for around $50, or go to www.adobe.com to download the free Photoshop Album Starter Edition software to give it a try.

For those who might require a more comprehensive solution, ACDSee 7 is an excellent choice. Though not as simple to use as some other photo organizers, ACDSee is, nonetheless, a very capable program that can give the veteran photographer a bit more control over the whole process. It includes a photo editor, as well as a number of other useful tools to help you manage and share your favorite photos.

ACDSee 7 can be purchased for $50, or you can download free trial version from www.acdsystems.com.

Finally, if you look around online, youíre likely to find a number of free programs to help you organize your digital photos, but none is better than Picasa 2.0. Though itís been around for a while, Picasa was recently purchased by Internet search stalwart Google, who not only updated and improved the basic program, but made it available online as a free download, as well.

In its latest incarnation, Picasa 2.0 is a full-featured photo organizer thatís easy to use, and it includes a photo editor thatís capable of handling most common tasks.

After installation, Picasa searches your hard drive, indexing all of your photos and organizing them by date, but you can also tell it to keep an eye on your photo folders for any changes or additions.
Picasaís Timeline interface makes it easy to search for, and display, your photos by date. Thereís also a very handy feature that lets you create a slideshow CD to share with family and friends. You can archive your shots to CD or DVD right from Picasa, too.

You can download Picasa 2.0 at www.picasa.com.

If your collection of digital photos has become too much for your virtual shoebox, it may just be time for you to get organized. And, with the right tools, it can be both fun and easy to do.