I never learned how to use Photoshop. And when I started working in editorial for fashion publications, and then launched my own style blog, I was too embarrassed to admit I had no idea how to edit photos. Plus, I was broke, so I searched the web for free photo-editing applications. Picasa was one of the first to appear (naturally, since it's owned by Google), and I've been using it ever since.
Here are 5 ways I use Picasa on a pretty much daily basis. Be aware that 1. This is strictly for beginners. I know you fancy photo people use much more sophisticated tools. 2. Google has been focusing a lot on Google Photos, which is an online application and has less editing functionality than the desktop Picasa app. Nevertheless, the future of Picasa is uncertain. But if you're just starting your blog, it's is a cost-free and easy way to get your photos in shape for publication.
1. Basic editing
Picasa lets you crop and straighten, plus adjust brightness, saturation, highlights, shadows, contrast and color temperature or add text—all the basics in an easy-to-use interface. I don't use the app's filters as I find them to be pretty extreme and unnatural looking.
2. I'm feeling lucky
The “I'm feeling lucky” button is a one-click fix for all of the above. Sometimes, it's pretty amazing. Other times, you'll want to undo it immediately. But I often click it just to see what will happen. The results often send me in the right direction with color or light. You can also choose the “auto color” or “auto contrast” options instead of the all in one lucky button.
Using the “export” button directly below your image, you can resize your photo to whatever dimensions you like by either using the slider function, or by typing in a specific number.
Note that there is just one box for that number. If your photo orientation is landscape (wider than taller), the number will indicate the width, which is usually the most important measurement for making the photo appear properly on your blog.
But if the orientation is portrait (taller than wider), the number indicates the length. If you need to specify width in a portrait photo (which is often the case for outfit photos), you'll need to do a little math. Here's my non-math-person version of how to do it: Divide the actual width by the desired width. Then divide the length by that number. The result is the desired length, and the number you should type in the box. But you probably already knew that.
I love Picasa's collage function! Starting in the library view, you simply highlight the photos you'd like to include in a collage, then in the main menu under “Create,” click “Picture Collage.” You'll then end up in a window displaying a collage that automatically includes the photos you chose. Here you can choose the type of collage you want (my favorite is “grid”). Here you can also add grid spacing and choose the dimension and orientation. Under the “clips” tab, you can add or subtract photos from the collage.
5. Facial recognition
My husband uses this function to organize our ever-increasing library of family photos, and it's pretty cool. In the “Library” view, you'll see a “People” folder. Click on it and you'll find everyone you know (and probably some you don't) organized into folders. It's shockingly accurate, and sometimes humorously inaccurate.