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THE TGB ELDER GEEK: Working with Your Photos

VirginiaDeBolt75x75Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words. You will find links to Virginia's previous Time Goes By Elder Geek columns here.

Do you have a computer full of digital photos that you would like to email or edit? Today you'll get a summary of some of the free tools and applications that help you work with your photos.

Adobe Photoshop has a free online photo editing tool. This application lets you upload photos, create albums, edit and share photos by attaching them to an email or sending people a URL where your photos can be found. You can also decorate images with text and graphics. The Photoshop tools are reasonably easy to use and understand.

Picnik is another online application for photo editing. I use Picnik and think it is easy and very robust for a free product. You can work on photos that are stored on your computer, then save the edited versions. I keep most of my photos for public sharing on Flickr.

Using Picnik, I can edit any photo I have stored on Flickr. Picnik also will edit photos from a Picasa web album or photos stored at Photobucket or on Facebook. Picnik features include a way to make slideshows and cards, too. If you use Yahoo! mail, you can open email attachments in Picnik and edit them. Photos can be shared from Picnik by email, by publishing to a web site, on Facebook and in other ways.

FotoFlexer is similar to Photoshop and Picnik. Compare FotoFlexer with Photoshop and Picnik and pick one of the three based on how you feel about the tools and options.

The three applications I mentioned above are all online. There are also some photo editing programs that you can download and use on your computer.

One of them is Google's Picasa. This free software lets you organize your photos into albums, share them online or by email, edit and create gift items and slide shows. You get one gigabyte of free storage for your online Picasa photo albums so that sharing with others is easy.

It's also easy to send photos by Gmail right from Picasa. Picasa is useful to help you organize and store your photos on your own computer, including the photos you don't want to email or share in some way with other people.

Picasa works on both Windows and Mac, but if you own a Mac, you are probably using iPhoto. iPhoto's features are very like those in Picasa. iPhoto lets you organize your photos, edit them, email them and create items from the photos like calendars and gift books.

If I plan to share a slideshow online, I like to make it using Smilebox ( Here's a slideshow from my 50th class reunion. (You can turn off the music by clicking the little speaker icon under the slideshow.) This is another program that must be downloaded to your computer and installed.

It's not quite as easy to use as the others I've mentioned, but there is no size limit on what you can do with the free version. When you are ready to publish the slideshow, it is hosted online for free.

Perhaps one of these photo editing tools is just what you've been looking for to help you with editing and sharing your photos. There are other good photo editing applications that I haven't mentioned that you may already be using. If you think they are good and easy to use, let us know what they are.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, wisewebwoman: One Queer Turn


I like Picasa and have it on my computer, but where it comes to photo editing, I only use it for straightening which it does quite well with an easy to use tool. I try to always have the camera level when I shoot a picture but doesn't always happen.

Otherwise, my main photo editing is done with an old version of Corel Photo-Paint7. I like it better than the more recent versions. I also use it to create digital paintings where I feel I have had better control than some of the more recent versions or fancier photo programs.

I use Picasa and like the editing features with the exception of color control. I do not make special effects or the other special features in the more complicated editing tools found in Photoshop. However, I would like my photos colors to be more natural and will check out the other editing tools you mentioned. Thank you for the information.

Wonderful. Thank you. There's a couple of free programs I didn't know about.

I have an older Photoshop Elements 5.0. My two older computers wouldn't work with anything newer, and as a trained artist-photographer, I have also had serious problems with their language. They have invented their own.

Compounding my problems are learning disabilities and a stroke. Flickr does the very best quality photos, but it isn't intuitive, darn it. HP's Snapfish is user friendly. Not good larger quality shots tho.

Since what I do is a photo blog, I want to understand what I am doing. Yes, mam, I will go try smile box and hope their coding is intuitive.


Since Rain brought up Corel, I'll mention GIMP This is true image manipulation software. It is a free open source equivalent to the somewhat expensive software Adobe Photoshop. (The software Photoshop is not the same as the website app I mentioned in the article.) GIMP is complicated, but it will do anything to a photo that you could ever want to do.

Virginia--Thanks for all of the suggestions. I went to the GIMP site and was dismayed that it, like many photo-manipulation web sites, features unreadable tiny white letters on black. Are you privy to any reason that visually-oriented web designers would tend to ignore the advice of those interested in readability? (I Can't read the icons/tabs in my PhotoShop, either!)

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