Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Organizing Your Photos Using Picasa

I posted the following information on my other blog, Since it has to do with organizing and editing your photos, it is useful on this blog, too.

Picasa is a gem of a program, all the more so since it is a free download offered by Google. Not only does it find all the images on your computer and organize them by date and  folder (or however you want to organize), it provides EXIF data for each photo, a histogram, allows you to tag and caption photos and perform more useful and increasingly sophisticated edits.

To download Picasa, go to  and click the Download Picasa link.

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As soon as you install the program, it will begin to search your hard drive for images and load them into an image library.

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You will see the folders in which your images are stored on the left, and the images themselves appear in a library.

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Click on one of the photos. It will appear from a filmstrip-like row of photos at the top. On the left are tabs of edits, such as Commonly Needed Fixes, Lighting and Color Fixes, and three tabs of Image Processing filters that can be applied to change the look of your photos. Along the lower right hand corner are icons  including People, Places (Google Maps), Tags, and Properties - EXIF, or Exchangeable Image File Format data, which tells you where the picture is stored on your computer, the camera that took the picture and when, exposure, white balance used by the camera, etc.

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For example, the photo above can be cropped using automatic or manual controls.

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In this photo, Picasa allows you to compare a before and after photo with the edits you have done. Note the histogram in the lower left hand corner.

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The above photo is being tagged to categorize it. The tagging icon is found on the lower-right hand pane of Picasa. Simply type in categories you want to use, and they will be available for other photos as well.

I will be posting more about Picasa and what it can do in future blogs. Give it a try!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photos & Accents for Empty Corners

When I finally finished piling red, off-white and beige pillows on my newly-created window seat, below, I discovered had an empty wall corner that needed filling with something pretty. I was pleased to find three hearts (one of my favorite motifs) in metal, grapevine, and bark I'd bought on a visit to Germany, along with a multi-photo frame of my five children, which happened to match the pillows and cushions perfectly.

The red, off-white and beige striped fabric pulls the colors together. The same colors are echoed in the pictures in the multi-photo frame.

A closeup of the hearts and photos

In the smoky-blue wall corner above the lateral file in my office, I placed more international treasures on ledges and the walls, including an art reproduction from the National Gallery of Art, as companion pieces to the framed photos of scenes from the Pacific Northwest, where I live.

The photo of dogwood I got at Pike's Market in Seattle. The scenes from Oregon was a framed photo given to me by a student I was tutoring.

via Ginny's

A great idea for corners - alternating frames and quarter-round shelves 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nine-Print Photo Walls

Photographers Tara Whitney created and produced the stunning nine-print photo wall, below. Tara's set of nine are framed in 20" x 20" Ikea glass frames:

Using fade-to-dark photo edges and mixing black and white and color blow-ups are wonderfully effective with Tara's nine-print collection.

Photographer Charla Anne took inspiration from Tara and created her own wall collection, above, in a mix of portraits and whimsical still lifes in candy-pastel colors. See her blog at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pam Snider's Photo Walls

Dennis and Pam Snider's beautiful brick Yakima, Washington, home is a photo gallery aficionado's dream. Neutral-painted walls between arched passageways are custom-made for family photo groupings.

Pam mixes multiple-photo picture frames with matted singles on the wall display above, between two arched doorways.

Here, she uses antique-looking filigree silver frames and a three-dimensional white accent to add interest to black and matted photos.

Another photo wall, mixing older sepia photos in gold frames with multiple family groupings.

Above the computer desk in the office, grandchildren photos in a giant enclosing frame.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Staircase Photo Galleries

A staircase is a natural gallery space to display photos. The images below are collections of single and grouped family photos, some with vinyl lettering, many printed in b&w, with themed frames:

Photos and prints add to this pretty blue staircase with white accents from The Imperfectly Perfect Life

Small b&w photos in blue and white frames above white wainscotting from Sawdust and Paper Scraps

White framed black and white photos against a gray wall from Clickin Moms 

Another b&w photo display from Thrifty Decor Chick, this time in black frames above wainscotting, with vinyl lettering 

Ribbon-hung frames on a paneled stairwell, b&w family photos in silver frames 
with DIY instructions from Here Comes Gina

Another family wall with vinyl lettering. Color and b&w family photos in groupings at The Birds Papaya

Black and white family photos against a beautiful shade of sage green in staircase photo gallery from Baer Home Design.

Instructions on placing photos in a stairway gallery. I like the combination of oval and square-angled frames of photos in b&w and sepia from Felt So Cute

Stairway landing photo display from Houzz

For more ideas, try the Houzz Staircase Photo Gallery

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Filling Up the Walls

My son and daughter-in-law recently moved into a house after living in an apartment in the Miami area. Brielle is the essential Domestic Goddess, since everything she does looks good and tastes good, and since she keeps my son and their two little boys so well-cared for. 

In the pictures below, she begins to fill up the empty walls of their new home, which she painted a nice neutral shade to cover the previous occupants' wall scribblings.

Black frames in a larger square-shaped family photo display over the red sofa, above. Although each of the 16 frames are different sizes, with some matted and some not, they have their own area and space in order to create balance. I like how the curve of the sofa adds another element to what would otherwise be only squares and rectangles.

Pictures above, and the longer view of the same long wall, below, are spaced to fill up as much wall area as possible. I like how Brielle has added an accent and a plant in each of the groupings, making the framed diplomas and wedding photos an essential part of the entire room decor.

To see more of Brielle's family and domestic expertise, her blogs are:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lily Rose Photo Wall Ideas

Designer Lily Rose's website includes a how-to on photo wall display ideas, including wall groupings for her own family photos:

Here she uses brown and gold frame tones to provide continuity across the grouping

Lily Rose suggests first arranging multiple frame paper cutouts on the floor and then transferring to the wall space in a diamond, rectangular or square shapes one to two inches apart.

Four different stairway arrangements using exactly the same frame sizes. Lily Rose's most important rule when creating a picture wall display of this sort if to be sure to follow the upward angle of the steps.

Lily Rose's how-to ideas can be found at Wall Decor Photo Display

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Poster Size with an Intimate Feel

Skye Hatten blogs her photography business. She is phenomenal at poster-size photos with an intimate feel, that show up well on display walls and commercial enterprises, as well as smaller projects including heart collages, child and family photography and Christmas cards. Note how she uses black and white frameless photography and large portraits in series:

Black and white series photos

Chair-sized heart collage against a pale aqua blue background

On the wall in an ice cream shop

Black and White wall grouping

7 foot newborn wall display

You can see Skye Hatten's wall displays on her blog at:Skye Hatten Blog

Monday, October 15, 2012

Creating a Photo Gallery with Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's website has helpful instructions for creating a photo gallery, along with a great selection of photo arrangements (click each photo for more):

Creating a Photo Gallery instructions, video

Picture Hanging How-To

Arranging Pictures

Frameless Photo Accordion

Photo Cubes that can serve as bookends

Friday, October 12, 2012

Scanning old negatives

As you collect and organize your old print photos, you may come across strips of 35 mm film negatives or slides you would like to save in a digital format. Stand-alone scanners can cost from $50 and up, for example, the $69.99 iConvert Instant Slide Scanner, below. These are convenient to use, especially if you have a large number of slides or film negatives.

If you have a flatbed scanner with an embedded negative or slide scanner, or if you have a scanner attachment, you insert your negatives or slides into the attachment or template. These attachments work by providing a strong light to shine through the negative or slide at a very high resolution i.e. 1200 dpi, as in the HP Scanjet photo scanner, below.

via HP

If you are a do-it-yourself type of person and don't have all that many negatives or slides, you can actually create your own scan adapter out of cardboard to capture and intensify the scanner light:

via Makezine

Negatives and slides may require "inverting" using editing software. Below is an example of the raw scan, the inverted scan, and the final digital image: