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February 25, 2011 / arthill

Introduction to Windows Live Photo Gallery


I can’t say enough about this free program from Microsoft. If you’re shooting digital photos you need to install this program.  Go to http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials and get it.  I use the program every day, all day.  Even though I have several other image editing programs including Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro, Picasa and even Capture One, WLPG is the most useful program I have.

There are lots of things to talk about and I don’t want to write a manual here so I’ll just give you a taste.

I snapped this picture this morning, making it crooked on purpose

wlpg straighten

I brought it up in Windows Live Photo Gallery (WLPG) and clicked on the Straighten button at the top.

wlpg straightened

I shot this pretty early in the morning and the color looked a little off to me so I clicked on the Color drop down up there between Noise Reduction and Exposure

wlpg color corrected

I was pretty happy with both results.  That’s the great thing about this program – it does automatic adjustments pretty well.  You’ll see a fine tune button up at the top which brings up this panel if you want to well, fine tune the results.

wlpg fine tune

The program also makes it easy to add tags and captions

wlpg taggingAlthough not applicable here, it supports people tagging with face recognition.  The more faces you identify the better the program is at recognizing people and suggesting a tag.

I won’t cover much else today but I’ll show you the Edit toolbar just so you can see that there are lots of additional functions.  In particular I believe the remove redeye tool works better than any other that I have ever encountered.

wlpg edit tab

And finally, when I’m all done with my adjustments, I switch to the Create tab and upload the picture to Facebook, Flickr, Smugmug, PicasaWeb or my free Windows SkyDrive.

wlpg create tab

This tab has a More tools button where I can access Microsoft’s ICE (Image Composite Editor) which I wrote about in this post or Autocollage.

The photo email is also pretty impressive but I’ll cover that another time. If you’re interested there is more information here.

So, that’s it.  I hope I’ve whet your appetite for Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Of course if you’re going to do some serious manipulation you’ve already probably got your favorite editing program.  But you can save yourself some serious time with this program and I’m here to tell you that it does some things like red-eye and straightening much better than most other programs.  It is definitely worth installing and playing around with. Unlike most other programs there is no steep learning curve and the program does not cause you to “import” photos into special folders or otherwise interfere with your normal way of doing things.  In effect, view it as just a full featured replacement for the photo functionality built-in to Windows.

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One Comment

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  1. Maryann Goldman / Feb 25 2011 12:32 pm

    Great write-up, Art. If I wasn’t so totally entrenched with Picasa, I would want to try Windows Live Photo Gallery after reading this post. At this point, though, it’s going to take dynamite to pry me off Picasa. I use PSE7 for my heavy duty editing, but having a good tool for doing some things fast and without bogging down my entire machine is really great too.

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