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March 7, 2011 / arthill

Another great freebie–Picasa 3

I covered some features of Windows Live Photo Gallery in an earlier post. Introduction to Windows Live Photo Gallery and that program remains my favorite all around photo program.  Google offers a competing product call Picasa and no digital photographer should be without it either.  Both programs have many similar features


Several of these are worth mentioning in Picasa.  The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is the equivalent of WLPG’s “Auto Adjust”.  The Text button is useful for putting text into an image – WLPG does not have this feature.  That green picnik button is interesting too.  Picnik is an online photo editing service.  It’s pretty interesting and has lots of useful features.  I first ran across it a few years ago when it was integrated with Flickr.  Later it was integrated with smugmug.  By integrated, I mean that you can choose a photo on Flickr or smugmug and edit in online in picnik.  A year or two ago Google bought picnik and integrated it into Picasa.  So now, if you click that button Picasa transfers your image to picknik, let’s you edit it there and then saves it back to your computer.  PIcnik is free but many of the advanced features require a subscription.  Definitely  worth exploring.  I like to use the border feature sometimes to create something like this

Picasa has some nice effects


The graduated tint button can be used to put some nice blue sky into a photo.

Picasa has more features


Upload lets you upload to the free Picasa Web Albums.  Try it out – it’s a good way to put some photos online to share.

By far my favorite feature though is Collage.


I’ve tried lots of different programs for creating collages and found most of them very weak or limited.  Picasa Collage is very cool and has lots of different options.  Here are a few that I have created.


So that’s it.  I’m not a big user of Picasa so I’ll not be giving you an in depth look at how to best use it.  But I definitely recommend installing it and trying it out.  I think the interface is a little quirky but not that hard to learn.  Between Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery you’ve got some very powerful tools to work with your photos and you haven’t had to spend any money.


Leave a Comment
  1. Maryann Goldman / Mar 7 2011 8:27 am

    This is a very nice introduction to Picasa3, Art. I’m an avid Picasa user, so I am of course biased to this particular program:-)
    FYI, you can put a simple border on a single image in Picasa using the collage feature. You can even make the border part of the picture itself. Use Grid layout if you try this.

  2. 2guysphoto / Mar 7 2011 11:39 am

    Good intro to Picasa, Art. Like Maryann, I’m a big user and think it’s one of the best deals around. I’m planning an in depth post on it myself.

  3. Hillary / Mar 7 2011 7:34 pm

    Nice post Art.. I used Picasa as my sole editor for years and still go to it occasionally for certain things I need to do quickly or with just one photo. I stopped using Picasa exclusively when I started shooting RAW as Picasa did NOT process RAW files at that time with MAC..
    One thing I don’t know and maybe you could help me understand is when you open Picasa and it sucks up all the new images into its galleries for organizing are all those files copies and in effect doubling the space they take on your hard drive or are they just flled to be more easily found and not actually copied? I never quite understood that aspect. Overall I do love Picasa and Picnik, too for that matter. I have had Picnik for years, too, and sometimes when I upload an image to SmugMug and see it needs a quick tweaking or croping it is nice to have access to piknik right there in SmugMug.
    Thanks for your blog.. I look forward to reading some of your archived posts..

    • arthill / Mar 7 2011 7:43 pm

      Thanks Hilary. It’s my understanding that Picasa is NOT making any extra copies of all the photos but it is building a database with information about each photo. I don’t know how much space that takes up but far less than copies of the photos. It may even be creating those little thumbnails that it uses. I think Picasa then only works on the photos that are in its database rather than working with the Windows file system. It also stores information that allows you to undo changes you have made but I’m not sure how it does that. Perhaps it stores a copy of the original in that case. A few times I have noticed that the changes I have made in Picasa are NOT reflected in that image when I open it in another program. That suggests to me that Picasa may be leaving the original file untouched. I’m not really sure.

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