Time and Photo Files

Although the world seems to be whirling around much faster than in years past, things really haven’t changed. In order to do something properly, you have to take the time to do it properly.

One of the most common problems that new-to-digital and amateur photographers face is organizing and finding files. And the most common reason we have problems is that we don’t take the time to figure things out. So, in an effort to jump start the learning, I have a few tips to help ease your workflow.

First, when you plug in your camera or card, slow down a bit and read what the little boxes popping up have to say. These automatic features of programs like Kodak Easyshare (not at all easy!), Picasa, and Elements/Photoshop will give you clues as to where your files are being placed. If not evident, when the program opens, look for a menu item (usually under an item at the top of the page in a tool bar) like ‘Preferences’, ‘Options’, or ‘Folder Manager’, which will list where your photo files are being saved. Nowadays, almost everything is saved to a My Pictures folder in My Documents (XP) or under Favorites and the computer name (Vista).

So, now you want to take a few pictures and copy them to a memory stick, or maybe attach a picture using gmail or yahoo. How do you find the My Pictures folders.

The most powerful organizational tool invented by Billy Bob Gates and used in Windows is called Windows Explorer. It uses several very easy features to move and copy files including Apple’s Drag and Drop features. This means you can click on a file and drag (left click and hold) it to another folder and drop it (release mouse button).

I always have Windows Explorer in several places including my desktop. To get it there, if you don’t have it (it looks like a folder), minimize your windows and programs, click on Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then right-click (and hold) on Windows Explorer and drag it over to your desk top. Release the mouse button and a menu pops up. Choose Copy Here, and voila, you have a Windows Explorer Icon on your desktop. If you don’t, bloody well slow down, read, and do it again!

Afterwards, double click on the Explorer icon and it’ll open. On the left side you’ll have My Documents (XP) or Favorites and a list of folders on your computer. By clicking on a folder in the left pane (double-click if it’s in the right pane) it’ll open the folder. Now you have to think of your physical desktop, I mean your real desktop with the mound of papers and unpaid bills on it. How do you move a paper (file) from one place to folder to another. you pick it up and move it. The same applies in Windows Explorer.

You left click and hold on a file or photo file and drag it to another folder, and it moves the file. For more options, you can click once on a file in the right pane of Windows Explorer to highlight it. In XP, click on Edit in the top toolbar and you’ll see you can copy it, rename it, etc. In Vista, click on Organize and you see the same options.

Now, when you plug in your memory stick notice that an automatic list of menu choices opens up. Slow Down! Read your choices and if Open Windows Explorer folder is one of them, click it. By reading the options listed and trying to navigate around, you’ll see that you can drag and drop files onto the memory stick (usually listed as a drive, such as ‘Drive E’ under ‘My Computer’). Or, you can use the top toolbar item such as Edit/Copy. you can also right-click on a file or folder and similar options such as Copy or Move will be available.

Take some time and explore this and you’ll see that you can make and rename folders and really get organized.

Boris Robinson
Vero Beach Photographer

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