Friday, July 16, 2010

PSE7 Organizer vs. Picasa, For Me

Let me define a workflow:

Messing around with Picasa. Now I know how to create a collage to post pictures to my blog or to facebook. I like that I have this option. It just adds some variety, don't ya think? 

My big dilemma lately has been to figure out if Photoshop Elements 7 Organizer or Picasa would be the better choice for organizing my photos.  I have about five months of photos sorted and tagged in PSE. The problem is that the tags don't transfer from Picasa into PSE as keyword tags. The tags are written to the metadata, but they aren't searchable inside PSE. Other fields in the metadata are searchable except for the IPTC field in which tags are stored. That is a problem.

From inside Picasa I can search the tags created in PSE as long as I have written the tags to the metadata-a separate, and oft time-consuming, step. I have put more photos into Picasa to use the face recognition feature, but the name tags are also not written to the metadata. I have to go to each person's album and add the name tag separately. So weird. But future editions of Picasa will probably change that. Picasa's geotagging feature is easy to use and I can do that and have the latitude and longitude added to the metadata and PSE's is also easy enough. 

I just downloaded Microsoft Pro Photo Tools to manipulate the metadata. I haven't figured out if I can search the metadata, but I can add a "Photographed by" field and the names of actual locations in addition to the lat/long info. That would be something I might want to search for later. Apparently metadata is the way to go in terms of sorting your photos. It is automatically included with each file (in most applications or web-apps) and is the way professional photographers organize their photos. Applications have been designed to make manipulating the metadata easier for the amateur, but since the explosion of digital photography programmers have not agreed to an industry standard on how to store tags and other information important to photographers. I can only hope that the coming year will bring change in this.

As I define my workflow I am using tools that I learned about in the Library of Memories class at Big Picture ScrapbookingKayla Lamoureaux's videos in class have been very helpful. I have consulted the forums looking for others who also are trying to figure out which program is best for them. The bottom line is that the program I choose has to fit my preferences and my habits and just feel good to me. I started using the organizer in PSE5. It crashed my computer so I moved to Picasa, 2 I think. When I upgraded to PSE7 I decided that since I spent the money on the software, I might as well use the whole package. It bothers me that it does get bogged down sometimes and is slow to respond. For example, I hate the way the delete file works. If I am looking through a series of thumbnail-sized photos and I delete one in the middle of the collection, I am returned to the top of that date. I have created a separate "To Be Deleted" tag to work around this, but that is still a separate scroll to it. I wonder if I can configure the tags differently. When working with a lot of tags it is very cumbersome scrolling up and down. In Picasa it's a little easier to do the tagging. I can't manipulate any of the files from within Picasa if I want to also use PSE7, because PSE7 would lose track of the files and then that's a whole other bother reconnecting and deleting. Tagging in PSE7 does make more sense though. The tags are organized hierarchical and that makes it easier to find what I want.

I've gone off and done a little more research and figured out that I can use PSE7 to upload to Flickr from inside the program. That is very useful. I even have my Facebook account and my blog linked. I want to be able to easily upload photos and layouts to my blog and to my Facebook status. I can only share PUBLIC photos so I have to decide if that's going to work. I don't really like the idea of posting pictures of my kids for the world to see, but since so many people are doing that what is the real issue there. I won't post other people's kids though. There is a problem though because the photos are not stored on my Facebook and I don't know how to direct people from my wall to Flickr and my blog. There's got to be a button or something.

I figured that out. I put my photostream on my Profile page. Not perfect, but at least my photos don't have to be in two places for people to see. Now, do I remove my pics from Facebook? Hmmm?

Next step, how to use Flickr with my blogger. Gonna go find out now.

I have been thinking about using Flickr as my online backup. For $25 a year you get unlimited storage. That seems like a really good deal. Now I subscribe to Scrapbook Trends for $9 a month. If I cancel that I will be able to get unlimited Flickr storage and a subscription to Adobe Photoshop Elements Techniques for less money. I think I will do that Monday.

Meanwhile, I took my folders of photos off Picasa. (Since Picasa is a browser application it works directly with the files on the computer. That's why it's very quick. PSE Organizer is a catalog, which is separate from the files, but has its own organizational structure. I have to manipulate my photo files from inside PSE so the organizer will not lose track of them.) I had read that it was very confusing to try to organize your photos using more than one application. I agree with this. I will continue to use Picasa to do quick collages though and to keep track of all my digital supplies and layouts. I will set it to scan those folders. I can also use the face recognition to help me figure who is in my layouts. 

This has definitely helped me think through some things as I try to implement my own Library of Memories workflow. I am posting separately about my workflow now that I have committed to using PSE7 Organizer.

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