What Album Does and Why You Need It

The bottom line is that when you save time you save money. And the program that's going to save you both time and money is downright dirt cheap. I mean, for the cost of a cheap dinner and a couple of movie tickets, you probably just purchased a program that can make you more organized, more productive, and even get some creative juices flowing.

You may have thought when you first bought your camera that the software that came bundled with the camera was all you needed. Now you may see that the features of those programs are limited and really intended to just facilitate the importing of images onto your computer.

Album allows you to import, identify, organize, export, manage, edit, and share your photos, as shown in Figure 1-1. About the only thing it can't do is make you a latte while you enjoy all the free time you gain from Album doing all the work. Here's a quick glance at Album's multiple features:

i Import: After you take photos, you can move (or import) them into Album. It only takes a few minutes, and your camera and memory card are ready for the next outing or event. In addition to a digital camera or card reader, you can import images directly from your scanner, hard drive, or CDs. After they're imported, your images are stored in what Album calls a catalog. If you're short on hard drive space, you can even store your images offline, while retaining a proxy (low-resolution copy) in your catalog. You also can import video and audio clips.

For the two readers who don't already have a digital camera

Not too long ago if you had a digital camera, you were considered to be on the technological cutting edge. Now it is just as common to see a digital camera as it is a film camera. Some estimates predict that, worldwide, consumers will buy 10 million digital cameras in 2003.

The digital trend has steadily escalated for many reasons. Anytime a product offers convenience, immediate satisfaction, and a time and cost savings, it is bound to be embraced by the masses. If you haven't jumped on the digital bandwagon yet, here are a few reasons why you may want to make the switch:

I Immediacy: There's nothing like being able to correct your mistakes immediately after you make them, instead of regretting it later. Shooting digitally allows you to take a photo, view it in the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), monitor attached to your digital camera, and, if you like what you see, great. On the other hand, if the exposure, lighting, or composition is a little off, delete the photo, make your adjustments and reshoot right then and there. And, as an added bonus, because you can make instant adjustments, you can improve your photographic skills more quickly.

You can try different angles and compositions. If they don't work, you just delete them from the memory card. You also can really test your camera's features and get to know how it ticks by taking shots using different settings. Hey, and no more streaked or fogged film from airport x-ray machines!

I Convenience and time savings: Here are four nice words for you: No more photo processing. No more driving to the photo lab, filling out the order, waiting for the development, and picking up the order. You also find that the time you spend scanning steadily declines. Going digital means simply cabling up the camera or card reader to your computer, making a couple of mouse clicks and the photos are on your hard drive, ready for action.

I Less expense: Just like time isn't wasted with photo processing, neither is money wasted paying for processing. Just print (and pay for) only the photos you really want. Invest the savings from paying for film and processing toward accessories for your digital camera (see Chapter 20).

Some people argue that a high-quality digital camera is more expensive than a comparable film camera. This may be a true statement now, but is becoming less so. Because the technology is still evolving, quality cameras are becoming less expensive and will continue to do so.

I Less clutter, and less retouching: Going digital means not having to store negatives, slides, or prints. Storing all that output not only consumes precious storage space, but keeping track of it all is tedious. And because there is no film or prints involved, you'll spend less time retouching dust, dirt, or scratches.

I Flexibility: Digital images allow you to share your images in different ways. Print them, e-mail them as attachments, burn them onto CDs, or post them online.

Figure 1-1:

Photoshop Album has multiple features to make the photographic part of your life easier.

Figure 1-1:

Photoshop Album has multiple features to make the photographic part of your life easier.

i Identify, view, and export: After your images are imported into your catalog, you can view them in one location — any time, all the time, as shown in Figure 1-2.

Album provides you with a tagging system that enables you to attach keywords or phrases to your images to make sorting and locating them a breeze. You can locate and view your images by tags, dates, folders, and other criteria. It doesn't matter where the images reside, whether on your computer or on other external media. Album also keeps a history of each image, details such as if you e-mailed or printed the photo. And you can even export images in a variety of file formats for use in other applications.

i Edit: If you didn't quite get your images perfect during the shooting process, Album lets you edit your images using cropping, red-eye removal, and color and contrast tools, all of which require only a mouse click or two. Album also provides seamless integration with many external image editors, such as Photoshop Elements, for those images that require extra-strength editing.

Figure 1-2:

Album allows you to see all of your images in one organized location.

Figure 1-2:

Album allows you to see all of your images in one organized location.

i Create: Keep it simple and just e-mail or print your images. Or be a little more innovative and make projects, called creations, such as albums, slide shows, cards, calendars, photo books (shown in Figure 1-3), and more in just five easy steps.

i Share: After your images have been cleaned up and enhanced, Album makes sharing your files a snap. You can e-mail images and creations as attachments, post them online via a photo sharing Web site like Shutterfly. com, or view them as a Web gallery.

You can print the images, or burn them to CD or DVD. Album can save your files as PDFs (Portable Document Format), which means that anyone, anywhere with just a computer and free Acrobat reader can view your images and creations.

i Preserve: Album makes it quick and easy to back up your catalog or archive your images to CD or DVD. Store the media in a safety deposit box or other offsite location to ensure your memories are safe from disaster — natural or man-made.

Figure 1-3:

Create wonderful projects in Album, such as hardbound photo books.

Figure 1-3:

Create wonderful projects in Album, such as hardbound photo books.

Chapter 2

Digital Cameras For Beginners

Digital Cameras For Beginners

Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.

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