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13. Picture this!
How to live right with your new digital camera

By Mark Alberstat

DIGITAL CAMERAS are becoming more affordable with every flyer through your mailbox and they are no longer just toys for people who like gadgets.

With these cameras the thought of buying and developing film is a thing of the past, as are 24 exposure rolls and pictures of your foot that you mistakenly took.

One drawback to digital cameras is that you are soon awash in images. Hundreds of images can quickly appear on your computer's hard drive, cluttering it up like boxes in an attic.

Duplicates upon duplicates also appear and you are faced with the dilemma of deciding which ones to delete, which ones to save and which ones to archive to CD. Sometimes when you are transferring the photos from the camera to your hard drive you have the forethought to name the destination folder, but those times are few and far between and a myriad of folders with names like DSC450783 suddenly exist.

The first thing you should do after transferring your photos from camera to hard drive is place them in an appropriately named folder.

You should then rename each of the photos by right-clicking on the file, choosing "Rename" and typing in the new name over the old, autogenerated letter-number combination.

After doing this, you will be able to search for that file by part of its name instead of browsing through hundreds of images.

If you have a lot of images to rename, you might want to think of doing them in batches, especially if you are using Windows XP.

With this operating system you can select the images, right-click and chose Rename.

Pick a name for the images, such as Italy Vacation and then press enter. Windows XP will rename all of the selected images with this new name and add a unique number to the end.

If you have an older operating system, you will have to use a separate program to achieve this bit of filing mastery.

The ever-popular ACDSee from ACDSee systems has an easy to use batch rename feature. The software is free to trial and $50 (US) to purchase.

Organizing your files also becomes important if you are trying to tame the amount of images that you have.

Windows offers a great place on your system to store the photos, a subdirectory of "My Documents" called "My Pictures."

In here you can create dozens of directories all named appropriately to the images inside. Remember, directory titles can have letters and numbers so Vacation 2003 or July 2003 as directory titles are valid and will help in the organizing.

ACDSee, and almost any image viewing and editing software package, allows you to rotate the images to their correct orientation.

Just like clutter around your home, you have to throw out the trash, and in this case that means dumping those pictures you know you won't want to see again.

Deleting files from your computer can be one of the hardest things for many users to do but when it comes to organizing photos, be ruthless.

If you have 10 pictures of your new ball cap, cut it down to three or four. Surely, no one will ever want to see all 10.

One way you might want to highlight and show off some of your best photos is using one of the many online photo storage sites. One of the most popular sites is Webshots.

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. Email computing questions to If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


The Mousepad Index


Originally published 20 July 2003


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