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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Crop Pictures to Fill Wide Screens

It took me a while to notice that my new, wonderful, iPhone 7+ camera was not taking pictures that filled the screen. The iPhone’s screen’s width and height is known by it’s aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s nearly twice as wide as it is high. My computer screen is also 16:9, as is the most common display on YouTube, and newer TVs. So why does the iPhone camera only take pictures that are 4:3 – just a little bit wider than it is high?
image image
This is a 4:3 ratio photo displaying on a wide screen – 16:9. Notice the  black bars on either side? This photo is  widescreen format (16:9) so the picture gets the benefit of the whole screen.
My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S5) has a camera setting for this. You can choose for the camera to shoot in wide-screen resolution or not.
There may be plenty of reasons for this of which I am unaware. All I know is that I want my pictures to fill the screen. If I can’t take them that way, I can crop them after the fact.

Using Google Photos

You can easily use Google Photos editing tools to crop to the 16:9 ratio. That’s what I did in the photo example above. The one on the left was how the iPhone took the photo, on the right is my cropped version.
  • Open the photo with Google Photos and click the pencil icon to edit
  • Click the Crop/rotate icon
  • Click the image button to see the constraints for cropping
  • Choose 16:9


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Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Make a Group Photo Album with Google Photos

imageWhen I got married, many years ago, we wanted to get everyone to take pictures and share them with us. We accomplished that by buying lots of disposable cameras and placing them on the tables around the room. We asked people to pick up any camera nearby and snap some photos. Then, at the end of the party, we collected all the cameras and had the film developed. Pretty ingenious don’t ya think? I don’t remember how we let all the guests see those pictures, lots of prints sent by mail I guess. Or, we just had to have them over later to look at our album.

Google Photos and Shared Albums

Today, I have several groups of people that like to see each others’ photos. One group has nearly 50 people in the group and they all add lots of photos. The album got so full over the course of the year, that we started a new one for the new year. I also have a very small group (me and Jim!) with a shared album. It’s a great way to let each other have access to our best photos.

Google Photos makes it very easy to create a group album.

  • Click on the Assistant
  • Notice the “Create New” buttons at the top. Click the Shared Album button.

image

  • Select the pictures you want to share and click the Share button in upper right
  • Enter a title for the album
  • imageClick the Share button in upper right, and select people to share with. Anyone can see the photos you share, only people using Google Potos – you see the logo by their face – will be able to add their own photos to the album

The person who creates the album is the owner, the other members of the group are collaborators. Everyone can add and/or remove their own photos to the album. Only the owner can remove others’ photos. Once photos are in the album, any of the group can leave comments on any photo, or on the entire album. It becomes a great private party with pictures and conversation.

It’s Easy to Share, Perhaps Too Easy

The way shared albums work is thru a web address, a URL. When you share the album with 3 friends, you are giving those 3 friends the address of the album.

This is great. The 4 of you have your own private world to look at, and comment on, each others photos. As long as you keep it among yourselves, it is private. If any of the 4 give the address to a 5th person, then the 5th person can be part of the group. This can be very good. It’s easy to add people to your group. The key is trust among the original 4. You need to trust that they won’t give the address to just anyone. They need to know not to post the address in a public place, or in their social network.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Google Photos Quick Tip: Make that Picture POP!

One of the Google Photos editing tools is called "Pop." What is Pop? Well, it's hard to describe. It brightens a photo, increases the color, brings out some of the detail in the shadows and adds definition and contrast.
  • Open a Photo in Google Photos
  • Tap the Pencil to get into edit mode
  • Tap the Adjustments Tool and you'll see Pop at the bottom
  • Drag the Pop slider to the right to increase Pop
This is one of those things where it's a lot easier to show you than to describe it. Here are some examples of photos with the original on the left and with Pop added on the right.

    Original Photo                                                           with Pop 



Realize that I picked good examples of pictures where Pop makes a difference. It won't always make a big difference, and sometimes you may not like what it does to a picture. But it's such a simple edit to try - why not? You can always drag the slider back down to the left where it started.



Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Got Questions about Google Photos?

Have you watched our "What Does This Button Do" show on Google Photos Frequently Asked Questions?

Here is the whole show, the Google Photos part starts at 10minute, 45 second point




Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Quick Tip: View Google Photos Year at a Glance

I've heard people lamenting the fact that they never have enough time to organize all their photos. They want to see them grouped by year and month, Right now, they have them on their computer in all sorts of different folders they've created over the years. How can they start all over, clean up and just view them by date.

Google Photos is the answer. Upload your pictures to your Google Photos account (unlimited free storage forever) and they will automatically be viewable by date. While viewing your library of photos, you can pinch the screen on your phone or tablet and see them grouped by year, then month. No work at all on your part!

Here is a video clip from our weekly smartphone class that shows you what I mean ...


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Quick Tip: Straighten Your Horizon with Google Photos Editing

To straighten a photo with a crooked horizon
  1. Open photo
  2. Tap pencil
  3. Tap 3d tool, crop and rotate
  4. Drag slider to change slant of photo, notice the grid that appears to help you
  5. Or use the Auto button to have it straightened for you



Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pictures of My Feet

I like taking pictures of beautiful scenery as much as the next person, but I also like taking pictures of my feet. Yep, I take a lot of pictures! 

This morning as I was sprawled on the couch with my cup of coffee reading my latest Kindle book ("Buffering" by Hannah Hart) I looked down toward my feet and noticed the beautiful morning light coming in through the window with the palm fronds swaying outside, and I just had to take a picture. 

Since I'm reading the Kindle book on my phone, I didn't even have to move. I just switched from the Kindle app to the camera app and snapped the shot.

Looking at the picture made me think of other times that I've put my feet in the shot. In the days before selfies, it could be the only way to put myself in the picture! I specifically remember a time (summer of 2000) when we were vacationing in Ireland and visiting the famous Cliffs of Moher. I sat down on the edge of the cliff and took a picture looking down. Can you hear Jim yelling at me from a distance? "You're crazy! Be Careful."

The only way I knew to get perspective in the photo was to include my feet in the shot. Gee, I wonder where I could find that photo?

Any ideas? 

How about I ask Google Photos to find me all photos of "feet"? I just pulled up the Google Photos app on my phone (still not moving from my comfy position on the couch), typed "feet" into the search box and tapped Done. It came up with lots of photos - some of which had nothing to do with feet - but there, towards the bottom, were these two shots: 



And, here's a sampling of the other photos that came up in the search results:

How about you? If you use Google Photos to search your collection of pictures what interesting finds do you get?

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Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.