5 Minutes for Photography: Organizing and Editing

… plus, this week you can win a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements!

I remember the first time our family got a digital camera. For the first couple of years, the computer hard drive was just a dumping ground for an endless quantity of pictures. All with names like “img002938.jpg”. (Not exactly helpful.)

Sometimes we remembered to download pictures into folders with a name or date that was significant, but not very often. And, half a dozen years later, they still weren’t sorted out! Every time I’ve gone back to find a particular photo, it turns into a nightmarish process.

So, recently I sat down to work through the backlog of images, and organize things a bit. There are an endless stream of applications available to “help” with things like this, many of which do nothing of the sort! But, two software programs made a world of difference:


Picasa was relatively unknown photo-management program back in the old days, until they were acquired by Google. Now they’re only… slightly unknown! Truly, this program does the best job of importing, organizing, and sharing your photos, of any that I’ve ever seen.

Scrolling through images is very fast and simple, and it’s easy to manage the locations of images on your computer, as well as create “albums” of sets of related photos. Then, you can publish albums online, so friends and family can see them.

And, like almost anything Google touches, it’s all free!

Picasa is easy enough to be used by anybody, but has the power under the hood to be useful even for aspiring photographers.

Next… after your photos are sorted and organized, there’s the process of making them look good. Digital cameras of the past are notorious for under- and over-exposing photos, and I came across plenty of old pictures with image quality that just made me cringe. A bit of touch-up was definitely in order!

There’s a reason that you can find “photoshopped” in modern dictionaries. Adobe Photoshop is the “de facto” standard of image editing. However, if you’ve ever used it, you know that it can be… just a little bit complicated! As you’re getting started with photo editing, the best tool you will find is a scaled-down version designed specifically for this type of work:

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe has generously offered to give a free copy of Photoshop Elements to a lucky 5 Minutes For Mom visitor, so leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win! In the meantime, check out the trial edition from their web site to get a flavor for what’s possible using this software.

My favorite new feature: We’ve all taken group photos where one person in each shot is blinking or looking away. With Photoshop Elements, you can snap a couple photos of the same group, and use the software to easily merge them together so that everybody looks their best in a single composite photo. Very cool!

My archive of photos is way improved now, with a little bit of effort. Along the way, I discovered a bunch of great shots I had forgotten about. This week, pick up some new software as motivation to keep your own photos organized!

Carrie B and her husband Jonathan are Oregon wedding photographers, and you can see more of their recent photos on their photography blog. She’s also a staff reviewer for 5 Minutes for Books, and operates her own book review blog as well!


  1. says

    I looked into photoshop a while back when I was trying to get my act together after the HP package died on me. This may be just the kind of help I need?

  2. says

    I have a copy of Elements however, I would love to win another to give to someone on the team of volunteer photographers for our church. It would make a world of difference! Thanks so much for this opportunity. A whole new world opened up to me once I found photo-editing.

  3. says

    I have been trying to work up the nerve to buy Adobe Photoshop, but I keep seeing that price tag, and my nerve fails. Compared to a lot of software programs, it’s not bad, but still more than this (highly) amateur photographer can justify. Winning it, however … that would be perfectly justifiable, and awesome, to boot.

  4. says

    I just got Picassa and still trying to figure it out. I know ..lame, huh? I would love to win… I have so many photos that need to be ‘photoshopped’



  5. says

    Thanks for the tips! I would love to have Photoshop Elements, I like editing my pics but need something better than most free programs offer.

  6. Ashley says

    I take so many pictures of family, chuch, friends and anything else, it would be awesome to have photo editing software besides whats on the computer. Thanks fo let us know about Picassa, I’m going to download it right now!

  7. Mattie says

    I start a continuing ed photo editing class next monday…would love to have the latest version of elements!


  8. susan says

    We love to take pictures but yes, they are not very organized ~ your article really inspired me to get started! Thanks for a chance.

  9. says

    i have been wanting this for a long time, but just can’t make any room for a purchase like that in the budget. i have a mac by the way. i hope that’s ok. i know they make photoshop elements for mac. thanks for such an awesome giveaway!!

    alexandra dot hancock at gmail dot com

  10. says

    Love Picasa but last we checked you can only add so many photos in a group. I’m not sure what it’s called but I’ll have to check it out again to see. I need to organize my photos big time. Photoshop Elements would be so cool to have.

  11. Rebecca says

    Would love to win Photoshop Elements, I’ve been wanting to start Digital Scrapbooking for a while!

  12. says

    Having just gotten a good camera, I’ve heard I’m supposed to use Photoshop to edit. Having NO idea (and a bit intimidated), I’d love to win to see what Photoshop has to offer and how it’ll help me edit my children’s photographs.

    Thanks for the chance to win, girls! :)

  13. says

    I have been praying to the Photoshop fairies to leave me this edition under my pillow. So far, no luck. Crossing my fingers that I win this! Thanks!

  14. Nancy S. says

    I would LOVE a copy of Photoshop Elements!!! I have gotten the free trial, and LOVED it, but it’s not in our budget right now :( Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

  15. Julie Ann says

    I have the same problem. sort of. I dump tons of photos into folders on the computer. The kids love to watch the slideshows. But HOW do i organize and ‘touch up’ the photos to print and put in my physical albums? I went and bought a program from Creative Memories and it is confusing me. Is this Adobe photoshop easier I wonder? Is picasa easier? ~sigh~

  16. says

    I have TONS of photos that need dealt with and I HATE whatever program came with my computer. Would LOVE to have the Adobe program and will have ot check out Picasa!

    Thanks for the info!

  17. Chelsea says

    I have lots of pictures the need to be sorted and taken care of….this would be great to win! Thanks!

  18. says

    I have been very interested in trying out Picasa…but I know already that I love elements. I had it on an old computer, but I don’t have it anymore!

  19. says

    This is exactly what I need, I was just talking to my husband about how I need help with my mess of pictures on my computer!

  20. Stacy says

    Oh pick me! Pick me! I just got a camera for Christmas and I definitely can use all the help I can get.

  21. Elli says

    i’ve been using picasa for a couple of year now and love it! however, i don’t have a photoshop program, so this would be perfect!

  22. says

    Keeping my pictures organized is tough! But I do LOVE picasa! I can always find any picture on my computer! LOVE IT! It’d be great to have photo shop to go with Picasa!

  23. says

    Oh I would love to win a copy of Elements. I just use Picasa for storing, organizing, and editing right now, but I imagine that Elements would be a tremendous boost to my editing abilities! Thanks for the chance.

  24. says

    Oh my gosh, you’ve gone & made me lust after a giveaway! I’ve been wanting PSE for a while. I used Photoshop as a graphic designer before kids & really miss having software that I can really do stuff with.

  25. says

    This sounds great – I’m off to try it out right now. I especially liked the sound of the group shot editing. Trying to get a family photo with two 3-year olds is so tough.

  26. says

    I am actually trying Picasa right now! I’ve been wanting Photoshop Elements for a while now! Thanks for the chance to win!

  27. Paula says

    I love Picasa and have used it for years. I’ve been wanting to try Photoshop Elements… Maybe this was meant to be? Thanks for the chance!

  28. says

    I *heart* Picasa! I love that it forces you to make a folder or download them to an existing folder when you upload photos. I too had such a problem with organizing my photos! What a mess!

  29. says

    I would love to get PSE! I can’t afford it but I have been wanting it for YEARS! I could do so much with this, like edit and spruce up photos of the cards I make, as well as watermarks, and Digital Scrapbooking! OOH! I’m excited!!! (Can you tell?)

  30. says

    I enjoy using Picasa as it is relatively easy to use for basic photo editing. I would love to put my big girl pants on and try Elements, specifically for designing my blog headers, something that I’ve really enjoyed doing lately.

  31. Debbie B says

    I have an old copy of paint shop pro, but have always wanted to learn Photoshop. There are so many tutorials and extras online that you can get for it, that you can do amazing things with Photoshop.

  32. says

    Perhaps I’m too late now . . . but I would love to enter! I’m just getting started with photography and I would love a program I can do a few more things with than just Picasa!

  33. says

    I use Picasa and having Photoshop elements would give me the ability to enhance my photos.

  34. Christa says

    I fell in love with Picasa after Google acquired them. The software makes handling the number of digital images a breeze.

    Thanks for a great give-o-way!


  35. says

    oh I so need to work on my photos. I have found myself with pics on three different computers.. LOL and then on some discs. Now I am overwhelmed.
    Would love to win PhotoShop Elements…

  36. says

    I am hoping to get a DSLR for Christmas this year (PLEASE Santa!!) and having PhotoShop to go with it would be wonderful. I could practice now on the pics from my really terrible point-and-shoot. :)

  37. Sharon harvey says

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this! I am a HUGE photography fan & have been dying to learn how to “Photoshop” some pics that haven’t turned out to be the great shots I thought they would be!
    Thanks as always for the great giveaways!

  38. says

    Yep i’m a visitor to 5 Minutes for Photography! I am an avid budding photographer and would LOVE to have Photoshop! Great review and im going over to try it out! Thanks!

  39. says

    This would come in very handy in tracking not only my personal photos, but the ones I have taken for the three volunteer groups I work with, and also those that my kids have taken and uploaded to my computer hard drive.

    By the way, you have not posted anything about extra entries, but I see some people are posting them anyway, will the extra entries and duplicate posts be deleted, or are you going to amend the original post so others know you are accepting extra entries to this contest. Please post something so that those of us who actually read the rules and follow them (and also follow, subscribe, etc.) will know if we are allowed additional (APPROVED) entries. Thanks!

  40. mineola says

    Organizing digital photos is definitely a bear!!!!! Picasa & Photoshop Elements can help tame the beast!

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