Viewing and managing your pictures
Like any digital photographer, you likely have so many pictures stored on your hard drive that you can't keep track of them all. What to do? Check out the following freebies for viewing and managing your image archives.
FastStone Image Viewer
Browsing your photos can quickly become tedious if you use only the photo tools built into Windows.
If you're looking for something much better, but you don't want to pay a penny, consider FastStone Image Viewer, which displays pictures lightning fast and lets you browse them in Windows Explorer-style fashion.
Simply run the program and go to the folders you want to browse; the program displays all your photos immediately, showing thumbnails and a preview screen. To see any image full-screen, just double-click it.
If all the program did was display images, it would be well worth the download. But it does much more, too, as it allows you to crop, rotate, and resize pictures, as well as send them via email. You can also create slideshows or convert images to other file formats.
One of the program's greatest strengths is the wide variety of file formats it supports -it can handle just about any graphic or photo file format you've heard of. And since it previews videos as well, you can use it as a full multimedia viewer.
If you take a fair number of photographs, you need this free piece of software. It has so many tools, we can't list all of them in a brief review.
At its heart, it's an excellent program for viewing all of your photos. You can browse them folder by folder, viewing thumbnails as you go. You can create a slideshow, as well.
But PhotoScape is also a photo editor, with a complete suite of tools covering red-eye removal, brightness and colour adjustment, backlighting correction, cropping, adding filters, and more.
Another nifty feature lets you combine multiple photos or even create animated .gif files out of photos. The program also offers a way to batch-rename files.
Many people will particularly welcome the application's ability to convert photos in the RAW format that some digital cameras use to the much more versatile .jpg format.
Pictomio is a great, free, all-in-one tool for managing your photo collection and creating slideshows, including carousel-style shows similar to those in Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard.
The slideshow-creation feature alone is worth the download, but this program also has a lot more on offer, including automatic geotagging.
After you install Pictomio, it immediately displays all your photos as thumbnails in their folders - no need to wait. You can view your photos as thumbnails, in a filmstrip, individually, or in a carousel-style presentation.
You can zoom in and out of photos, and add tags. You'll also see a great deal of information about each picture, including the file size, the date, and the shutter speed and aperture used. Photo techs will love it.
Although the program has many tools for organising and displaying photos, it offers few photo editing functions, so don't count on it for making corrections or alterations.
Also, before installing Pictomio, confirm that your PC can handle running the software; it requires a ShaderModel 2.0 graphics card with at least 128MB of graphics memory.
If you're not sure whether your graphics card meets the requirements, check its documentation.