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2014 Donald R. Snow

My Freeware Corner Notes are printed in our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group monthly newsletter TAGGology and posted on my Family History Class Notes webpage , sometimes with updated information there.

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Last month we discussed using the free program Windows Live Photo Gallery to edit photos to do things like correct colors, remove red eye, straighten a photo, fuse together people from similar, but different photos, and even stitch together overlapping photos to form a panorama of a scene or large group of people.  This month we discuss a few more features of Photo Gallery including adding captions, descriptive tags, people tags and facial recognition, geotagging, slide shows, and making videos of slide shows.  After installing the program add the folder or folders you want it to work on by clicking File > Add Folders > and select the folders you want.  The program will organize all photos in these folders by date (from the metadata) and show you thumbnail views of each.  You can increase or decrease the size of the thumbnails using the slider at the lower right.  Photo Gallery also finds all faces, makes thumbnails of each face, and organizes them into groups that it thinks are the same person for you to consider.  It also has a way to upload photos to websites such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.  To get to the Microsoft online Help screens click on the Question Mark in the upper right corner.  This opens your default browser and takes you to the webpage which describes Photo Gallery, but is not detailed.  Helpful instructions are at

You can add captions and tags to a photo to help organize and search your photos.  Add a caption to any photo by clicking on the thumbnail to select it and then clicking on the Caption button (top middle) or else on the Add Caption button in the panel on the right side.  The Tag and Caption Panel on the right can be turned on or off by clicking on View (upper left) > Tag and Caption Panel button.  The caption shows up under the photo when you hover the cursor on the thumbnail and in the Tag and Caption Panel when you click on the thumbnail.  You can edit the caption by clicking on the thumbnail and then editing the caption in the right panel.  The captions you enter for photos are not used in slide shows and you have to add slide show captions there.  The program says the caption goes with the photo if you copy it elsewhere, but I haven't experimented to know how that works.

Descriptive Tags are tags you enter to help you find and organize your photos later.  You can add as many as you want and they can be single words or phrases.  Descriptive Tags can be added to a batch of photos by selecting the batch before clicking on Add Descriptive Tags.  When you add the descriptive tags you see a pic list of the tags you have used and can select one or add others.  The Find button (top middle) opens a menu with a Tags button to the right.  Click on this to see all the tags you have entered.  Hovering the cursor over a tag brings up thumbnails of all photos with that tag.  Pressing Enter selects that set and allows you to go back to the Tags button to select another tag to narrow down the collection further.  To return to seeing all the photos hover your cursor on a tag and click on the red X at the end to close that set and see the set using the tags still showing.  In the left panel, besides the folders, you see a list of the tags you have entered and clicking on any tag there shows thumbnails of only those photos with that tag.  Tagging is a nice way to find the photos you are looking for, but, of course, requires that you enter the tags to each photo.  Doing this by batches makes this task much easier.  Escape (ESC) gets you back from most windows.

To get started with people tagging click on the People Tag button (top center) which opens a menu to batch-people tag or people-tag a single photo.  The batch-people tag button opens collections of thumbnails from all the photos that it thinks might be the same person and asks for confirmation.  Hovering the cursor over the thumbnail shows a larger view of the photo it came from so you can see the person in context.  You can select all the people thumbnails by clicking the Select All button (top left) or select just the ones that are the same person by holding down the Control key while clicking, then click Tag As (top center) and add the person's name as a new person or select one of the names already assigned.  You can also click on the thumbnail and right click to confirm whether the name it came up with is the correct one.  When you click on a photo, to the right you see thumbnails of everyone in the photo and hovering the cursor over one of those thumbnails in the right panel gives you options of seeing all pictures with that person or removing that person from that group or renaming the group, etc.  The facial recognition and batch tagging feature seems easier to use than Picasa's, but doesn't seem to be as accurate.  But any facial recognition is helpful in tagging and will save you much time in organizing your photos.

Geotagging is on the Home menu at the top middle and on the Tag and Caption Panel to the right.  It allows you to enter, for example, Utah, St. George for where the photo was taken.  Then searching on the Geotag St. George shows all photos taken there.  I had expected that this would somehow use the GPS coordinates my camera puts in the metadata, but it doesn't seem to.  In fact, I can't find any way to even show all the metadata of my photos in Photo Gallery.  I can't get Geotagging to work very well and it seems to me that putting the location in as a Descriptive Tag would accomplish the same thing and be easier than Geotagging.   

To view a slide show of some or all photos click on View on the top bar, select the photos you want by holding down the Control key and clicking each or else use the Windows feature of clicking on the first, then holding down the Shift key while clicking on the last to select everything in between.  Now click on the View button (top left row of buttons) > Slide Show (top right side) or else press the F12 key to start the slide show.  The window opens to full screen and starts showing the selected photos.  It pans and zooms in the pictures, which helps hold people's interest, but you have no control over which way the motion is nor how much it does.  To stop the slide show click the Esc button.  You can select more photos or remove some.  On the slide show button there is a pic arrow (small downward pointing triangle) that gives you other themes (options) for the slide show.  These include Fade (no panning so it only fades from photo to photo), Cinematic (includes additional motions and effects), Contemporary (mostly changes photos by sliding down), and some additional options.  While the slide show is playing, hovering your cursor at the top opens a bar with options to change themes, create a movie with Windows Live Movie Maker for these same slides, and even publish (share) this slide show on the web on Facebook, YouTube, or other websites.  There are other free programs such as Photo FilmStrip that have more options and give better results.

Select the photos you want in the video by using Photo Gallery and holding down the Control key while clicking on each.  Each slide will be shown for as long as you specify, e.g. 5 seconds, so to make a 2-minute video you could only have 24 pictures since 24 x 5 = 120 seconds.  And you will probably want a title and end screen so that will make it fewer.  Having selected the photos, editing them first, if necessary, click on the Movie button (top middle).  This opens up Windows Movie Maker with the photos you have selected already in it in the order they were in Windows Photo Gallery.  You can move them around by clicking and dragging them to the order you want.  Highlighting each opens it so you see a larger version of it to know exactly what that photo was.  You can add a title to the movie by clicking on Title (top middle) and typing in the words you want on the screen.  If you want another title for the middle or end, just click Title again, make the new title, then drag it where you want it.  To add a caption to any photo, select it, then click Caption (top middle), and add the words and font you want and there are various options for fonts and colors for the words.  You see the first few words of the Title and Captions below the thumbnails of the photos.  The captions you added before in Photo Gallery do not go over into the movie that Windows Movie Maker produces. You can add music or a narration to the the video by clicking on Add Music, etc.  There are various effects you can use for the photo changes, but to start with just use the default ones.  It's easy to go back and remove or add photos or change the order later.  And at any time you can view the video starting from wherever you want by placing the cursor before the photo you want it start with and clicking View > Preview Full Screen.  Before exiting be sure to save the Project so you can edit it again without having to go start over.  To save the final movie click on Home > Save Movie (top right) and select the settings you want or just use the recommended settings for that movie.  Then select how you want to save it.

As you can see Windows Live Photo Gallery is a helpful program for editing, organizing, and viewing your photos.  It has many features in common with the Google freeware Picasa, but has some features that Picasa doesn't have.  You could try each program on a few folders of photos and see which you like best.  It might be informative to test both programs on the same collection of photos so you can compare the results.  And you don't have to use only one of the two programs, but use each for its strong points.

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