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July 21, 2010

Creating Photo Collages with Picasa - another step to organizing and preserving Family Photos

Organization of my family photos (post 1970) is done! Thanks to my wonderful readers I had many suggestions on how best to accomplish this seemingly overwhelming task. See Genealogy Organization for the previous blog posts about this subject and the helpful responses.

Now I've moved on to what I considered the worst (aka boring and tedious) part of the project - scanning the thousands of photos and slides I have.

Since I discovered that my scanner (an HP Scanjet 8300) has a one button speedy scan setting, I'm thrilled. I can lay in from 5-8 photos at once, hit a button and bingo, they are all scanned. I set the default to 300ppi and scanned as .tif so that the images would be decent but not huge.

I'm using Picasa to organize the photos once I scan them. I like being able to highlight multiple photos and rename them all at once with something like "Florida 1981" or "Tyler First Birthday". Picasa automatically assigns a number as a pre-pend so you end up with Florida 1981, Florida 1981-1, Florida 1981-2 etc

That works well for me because my next step was to arrange the photos in my Picasa folder by name (alphabetical) Then I highlighted and held in my tray the ones I wanted to make into a collage (4-6 depending on size and quality of picture) Since the pictures are named by event and sorted alphabetically, they are all together and I can easily highlight as many as I want in one go.

Next step in Picasa was to create collages. Some i allowed Picasa to organize and place, others I manipulated myself to get the arrangement I wanted. Even in the automatic creation by Picasa you can still move the photos around within the "boxes" it creates. Then you can add text or borders or put white spaces between the photos - the choice is yours!

Create the collage, add the text etc and then print on my my colour Laser Printer (HP Color LaserJet Cp3525dn) and I have some pretty awesome collages of photos printed and ready to be bound into a booklet for my kids and grandchildren

Here's a few I created over this past week

First, a manual collage where I manipulated the photos (yes the pigtailed lass in yellow life jacket is me, many years ago!):
 Second, I let Picasa arrange the photos I chose for this collage (I created the wide white spaces between the photos):
I've scanned almost 500 photos now over the past week and am pretty happy with my progress. I plan to finish the booklets for Christmas gifts.

Then I can move on to working on the SLIDES (I haven't touched those yet but my scanner scans several slides at once thank goodness) and then pre-1970 (gulp)

2011 should be a fun year!


Flowers said...

The collages are great! I'm going to have to learn how to do that. Yes, I'm also finding that scanning in tons of photos and slides is at very best incredibly tedious.

Joanne said...

I am thrilled to keep up with your progress! I am doing the same thing with my photos and videos over at my blog! I use both Picasa and Photoshop Elements and was looking for the easiest way to make a collage just today! You've shown me how. Come visit me over at
I'll be back soon!

Melissa Brown said...

I recently purchased a 4x6 (and smaller) photo, 35mm, and slide scanner from best buy ($99-brand Pandigital). Reviews were all over the place but I had a gift $99 I have ever spent. I scanned all my photos from 1980 forward all in about an hour. You just slide the pictures much faster than my flatbed scanner...and it doesn't need to be hooked up to a computer to scan. I haven't tried the 35mm or slides yet but am optimistic. Now I need to upload the 1,000 plus photos to picasa and name them....