Best Way to Store Digital Photos Import to Your Computer

Transferring both photos and videos from your digital camera into your computer can be a hustle. But we are here to provide you with practical ideas that will spare your nerves, time, and money. Whether you use a memory card or a USB cable, here is what you need to know about the best way to store digital photos on your hard disk.

Best Way to Store Digital Photos on Your Computer

Using a Memory Card

The first thing you notice after you insert your memory card into the PC (or external memory card reader if there’s not an internal card slot) is that the card is detected, and acts like a drive. The easiest way to transfer and store your photos is by opening the folder on your card as you would do with any other folder, and then manually copy files on a folder of your choice located on your internal or external hard disk.

Import Photos with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Import Photos from Memory Card with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Depending on the operating system installed on your computer, there’s a built-in software which will detect your memory card and provide you with more import options. Please check the section below to find out more about it.

Using a USB cable

Using a USB cable is as easiest as using a memory card. If you are a Windows OS user, for instance, you can import photos from your digital camera or smart phone by using a software once your camera is connected to your computer. Photos imported this way will be store in My Pictures folder.

All you need to do is make sure the power of your camera is turned off before you plug the USB cable into your computer, then turn it on and follow the instructions specific to the operating system you use. Windows will recognize your camera and remember the action you take.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • For Windows XP, click on Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard
  • For Windows Vista, click Import Pictures
  • For Windows 7, click Import pictures and videos using Windows
  • For Windows 8, click Import Pictures and Videos, and then follow the prompts.
Import Photos into Your PC by Using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard for Windows

After you select the photos you want to be transferred on your PC, label and copy them by simply dragging and dropping them on a folder you will easily find afterwards.

If you are a Mac OS user, after connecting your camera to your computer or inserting your memory card, open iPhoto from the Applications folder, enter the ‘Roll Name’ and ‘Description’ for the images you want to transfer, and then click Import.

Import Photos from Camera with iPhoto

iPhoto for Mac OS

Does this sound too easy? Let’s make things a bit more complicated and professional. If you want to play with settings and options, you can use a variety of programs and applications.

Ideas on How to Transfer, Label and Organize Your Photo Gallery

For proficient transfer and organization of digital images into your PC, I have chosen to briefly describe two digital photography software you might find useful.

I will begin with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which is an image optimizer developed by Adobe Systems for both Windows and Mac OS.

What Lightroom does is to import, export, create collections of photos, slideshows, and web galleries, and even retouch your images. If you are looking for an import tool that will both organize and edit your photos, this is the best choice for you.

Adobe Lightroom Import Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Lightroom

One of the settings I really like is creating second copies of your photos to an alternative folder of your choice. Be clever and always save them on an external hard drive. 

  • Adobe Bridge

Recommended for Photoshop users, Adobe Bridge is a media asset management app also developed by Adobe Systems. Once launched, this application helps you to get photos from your camera and has a few useful saving options.

After you have clicked on ‘Get Photos from Camera’ and selected the images you want to import, you can rename them before copying them into a folder on your computer. The app allows you to create subfolders and, similar to Lightroom, has advanced options that you can use to save copies of imported photos on a different location (‘Save Copies To’ checkbox on Advanced Options menu).

Adobe Bridge Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Bridge

Sadly, it lacks the editing functions of Lightroom, but some find it easier to use.

Storage Ideas

External Hard Drive

It is not only advisable, but also professional to have a back-up storage plan for your photographs. Using an external drive is the easiest way to ensure your data is stored properly. Play it safe and buy one!

Cloud Storage Services

The second storage option I recommend is cheaper (actually it can be free), but it requires internet connection.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage refers to data stored online in a cloud.

Cloud Storage

Cloud for Permanent Digital Storage

Advantages of using cloud storage:

  • It is accessible from any place you are, at any time as long as you are connected to the internet.
  • It is safe, providing cloud backup solutions in case a disaster happens.
  • There are completely free cloud storage services.

Top 3 Free Cloud Storage Services:

  • Dropbox is the most popular cloud storage service in the world. Easy-to-use, it offers 2 GB of free cloud storage to every user but there are ways to earn up to 16 GB of free storage if you recommend it to other users.
  • Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage and also allows you to share and edit your files.
  • Mega offers 50 GB of free cloud storage.

The disadvantage of cloud storage options is that it might not work if you are in a remote area and urgently need to find a photo as it is internet-dependent. If you are planning to shoot on a location that does not have good internet reception, go back to plan A and take your external hard disk with you.

Tips on How to Organize Your Already Transferred Photos

  • Don’t Forget Where You Saved your Photos

Well, the reason you need to be well-organized is avoid going out of your senses when you realize you want to use a photo taken three years ago and don’t remember where it’s stored.

If you are an enthusiastic photographer I imagine you have plenty of folders on your computer. Just be careful where you have saved them.

  • Choose a Memorable Folder Name

Yes, transferring photos can be a tedious thing to do and we might lose inspiration on the way. I am sure each of us at some point organized and classified photos by their date. Easy, but not so clever! Not when you have dozens of folders entitled according to shooting dates.

Try, for instance, to name your folder according to photography techniques and types, such as Landscape Photos/ Nature Photos, Portraits, or Travel Photos, Macro Photography. Also, create subfolders named after shooting locations. For example: Landscape Photos/ Himalayas.

  • Be consistent

There are many options when it comes to importing photos from our cameras, and some would like to try out as many of them as possible as to identify the one it suits his or her needs best. Once you have figured out which is the ultimate choice for you, it is advisable to set a specific routine and save time for other essential aspects like editing.

I hope this post will help you import and store photos on your computer in a more efficient way. If you have any questions or tips and want to share your ideas with us, please leave a comment.

Image sources1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom

HDR photography was made to address the restrictions of photography equipment, mainly in the sensors of digital cameras. This technology was intended to recreate in photos, as accurately as possible, a human experience by connecting what the human eye actually sees and what a digital camera can shoot.

You can think of HDR as being a complex, ND filter based on software. Instead of applying a filter on your lens when you shoot images, you can accomplish a natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom. You won’t have to carry massive equipment with you when taking shots and you can work on your image from the comfort of your own home.

The reason HDR received such bad press recently is that there is a misconception regarding what it actually stands for. The concept that HDR is a new type of photography is entirely incorrect. HDR isn’t a genre or style it’s simply a post-processing technique. It’s just a tool and you will have control over the process.

1. Bracketing images

Before you can get started on processing images for HDR you will have to take some bracketed photos with different levels of exposure. Typically you can take three to five shots for each series. However, if you plan on shooting in extreme conditions of light, such as with the sun right in front of you, it’s possible that you will have to shoot up to nine images.

It’s ideal to shoot multiple images with the help of a tripod, but it’s not completely necessary because Photoshop has a very good alignment function built in. It’s possible to take shots with the camera in your hands and align them in Photoshop.

2. Lightroom Preprocessing

The preprocessing step is a very easy one and shouldn’t take that long. You will have to import your images in Lightroom and apply these adjustments that can be found inside the Lens Correction section.

Turn on Profile Corrections. Adobe Lightroom will automatically detect which type of lens you used and will apply corrections in order to fix any distortion on your images.

Remove the Chromatic Aberration. Adobe Lightroom will automatically clean the edges of your images.

3. Photoshop Tone Mapping

This is mostly an automated process and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to achieve.

In Adobe Lightroom select the photos you want to merge. Right click on the selection and enter Edit In -> Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

The photos you chose will appear in Photoshop and will be put in individual layers. Instantly, an algorithm will be used to align all your image layers. This is very useful if you shot your photos without a tripod.

After this, the HDR Pro platform will be brought on. The only thing that you will have to do inside the interface is to pick the tone mapping setting. We recommend that you choose the 32 bit feature in order to keep as much data as possible from the original photos. Select OK.

The HDR Pro will merge the images together and will open the 32 bit image in the main interface in Photoshop. The process is now complete. All that remains is for you to save your image. The HDR image is automatically imported in Lightroom after you save it. The processed image will be right next to your original images.

4. Lightroom Processing

This is the best step. You will edit your HDR image with its huge bit depth to make it look the way you want it to. Make use of the standard workflow in Lightroom to satisfy your creative view.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

This is a photograph taken in Cuba that has been achieved by following these steps. Below it you will see another image with the settings used to achieve it.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

You’re all done now. If you are pleased with how your image turned out you can export it from Lightroom as a JPEG.

5. Photoshop final touch

This is an optional step but during certain circumstances these kinds of images will require extra work, like a bit of noise reduction, cleaning of HDR artifacts and sharpening. Photoshop is the go to program when it comes to these edits.

Select your finished image in Lightroom and right click on it. From there you will have to choose Edit -> Edit in Adobe Photoshop. Once it’s opened in Photoshop, make all the necessary adjustments in order to improve it. Most of the times, all you will have to do is apply a little noise reduction.

That’s about it. Use these simple steps in order to achieve natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Images source: 1, 2, 3

Use Adobe Lightroom? Try The iPad app Photosmith

If you have an iPad, you know there are dozens of new apps released every day. And many of them offer great tools to use as you’re out in the field.

Dig Deeper: 10 More Apps You Have To Have As A Photographer

Dig Deeper: 8 iPad Apps Perfect For The Small Photography Studio

If you are a fan of Lightroom, you’ll love one of the newest apps – Photosmith.

Lightroom is one of the best software programs available for photographers, that allows you to easily manage your images in an easy way. Photosmith doesn’t replace Lightroom, instead it gives you an easy way to bring a lot of the power of Lightroom with you in an app format. While out on a shoot, Photosmith lets you tag, sort, organize and rate your images like you do in Lightroom, while maintaining your RAW workflow from beginning to end. Then when you get back to the studio, part of your processing is already complete.

Photosmith for iPad from C² Enterprises on Vimeo.

Get the Photosmith app on iTunes

Adding A Watermark With Lightroom 3

Want to add a watermark to your photography before you post it online? If you are using Lightroom 3, here’s a great tutorial to show you how easy it is. In minutes, you can have a text or graphics based watermark loaded onto your images, and ready for viewing anywhere online.