Create your own picture library
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Date: 27 May, 2005

Photo album


 

'Pictures make the presentation of information more accessible and meaningful, whether it’s in a sermon, a worship session, a church magazine, a church website, or whatever.'


As a kid I used to rifle through an old box of photographs which were stored in the loft. Unknown faces stared out of a sepia world at me and my parents were always vague and unclear on who the people living in our attic were. Sometimes a date, or place, or person was etched on the back of the photo, but done in a Copperscript that  could only be read by somebody born before 1950.

The pictures were disorganised, dirty, torn and literally piled into an old box and forgotten about. When my parents moved house, they were just thrown away, as nobody could be bothered to sort, sift and save them. And that was fate of my family’s picture library.

As an adult I have two boxes of old photographs, various albums, scrapbooks, family notice boards covered in the kids photos, pictures on my computer, back-ups on CDs and my iPod, some still on my camera awaiting download, plus shed-loads in the office for work. Mmm, perhaps it was simpler in the past when they could just be ditched in one foul swoop?

Now, I must make it clear why I have got so much of my photographs scattered around different formats. I’m in a period of transition; from paper to digital. One box of photos are awaiting scanning; the other box of photos have been scanned and need a final decision on their fate. The aim is to get everything onto the computer and backed-up in two formats (probably DVD and external hard-disk), and then every scrap of paper, album and box can be thrown away. (No doubt, once done I will start printing them out again!) The cubic capacity gain in our house will be considerable.

Why create your own picture library?

So why am I doing this? Basically, once everything is digitised, it can be assigned keywords, stored, sorted, displayed and retrieved. I’ll find all the kids’ photos, or the photos of our holiday in Weston-super-Mare in 1998, or all those photos of just the kids on holiday in Weston-super-Mare in 1998. I’ll be able to create a slide-show to bore friends and neighhours, without resorting to a 35mm slide projector (which I don’t have, anyway). I can play music to go with the slide show or drop the pictures into home movies. If a client wants a picture of a palm tree, I can find one from my own photos without paying for it from a commercial picture library.

But why would a church need a picture library? Probably for the same reasons as me. Pictures make the presentation of information more accessible and meaningful, whether it’s in a sermon, a worship session, a church magazine, a church website, or whatever. To have a central collection of all church people and events makes it easier to find suitable images for the magazine, the leadership’s ‘Rogues Gallery’, to create images for reflection and prayer. When the church is asked to pray for old Betty Grimthorpe (fictional, I assure you), then you could put a picture of Betty alongside the prayer request so that people know who they are praying for.

What do you use pictures for in your church?

If you have some ideas of how you use photographs and images in your church life, why not let us know at eChurch Active, and we’ll feature them in the next issue.

In this walkthrough, we’ll be looking at two pieces of software to help with creating a picture library. Unfortunately, Microsoft builds in very little functionality for managing images into Windows. Through the Camera/Scanner Wizard built in to Windows XP you will easily be able to capture your images from a camera or scanner, rename them and put them into a suitable folder (i.e. Church Holidays),but you won’t be able to assign keywords to each image for more sophisticated sorting. Once in a folder, you will be able to create a slideshow, select and print locally and order prints, but that’s about it.

For a more sophisticated approach we will be looking at Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter for Windows XP, which is free to download from the Adobe website. On the Mac, we will be using iPhoto for OSX, which is free with the computer or to download.

Create a picture library with Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0

1 Launch Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition (APA 2.0) from the Desktop, or Start Menu. The main pane shows your Photo Library. Above this pane you have a time line which you can scroll through to see all your photos in date order. This includes: an Add New Album button, Play Slideshow, Information, and Rotate photo button.

Some of these options are only available if you upgrade to the full version of the product which costs around £42 direct from the Adobe store.

2 The main pane shows you the photograph(s) you already have imported into APA 2.0. The top menu bar provides you with the options for getting started. If you choose Show All it will show every picture in the entire library. Alongside the Show All button, there is a drop down buttons: Get Photos. Additionally, there are options for improving your images Fix, creating an Album, Slideshow, Video CD, Greeting Card, eCard, Calendar and Photobook from your photos.

3 There are three ways of importing pictures. Click on Get Photos and you can select From Camera or Card Reader choose this option if you have your camera connected or a memory card reader attached, From Scanner to import scanned photos or From Files and Folders to import photos into APA 2.0 which are already stored on your computer hard disk.  

Click on From Files and Folders to import your existing digital photos, find the image or image folder on you hard drive and then click on Get Photos from the import window.

4 To assign a Tag word (keyword) to a picture(s), highlight the picture, or group of pictures, go to Tag in the main menu, Attach Tag to Selected Items and choose the Tag you want to assign.   You can add new tags by selecting Tag, New Tag in the main menu. You can assign multiple tags to individual photos. (Image below).

By clicking on the Tag menu at the top, you will be able to Add, Rename and Delete words/categories. You will then be able to customise and add the relevant tags to your list and assign them to photographs. Once a tag has been attached to a photo the relevant icon will appear below the thumbnail. To search for tagged photos select FindItems Tagged with and then the relevant category and tag name.

5 From this point, you now have a Picture Library. It’s as easy as that. From here, you may wish to explore the additional functionality of APS 2.0. Clicking on the Fix icon you will be able to perform basic image editing (more features are available if you purchase the full package from Adobe). (Image below Adobe Album)

Clicking on the Create icon you can arrange your photos into a Slideshow which can then be viewed on your desktop. The other options such as Album, VideoCD and Greeting Card require the full package rather than the Starter Edition.

6 Additionally you can select the Online Services menu at the top of the screen and choose to send you photos to be printed as you would have done with a traditional film camera. You can also click on the Share icon to email selected photos to your friends and family.

Create a picture library with iPhoto

1 Launch iPhoto from the Dock, or Applications Folder. The left-hand pane shows your Photo Library, Last Import, the album name (in this case eca Issue 9) and Trash. Below this pane you have information about the highlighted photo. This includes: an Add New Album button, Play Slideshow, Information, and Rotate photo button.

2 The main right-hand pane shows you the photograph(s). If you choose Photo Library it will show every picture in the entire library. If you choose your album (eca Issue 9) it will show just those organised into that album. Underneath the right-hand pane, there are 4 buttons: Import, Organize, Edit, Book. Additionally, there is a slider on the right-hand side which allows you to alter the size of the images showing in the main pane, thus creating thumbnails.

3 There are three ways of importing pictures. Click on Import and this links directly to your digital camera.

This button only works when a camera is connected. Secondly, you can go to File, choose Import... and then locate the image or image folder on your hard drive. (Image below)

Finally, find the image or image folder on you hard drive and then drag and drop it on the iPhoto window.

4 To assign keywords to a picture(s), highlight the picture, or group of pictures, go to Edit, Keywords.  

 

 

By clicking on the Keywords menu at the top, you will be able to Add, Rename and Delete keywords. You will then be able to customise and add the relevant keywords to your list and assign them to photographs. Once done, use the same menu to perform your search.

5 From this point, you now have a Picture Library. It’s as easy as that. From here, you may wish to explore the additional functionality of iPhoto. Under Edit you will be able to perform basic image editing.

 

Under Book you can arrange your photos into an album which can then be used to print out a hard copy.

6 At the bottom of the window, you have the following buttons:

These enable you to link into the other iLife applications which are part of Mac OSX in order to publish your pictures to the web, or create a slideshow, or just burn to CD. Not only that, but your iPhoto Libraries can be used as part of iMovie video editing.

Conclusion

Picture libraries are a great way of storing your images. They don’t have to use just photos, but can also store any image or artwork. Some of the more sophisticated software, such as Extensis Portfolio are often called Digital Asset Management software, rather than picture libraries, because they can also handle different file formats, such as Word documents. This is useful if you need to bunch all the different documentation on a project together so that they can be found again.

Additionally, once your images are in your library, you will be able to export them via the software, as it creates its own file directory. This means that you don’t have to go hunting on your computer or network to find the original file for the image you want to use.

If you have a picture library but need to have hard copies, rather than printing them out, why not get them printed out by specialist photo print services. The advantage of this is that they are top quality. Some companies, also offer the ability to print our your albums into an actual printed and bound book.

Find out more at:
www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto
www.bonusprint.co.uk
www.truprint.co.uk
www.fotoinside.co.uk

Useful Links www.adobe.co.uk/products/photoshopalbum/main.htm
www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto
www.extensis.com/portfolio/
www.flipalbum.com
www.picasa.net

This article has been written and edited by Richard Armiger and Brian Holmes who jointly publish the eChurch Active website. This article first appeared in eChurch Active magazine. They can be contacted at richard@ampublishing.net or brian@ampublishing.net.