Be a more efficient digital photographer

Some easy tips and tricks

Maybe you love working with images on your PC — but if so, you're probably an exception rather than the rule. Most people I know would rather be taking pictures than fiddling with them in an image editor.

This week I've got a few tips for working faster and more efficiently with your digital photos, so you can get away from the monitor and spend more time snapping pictures.

Use a Memory Card Reader

The first accessory I recommend after buying a digital camera is a memory card reader — assuming your computer doesn't already have one built in. Rather than using the USB connection cable that came with your camera, pop out the memory card and insert it in the card reader. You will avoid running down your camera batteries while transferring your photos to the PC, and you can insert another memory card into your camera and go take more pictures while the first card is busy.

Make Your PC Photoshop Friendly

You don't need a top of the line, quad-core computer with gobs of memory to edit your photos (though it certainly doesn't hurt). Even an older computer can run a program like Photoshop Elements 6 just fine. Just be sure to prepare your computer. Defragment your hard disks regularly; once a month is a good interval. To do that, open My Computer and right-click your hard drive. Choose Properties, select the Tools tab, and run Defrag.

There are a few things you can do in Photoshop Elements, as well. Choose Edit, Preferences, General from the menu and click Performance. If you have 2GB or more of memory, allocate at least 1GB to Photoshop. Also, if you have a second internal hard drive, designate it as your primary scratch drive, so Photoshop won't try to store temporary editing information on the same drive that Windows is using for system operations.

Tag and Organise

If you spend more time digging around folders on your hard drive looking for photos than you do editing or sharing them, it's long past time for you to tag (or keyword) them. Try a free photo organiser like Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Rotate as You Go

If you've been collecting digital photos for more than a short while, you probably have a lot of images that are turned sideways, usually because the camera was rotated to the vertical "portrait" position. Many cameras automatically correct this problem, but if yours doesn't, use the Rotate button in Windows' photo viewer to fix your photos as you review them on the PC.

Many folks are reluctant to do this, thinking it reduces the image's quality, but that's usually not the case. As long as you're rotating a picture in a standard resolution (such as from a digital camera), the rotation is "lossless" — it doesn't affect photo quality at all. If you try to rotate a nonstandard image (such as one you've already cropped to an unusual size), you can have some minor image compression when the rotated photo is resaved.

Upload in Batches

I recently watched my mom upload photos to Yahoo's online photo sharing site, Flickr — one image at a time.

There's no need to waste your time like that. Most photo sharing sites make it easy to upload photos in batches these days. Flickr, for example, has the superb Flickr Uploadr, which makes sending images to the Web site as easy as drag and drop. And Windows Live Photo Gallery lets you select images directly from your PC's photo collection and post them in bulk to sites like Flickr or Windows Live Spaces.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments


Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >



Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?