Using Photos Apps, rediscovering your past and making new memories

Photos App have come of age whether you use a PC, tablet or phone most operating systems offer a Photo Apps with Machine Learning that makes it very easy to organise your old pictures.

Using Photo Apps to manage your pictures

Gone are the days of managing your own pictures with folders in a file manager most operating systems have built-in applications to do this job automatically. During my weekly classes at Drighlington Digital I have been comparing the applications across different digital devices whether it is Apple, Google and Microsoft operating system all seem to work basically the same1. When photos are either taken with a built-in camera, downloaded via a Flash Drive or transferred via USB connector to a camera, the photos can be copied or moved to the Pictures Folder, Library or Gallery on the device. Different operating systems tend to use different terminology which makes their own distinctive brand. which can be confusing for someone switching brands for the first time.

The Big Bucket

Most modern Photo Apps store everything the Photos Library or Gallery which is like a big digital bucket where the App knows where to find all your photos. Most applications organise the photos in sub-folders which are determined automatically by their original source whether it is specific camera, scan, or social media upload. Photos are presented has a continuous stream in chronological order irrespective of their original source; a big bucket of photos with the most recent pictures on the top of the pile. All photos have metatag headers contained within the file most Photos Apps allow inspection of these tags. Photograph Information such as the F-Stop, Camera, Date stamp, sometimes the location can be accessed and are used by the App to organise the photo stream.

The Microsoft Windows 10 Photo App

Creating Albums to organise your photos

The automatic features will often organised photos into Albums using the image file meta data. Often by location or single day with the software offering the option of saving or renaming the Album. Photos are scanned by the Machine Learning software to give tagged options depending on the software used and the privacy setting choices selected. Tagging People with Facial Recognition to social media feeds, image recognition can recognise objects such as cars, boats, animals, and plants and the software will auto generate tags.

Of course, you can select pictures from the photo stream and organise your own labelling system for tags and Albums. With the photos in a “Big Bucket” it is possible to place a photo in several Albums as well as have more than one tag for indexed and searching. Over time if you have a big collection of photos as many of us do these days it becomes easy to find a particular photo when need it if you develop the database with Albums and use tags.

Once you have made an Album you can turn into a slide show or video with titles and music with a video editor.

Demonstration video made from photo album and original sound track for Drighlington Digital class.

Making the most out of a particular image.

There are basic editing tools with all the default apps on your operating systems. Making simple adjustments like cropping, altering brightness, contrast and colour are available and more often there are a few default filters to try out as well.

Filters are predetermined effects that can be added or mixed in with the original image to either bright up the colours or change the colour whether to make a warmer or colder tone. There are usually some black and white filters or sepia to add an aging effect to your pictures as well as some label tools to add text.

Adding text is often used for creating memes for social media posts, or illustrations in presentations.

File formats and Sharing files

The most common file format for photos is the JPEG (original devised by the Joint Photographic Experts Group). Every Photo comprises of pixel dots. Each dot being made up of 3 colour components; red, green, and blue that are combined to form a particular colour and shade. “True Colour” is represented with the colour components of each pixel being represent by a 24-bit binary number. Using a 24 bit binary number means that over 16 million different shades and colours can be created.

The more pixels in the picture the higher the resolution of the photograph and the larger the digital file (bytes of storage used). If you are wanting to share pictures online a lower resolution is used, but it is important to keep your picture at the highest resolution if you want to make larger prints or zoom in and crop pictures to show just areas of detail. The metatags will show resolution in pixel width and height.


1Drighlington Digital YouTube Channel has links to handy learning resources on photo apps for different operating systems.

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