Transfering Photos from Digital Camera

Chances are, you’ve already traded in your old film camera for a new digital camera. If you want to edit or print your digital photos, you’ll need to connect that digital camera to your PC—which is relatively easy to do.

There are several different ways to get your photos into your computer— you can transfer digital files directly from your camera’s memory card, download pictures from your camera via a USB connection, or even scan existing photo prints. We’ll discuss them all in this tutorial.

Transferring Via USB

Connecting a digital camera or scanner to your PC is easy. Most digital cameras today come with a USB connector, so you can connect your camera directly to your PC using a USB cable. With this type of setup, Windows recognizes your camera or scanner as soon as you plug it in and installs the appropriate drivers automatically.

When you connect a USB cable between your camera and your PC, one of several things is likely to happen:

  • If you’re using Windows Vista, it should recognize when your camera is connected and automatically download the pictures in your camera, while displaying a dialog box that notifies you of what it’s doing.
  • If you’re using Windows XP, connecting your camera may open the Removable Disk dialog box. Select Copy Pictures to a Folder on My Computer Using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard, and you’ll launch the Scanner and Camera Wizard. Use this wizard to select which photos you want to download and where.
  • If you’ve installed a proprietary picture management program that comes with your digital camera, it may launch and ask to download the pictures from your camera. Follow the onscreen instructions to proceed.
  • If you’ve installed a third-party photo editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, it may launch and ask to download the pictures from your camera. Follow the onscreen instructions to proceed.
  • If nothing happens when you connect your camera, click the Start menu, and select Computer (My Computer in Windows XP). The Computer Explorer opens, and there should be a new icon for your digital camera.

Double-click this icon to view the current contents of your camera and to copy files from your camera to a location on your PC’s hard drive.

Transferring from a Memory Card

Copying digital pictures via USB cable is nice—if your camera supports this method. For many users, an easier approach is to use a memory card reader. A memory card reader is a low-cost external peripheral that connects to a USB port on your PC.

You then insert the memory card from your digital camera into the memory card reader, and your PC recognizes the card as if it were another hard disk. You can then use Computer Explorer or My Computer to copy files from the memory card to your computer.

Just open the Explorer and click the drive icon for the memory card. This displays the card’s contents, typically in a subfolder labeled DCIM. You can then move, copy, and delete the photos stored on the card, as you would with any other type of file in Windows.

Scanning a Picture

If your photos are of the old-fashioned print variety, you can still turn them into digital files, using a flatbed scanner. What happens when you start a scan depends on what version of Windows you’re using. In Windows Vista, the scanning starts automatically when you press the Scan button on your scanner.

The resulting file is saved to your hard disk and displayed in Windows Photo Gallery. In Windows XP, pressing your scanner’s Scan button launches the Scanner and Camera Wizard. From here you can select the Picture Type (color or grayscale, depending on the photo) or click the Options button to change the resolution of the scan.

You can also preview what the scan will look like and crop the picture if needed. Click the Next button to specify a location for the scanned file; then click Next again to make the scan. The photo is then scanned and saved to your hard disk. That’s all there is to it. Your print photo is saved as a digital file for future use.

Storing Your Photos in Windows

Where are all your photos stored after they’ve been scanned or downloaded from your digital camera?

By default, Windows Vista stores all your pictures in the Pictures folder; Windows XP stores your pictures in the similar My Pictures folder. This folder includes a number of features specific to the management of picture files. In Windows Vista, you find these features on the main toolbar; they include:

  • Preview in a photo editing program.
  • View as a Slide Show.
  • Print your photos at various sizes.
  • E-mail selected photos.
  • Share your photos with other users.
  • Burn selected photos to CD.

From here you can also perform all the normal file-related tasks, such as copying, moving, or even deleting your photos.