Microsoft Monday

Most of you have probably at least heard of Windows Photo Gallery in Windows Vista. It’s a great tool built-in to Vista that helps you organize photos, add ratings and captions, as well as metadata tags to photos. It’s not only for photos, it’s also for videos as well, but today we’re going to focus on the photo part of it. In particular, we’re going to show you how to use the Windows Photo Gallery tools to “fix” or edit your photos.

Digital cameras have become one of those essential items to own, much like a cellphone. Because of this, people are taking many more photos these days than years prior, and not all of those photos turn out perfect. This is when it’s handy to have a simple program to use for the basic editing like red-eye removal and cropping. These are exactly the types of tools you’ll find in Windows Photo Gallery which makes editing your photos a quick and easy process.

Getting Started

The first thing you’ll want to do is open up Windows Photo Gallery. Find the picture that you’re wanting to edit and click on it once. You’ll now notice that it’s highlighted. From there, look towards the top of the window to find the toolbar.  One of the options will be “Fix” – click it.

Windows photo gallery1

Five Editing Options

Windows photo gallery2Once you click “fix,” you’ll notice five different options for editing your photos.  They include:

  1. Auto Adjust
  2. Adjust Exposure
  3. Adjust Color
  4. Crop Picture
  5. Fix Red Eye

Using Auto Adjust

If your pictures were taken with inaccurate exposure, you’ll find that your photos are either too bright or too dark.  This is where the “Auto Adjust” and the “Adjust Exposure” comes into play.

When you click “auto adjust” to apply the changes to your photo, you’ll need to wait a few seconds for the changes to take place. It will make the changes that it thinks need to be made, but you may not always like the changes that it made. This is where you’ll want to use “Adjust Exposure.”

Adjust Exposure

Adjust exposureUsing the Adjust Exposure feature, you’ll be able to manually change the brightness and the contrast using the sliders like what’s pictured in the image to the right. You can also use the arrow keys to move the slider along to either increase or decrease both brightness and contrast.

Once the exposure of the image looks right to you, click “back to gallery” and the changes will be saved to your picture.  If by chance you don’t like the changes that you made while adjusting the exposure, you can click “Undo.”

Adjust Color

You’ll have three different options for adjusting the color of your image.   They include the color temperature, tint, and saturation.  By adjusting the color temperature, you’ll notice changes in the overall tone of the image.  This means that with your changes, your red tones or blue tones will be altered.

Adjusting the tint of an image will remove the “color cast” from an image by either adding or removing green, and adjusting the saturation will make the colors in your image more or less vivid. Once again, by clicking “back to gallery,” you’ll save the changes that you made.

Crop an Image

Crop pictureI don’t know about you, but the cropping feature in any photo editing program has become a tool I use regularly.  There’s almost always extra “stuff” in the picture I’d like to cut out. You’re able to crop your pictures right from Windows Photo Gallery by clicking “Crop Picture.” From there you can either choose to select your own dimensions of your image (custom), or you can select one of the standard sizes that they offer.

When you select one of the proportions you’d like, you can click on the corners of the crop frame and drag it to make it larger or smaller. You can drag the “crop frame” all around the image to select the section you’d like. Once you’ve selected the area you want to crop, click “apply.”

Remove Red Eye

Any time you use a flash, there’s a chance that the people in the image are going to have red eyes. To use the red eye removal option in Windows Photo Gallery, click “Fix Red Eye” and then use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the eye that you’re wanting to fix. Be sure to draw the rectangle from the top left-corner of the eye down to the bottom-right corner of the eye.

If most of the red-eye was removed but there was still a tint of red, you can select the eye again and follow the same process for a second time. Once you’re done with one eye, move to the second eye and follow the same process.

Red eye removal


If you’re using Windows Vista and you have some light photo editing that you need to do, I’d recommend giving the “fix” features in Windows Photo Gallery a try. They’re simple to use, and the get the job done quickly. I’ve used it on a few occasions and I really have no complaints! Of course if you’ve got some more complicated editing that needs to be done, this isn’t your solution.

Another thing to keep in mind if you’re satisfied with Windows Photo Gallery but wished it had something more is that Microsoft is working on a Windows Live Photo Gallery which will be available for both Windows Vista and XP SP2. Features you can expect to see added include:

  • Improved image editing features like Panoramic stitch, histogram, and sharpen image.
  • Improved tagging and organization including the ability to quickly sort by name, file type, tag or date.
  • Publish photos directly to your photo galleries on Windows Live Spaces.
  • Auto event grouping and tagging when importing photos (and video) from your camera to PC.
  • Improved Photo Import Tool.

The Windows Live Photo Gallery is set to be released into a public beta at the end of Summer, which would mean hopefully we’ll see it within the next few weeks!