When it comes to organizing, sharing, backing up, and retouching photos, there’s nothing that comes close to Google Photos. Sure, it won’t replace Snapseed or Lightroom CC, but it’s also a lot more useful than both of them because it does more than just edit photos. And because of that, it’s a must-have app for anybody, even those who only take an occasional photo when out with friends.
If you’ve read my previous post on the Photos app, you know how I feel about it. Here’s a list of the five things I love about Google Photos.
1. Backing Up Your Photos
This is where Photos rules, especially with its unlimited photo backup option. Photos gives you unlimited backup in Google’s cloud storage as long you allow them to compress your images, which is fine for most people. And yes, it even works for me. Some people balk at it, but don’t let that keep you from a useful tool for photo storage. You’ll never notice a difference in your pictures.
If you want to keep the full-size photo, upload it to another cloud storage account (I use Adobe Creative Cloud) before deleting them from your phone. You’ll then have the compressed file on Google’s cloud and the original on another backup.
Once your photos are backed up, you can delete the ones on your phone and still have access to them via the cloud. Try it once and you’ll see how useful this is.
2. Organizing Your Photos
Keeping some photos out of the main photos library is easy with archiving. If you have a photo or group of them you want to put aside for some reason, all you need to do is archive them. Now they won’t be there when you scroll through your photos while your mother looks over your shoulder.
To archive a photo, click on the photo and then tap the three dots in the upper, right corner. You can archive multiple photos at once by long pressing the ones you want to archive, then tapping on the three dots in the upper, right.
Photos also allows you to make albums of your memories. Just go to the albums tab and follow the prompts. Photos will walk you through the process.
Photos will occasionally suggest possible albums for you, complete with a series of photos already added to it. You can add to the album, remove from it, change the name, and save it. If you don’t want the suggested album, simply swipe it away.
3. Sharing Photos
Photos allows you to share a picture or an album with a simple click. If the person or people you’re sharing with also use Photos, they can comment on the shared photo or album and reply to any of the comments. If they don’t use Photos, you’ll have other options for sharing with them (text, Messenger, Whats App, Allo, etc…)
4. Finding a Photo
Google is the king of search, and because of this it’s easy to find any picture in your library by date, place, building, or person. Google is incredibly good at knowing what objects are, when a photo was taken, and where.
Make sure you allow the camera app to save locations for your pictures. It’s on by default in most camera apps, but some people turn it off. If you turn it off you will not be able to search by place.
If you tap on the search bar at the top of the screen, you’ll see your last search and a row of faces. Tap on the row of faces and the screen will be filled with people in your pictures. Tap on the person and tell Google Photos who it is (it uses the people in your address book). Photos will then match up that person with every picture they’re in. You may have to do this more than once for some people due to lighting or his/her head being turned.
5. Photo Editing
When it comes to simple photo editing, nothing is as easy as Photos. A simple tap on the edit photo icon and you can add a filter, change the contrast, highlights, exposure, crop, straighten, etc…
Bring out the blue in the sky by tapping on Color > Deep Blue. Bring out the black and whites by tapping on Light > Blacks or Light > Whites. There’s a lot of simple tweaks you can give your photos to make them look great and stand out. And if you want to do more than these simple enhancements, you can send the picture to Snapseed from inside Photos by tapping on the three dots in the upper right corner.
You can find out more about retouching pictures in my previous post, The Joy of editing with Google Photos. Keep in mind that the post is from 2016, and Photos has had some updates to the editing tools since then.