Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    ShutterSpeed - Episode #1 is now posted!

    • 4 Comments

    ShutterSpeed is a brand new photography show for photo enthusiasts.  In this first episode, Nic Fillingham (host) teams up with a panel of company photography experts: Tim Grey, Bill Crow, and myself.  We got together in Channel 10's studio to discuss online video storage and photo editing tools. We also get back to basics and talk about the principles of photography and what to look for in a digital camera.  The final segment of the premiere show Nic visits the Seattle studio of Phil Borges, a Microsoft Icon of Imaging

    ShutterSpeed 

    We hope to make ShutterSpeed a regular series on Channel 10. For comments on the program or ideas and suggestions for future episodes please email us at shutterspeed@on10.net.

     


    ShutterSpeed Episode 01

    If you want to watch a high res version or download it to your favorite device, you can!  iPod (MP4) | MP3 | PSP (MP4) | WMA | WMV | WMV (High) | Zune

    Look for episode 2 coming soon!

    - Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Make a 3D Photo Tour with Live Search Maps

    Last week I created a tutorial showing how to geotag sets of photos (without GPS to boot).  Live Search Maps collections provide a nice way to show where photos were taken and share them online. However, there’s a way to take the geotagging with Live Search Maps a step further and make it more immersive.

    Live Search Maps has a 3D viewing mode in the browser, with the use of a downloadable plug-in (it’s pretty lightweight, so it only takes a few minutes to get going). Using the 3D plug-in, I can take the geotagging a step further by not only placing the photograph where I was standing when I took it, but also by placing the camera in 3D to face the same way I was looking when I took the picture. Additionally, by doing this to a bunch of photos in a collection, you can use the “Tour in 3D” collections feature to make an automatic, online, shared video of your travels.

    This video shows the steps I go through to orientate the camera to where I took the picture for two of the places I went to. The first, a picture of St. Louis, uses the buildings to find my location. The second uses the mountains in the distance.

    To view the collection I created, go to http://maps.live.com/?v=2&tour=1&encType=1&cid=AF105ADE514CC699!103. The tour button is seen on the collections page below.

    Tour3D (3)

    - Tim O'Connor (Software Development Engineer)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Geotagging Photos with Windows Live (without using a GPS device)

    • 6 Comments

    I love travel – seeing new landscapes, new cities, and expanding the list of places I’ve been. Of course,I don’t have the opportunity to go everywhere all the time, but I still want to see what different places around the world are like. I also want to send pictures to family and friends after a trip to show them where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. As a result, I’m a bit of a geotagging junky. I love recording and organizing where I’ve taken my photos, as well as knowing where – exactly where – others have taken their photos.

    Geotagging, for many people, implies going on trips with a camera and a GPS receiver, and then using some custom software to tag all the photos with the GPS data after the trip. Being one who loves geotagging, I have a confession, though: I have never owned a GPS device.

    So, how can I geotag photos and share them with family and friends? I can explore the world virtually through many different mapping applications that combine both maps and photos. Some of these allow geotagging (a la Flickr, et al), but that records only individual photo’s locations, not a full tour. What I’ve found out is a way to play around with the Live Maps Collections feature to create a photo tour. So, for those who want to create simple photo tours to share with friends and the world (and don’t want to deal with GPS), here’s how.

    This week I’ll show a straightforward, 2D method of creating geotagged collections of photos. This article is only the first of two parts. The second part will show how to take advantage of the 3D features of Virtual Earth to make a fuller video-like geotagged photo tour so you'll want to look out for that post!

    Building a Geotagged Set of Photos

    There are three parts to building a geotagged set of photos. The first is to upload the photos that I want to tag. The second is creating the geotags, which is done using the Virtual Earth collections. The last is to attach the photos to items in the collection. As a note, you will need a Windows LiveID to be able to create and save collections as well as upload photos.

    Step 1

    We do this step for you. Simply upload the pictures you want to tag to Windows Live Spaces using the Windows Live Photo Gallery. The first step is covered in a previous article so I won’t repeat it here. Once you’ve uploaded the album you want to tag, view the album.

    Step 2

    Creating a Collection

    Now open another browser window and go to http://maps.live.com. Once you arrive there, sign in (in the upper right-hand corner). You can now create a new collection and save it with your Live ID. Click the “Collections” link in the upper right-hand area of the page and click “Open your collections”. It’s OK that if you don’t have any yet. You can make them after you follow the link.

    OpenCollections-(2)

    When you’ve clicked the link, you should get something like this where you can add your new collection:

    NewCollection-(2)

    I’ve already got my collection sitting here (“Moving to Washington”) so I’ll show you how to create an additional collection. Simply click “New Collection” and fill in the blanks. It should look as follows:

    NewCollectionBox-(2)

    NewCollection2-(2)

    NewCollectionDone-(2)

    Make sure to turn on sharing if you want your friends to be able to see it. And if you don’t mind the general public seeing it, let the “Make this collection searchable” box stay selected.

    Adding Geotags/Pushpins

    Arriving at this stage, you can now add items by clicking the pushpin button at the bottom. Don’t be confused by the text in the box talking about “Add to collection” like I was – that’s just for adding items found using searches. We’re not doing that here.

    So next, I’ll show how to add geotags. Live Maps uses pushpins to mark places on a map – just like how people put pins in wall maps to show where they’ve been. We add pins to a collection and then add photos to those pins.

    Adding pins is simple, just open you’re collection and click the “Add a pushpin” button at the bottom of the “Collections editor” window. In 2D with the “Hybrid” map view, it looks like this:

    2dCreatePin-(2)

    After clicking to add a pushpin, click on the map to place the pin. Here’s what shows up:

    PinAdded-(2)

    This is the same location as the 2D, but I’ve rotated the view (I’ll show why next week). Now we can add a couple of details about the point, which is our geotag for a photo. Next, we tie a photo to the pushpin, which we have two ways of doing. The first is using the album that I created by uploading from the Live Photo Gallery. The second is to use Live Maps’ upload tool, which I won’t show here since it’s pretty easy.

    Tagging Photos

    To add a photo to the pushpin I created, I go to the window I left open from Step 1 that’s viewing the album I just uploaded to Live Spaces. I select the photo from the album I want and view it.

    EmbedStartFull-(2)

    On the right, there are a bunch of options to play around with. Here, we’ll hack the “Embed” feature to get what we want. Click the “Embed” link (underlined in the picture below). When you do, some options will show up down below the album area. Here we’ll use the “Copy” feature of the “Emed this photo” box.

    EmbedStart-(2)

    When you do, some options will show up down below the album area. Here we’ll use the “Copy” feature of the “Embed this photo” box. (Make sure to click allow on the dialog that comes up if you’re using Vista).

    EmbedCopy-(2)

    Now, we paste this link into the geotag pin we created in the collection and clean it up by removing the HTML. The pasting and cleanup looks like this:

    PinAddedDelHeadIMG-(2)  PinAddedDelTailIMG-(2)

    TagDone

    Delete the highlighted text shown in the images above. Now just click “Save”, and you’ve geotagged your photo! If you notice, there’s a 3D tour option when you’re using the 3D mode. I’ll show how to use that next week.

    Do these steps for as many photos as you want. When you’re done, simply click the “Actions” link next to the “My Collections ” link and choose “Send in e-mail” to send a link for your friends and family to view your tour.

    Actions

    Of course, one of the cool things about collections is that the more people use it, the more photos that can be explored. Speaking of exploring, here’s the link (http://maps.live.com/?v=2&cid=AF105ADE514CC699!103&encType=1) to the collection I created that’s a tour of the places I went through when moving from New Jersey out to Redmond to work for Microsoft.

    Let us know what you think! What works and what doesn’t with geotagging? What do you like about geotagging and what are cool ways you think to geotag photos? What are cool ways to explore other’s geotagged photos?

    - Tim O'Connor (Software Development Engineer)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Make your Windows Live contacts also your Flickr friends

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    Flickr recently implemented the Windows Live Contacts API in their friend finder. That means in just a couple clicks you can make all your Windows Live contacts Flickr friends too! I’ve used Flickr for a while now as one of my ways to share photos, but throughout that time I’ve only acquired a couple friends on their service. I would add someone if I happened to notice they also shared on Flickr but I never felt compelled to recreate my social network on their site. It just seemed like a bunch of busy work.

    Yesterday I saw a couple posts here and here and thought I should go try the Flickr Friend Finder service out. I was amazed that I had over 40 Windows Live contacts using Flickr that I had never known about before. The service also supports gathering your Gmail and Yahoo contacts. So if your one of the many folks out there using the Windows Live Photo Gallery to publish to Flickr I suggest you try out this new Flickr feature. It’s a great use of the Live Contacts API. Well done, Flickr.

    John Thornton (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Share some photo love, send a photo email!

    Windows Live Photo Gallery helps you easily send your favorite photos via email.  To do this simply select the photos you want to send to your family or friends and click the E-mail button on the Photo Gallery command bar.  When you do this Photo Gallery will use the default email program to create an email message with your photos attached.  This is important to know if you, like many people, have more than one program that they use to send email (these programs are referred to as e-mail clients).  Some common clients are Windows Live Mail, Outlook and Outlook Express.  In order to ensure that your photos are sent with the e-mail client you want you will have to make sure that e-mail client is the default program.

    Want better looking photo emails than just plain attachments?  Use Windows Live Mail!

    When you use Windows Live Mail you can add nice effects to your mail and your photos.  You get layout and picture frame options and the photos are sent in the message and not as an attachment.  So if Windows Live Mail isn't already your default mail client, you can set it up to be:

    1. In Windows Live Mail, open the options dialog.  To do this click on the Show Menu button and choose “Show all menus.”  Once you can see all menus you can select the “Tools” menu and choose “Options.” 

    ShowAllMenus 

    2. In the Options dialog click the “General” tab and click the “Make Default” button and click “OK.”MakeLiveMailDefault

    That’s it!  You are ready for a great photo mail experience.

    What if you want to use Outlook?

    You can use Outlook if you would prefer.  To make Outlook your default email client you need to open the “Options” dialog from the “Tools” menu.  In the “Other” tab you can check the box that says “Make Outlook the default program for E-mail, Contacts and Calendar.”  Please note, sending photos via Outlook will cause the photos to be sent as an attachment.

    OutlookDefault

    What if you don’t have an e-mail client and check your mail using Internet Explorer or another web browser?

    Currently, the e-mail button will not work for you.  However, if you publish your photos to a Windows Live Space you can use “Send a link” to send a photo mail via your Windows Live account.

    We hope you have a great photo sharing experience.  Please let us know if you have questions or other feedback.

    - Troy Barnes (SDET)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    How to clear tag suggestions

    • 8 Comments

    I'm a pretty hardcore tag'er.  I tag all my photos & videos which helps me quickly find them later when I want to show someone a specific file in my growing collection.  Of course tagging helps when I upload my photos online too, like to FlickrWindows Live Photo Gallery makes is very, very easy to tag your items but sometimes mistypes happen. 

    Well, we've heard about some users occasionally experiencing a pesky little problem with the auto-suggest tag feature in the Info Pane.  Here's the setup... you're tagging some photos and you mistype a tag (e.g., you meant to type "Mom", but instead you typed "Nom" or something like that).  You deleted the bogus tag from the Tag list in the navigation tree (left pane in the program), but this bogus tag still shows up in this suggested list of tags in the Info Pane's tag edit box.  So, whenever you go to tag a photo the auto-suggest list shows "Nom" with the other recently used tags.  Ack!

    While we don't have a one-click way to remove these yet, there is a manual way to do it.  First, this is a screenshot showing the auto-suggested tags when I clicked in the Tag edit box for this photo.  I want to get rid of the "t" suggested tag.

    image

    The workaround requires you open up the registry so the standard "beware" clause should be injected here...

    Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.

    Ok, now that is out of the way here's what you can do:

    1. Close Windows Live Photo Gallery.
    2. Go to Start | Run | type regedit and hit Enter. (On Vista you'll be prompted by the User Account Control dialog if you aren't logged in as the local administrator.)
    3. In the Registry Editor browse to this location: HKEY_CURRENT_USERS\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Library\PreviewPane\LabelAssignment\MRU
    4. In the right pane you should see the list of tags that show up in the auto-suggest list.  You can delete the one(s) you don't want.
    5. When you're finished, close Registry Editor and open Photo Gallery.

    Here's a visual of Registry Editor browsed to the location I mentioned above:

    image

    Keep in mind, doing this manual workaround does not delete actual Tags from files or the Photo Gallery database.  So, even if you remove all the items in this list from this registry location, your actual tags remain untouched.  This only clears the auto-suggest list.

    Hope this helps!  Happy tagging.

    - Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    For those multi-PC users, check out the new Windows Live FolderShare

    • 2 Comments

    First of all, we realize it has been a little while since we've posted anything here.  It hasn't been without good reason, though.  After the release of the Windows Live Suite a few months ago we've brainstorming like crazy and coming up with what we're confident will be an awesome next wave of products and services.  That's about all we can say for now.  Stay tuned! 

    Request: If there are any topics you'd like us to write about on this blog, shoot us an email and let us know!  We're always on the lookout for interesting topics or how-to's that our customers might find useful.

    On that note, I do have some Windows Live news to share...

    It's been almost 2 1/2 years since FolderShare was acquired by Microsoft.  Having been a part of the original FolderShare team, I'm really excited to see this service get a long overdue update.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the service, FolderShare is a lightweight client (Windows & Mac) and a web service.  With the client running on your computers, you are able to keep folders synchronized, access your files over the internet, and even share folders with friends.  No more emailing files to yourself or lugging around USB flash drives.  By keeping your folders (photos) synchronized between computers, many people find it is a great backup solution.  It’s important to note, that due to the fact that everything is synchronized versioning does not exist with FolderShare.  So I recommend you still use a traditional backup method in addition to FolderShare.

    Congrats to the FolderShare team on an awesome release!  Can't wait to see what in store for the service over the next year.

    - Ryan Hoge (Product Planner)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    HD Photo plug-ins for Photoshop released

    • 3 Comments

    In case you missed it, our friend, Bill Crow, announced the availability of  the HD Photo plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop on his blog. 

    "HD Photo plug-ins for Adobe® Photoshop® CS2 and CS3 have been officially released for both Windows and OSX.  They're available now from the Microsoft Download Center. 

    Here are the separate downloads for Windows and OSX."

    The release has received lots of press in the blogosphere.  Perhaps you've seen it here or here or here

    In Bill's blog post, he goes on to say: 

    "Take a look at previous blog entries here and here.  I also gave a presentation at WinHEC 2007 about HD Photo Best Practices.  While targeted primarily for hardware developers, the presentation contains a lot of information that may be useful for Photoshop users that want to best optimize their encoder parameters.  You can find a copy of the presentation here:  WinHEC 2007: HD Photo Implementation Guidelines."

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Photo Gallery is now on Microsoft Update

    • 6 Comments

    This is a special shout-out to our BETA program participants!

    At our last estimate, the Windows Live Photo Gallery BETA was installed by nearly 3 million users worldwide. Our BETA testers give us feedback, report bugs, and even yell at us when we make stupid design decisions – all of which helps us delivery high-quality products. Thank you to you all -- our BETA testers rock!

    We recently deployed Windows Live Photo Gallery 2008 via Microsoft Update – If you have Microsoft Update enabled on your PC and had the BETA installed, then your BETA build should have been upgraded to the final release build (version 1308.1023).  Go check it out! If it wasn’t auto-upgraded, you can either launch Microsoft Update and do a scan for new updates, or go back to photogallery.live.com  and manually upgrade to the final release build.

    - Kristen Miller (Program Manager) 

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Resizing Photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 4 Comments

    One of the top pieces of feedback we received after the release of the Windows Photo Gallery was that there was no easy way to resize photos.  Well, you asked for it and now you’ve got it in the Windows Live Photo Gallery!  Resizing one or more photos is very simple and takes just a couple of steps.  First, select the photo or photos you want to resize.  Then, go to the File menu and select the “Resize…” option (you can also find the “Resize…” option in the right click context menu).  Once you’ve done this, a simple dialog shows up.

    Resize dialog

    In choosing a size, you can select a few presets from the drop-down menu or type in your own custom size.  We only ask for one number because we will set the longest side of the photo to that size.  For instance, if you have a landscape being resized down to 600, the horizontal dimension will be 600 pixels wide.  If you have a portrait being resized down to 600, the vertical dimension will be 600 pixels tall.  Basically, when you specify the maximum dimension, you are defining a bounding box.  In the example above, the bounding box is a 600x600 square, and all of your photos will be resized to fit within that square while maintaining their aspect ratio.  Photos will only be sized down, so if the specified dimension is larger than the longest side of the original photo, the photo will not be resized.

    Once you’ve picked the size, you can choose a destination folder to save the newly resized photos.  Then, it’s as simple as clicking “Resize and Save” to complete the operation.  All resizing is done using high quality bicubic interpolation and all files are saved as JPEGs.

    - Karthik Anbalagan (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Don't let your memories R.I.P.

    • 1 Comments

    With the holidays coming up I feel compelled to do my PSA spot on backing up your memories. If you’re like me, the most important files on your computer are your digital images and videos. The photos of my babies, that vacation I took with my dad last year, my wedding – all of these are many magnitudes more important to me than any email or spreadsheet on my PC.

    IMG_9190 (300x300)Given the importance of these file to each of us, you would think we would back them up daily. But most folks don’t. In fact many people just have them sitting on a den PC, on that hard drive that has an unknown expiration date – yes they all do expire. If you haven’t experienced a hard drive failure, then you are very lucky. It’s one of the darkest moments in computing.

    I’d like to try to make your holiday season a happy one so here are three ways Microsoft can help you preserve your precious content.

    First up, Windows Home Server. This product launched a few weeks back and it’s a great approach for multiple machines households. It’s a version of Server 2003 built for the house. It does lots of great stuff, including automated backup of up to 10 PC’s. I’d say this is a bit of a high end approach for most folks because you have to buy a dedicated machine to run it, but if you’re willing to do that, it works really well. You can even have your photos automatically uploaded to an online service like Flickr.

    If you’re not ready to shell out the $$ for a Home Server but you have multiple machines in your life another great solution is FolderShare. With FolderShare you can mirror a folder across multiple machines. I use this to keep all my photos and video synchronized across all the machines I interact with. FolderShare can take any folder and synchronize it across multiple machines. It’s a great way to make sure all your machines have copies of your memories. For instance, my wife often imports pictures of the kids while I am at work. With FolderShare the full fidelity images just show up on my work machine, in my gallery and in my screen saver. If I tag a photo from a machine, it’s now tagged on all machines. Best of all, if one machine’s hard drive goes down I won’t lose my photos because they are redundantly stored on my other machines.

    Another way to go is to use an online photo backup service like the new OneCare. This is a great approach if you only have one computer. OneCare will copy your photos to its server and keep them safe for you. In addition to the backup service OneCare gives you lots of other benefits like anti-virus and spyware protection.

    Whatever you do, do something. Unlike a spreadsheet, it’s hard to recreate a photo.

    - John Thornton (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Spaces Photo API (Alpha) available!

    • 1 Comments

    Angus Logan, Technical Product Manager on the Windows Live Platform team, announced the immediate availability of the Windows Live Spaces Photo API (alpha) yesterday.  As he puts it in his one liner: The Windows Live Spaces Photo API allows a user to delegate permissions for a third party web site to read or read/write on albums and photos stored within Windows Live Spaces via a server to server API.

    The alpha API comes complete with documentation and a brand new interactive SDK:

    Angus was nice enough to share out a Powerpoint presentation that covers the overview of the API and some code samples, too:

     

    What kind of coolness will you create with it? 

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    The next generation of Windows Live

    • 10 Comments

    As you've probably heard, the next generation of Windows Live has arrived and its fresh out of the oven without a beta tag!  If you're the long reading type then take a look at the presspass Q&A available here which provides some great insight.  There is also a Windows Live fact sheet available here which provides lots of details about this week's release.  This afternoon our team along with the other Windows Live teams celebrated the release at our "ship party" (photo to the right). 

    You can now get the new Windows Live at windowslive.com -- free!

    Overall it's been an amazing year for our team and we're proud of the work we've accomplished.  First and foremost, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank the private beta testers.  Your help very early on proved to be invaluable to the quality of this release.  We'd also like to thank all of the early adopters of the public beta, readers of this blog that sent us emails and comments, and all of the other customers we heard from (Microsoft employees, too!) that helped us tremendously.  Everyone: THANK YOU!

    Here are only a few of the many great customer quotes we've seen recently that make all the sweat worth it:

    “It is both functional and beautiful to work with.
    Needless to say, Live Photo Gallery is icing on the cake - moist, delicious cake. And the cake is not a lie."
    - Long Zheng (www.startedsomething.com)

    “This is really a wonderful thing.  I am so glad that you guys finally filled this huge feature gap and enabled easy publishing.”
    - triplegreen (comment on our blog)

    “Great update, been using spaces for quite some time now and appreciate the work you all do on it, thanks.”
    - Mark (comment on Spaces Team blog)

    “Thank you for redesigning the photo module!”
    - Ivan Sammy (comment on Spaces Team blog)

    "Honestly, I have to admit that Microsoft really stepped up their game with the new Windows Live Photo Gallery by adding support for Flickr."
    - Ryan (www.cybernetnews.com)

    “Thank you for listening to users.”
    - someone (comment on our blog)

    "This (panorama feature) is the kind of technology you'd normally see reserved for higher end, paid for, photo editing programs but now it's available to everyone."
    - Steve Clayton (http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01)

    “Please keep up the great work - I'd love to be working on a product that's this good ;-)”
    - cjm55 (comment on our blog)

    "Thank you!  You just got yourself a Picasa convert."
    - kkuphal (comment on our blog)

    We'd like to leave you with a few new videos available online...

    • First, check out the really great "Share life as it happens" video on the brand new windowslive.com.  This video is a quick but well done overview of how simple Windows Live Photo Gallery + Windows Live Spaces makes it to share your memories with those you care about.
    • Second, the crew at Channel 10 recently came over to our building and interviewed a couple of our team members.  Watch the interview on Channel 10.

    Now, go download Windows Live and Share a smile and help us give to Operation Smile!

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Create your own twins

    • 2 Comments

    Jordan Schwartz, ex-microsoftie and original creator of this blog checked in with a fun technique to try out in the new Live Photo Gallery.

    I used the panoramic stitch feature of the gallery to make this picture, easier than monkeying with cloning in photoshop to get the same effect. The only trick is that you have to make sure the person you want to duplicate is sufficiently far from him/herself that you get overlap that doesn't include the person. I found you need about a 1/3 of a photo width, but the pano guys would know better...

    Thanks Jordan!

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Creating Panoramic Stitches with the Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 4 Comments

    Creating panoramic stitches in the Windows Live Photo Gallery is quick and easy.  Using technology from Microsoft Research, we’ve been able to integrate panoramic stitching into the Live Photo Gallery in a way that’s fast and automatic.  Check out the following screencast for a walkthrough of how to stitch a number of photos together into one composite.


    Video: Live Photo Gallery Panoramic Stitching

    When taking photos to create a panorama, remember to have at least 30% overlap between shots to get the best results.  Look for unique features in whatever you are photographing that you can use as common elements between neighboring photos.  If you are stitching a large number of high resolution photos, the task may take a while since it’s quite computationally intense, but the results are worth the wait!

    - Karthik Anbalagan (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Finding your photos in the Live Photo Gallery

    • 11 Comments

    It’s hard to follow-up Michael’s flickr post, but someone has to do it so here it goes.

    We made some changes from the Vista Photo Gallery to the Live Photo Gallery in how you organize your photos.  One example of this is how we have pushed more organization into the import process.  The idea being that after you import your photos they come in to the gallery already pretty organized.  The following screencast walks through some of the other new photo organization features of the Live Photo Gallery.  Enjoy!


    Video: gallery organization

    - John Thornton (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Don't like the Photo Gallery? Come fix it!

    • 2 Comments

    If you've been reading this blog, you've probably got strong opinions of what you like and dislike in the products that our team works on: the Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, and Windows Live Spaces.

    Love it or hate it, here's your chance to make a difference. Come work with us! The Digital Memories eXperience team (DMX) has a number of openings for Program Managers, Software Testers, and Software Developers.

    Check out our postings on microsoft.com/jobs (you can search by keyword for 'DMX'). Tell your recruiter that you read about it on this blog!

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Sharing your photos on Flickr is seamless with Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 10 Comments

    In my previous post I announced that we partnered up with the Flickr team on a slick new publishing feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Our friends at Flickr also talked about it on their team blog.  This time I’d like to take a few more moments and go a little deeper into some of the details of the new feature and I created a short screencast to show how simple it really is!

    First, we absolutely still believe that “the truth is in the file”.  As Scott Dart (Program Manager) put it in a previous post, “That means that metadata you apply to your photos is part of the photo, and available to any application that knows how to read it.”  We carried that forward to Windows Live Photo Gallery and the publish features, both Publish on Windows Live Spaces and Publish on Flickr.  We knew this was important to Flickr users so we made sure the feature didn’t remove that important data from your photos when you uploaded them to your account.  (Got more questions about metadata?  We have answers, here.)

    Talking about is OK, but how about seeing it in action?!  Check out the screencast I made showing how smooth the flow is from Importing your photos off your camera to the photos being published on your Flickr page! 


    Video: Demo: Windows Live Photo Gallery - Publish on Flickr

    By the way, I published my .WMV on Soapbox using Windows Live Photo Gallery! ;-)

    For those that like screen shots, here’s the play by play:  If you’ve never used the Publish on Flickr feature, the first time you go to click on it in the Publish menu you’ll find it in the “More services” fly out.  The next time you return to the Publish menu, we’ll display it on the top level making it even easier for you to re-use it. 

    After you click on the Publish on Flickr menu item for the first time, you’ll be asked to authorize Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Authorizing Photo Gallery simply means you allow it to access your account and upload photos to it.  You will only be asked to authorize each account once (per PC) and then you won’t have to bother again!

    Clicking “Authorize…” on the above dialog will automatically open your web browser to the Flickr website where you’ll need to confirm whether you’ll allow the application to have access.  I’m assuming you will approve, or else no worky-worky for the Publish on Flickr feature!  ;-)  If it makes you feel better, Windows Live Photo Gallery is a trusted Flickr partner:

    After authorizing the application on the Flickr site, you can close the web browser and return to Windows Live Photo Gallery to this dialog:

    Authorization is done!  Clicking Next, gets you to the Publish dialog.  On the Publish dialog you can add or switch between multiple Flickr accounts, choose which set you want to upload to or create a new one, select a resize option if you don’t want to upload the original, and you can select the permission for your photos when they are published:

    Assuming you click the Publish button, you’ll start uploading photos…  (*Power user tip* You can minimize the upload dialog and go on to other tasks, or queue up more photos to publish… queue up as many as you like!)

    After the upload finishes we’ll let you know with a summary dialog and provide a one-click “View photos” option to quickly get to your newly published photos on Flickr…

     

    So, there you have it.  What do you think?  We want to hear your feedback!  Thanks!

    - Michael Palermiti (Program Manager) 

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Do you use Flickr? Then check out Windows Live Photo Gallery (Beta)!

    • 32 Comments

    To all of those that asked for it on your own blog, posted comments on our blog or other blog postings, sent us email, or even stopped me on the streets (ok, maybe it hasn’t gone this far yet) asking us to enable Windows Live Photo Gallery to publish photos on Flickr, I want to say… We heard you and we’ve done something about it! 

    I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve added the option to publish your photos on Flickr in the latest beta refresh version available today via Microsoft Update!  In fact, Windows Live Photo Gallery has received the stamp of approval from the super cool people at Flickr as a first-class application for uploading your photos to your Flickr account!  You can find the new option on the Publish menu.  I’ll be blogging more about the feature details very soon so check back here for lots more information. Check out the press release here
     
    But wait, there’s more!  In addition to the brand new Publish on Flickr feature there are some other recent notable changes in this latest beta version:

    • Windows Live Photo Gallery no longer requires WDS (Windows Desktop Search) to be installed on XP!  Again, we heard the grumblings loud and clear, and took action! Once you have installed the update via Microsoft Update and have build 1299.1010 install you can uninstall WDS if you’re not using it with any other programs.
    • Being a beta, we’ve also fixed a ton of bugs reported by users so the product should be a lot more stable since the last beta release. 

    Here’s how you get the latest Beta 2.2 refresh of Windows Live Photo Gallery:  If you are already using the Windows Live Photo Gallery beta, you will get the beta refresh as an update from Microsoft Update.  So, if you have automatic updates enabled from Microsoft Update you will get the latest version (Beta 2.2, build 1299.101) automatically.  If you have automatic updates disabled you will need to go to Microsoft Update (http://update.microsoft.com) to get the latest. 

    Not running Windows Live Photo Gallery beta yet?  Go to http://get.live.com to get the Beta 2 version and then check Microsoft Update to ensure you get the latest Beta 2.2 version with all of this new functionality announced today!
     
    We hope you’re as excited as we are!  We’re looking forward to hearing more of your feedback and experiences. 

    Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Windows Live Spaces updates

    • 4 Comments

    Today, Windows Live Spaces launced a bunch of new features, including Windows Live Events. You can read all about what's new on the Spaces team blog.

    Below is a re-print of the photo-specific features that were launched today:

    Do more with your photos

    With this release, we’ve made it easier to share photos using Spaces.

    clip_image004

    Here’s how:

    • Let your friends know about new photos you’ve added to your space. Click Send a link and you’ll get a formatted e-mail with links to your album – just add your friends and family to the “To:” line and click Send.

      clip_image005

    • Put your photos and albums on other websites. Click Embed and then copy the web address or embed code and paste it into the appropriate location on the other site.
    • Blog about your own or other people’s photos. Click Blog it and a new blog entry is created automatically with the photo already in the entry. Just add your thoughts and click Publish entry.
    • No more downloading an entire album of photos one by one. Download all the photos in an album by clicking Download and then selecting Download album.
    • Share photos from your space on Facebook (only in some markets where Facebook is available)
    • For those wall-worthy shots, you can order prints online from HP Snapfish in 9 new markets including Australia, Belgium, France, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

    Control who can see your albums

    Want Mom to see the pictures from your hiking trip, but not the shots from your friend's birthday? No problem! Now you can choose who can see which albums on your space.

    clip_image006

    Just go to an album and click Edit album. You’ll see what the current permissions are for that album. To change them, click Change permissions. (By default, all albums are set to use the same permissions as your space.)

    Add photos to your blog entries

    You can now add and resize photos directly in your blog entries to make a richer experience for readers.

    clip_image007

    Note: If you want more options for editing your Spaces blog entries, download Windows Live Writer. It’s free, and it makes it easy to compose, edit, preview, and post entries to Windows Live Spaces.

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Becoming an Online Print Wizard Partner

    Windows Vista and Windows Live have a mechanism for printing providers to 'plug-in' and offer their printing services to users of these products. Users can use the service to find a printing provider, and upload their photos to them, where they can then complete their order for in-store pickup, or mail order of prints and/or printed goods (books, cards, mugs, gifts, etc.)

    If you are a printing provider who would like to connect with users of the Photo Gallery, the process to participate in the program resembles the following:
                                    
    1. Go Online
    We have set up an online form at
    https://wmlicense.smdisp.net/licenserequest-04/licenserequest.aspx 
    which you will need to fill out entirely.  At the bottom, when it asks for Select License to Request: you must choose Microsoft Online Print Wizard Application in the drop down at the bottom and select submit.  You should receive an application form within a few days of submitting this online form.

    2. Apply
    Once you receive the application form you need to fill it out completely.  This form contains important information that we must use to determine who will fit the criteria we have laid out for prospective partners.  Once you have completed this form please return it via email to wmla@microsoft.com.  If you qualify for the program you will be notified and should receive the OPW agreement within 6 weeks.

    3. Sign Contract
    Once you receive the contract simply sign and return and this will start the onboarding process

    4. Onboard
    After the contract is received Microsoft will work with you to determine which onboarding window your OPW implementation will fit in.  At the time of writing, we believe that we will onboard partners in batches every 8 weeks.  A final schedule of your onboarding window will come once we have received your contract.

    - JP Wollersheim

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Soapbox is now part of MSN Video

    • 2 Comments

    On Friday, the Soapbox team launched a new version of their site, which now integrates fully with the MSN Video site. You can read all about it on the Soapbox team blog, and on Brandon LeBlanc's Windows Experience Blog.

    Here are some of the new features that you'll find there: 

  • Single integrated site to view premium MSN Video content and your Soapbox User-Created Videos.
  • Video Showcase - Highlights videos of interest, as well as most watched videos. 
  • Quicker Processing Speeds - New Encoding servers to increase your video processing times.
  • New Navigation - Find and search for videos using one navigation bar.
  • Expandable Screensize - Expand the site on a 16x9 monitor and the video gallery will increase in size gracefully.
  • Integrated Search - Integrated Search results for MSN Video, Soapbox User Videos and even Web Video results, all on one page.
  • What hasn't changed? Soapbox is still easy to publish your videos to from the Windows Live Photo Gallery! 

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Slideshow in the Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 1 Comments

    We didn’t do much to the Slideshow feature in the Windows Live Photo Gallery, but there have been several questions coming in about this feature, so we thought that it was worth a brief rundown of what’s changed.

    In a nutshell, here’s how the slideshow feature works in this release:

    • XP users: Basic slideshow only (equivalent to the ‘Classic’ theme on Vista). No transitions, and no support for videos. The rich themes are very dependent on the Vista graphics model, so it will take a fair amount of work to get the rich themes working on XP (more than we could bite off for this release).
    • Vista users (basic graphics hardware): The experience should be unchanged from Vista. You may see a limited set of themes available, and may or may not see transport controls depending on the capabilities of your graphics card.
    • Vista users (premium graphics hardware): The experience should be unchanged from Vista.

    We blogged about the Vista Slideshow experience previously. Most of this still applies (with the exception of the above notes). One exception is that although the rich themes were only available on certain Vista SKUs, all themes are available in all Vista SKUs (again, depending on your graphics hardware).

    - Bret Ahlstrom (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Beta FAQs

    • 6 Comments

    We've already gotten a ton of great feedback from people using the beta. We've also gotten a bunch of great questions. Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.  

    Q: Will Windows Live Photo Gallery add support for x64 before RTM?

    (from the release notes) 

    64-bit is not supported for Beta 2
    Beta 2 does not support a 64-bit installation; however the final version of Windows Live will support 64-bit (with the exception of Family Safety). You have the choice of either continuing to run the Beta 1 versions of Windows Live or you can uninstall all Windows Live applications and reinstall the released versions. For more information see KB Article 938275.

    Q: Are there localized version planned in the near future? If yes, what languages and is there a schedule?

    Windows Live Photo Gallery is localized to the same set of languages as Windows Vista.

    Q: Can you help me fix this? Every time I pull a photo up in windows photo gallery, the whites show as yellows and the colors are all yellow.

    (from the release notes) 

    Images may not display correctly
    Images may display incorrectly when a defective color profile is installed as a Display Profile. The Windows Live Photo Gallery Viewer respects color profiles—defective profiles will cause the system to display images incorrectly. The solution is to remove the association of the display with defective display profile and return to the default display profile of sRGB.

    In Microsoft Windows Vista:
    1. Click Start and then Control Panel.
    2. In the Control Panel click Hardware and Sound and then click Color Management.
    3. In the Color Management settings dialog click the Devices tab:
    4. Select your display in the Device list. If your system has multiple video cards and/or multiple displays, be sure to select the display which is exhibiting the issue.
    5. Ensure “Use my settings for this device” is selected.
    6. Under Profiles Associated with this Device, remove the profile (or profiles) listed in this box by selecting a profile and click Remove.
    Once complete, the box will be empty, ensuring any and all defective profiles have been removed.
    7. Click Close.

    In Microsoft Windows XP:
    1. Click Start and then Control Panel
    2. Click Appearance and Themes and then click Display.
    3. In the Display dialog, click the Settings Tab and then click the Advanced button.
    4. Click the Color Management tab.
    5. Under Color profiles currently associated with this device, remove the profile (or profiles) listed in the box by selecting a profile and clicking Remove. Once complete, the box will be empty, ensuring any and all defective profiles have been removed.
    6. Click OK.
    7. Click OK. 

    Q: I live in France and when I want to get prints of my pictures, your only available stores are in the US. In France, you could contact fnac.com or Photoways, great photo prints providers.

    Live Photo Gallery has several options for printing your photos not only in your own country but in countries around the world.  For you, because you live in France and want to print your photos in France, you first need to ensure that your location settings are set to your local country.  To do this open your control panel, click on regional and language options, and in the location tab, select your country.   Once you have set your country to France, then you can choose from the 3 partners who show up:  Photo Station, Schlecker, and Extrafilm.  

    Another interesting way you can use this capability is to print photos in other countries.  If you are, say, from Japan, however live in the US, you can set your location to Japan and print directly to any 7-11 store in Japan.  Then you send your parents an email and tell them to go pick up their prints.  It’s a snap!

    Q: I want to use the new Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta, but I'm concerned about compatibility of tags down the road with Vista -- I'm glad Vista doesn't use sidecar files.  Is Windows Live the same in that regard?

    Both the Windows Vista Photo Gallery and the Windows Live Photo Gallery use the same underlying technology to read and write photo metadata (WIC). Files should be 100% compatible between the two applications (and any other application that uses WIC to read or write metadata).

    Keep the questions and comments coming! If you run into an issue with the beta, let us know at http://feedback.live.com

     - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Not only is uploading easy, but so is downloading

    • 1 Comments

    In previous posts we’ve talked about the new publish options available from the Live Photo Gallery.  In addition to being able to publish, there are many cases where it’s nice to be able to get images out of album and into your local gallery.  Live Spaces offers two ways to download photos from an album.  The first way is to download a single photo at a time.  This is useful if you just want one photo from an album.  In addition to the ability to download a single photo, we’ve also added a new feature which enables you to download an entire album from any space at once.  This feature makes it easy to grab the high-res images you want from any album you have permissions too.


     
    At the top of each Live Spaces album you will see a button for “Download photo” and “Download album”.  Clicking “Download photo” will save the current photo.  Clicking “Download album” will bring up a view which you can use to select what photos you want to download.


     
    From here you can decide what photos from this album you want to download to your local machine.  By default, the images are stored under your “My pictures” folder, in a folder named “Downloaded Albums” with subfolders for the space and album name.  But you can configure where and how you want the images saved under the “More options” link.  Clicking download starts copying each file from the space to your local machine.


     
    When the download is completed, the Live Photo Gallery is launched so you can enjoy the photos.


     
    Couple of things you’ll want to be aware of when playing with this feature:

    • Spaces downsamples images that are larger than 1600x1600, so their longest dimension is 1600.  We will always download the largest image stored on spaces, but the max size will be 1600x1600.
    • Spaces hasn’t always stored highres images – The highres support is new, so if you are downloading an old album spaces won’t have a highres image available.  You’ll still get the biggest one we have stored.
    • It’s a beta and we have a bug to fix…  In order to play with this feature in the beta you’ll want to publish from the Live Photo Gallery client.  If you use the Live Spaces album upload web page, the “Download album” link will only get the 400x400 version.  But we’ll have this fixed before we ship.

    Enjoy!  As always, we sincerely appreciate your feedback. Let us know how we are doing.

    -John Thornton (Program Manager)

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