I'm generally a big fan of Google products including their free photo editing software, Picasa. I like the overview it gives me of all my photos.

Today, I'm going to give you a short tutorial on using Picasa for cross-referencing your photos. I'm going to use my cake photos as an example.

First, you'll need to download and install Picasa.

Download Picasa and install
Once that's done, you'll need to create a folder on your computer for your project in which you'll place all the relevant photos. In this case, I've placed all my cake photos in this new folder. It doesn't matter what the file names of your images are.

Cake photos gathered in one folder
Now to using Picasa. If you can't see the folder you've just created, click "Tools" and then "Folder administration". Locate your folder to the left and select it. Then click "Scan always" to the right.

Telling Picasa to always scan your new folder for images
You should now see thumbnails of your images in Picasa.

Now we're ready to tag the photos with descriptive words that will help you sort and find your images later. In this case, I'm tagging cake photos, so my tags will be something like: "cupcake", "flower", "three tier", and so on.

Image thumbnails in Picasa

To start tagging your photos, click the Tag icon at the bottom to open the Tag window to the right.

The Tag icon which opens the Tag window
Now, select one or more photos you would like to tag (you can hold down CTRL or SHIFT while selecting to select more than one photo). In the Tag window, type a tag you want to add to the photo(s). In this cake, I typed "cupcakes". Then click Enter.

Adding the tag "cupcakes" to selected photos

Repeat this process for all your photos. Time-consuming, yes I know, but it makes life so much easier later on when you want to find relevant photos.

Example of the tags I added to the cupcake with the purple flower

When you've finished adding all your tags, deselect any selected photos. You can now see a list of all the tags in your folder and how many photos have that tag (the number in the brackets).

Overview of the tags in my folder

Now, for the actual useful part - we are going to use our folder tags to find photos. Right click the tag you want to find photos by, and select "Search for items with this tag". Picasa now displays the relevant photos.

This doesn't sound like much, but if you like me have up to 1000 photos in the same folder, this is absolutely brilliant for searching and cross-referencing. This way, I don't have to decide whether a cake belongs in the "cupcake" or "wedding" folder - I can just add more tags to it.