The first step in using your digital photographs is getting them off your camera and onto your computer. You have a choice of two methods to upload the image files from your digital media card to your computer–directly, using a USB cable from your camera to your computer, or by using a digital media reader connected to your computer through your USB port.

CAUTION: It's important not to lose any data when transferring your images. Some software offers to change the resolution or otherwise edit your images during the transfer process. Don't let this tempt you to take shortcuts–you should always save an original, or RAW, file from which to work, allowing you to revert to an original photograph should your editing go wrong.


1. Install the software that came bundled with your camera and assemble all the transfer hardware that you have as well.

2. Use the AC adapter for your camera when transferring images directly to your computer. Don’t use your battery power if you don’t have to.

3. Connect the USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable that came with your camera to the camera and then insert the square plug into the USB port on the back or front of your computer.

NOTE: Cabled transfer is the slowest form of image transfer, but usually is the only way to view camera functions and photographic file information. Some cable solutions allow you to actually control your camera, including taking pictures directly to your computer. Cabled transfer requires that your PC interconnect with your camera's electronics and software, so it depends on your manufacturer’s transfer software to complete the process.

4. Some forms of transfer software may even work like other device drivers for your computer, making the camera show up as a device alongside your hard disk, CD-ROM drive, or printer. Software of this type allows the greatest flexibility, because it allows you to transfer your photographs without otherwise processing the images.

Most digital cameras today use a removeable ditigal media card to store photographs. With one of these cards, you can directly access the files as you would any other type of disk. To do this, you will need a digital media reader, a device, that when plugged into your USB port on your computer, allows you to access it like either a hard drive or floppy disk. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $10 to buy a multi-card reader. Using this method, you can transfer your image files at hard disk speeds. And with the size of image files in newer digital cameras, this is a plus.

1. Plug the reader into your USB port. If you can, leave it plugged in. But you may find that you only have one or two USB ports. Purchase a USB hub (the USB equivalent to an electrical power strip) for about $10, so that you have USB ports available for all your devices.

2. Insert your digital media card into the reader.

3. Click on My Computer and then double click on Removeable Disk (whatever letter your computer assigned to it. This will open a window for your reader in which you will find a folder icon.

4. Double click on the folder icon in your Removeable Disk window and it will open it up to reveal all the photo files on the card.

5. Go back to My Computer and double click on your hard drive. This will open a second window for it. Create a master folder called IMAGES. Open this and then create a new folder for each photo session. DO NOT put all your photo files in one folder.

6. Reduce the size of both the C: Drive window and the Removeable Disk window by clicking on the center icon at the top right corner of your screen. This will make both smaller than the full screen.

7. In the Removeable Disk window, go to EDIT at the top of the window and click on SELECT ALL. This will highlight all the files in the window.

8. Carefully put your cursor on any file that highlighted and click on it. While holding down the mouse button, drag your cursor–and the files–over to your new photo session folder on your hard disk. The files will automatically begin to upload to your computer.

9. When the process is finished, go back to your Removeable Disk window. Go to EDIT once again, and once again click SELECT ALL. Then click delete. All the files will then be deleted and you’ll have a fresh disk to insert into your camera for more photos.

NOTE: DO NOT take your digital media card out of the reader until you close the Removeable Disk window and wait a few seconds. This gives your computer’s hard drive a chance to register the transfer.

Introduction | Buying a Camera | Digital Basics | Digital FAQ | Photo Tips | Editing Images
Product Reviews | Glossary

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