How to Download Pictures From a Camera to a Computer & Email

By Shannon McInerney

Digital photographer
i small photographer image by Svetlana Kashkina from

You have a digital camera full of photos taken over the past few days (or months), and now you want to transfer them to your computer. The moderately easy task of transferring the photos will allow you to print, email or store photos and make room for more on your camera’s memory card. Once you have stored the photos on your computer, share them with your friends and family by attaching them to email messages.

Transfer Pictures to Your Computer

Step 1

Camera to computer connection
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Turn your computer on, and let it boot completely. Check to be sure your camera has enough battery life left, but keep the camera turned off for now. Make sure your camera holds the removable memory card with the pictures you want to transfer.

Some cameras have built-in memory. If your camera stores photos in this way, you may not need the removable memory card.

Step 2

USB to camera connection
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Connect the smaller end of the USB cable to your camera and the other end to your computer USB port. Most cameras come with a USB cable. If yours didn't, you can purchase one in a store that sells computer accessories. When buying a USB cable, take your camera with you to ensure you buy the proper type.

Step 3

Turn on the camera once you've connected the USB cable. When you turn the camera on, an icon may pop up in the lower right-hand corner of the screen--if you have a newer computer--to tell you the device is ready. Some cameras and computers may prompt a menu to pop up, asking you what you want to do with this device, such as transferring the photos to your computer or doing nothing at all. For this tutorial, ignore the box by closing it or choosing “do nothing at this time.”

Step 4

Go to “My Computer” and double-click on the drive for your camera and/or memory card. When you double-click, a new folder will open with one or more subfolders. Search through these folders until you find your images.

The way the camera appears on the list of drives depends on the type of camera and memory card you use. If you don’t see the camera listed, see the troubleshooting section of your camera-maker's website.

Step 5

Highlight the image subfolder and right-click on the folder. Choose “Copy” from the menu that pops up. This will leave a copy of the photos on your camera. If you want to remove the photos permanently from your camera, choose “Cut” from the menu instead of “Copy.”

Step 6

Find the place on your computer where you want to store your photos. A good spot is under the “My Pictures” or “My Documents” folder. Open your folder of choice, right-click in the white space and choose “Paste” from the pop-up menu. If there are a lot of photos being transferred, this step could take a few minutes. Allow your computer to finish the transfer before moving on. After the transfer completes, your photos are stored in this folder until you move or delete them.

Step 7

Turn off your camera, and disconnect the USB cord from the camera and the computer.

Attach Photos to an Email Message

Step 1

Email inbox
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Log in to your email account.

Step 2

Create a new email message and fill out the recipient, subject line and message fields.

Step 3

The attachment option allows you to "clip" photos to email messages.
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Attach the photos you want to share. Depending on the email provider, there will either be a link to "Add Attachments" or a paperclip. Click on this link and an attachment box will pop up on your screen, asking you to select the file(s) you want to attach.

Step 4

Locate the folder in which you saved your photos on your computer. Depending on your email provider, you can either double-click on a photo, or highlight the photo and click "Open" or "Attach. Repeat this step until you have attached all the photos you want to share.

Step 5

Share photos easily via email.
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Click on send and your email will begin the process of sending out the message, with all of the photos attached. This may take a few minutes depending on the size of your attachments. Keep your email window open until the message disappears, which means you've sent it successfully.