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Facial Recognition Software and Your Photo Collection

facial recognition software
Facial recognition plays an important role in the organizing of my clients’ photo collections. You’ve probably heard about facial recognition technology being used for security purposes to compare people’s faces to known faces in a database.

For personal photo collections, I use the technology in a different way. I add value to photos by adding metadata: digital data about a photo. A Keywords is a searchable word or combination of words I add to photo metadata. A name is a keyword. Many of my clients want to name people in their photos. That makes it easy to find photos with a specific person in them.

This is how it works:
  • I import a client’s photos into my software. Hundreds of photos or tens of thousands of photos!
  • The software analyzes faces in the photos and creates groups of faces that seem to be of the same person. The groups often have errors as family members often look very much alike.
  • With the client at my side—or using remote screen-sharing—we correct the groups of faces. The software will not show every single face—a large part of the face must be clearly visible for it to be included.
  • Groups of faces that are correct are assigned the name of that person. Once a name is typed in, it does not have to be typed again.
  • A face you do not want to name can be marked ‘ignore’ – like a stranger in the background of a vacation photo.
  • As more corrections are made, and more people are named, the software suggests more faces because it has ‘learned’ how to identify people with greater success.
  • Each name is added as keyword to any photo that person is identified in.
  • The photo collection is then searchable using names! This can be done with standard software that almost every computer has, as well as with free or inexpensive photo software.

Want to find photos to show at your daughter’s wedding? Search her name! Making a slideshow for your parents’ anniversary? Search their names!

Beware! Facial recognition features in online photo storage accounts such as Google Photos work the same way—except that the names are only searchable within the online service. If photos are downloaded or removed from the online storage, the names will no longer be apart of the photo metadata!

You can purchase software to add names to your own photo collection. My favourite software is not yet available for sale – but it will be soon, and it’s a secret for now. In the meantime, Adobe Elements and Adobe Lightroom do a very good job.

I recommend making a list of the people you want to name, and to carefully consider the exact name that will be used. A name should be meaningful to other family members and future generations (not ‘Grandma).

Need help with your photo collection? Please contact me for a free phone consultation.

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