Spring Fling Digital Photo Organizing Challenge #15in15in2015 (Day 6: Captions)

1000 WORDS
A photo is worth a thousand words. We all know that famous quote yet do we really believe it and accept it as truth? Does that mean we don’t need to write down anything about our pictures because we’ll just “know.”

What’s Your Story? Do your photos tell 1000 words? Or do you need to write maybe 10 to leave a lasting memory?

We’d love to think we’ll always remember everything down to every last detail. Yet the older we get, the more the reality of fading and forgotten memories makes us realize writing down a few details might be a better way to preserve the stories behind the photos.

We shouldn’t feel bad about this fact. I mean really, most of us depend on to-do lists and grocery lists without scoffing at one another for a lack of brainpower. So why should we feel inadequate somehow for writing down a few words about our photos? Just. In. Case.

As anyone who has lost a loved one too soon, or endured a family member suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you just never know “when” will be too late to ask about “the time when” or “tell me about this picture” or “who is this?”

 “Safeguard your yesterdays for tomorrow by capturing your present today.”
~ Brenda Kruse, PhotoOrganizingPro.com

By recording the seemingly simple and small details of your daily life now, you’re making it much easier on yourself — and your legacy (future generations) — to know why you took that particular photo, why you kept it, and why it mattered so much.

The secret to all that? Words, or the story.

And don’t instantly get your feathers ruffled, underwear in a bunch, ire up…by whining “but Brenda, I’m not a writer, I can’t write, I’m not good at words, I don’t know what to say,” etc. excuses. I say, “baloney!”

No one is asking (or expecting) you to write the next best-selling novel. Or viral blog post. Maybe you’ll be the only person who ever reads it anyway. The point is to put something down on “paper.” Well, I don’t actually mean paper or print, I mean as a digital CAPTION that becomes metadata that stays with your image file. Read this (I am a writer!) and repeat it until you believe it!


In Picasa (my preferred photo management program & hopefully now yours as well), captions are easy to create. Simply click in the space below the photo and type what you want. It auto-saves as you either click enter or move to the next pic. The best part is that every word is searchable so you’ve just made it easier to find the photo (like keyword/tags, which we’ll cover tomorrow). And all this VIP info is stored with the image itself, meaning it will export and transfer to any other program as needed.

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Captions can be printed when you print the photo (not straight-forward but there are ways). They also appear in slideshows on Google+ (or you can turn them off). They can display with your photos when uploaded to Web Albums too. You can also turn them on in the Library view to show below the thumbnails.

Typing up even a simple caption may seem time-consuming when facing a backlog of your entire photo collection but I recommend you start from today and start with the stars! In other words, view your “all stars” and look at the most-recent photos first. Add captions there as you see fit. If you never get around to captioning your “other” photos, at least you’ve done your all-time favorites. Those are the ones you said mean the most to you anyway so those should be your first for saving the story.

“Put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting anyone else.” ~ Flight Attendant

This reminds me of what the flight attendants say on a plane in the case of an emergency and the oxygen mask drops from the ceiling compartment, put yours on first before assisting a child or anyone else. So these are your ultimate “me” photos…your oxygen mask moments.

Then you can move on to doing the others. And yes, you can copy and paste one caption to others, although this isn’t the ideal way to provide information. If you simply need to identify basic facts, the keywords/tags feature will likely be more appropriate. We’re covering that tomorrow so maybe wait and see on some of your “Disneyland Spring Break 2012” captions you thought you’d type. Instead, tell us about the tantrum your son threw when he couldn’t get the light saber sucker or how your daughter turned green after riding Mickey’s Fun Wheel or how long you waited for the Cars ride.

When I say write captions, I mean more of the background story or an interesting tidbit about the moment that isn’t obvious from the visual. Not just some of the more literal things we can deduce from either seeing the photo or knowing which file folder it came from with its date and event label.

In other words, don’t bother putting a caption of “zoo sign” on a photo of a sign at the front of a zoo you visited. I’m pretty sure your future offspring should be able to figure that out without your “helpful” hint. One you way you should plan to help them is to explain why you went to the zoo. School field trip, vacation, local excursion, your kid wouldn’t stop talking about polar bears one summer, or whatever it is. You’ll be able to use metadata keywords and geotags to identify the location and other specifics so that won’t be needed in your caption although you could add it now as long as you include the additional details as well — not just the facts, ma’am!

canned-phone-568056_1920TELLING A STORY “DOWN THE LINE”
Consider the old-time game of “telephone” for a minute. I’m too young to have ever played it but am familiar with the concept. You tell one person a story and then that person calls another person to tell them what you said. Keep the chain going and then see if the story even resembles the original when it’s told back to the original author! Kinda like gossip!

Same goes for your photos and the stories behind them. One person might tell the story one way; another leaves out one detail and adds in two more. Someone else might go off on a tangent about another aspect that’s not really related to this photo but reminds them of this other story. See what I mean? This is why you need to write down the stories and memories YOU want to save and share as captions. Even if they end up being little blurbs for the most part, they will add a little extra information, personality, character, and point-of-view to the photo.

Remember the old print photos of our past that we all have (or have inherited)? The ones when past generations actually wrote on the backs of photo prints? That little detail or description is now a cherished caption as it tells us what, many times, the people pictured cannot as they are no longer with us.

Of course, those hand-written captions were a little more awesome because they were just that — hand-written snippets of their signature style that we now treasure. Sadly, your Picasa captions will not give future generations that same warm-fuzzy feeling but they’ll be grateful you wrote anything at all!



What story does the above photo tell? Besides it’s the 70s?! Bet you’re not sure. Luckily the back had this CAPTION (in my Mom’s handwriting): “Brenda & Shane are taking lessons from Steve on how to make funny faces. February or March 1974.” That means I was a little over 2 years old sitting on the kitchen table with my slightly younger cousin while my dad made us laugh by making funny faces, probably after he came in from doing chores at night. This is from the old farmhouse in NW IA. 

Enough lecture on why it’s so important and why you need to stop complaining and just start typing. Turn on your 15-minute timer and crank out some captions! You can always go back to edit or embellish later. Get something down for each “starred” favorite photo in your collection and you’ll be so thankful someday. You can send me a nice note then.



Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes and open Picasa. Click on the top filter to “show starred photos only” then look at your most-recent photo folder (probably 2015-03). These will be easier to caption because they are most fresh in your mind.

In the library, double-click to open the first one in the editing mode. Underneath it, click the “Make a caption!” text and type in your own. Click enter to see it “saved” on that photo or just hit the next arrow at the top to advance to the next starred photo in the folder.

As you go back in time through your collection, you will realize it’s more difficult to remember the specifics and the stories that go with some older photos. Those memories are already fading! Write what you can and if possible, jot a note in it to ask another person to share their story about the photo. This works for a spouse, child, sibling or someone else who was also there at that time or maybe remembers the stories you once told about this photo. Sharing your stories verbally is important but putting them in print is priceless. I’ll be showing some great options for taking “the next steps” with your photos for sharing and saving them!

In summary, your DAY 6 DUTIES:


attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING
By their original intent, captions were designed to be relatively brief, extending about the length/width of your photo (if horizontal). Think about how captions provide details next to photos in articles found in newspapers and magazines. These “cutlines” sometimes simply summarize; others they offer unique details specific to the image shown. Picasa will allow longer text and simply continues your text onto another line (or more) so feel free to write out the story as you wish without editing it to fit a certain limit. I wouldn’t worry much about a caption that takes up two lines. That said, you would not be able to print a long-copy caption on the photo very easily and it may not display well on slideshows and mobile devices, but the point is to preserve the information along with the image first and foremost. Write on!

Captions shouldn’t take long to type up unless you are a hunt-and-pack typist. If you are, maybe it’d be more efficient to have someone faster type while you speak what you want instead. It’s up to you but if you know someone who would make a great teammate for this process, ask for their assistance. In all reality, it really doesn’t matter much if your captions have poor grammar or typos in them so don’t stress about being graded. The only thing that might give you a little grief would be a typo in a caption if you tried to search for that word because Picasa wouldn’t include in its search results the photo with the misspelled word in the caption. Remember, spelling cownts.

© Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Fling Digital Photo Organizing Challenge #15in15in2015 (Day 5: Stars)

Here comes the fun! Time to find your favorite photos & “star” them! Today’s task will be much more enjoyable than the past couple days of folder naming. But who feels more organized already? You should’ve spent an hour (at least!) on these past four daily tasks so far. Much less than you probably spend watching Netflix marathons on the weekends! After today’s 15-minute session, you’ll be one-third of the way to our grand finale for April 3rd!

Well I let you make it to Day 5 before I asked you what team you were on — PC or MAC. Not that it really matters though, as photo management is a universally compatible problem. But today you’ll be making the official decision of what software program, if any, you are going to use to manage your images. I realize this is a touchy subject and there’s no way to please all of you so please don’t start a fight over this topic in the comments.

Much of it comes down to personal preference and the sheer fact that — whatever you pick — you must use it! Regularly & religiously! If you don’t have a favorite program yet or are willing to explore options, I’ll make recommendations you are welcome to try. But don’t just throw in the towel if you aren’t savvy with a certain photo program I mention. If you already know what you prefer to use, fantastic! Simply use my advice to apply the information to your specific software and all will be well!

apple-311246_1280AN APPLE A DAY
Here we go down the road of discussing loyalties a bit. I’m a diehard Mac lover and have been since an early age. I own a couple 17-inch MacBook Pro laptops that are older and well-used but have served me well. However, I also own a cheap PC laptop that I use to run my high-speed scanning equipment. And over the years, I’ve had to work on PCs for clients as well. Two years ago, I finally got on the iPhone bandwagon with a 5 and just recently upped the ante with the 6+. Somewhat surprisingly to some, I do not currently own any iPads or tablets so I can’t answer any questions purely specific to those although most of what we’re doing will universally apply to all devices.

First of all, there are image viewers that primarily show you the photo files but don’t often have editing tools or other advanced features. You’ve probably been using an image viewer these past few days. There are two other types of photo software you may have used, or have thought about trying out.

Of course, the number one name when people think of when it comes to photo software is often Adobe Photoshop, which is a high-end photo-editing (manipulation depending how far you take it!) program — NOT a photo management system. Adobe Lightroom is a DAM program. DAM stands for Digital Asset Management — I wasn’t cursing at you! A database-driven photo manager usually offers some degree of editing along with the ability to create, edit and access image metadata, the helpful extra information that stays connected with your photo.

lightroom-logoLightroom is available as boxed software or a digital download for about $150. You can also use its Creative Cloud monthly subscription method to get BOTH Photoshop & Lightroom for only $9.99/month, which is a pretty good deal. But not if you’re never going to learn them as they do have pretty steep learning curves. If you shoot RAW, you’ll want to use Lightroom. (If you think “shooting raw” means you take pictures of carrots, stick with Picasa.) It also offers a more advanced editing palette and additional metadata capability. So if you’re a pro (or a wanna-be pro), you may want to make this leap. If you’re a novice, amateur, beginner, hobbyist or just plain normal person looking for something that won’t require a college degree to master, keep reading…

Picasa-logoPICASA FOR ME
Personally and professionally, I pick Picasa for organizing, editing and sharing your photos. Now closely integrated with Google, this free Mac & PC software links well with Google+, Gmail and other Google apps if you are already connected. However, you do not need to have fully explored the Google+ realm to use Picasa. The latest version (3.9) can be downloaded here(http://picasa.google.com/).

Picasa Web Albums are perfect for uploading photos to the cloud for sharing and saving as a backup. Storage is easy enough to manage for archiving and I love that it syncs so if I go back to edit a photo, it will upload the changed version so my online copy stays current without me having to do anything!

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The nice thing about Picasa is that it doesn’t store your photos inside the program. It simply displays the ones you tell it to find by searching specific folders on your computer. Of course, you simply need to tell it to look in the PICTURES folder as you just put everything there in nicely organized fashion! Woohoo!

Another cool point is that when you edit a photo in Picasa, your original file stays safe. You can make all the edits you want but they won’t save until you say so. Even then, Picasa makes a new version of the edited photo, leaving the original safe. It knows that many of us tend to get carried away with editing and can’t “undo” enough to start over. So it saves our butt for us automatically. Gotta love that!

iphoto-logoWHY NOT IPHOTO
Well, I never really liked how iPhoto seemed to hold my actual photo files hostage in its hidden libraries, among other hiccups, and that led me to migrate to Picasa several years ago and I’ve never looked back.

Now with Apple announcing last summer that it will soon retire iPhoto, I’m even more thrilled with my decision! By the way, Apple also killed off Aperture, the more-pro version meant to battle Adobe’s Lightroom. Both prior Apple photo programs will become the sometime-to-be-released Photos App (the world’s lamest name for a product if you ask me). The promise for an “early 2015” release, which some estimate to be by April, but the latest scoop is questioning even that deadline now.

If you have been using iPhoto and feel confident about it, fantastic! Or if you still want it no matter what I say, then click the app logo to download it now. I wish you luck! When Photos is officially released, I’m sure it will be designed to seamlessly transition your images (and all their metadata) into the new software. So you can choose to wait and see what it’s like or make the move to something else now. Your call. But whatever work you do should be safe if you make the conversion to a system that accepts your current software’s metadata files. Not to scare you, but that’s the key!

If you’re using a different software program that does not play well with others, all your hard work could be wasted if the tags, captions, keywords and such are only specific to that software and will not “stay” with your image when it is exported. Do a little research to ensure that your metadata would make the move too!

microsoft-237843_1280I DON’T DO WINDOWSwindowsphotogallery-screen
I did confess I had a PC laptop for my scanners but I mainly use it as a tool to run the machines. Once the images are scanned, I copy them onto a USB flash drive and plug it into my Macs for importing into Picasa where I go from there. However, I realize that there are probably a few of you PC people who want a Windows solution.

Your “iPhoto” option — as in free, included with every computer — is Windows (Live) Photo Gallery. It will do almost anything Picasa does I’m sure. But again, if there’s a free PC-compatible software program designed specifically for photo management, why wouldn’t you try it? Picasa also works well in households with computers (or phones or tablets) on both platforms as it’s universal. Learn one and everyone is on the same page.

folder-25129_1280YOUR FAVORITE STARS
So now that I shared with you my favorite photo management program, I want you to download it (100% free), follow the simple directions to let it load all your images from your PHOTOS folder. It will show all your nicely labeled & organized year, month & event sub-folders for easy reference.

Then you get to have fun picking YOUR favorites! One cool feature in Picasa (there are many so I may say that often in the next 10 days) is that you can simply STAR a photo as a favorite. You can do this a couple ways from inside Picasa. One by one: as you are viewing a full-size photo, click the star underneath it to apply the “star” favorite tag. Multiples: Shift-select several thumbnails in a folder & then click the star to include them all as favorites.

Why bother you ask? I’ll show you why. At the top center, you’ll see a filters menu that starts with a tiny star. Click it once to “show starred photos only.” It sorts out your faves so you can see (& share) just the ones you love the most. This way you don’t have to delete the others, or copy or paste them into new folders, or anything complicated. Just click “star” & click “view only stars” to narrow it down to the best of the best!

rating-153245_1280You may think you’d prefer to rank your photos on a numerical scale or a 1 to 5 stars so you can gauge them along a sliding scale. Other programs offer this option and it’s really your choice but for me, it’s an added level of decision complexity. Because if you really think about it, are you going to keep the photos that you would mark as 1s or even 2s? You shouldn’t! Just delete them right on the spot! I doubt you’ll miss them because you really don’t love them enough. It’s okay. They don’t mind.

If you would give your photo 5 stars, it gets a star. If your photos are borderline 3 or 4 stars, they should just stay in the folder as is. They are your “supporting” cast of actors; not the leading stars. It’s that easy.

If you had to try to pick a number between 2, 3 or 4, chances are you’d spend too much time debating it in your head than it needs. And then you’d dread doing this process in the first place. So you’d stop. Not good. That’s why I’m a fan of either YES (star), OK (supporting) or NO (delete). Simple. Gut instinct. Go!

I’m not sure if you had more fun clicking through your pics to hit DELETE or if you’ll enjoy clicking to STAR them instead, I suppose it depends on your personality or mood. I’d assume more happy & positive people prefer the STAR process, and those feeling grumpy or revengeful might get a little satisfaction from hitting DELETE.

photographer-456834_1920Now if you are just reading all of my how-to posts before you actually do any of them, I suppose you could TRY to combine both DELETE & STAR tasks into one step. Although I don’t believe you will work as fast because your brain will be trying to think on extreme opposite ends of the spectrum — finding the very best AND very worst. It might be more productive to give your full focus to either deleting the duds or starring the favorites.


Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes and download Picasa to your main computer. Follow the simple instructions to set it up and have it find the photos in your main PHOTOS folder. Once it’s done with that (don’t count this as part of your 15 minutes), open your most-recent photo folder (should be 2015-03 & any event sub-folders if you have them) to view the pics. You can control the size of the thumbnails by using the slider at the bottom right. Or you can double-click to view it at full-size.star-154489_1280

Decide if it’s a STAR or not. If so, click the small white star under the photo. It will turn YELLOW!  If you change your mind, simply click it again. White is off. Yellow is on. Use the arrow key at the top center to click to the next photo in your folder and keep moving through your photos this way. No need to spend time now doing any editing, tagging or captions…all that will come in due time…starting tomorrow!

If you don’t need to see them full-size, you can click the STAR to any selected photo in the thumbnail library viewer as well. Should you need to save time and STAR several photos at once, you can select the first one you want, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last one you want which selects everything in between those two photos. Now when you click star, all of them will be favorited. A more useful shortcut may be the Shift-CMD (MAC) that allows you to select several specific photos that are not all in a row.

Go through as many of your photo folders as you can, working backward in time. There are no rules for how many STARS you can have in a folder, but you should not have all photos be stars! Be a little selective your first time through. Try to choose your best ones that matter the most.

heart-25130_1280Think about it like this…you’re in an elevator and you want to show someone your favorite photos from this certain folder. You don’t have a lot of time. Which ones do you pick? Now it doesn’t have to be just 3 or even 10 if it’s a folder of 100 photos but it should be a significantly smaller percentage of the total. I don’t want to give you any hard, fast numbers to follow because it’s not about that. It’s about choosing the best photos you love and the ones that best represent an event or moment that you captured in your life. That’s what matters more.

Obviously, as you’re doing this STAR process, if you find a photo (or 2 or 10) that you maybe missed during your DELETION day yesterday, feel free to handle it now. Don’t save it another second! Get rid of it! You can either right-click to choose “delete from disk” or find that option under the FILE menu. But deal with it now while you’re here and have your mind made up.

In summary, your DAY 5 DUTIES:


attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING
In the end, if you think you have far too many STAR photos in relation to your total photos, you probably got a little too star-happy in your first pass through. That’s okay but now take a second, more-critical look at the ones you starred. Try to be more selective and remove a few stars now that you’ve seen the folder as a whole.

Sometimes you need a second (or third) pass through to really notice the ones that stand out. Those are the ones truly worthy of stars. The others are just supporting cast members. They aren’t bad photos at all — just not THE shots that would crush your soul if they were accidentally deleted and gone for good.

clock-452552_1920TALKING TIME LIMITS
If you have a zillion photos in your collection, this process could take you more than the 15 minutes, especially if you have to download and install Picasa first. But it is an enjoyable step that you should NOT overlook or skip. Forcing yourself to choose your very best favorite photos will prove priceless in the next 10 days of this process. If it takes you another 15 minutes, so be it. Have fun looking back at your memories & finding your favorites!

© Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Wow, we’ve done a lot of work so far! It’s only been a week of daily 15-minute tasks, but you’ve put all your digital photos in one place, sorted them into organized, labeled folders, deleted the duds, picked our “star” favorites, added captions, tagged with keywords, and added geographic location reference to photos. Sheesh! Nice work! To reward your hard work to date, today’s post will be a little more fun! We’re going to play with PEOPLE! Mess with faces!

Some photo organizers insist you should delete MOST of the photos in your collection that do NOT have people in them. I’m not that crazy as I love my scenery pics too but I realize that the ones I want to be sure I save are the ones with my family in them. If I lost some images of an ocean sunset or cloudy skies, I wouldn’t be as upset as if I lost the ones of my kids with their great-grandparents, for example. Keeping things in perspective is important with photo organization!

Think about it. What are a few of your all-time favorite photos you truly cherish? Are they scenic landscapes or ones with people’s faces in them? Typically, our loved ones are what make the photos more meaningful. That’s why Picasa’s PEOPLE library with facial recognition technology is so incredible!

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One of my fave photos is a candid I snapped at my sister’s wedding of my grandma, my kids & my dad — all looking fancy & happy!

When you first start with Picasa and it goes to find all your images in your PICTURES folder, it can scan for faces and will ask you to identify them. Under a zoomed-in “found face” pic, click the “Add a name” white caption box underneath. Type in a name. If it’s new, it will pop up a PEOPLE box asking you a few more details. Click NEW PERSON & fill in the other details as you wish. Now Picasa will magically scan your photo collection to find that face and associate it with that person’s name! All by itself!

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Granted, sometimes it needs some assistance. You’ll have an “Unnamed” folder at the top of the PEOPLE section, waiting for you to identify them. However, once you’ve taught it the person’s name, it will often pop up in a drop-down list when you go to “Add a name.” Simply select the right one or start to type the name and it can auto-fill fast too!

TIP: Be sure the first few photos you identify with a name are clear, focused, front-view photos. This will assist Picasa in accurately locating the others that best match. If you identify a blurry or dark photo with a name tag, you may end up with more mistakes in the suggestions as Picasa is trying to use this somewhat faulty photo as its reference point. 

Picasa sorts all your faces into “albums” it lists on the left under the PEOPLE library. These are NOT duplicates of your photos — they are simply pointing TO the existing file on your hard drive, in whatever folder you have it.

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Here’s one place where it’s perfectly acceptable to IGNORE PEOPLE! Picasa knows you’ll have some group photos where it will find faces that you don’t need to identify. Simply select those and choose “ignore selected” to have it learn those people don’t matter. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh but it knows that you don’t care to see them called out in the FACES feature. If you choose to change your mind, you can “show ignored faces” and go back to give them a legit label or name tag as needed.

This is often where other people you occasionally photograph will go. Unless you will need to search and find a photo of them specifically in the future, they don’t really need a PEOPLE tag. Save these for your primary faces of immediate and extended family. Maybe leave the kids’ friends un-named for now. It’s up to you and may depend on how many photos you’ve taken of this person — and how many pictures you may take of them in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 11.02.17 PMMUG SHOTS
Find your favorite shot of each person in their album. Right-click on it and select “set as people album thumbnail.” Or use the top people menu with the icon on the far right. Change this pic as often as you wish!

As Picasa begins to learn that person’s face, it will find some matches it calls “suggestions” and ask you to confirm if these truly are this person or not. In the PEOPLE panel on the left, if you see an orange question mark after their name, it means Picasa has something to ask you about. Click on it to open their “folder” of faces. Near the end of their faces will be the suggestions. Or you can click the “show only suggestions” toggle at the top.

You can either click them one at a time with the green checkmark or red x, but if they are all that person, click the CONFIRM ALL button at the top! Done!

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However, don’t get depressed if Picasa instantly plops another batch of suggestions in that spot! It used the details it learned from the ones you confirmed to find a few more that are similar and wants to make sure it’s correct.

Sometimes, it drops in a face of someone else by mistake. Simply click the red X to remove it from this person’s folder. It doesn’t delete the pic — just puts it in another person’s suggestions file instead.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 11.18.55 PMYou may be wondering how you had all these close-ups of people’s faces when you don’t remember shooting them. They aren’t close-ups at all! Picasa is just zooming in to show you the specific face, so it’s easier for you to identify. The two tiny icons in the upper right corner of the middle section give you the option to see them “zoomed in to the faces” (shown on left below) or “zoomed out to the full picture” (shown on right below).

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This comes in handy when you are looking for a specific picture of a certain person! After you think you found it by their face, you can click to zoom out to see the whole picture. Although you can always double-click any zoomed-in face to open the full photo in the editor window. In the dark gray bar underneath, you can see the exact filename path location for this photo, along with other details, and your caption, of course.

I have been stunned at Picasa’s ability to figure out faces, even ones from infant to adult. It can tell that person even with varying hair styles and when the person doesn’t normally wear glasses. It often recognizes them even when wearing a costume or crazy hair or hat. And it finds them even in a very dark under-exposed or poor-quality blurry photo.

I’ve even seen it pick out the face of a person who was simply in a framed photo on a shelf somewhere in the main photo!?! Because of this, you may see a few strangers in your photo collection. Do not be alarmed. Often these are from group settings at a public event, or even a face from packaging on a Christmas gift! Of course, I haven’t tested this out on identical twins yet. I’m sure that could be a challenge for it!

Once you’ve helped Picasa figure out all the faces in all your photos, you’ll be able to see at a glance who is in each photo, and find the perfect photo of someone without remembering when it was taken! How handy is that?! Hover your mouse over a face in a photo and it will tell you who it is. Or when you are viewing a photo, the right column People Panel will identify them.

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FUNNY FACES: Once in a while, Picasa finds a face in a photo that isn’t really intended to be a face. Well, not of a person anyway!

An almost-hidden (yet magic) way to find several faces in one photo…say you want to find a picture of you with your dad AND your grandma. First, click on the PEOPLE LIBRARY and choose your own folder. Now click on the “people” icon in the lower right corner to open the PEOPLE panel that will show who else is in those photos. Click on the tag of your dad. This will instantly sort your photos to show only the ones with BOTH you and your dad in them.

To add the third level of sorting for finding the photos with you, your dad and your grandma…CTRL (PC) or CMD (MAC)-click on your grandma’s name tag. It will locate the photo(s) of the three of you. Just. Like. That! Sure beats scanning faces or guessing dates or even typing in tags and captions for searching. See how fun this is? To revert to regular view, just click the green “back to view all” button to try a new double-duty search.

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No Master’s Degree needed! You too can manage people. Under Picasa’s TOOLS menu, choose PEOPLE MANAGER. A window pops up to let you see who you have photographed, and interestingly, how many pics you have of them! Since Picasa is integrated with Google, you have other options for managing contacts and syncing too.

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Some people don’t like that Picasa keeps working in the background to search and sync faces from the photos in your folders. Although you can determine in the TOOLS/FOLDER MANAGER menu exactly which folders should be searched, synced and watched. If you’d rather just turn it off entirely, scroll up to your main folder in the folder list on the lefthand side of the Folder Manager and deselect “Face Detection on” and click OK.


Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes and open Picasa. Go to the UNNAMED folder under PEOPLE on the left column and start assigning name tags and confirming suggestions. Once you’ve identified (or ignored) all the faces in your photo collection, you can have the ultimate fun of this feature — creating a Face Movie!

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This creates a highlight reel of your photos focused on a single face, which is held in one position while the rest of the image changes. The result is impressive as your child grows up before your eyes in a matter of minutes. It randomly selects photos in chronological order and layers them so it creates a unique “morphing” effect of the face over time. You can edit the photos chosen, the order they’re in, add in slides, modify transitions, include a music track and much more. Then save it and even upload it to YouTube if you’d like. Way. Cool.

In summary, your DAY 8 DUTIES:

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The suggestion & cluster threshold sliders are Picasa’s level of effort in facial recognition accuracy. By default, these are both set at 80 but changing them to 85 limits the false positives.


As much as I find the PEOPLE facial recognition part of Picasa fascinating and helpful, I did learn thatthe “name tags” it generates are saved only within Picasa by default. However, you can — and should — opt to have them added to the XMP metadata section of your images. You first have to open PREFERENCES under the far NAME TAGS tab to check ON enable face detection, enable suggestions and store name tags in photo.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 4.54.53 PMHowever, I found out that this does not go back to record all the ones you’ve already done; it will only affect the ones you will do from now on! So it is critical that you finish this step by going under the TOOLS menu, EXPERIMENTAL, then choose the last one “Write faces to XMP.” It opens a new window asking you to write all or write faces or write selected. Depending on your selection, this may take a while so it may be best to leave your computer to do this while you go to sleep or leave for a while.

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Unlike some of our earlier tasks, this is a relatively low-brainpower one that can be done while watching TV. It may take a while if you have many photos in your collection and this is your first time assigning name tags. But once you’ve caught up, it will be an easy, nearly effortless process. Then you’ll only need to stay on top of the new uploads and suggestions to always have instant access to finding the faces you love in the photos you have!

© Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.