Have you ever spent way too much time looking for a specific photo, or trying to find any photo with a specific object or theme? While computers can sometimes be frustrating, they are wonderful at retrieving information if you’ve given them enough data to do so.
Metadata is a word that just means information attached to a file. When you take a picture with a digital camera, it already attaches metadata like date and time (if you’ve set the camera with that information), the size of the photo, and the settings used to take it. Your smartphone has GPS, so it will also provide the location the picture was taken. That’s a great start.
Photos are very personal and you can honor them by taking a little time to tag them on your computer. If cars are important to your family, you should have a “car” tag and place it on any picture with a car in it. If someone in your circle plays a sport or has season tickets to one, use “baseball” or “hockey” to help you find pictures through the years related to the sport.
Most photo-organizing programs use facial recognition, and this is where you tag the people in your photos. The software will ask if other photos have that person in them, and you can agree or disagree with the suggestions to quickly tag batches of photos. You will need to create tags (not people) for your pets’ names, since they won’t be found by facial recognition, even though you may consider them family.
Once your digital and digitized photos are tagged, you’ll always be able to quickly pull up a photo of Grandma at Christmas or your friend at that wedding (how long ago was that, again?). Don’t be afraid of metadata – it’s the most important tool in digital photo organizing!