How to make your family photos more valuable

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 200, ƒ/6.3, 1/160–Neewer T850, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Radio system

This past weekend our family flew down to Jupiter, Florida to surprise my wife’s oldest sister for her 80th birthday.

Some of the family my wife had never met and some of the family she hadn’t seen for more than 39 years.

After taking this photo I didn’t wait till I got home to work on it in the computer. I wanted to be sure to make this photo the most valuable asset it can be to our family going forward.

Here is a video to help you know how to do this in Adobe Lightroom:

After I had the photo in Adobe Lightroom editing software I used the Face Recognition technology to help identify each and every person in all the photos I took this weekend. Now the software while not perfect did a great job. I did have to force it to tag some of the faces.

The good thing is now inside the metadata of the image is everyone’s name that is in this photograph.

Metadata is “data that provides information about other data”. Two types of metadata exist: structural metadata and descriptive metadata. Structural metadata is data about the containers of data. Descriptive metadata uses individual instances of application data or the data content.

Metadata was traditionally in the card catalogs of libraries. As information has become increasingly digital, metadata is also used to describe digital data using metadata standards specific to a particular discipline. Describing the contents and context of data or data files increases their usefulness. For example, a web page may include metadata specifying what language the page is written in, what tools were used to create it, and where to find more information about the subject; this metadata can automatically improve the reader’s experience.

The main purpose of metadata is to facilitate in the discovery of relevant information, more often classified as resource discovery. Metadata also helps organize electronic resources, provide digital identification, and helps support archiving and preservation of the resource. Metadata assists in resource discovery by “allowing resources to be found by relevant criteria, identifying resources, bringing similar resources together, distinguishing dissimilar resources, and giving location information.”

This is one of my family photos from my dad’s side of the family. I know the man on the far left (even this is sketchy to me) is my great grandfather who owned the blacksmith. He is H. P. Sewell.

Who are the rest of the people? We don’t know.

Make your photos from your family more valuable. Take the time to identify who is in the photo.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

This is the three sisters from the weekend and my wife’s great niece. Just imagine a few generations later where they are telling the stories to their children about who their ancestors were.

Now putting the names of the people on the back of the print as was done by many people in the past is the same as today embedding that information using metadata.

In PhotoShop just go to the menu item File>File Info…

Under the basic table in the description box put the people’s names in the photo. You can even put them in left to right and row 1, 2 and so on to help people in the future who will not know who anyone is in the photograph.

Now this is the Spotlight search on a Mac, but you can do a text search on a PC and get the same results. Because the names are embedded in a photo you can now search and find those people. Here I put the last name in for Teubner. I didn’t even have to finish spelling it before the photos started listing for me in the search box.

I setup two umbrellas with hotshoe flashes to make the group photos this past weekend. Once I had them setup we had one our family members to take a photo of our family, which rarely happens. Like the cobbler we have few photos of us as a family.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 180, ƒ/4, 1/250–fill flash

While we did setup and take some posed photos, we enjoy just as much those moments capturing the family having fun.

Nikon D4, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 1250, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000
Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/60

I feel great about this past weekend. I not only got to meet family members I didn’t know we had, but I can now look back at the photos and tell my family who is who and help them know what a wonderful family heritage we have.