The Canon EOS 350D

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I have been taking photos at family Christmas parties for the last twenty-five years. Last year, my son suggested I assemble photo albums for each person in the family with 25 years’ worth of their photos.

With hundreds of photos involved, it seemed like a mountain too high to climb. I mentioned this suggestion to a cousin, and how unlikely it was that I would ever get around to this, arguably, great idea.

She said, “Come to my house. We’ll drink wine and sort all the photos in an evening.” Now, that was an idea I could get behind. We scheduled it a few months later and I finished 33 photo albums in time for Christmas. The only reason it worked is because, among three cousins, we knew everyone in the family, and could identify even the photos of twin brothers.

Skip ahead to last week. My husband downloaded Google’s new Picasa photo editing software. Free, it comes with facial recognition software, so the first thing the software does is organize your photos by its identification of people’s faces. You label as many as you can to get it started.

If it isn’t sure, it asks you, suggesting who it thinks is in the photo. Almost the only misses were from a framed photo of our son that was in the background, sitting on a coffee table, and a photo of a model from a Snuggies box in the background from someone’s Christmas present.

Now, drinking and thinking about who might be in a 25-year-old photo is a very fun way to spend an evening. But, my husband did a similar thing, albeit only with the two years’ worth of digital photos we have, by loading software to do the job for him.

Our children will no longer have to go through old family photo albums wondering who people are. They’ll just download the photos in our cameras and cell phones.