Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Migrate Picasa Face Tags to Lightroom Metadata

It's been on my list for a while now, and I finally got around to searching for and trying out a few methods to migrate Picasa face tags to Lightroom Metadata.  I really like the capability of Picasa in it's ability to tag faces, and as my collection of images gets ever larger this feature will become more and more important in my work flow I think.  The limitation always was that you couldn't use this information in any other program, without painstaking manual work with keywords.

One major use I have for it is determining all the photos where one (but especially two or more people) appear.  This is very useful for prints, photo books, or just tracking down those photos you forgot you had.

The first option I've found to help migrate Picasa Face Tags into images directly is with AvPicFaceXmpTagger.  The summary below (from its wiki pages) gives an idea of what it does.Click on the title for the creators website/download.

The program seems to work with DNG files as well, from the tests I've done on it.  As always, back-up your data and catalogue before trying "new" things like this.

The next tool I'm looking into for this process is Jeffery Friedl's "Picasa Face-Recognition Import” Lightroom Plugin which seems to do much the same thing, but with a bit different final results.



This program was written because of the new Google Picasa 3.5 face recognition feature. Due to the fact that Picasa 3.5 doesn't store the face recognition data inside JPEG pictures, this program fetches that data and stores it as XMP-MP meta tags inside the JPEG pictures.

The Picasa 3.5 face recognition feature stores the face data inside the Picasa database. As a consequence this data is lost when you give away your pics and this data cannot be shared with other users or with other Picasa instances running on different computers. Luckily Picasa stores the face recognition data (persons & faces) in quite simple text files so reading that data is not a big clue.
There is already a method available how to store face recognition data inside JPEG pictures. This method uses XMP tag system created by Adobe with the addition of Microsoft XMP namespace Microsoft Photo Region Schema and is used by Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Right at the start this program reads the Picasa text file holding the persons (contacts). Each person has assigned an unique person ID. For every file of for all files in a directory which is added to the list of files or directories the picasa.ini file is searched for face definition. If face definitions are found for a file, they are added as XMP tags. Optionally, the person names are also added as IPTC Keyword tags.

The actual tagging of the JPEG files is done using ExifTool - a great and widely accepted/trusted tagging program which is known for its good makernotes handling (to leave them intact).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vietnam :: Hanoi & Ha Long Bay PhotosHanoi, Vietnam

I've recently just signed up for Photoshelter again, they had a 30-day Free offer I couldn't refuse! 

I've started to upload my archive there, with hopes of getting some better exposure, sales, and SEO online.  My trip to Vietnam earlier this year was first on the list for this upload.  Below are a couple galleries from the start of the trip.


Hanoi - Vietnam - Images by Alex Evans

Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay - Vietnam - Images by Alex Evans

Friday, April 2, 2010

Microstock Statistics :: iStockphoto Top 500 Contributors

I recently revisited the istockcharts website in hopes of gaining a bit more insight into the world of Microstock.  Looking at the top 500 contributors, in terms of downloads, I was able to sermize a few things about iStock and the industry in general.   Please note that 64 contributors were "xxx" out at istockcharts and the reliability of the data may not be exactly accurate, but interesting data all the same.

I found it very interesting to take a look at the data in excel and sort, average, and develop stats for this list.  Some observations:
  • Of the top 500 contributors at iStockphoto, they joined on average in May 2005, with the first contributors joining in Feb 2002 and the last contributor in the top 500 joining in May 2008
  • On average they have 2,275 files online the max being 16,289  while the min is 151
  • The total files combined for all these contributors was 991,990 and represents 16.8% of all the files currently on iStock.  
  • What's interesting is that although they only represent 16.8% of the number of files they account for over 40% of the downloads (or 32,001,000).
  • So the Top 500 in iStock (or top 436 in this case due to some accounts having no information) they only represent 1.5% of the contributors, but account for over 40% of the downloads!!
Some graphs and visual stuff to compliment the observations:

Total Number of Downloads for the Top 500 Contributors at iStockphoto
Number of Files Online Vs. Total Number of Downloads

So, it seems that I'm a very small fish in a very big pond!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Microstock Photography - Return on Investment (ROI)

Over a year and a half ago I registered at a few microstock sites to see how I'd do with it, but it very quickly faded from my daily routine - either from lack of results, rejection, or just life getting in the way of one of my many ideas.

I had about 50 images at StockXpert, but they've since closed (moved to Veer) and the $1.00 I made will never be recovered.

I have far fewer images at iStockPhoto and Dreamstime, with combined sales of $6.50. I think the payout threshold is $50 or $100, so at this rate I'll be lucky to be paid out before I'm 65. To be fair, I only have 3 approved photos at each site so the return hasn't been too bad considering such a low number.

I've decided to give it another go, with mixed feelings. Part of me thinks that spending such a lot of time for such little return is a waste of time. Part of me just wants to experiment with this avenue of sales and see if it's really for me. At the moment I'm way behind on my Return of Investment (ROI) with the amount of time I've spent on Microstock in the past and the time I've recently put in. We'll see how this goes and maybe I'll be able to show some interesting graphs and reports down the road like Lee Torrens over at MicrostockDiaries does.

Future update on my progress in 2010!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Get The Most Out of Your Canon PowerShot

A while back I discovered that in many Canon digital camera models, a fairly easy hack to be added (through the memory card, so it's non destructive) which gives you a bunch of added functionality to your camera.   Enhanced Image Capture, Additional Information On-Screen, and Additional Photographic Settings are a few of the major changes you can make to your camera.

The site to check out is the CHDK Wiki dedicated to all this stuff.  Lots of information on that site, but first thing to do is check your model number and firmware version to see if your camera is supported.

With this add-on I was able to create a time lapse movie last year of my trip through the Rockies from Revelstoke to Calgary.

A bunch of other mini-programs can be downloaded and used from the site mentioned above - like time lapse, motion detection and advanced bracketing.  So if you have an old Canon PowerShot lying around, give it a try!

Another interesting article over at Lifehacker about getting the most out of any point and shoot camera found here.  And a more extensive overview of enhancing your camera through CHDK here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Google Trends & Microstock

I'm often curious to see trends on Google Trends, and also curious to see what I can gather from this site to better position my photography focus in future shots.  Hunting around for some various terms I came across some interesting comparisons.

General Market

Getty vs Corbis vs Microstock - Corbis seems to have been overtaken in this metric by istock around mid 2007.

Getty (red) vs Corbis (purple) vs Microstock (blue:istock, green: shutterstock, yellow: Fotolia)

Microstock Battle - istock seems to be declining slightly since the end of 2008, Fotolia seems to have a continuing upward trend, while Shutterstock seems to have had a plateau in 2009, with a spike in searches at the beginning of 2010.

Microstock Trends (blue: iStock, yellow: Fotolia , red: Shutterstock , green: Dreamstime, purple: 123rf)

Some Other Interesting Photo Topics:

Royalty Free versus Creative Commons
Film versus digital
Selling Photos versus Buying Photos

The searches above aren't exact by any means, but an interesting exercise none the less to gather a snap shot on topics.  Something to keep an eye on for ideas and research.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Microstock Statistics :: iStockphoto

I came across an interesting site the other day:


This site seems to aggregate many of the statistics from every contributor to iStockphoto and display it in tabular form.  The data is sortable using the various headings (below) at the top of each page. 
  • Contributor
  • Total DLs
  • # of Files
  • Market Share of Files
  • New Files in last 30 Days
  • # of Reviews
  • Reviews per File
  • Member since