Best software for tagging people in photos

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I have a number of old family photos, dating back over 100 years, that I’ve scanned. I’ve set out to identify all the people in the photos before my grandmother passes. She’s the only one who will know who some of the people are. I thought I’d use the Windows 10 Photos app, but then I realized that it only supports AI-based tagging. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems I can’t manually select and tag someone in the Photos app on a photo by photo basis (I checked the Windows 10 Field Guide!). This may seem odd, but that use case seems to fit situations like this where I have no idea who the people are and I want to sit with my grandmother and talk about them and the photo. There’s often a story there that I want to hear about. We talk about the situation that lead to the photo and the people in the photo. Recent articles by Paul have me pondering that I’m looking at this the wrong way, but I still feel there are cases for this manual tag scenario.

I’ve also noticed that I can’t manually correct people the Photos app AI incorrectly identifies. I swear the Photos app used to support manual tagging and correction, but maybe I am mistaken or confusing it with the Windows Live Photos app or the photos app on the Mac.

Speaking of the Mac, I could use it. My hesitation is that it does seem that it keeps this metadata locked up in the app. Maybe this is simply a side effect of there not being a standard for recording the people tags? I also kind of hate that I have to import photos before I can work with them.

In summary, I want something I can select a face and tag the person, then later easily see the tagged person when viewing the photos. Ideally, this tag data is recorded in the image file in a portable, standard way, rather than in some proprietary app metadata store.

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Best software for tagging people in photos”

  1. jwpear

    Point I should have made, the context of all the people in the photos help my grandmother remember everyone in it. She's trying to remember what people looked like 75-85 years ago.

  2. Paul Thurrott

    When I updated the Photos chapter in the book recently, I was struck by how impotent the tagging functionality had become. It's useless.


    What I had had great success with---and including what you're looking for, recognizing the same people over time as they age---is Google Photos. It does a fantastic job of this.

    • jedwards87

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      It does except that when it gets is wrong you can not change it. And you can not tag faces manually. Also the face tags do not stay with the photos when you download them. Now I know the Photos team recently asked for suggestions and manually tagging faces was one of the top requested features so maybe it will improve soon. However the facial names you apply do not get stored in the photo file itself making this not as useful as it could be. If you ever change apps you will have to start all over.

  3. lvthunder

    I would look at Lightroom Classic. It will run through the pictures and group the faces together then you just type in the name of who it is. I believe it will write the data as a keyword so other programs can see it as well.

  4. jwpear

    Appreciate the suggestions! Will have a look at Lightroom and, somewhat begrudgingly, Google Photos.


  5. jedwards87

    ACDSEE does a fabulous job of this.

  6. alice820

    Cool. Thanks for sharing this software. Article is to good and really informative.