Lightroom Classic: Ability to create collections and smart collections of faces.

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I've just started to venture into Face Detection within Lightroom Classic.

Having watched the initial video on how to do it I needed some details and the technician on the chat confirmed that I wasn't missing a trick - simply Lightroom doesn't do some things I need. This is post one of two to raise these issues.

When you run face detection and name a bunch of people you can click on one of those people and see a whole bunch of thumbnails of just their face. Not the whole image, just their face.

I said I'd like to make a collection (or even better a smart collection) of those people.

Let's say I have 10,000 images and in those images Great Aunt Maud appears five times. At this point Face Detection is great. It finds Maud and I see the thumbnails. I can click into each thumbnail to see the full image and add it to a collection.

Wonderful. I now have a collection of images of Great Aunt Maud.

Now change the scenario and I have 10,000 images and in there are pictures of my child, call them Maddy (Maddy/Maud...) for ease. I've got 600+ images of Maddy.

Now I'm not going to be going and clicking on each thumbnail of Maddy to add her to a collection called "Pics of Maddy". That would take an insane time.

I might want to create a smart collection of "all pics in the catalog" of Maddy which gets bigger as I take more images.

I might want to create a mart collection of "all pic of Maddy in 2020".

Or I might want to select a particular holiday and create a collection of "pics of Maddy on holiday in Greece" (I neither have a child called Maddy nor have gone to Greece in the last 50 years!).

My point is that creating collections and smart collections of confirmed people is "missing" and I can't work out why.
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Mark Cornwell

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Posted 2 months ago

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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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Once you confirmed the name of a person. The photo is assigned that person's keyword. With the keyword, you can do all the normal keyword based filtering and smart collection as you want.

If you don't want to confirm all the pics of Maddy, you could try the "Find Similar Faces..." command to filter and sort faces in your current photo source selection (say your 2020 photos). The query face(s) could be named or unnamed.
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Mark Cornwell

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Simon, That was what I had assumed - but there doesn't seem to be a way of restricting to the "Person" keyword.

So, for myself, for example, I can search on my first name or my last name or both but I appear in the metadata for so many images that it doesn't narrow things down at all.

You're likely going to say don't search all metadata, just keywords. Fair enough.

I tried searching keywords only for pictures of my wife but because I had tagged her in the keywords on holidays that we'd been on she too came up everywhere, not just where I've tagged her as a person.

I'm unable to find a way to use the keyword tag something like "where person equals Maddy Nuff" to create a group of images that only has images where Maddy Nuff would be identified as a person.

If there were two Maddies in an extended family then finding only those with the one person in it becomes hard. You can do it in most situations by putting the keywords to find CONTAINS ALL of "Maddy Nuff" (I've tried it - I have two neices with same first name).

However if you have others in the photo it falls over.

For example say I have an image with Maddy Nuff and her uncle Mark Felix.

Mark Felix has a daughter Maddy Felix.

A search for images of Maddy Felix then contains that one of Maddy Nuff because CONTAINS ALL finds both strings "Maddy" and "Felix" in that image.

If there were a "where PERSON contains MADDY FELIX" then the image with Maddy Nuff wouldn't be discovered.

But, as I say, I've got hundreds of family holiday images that I've tagged the whole family in and they may be cityscapes or anything: not photos of the person I want to find.

Only by allowing search on a "person keyword" would this scenario work.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You've raised two separable issues about LR's keyword searching, which isn't well-designed. I'll deal with them separately.

Regarding the keywords "Maddy Nuff", "Mark Felix", and Maddy Felix":  Searching for Contains Words Maddy Felix unfortunately returns a photo with Maddy Nuff and Mark Felix, because LR's search just treats all of the keywords in a photo as a single field with all the keywords mushed together.  Unbelievably, LR doesn't have the notion of exact match in its text search in the filter bar or smart collections.

(Contains Words is usually better to use than Contains All, since it searches for punctuated-separated "words", whereas Contains All looks for the presence of the strings anywhere within the keywords. E.g. Contains All Mark will match the keyword Markus.)

Some workarounds to the lack of exact match: 

- In a smart collection, use Keywords Doesn't Contain to exclude particular words from the keyword search.  In the Library Filter bar's Text search box, you can add "!Mark" to your search terms to exclude photos containing Mark in their keywords.  This is clusmy, and it doesn't always work, e.g. if you want to find photos with Maddy Nuff and Mark Felix but not Maddy Felix -- you can't exclude Maddy and you can't exlude Felix.

- Use the Library Filter bar's Metadata browser with one or more Keyword columns.  A shortcut for opening up a Keyword column is to go to the Keyword List pane on the right of Library, hover the mouse over a keyword, and click the hidden arrow to the right of the keyword that magically appears.  That will open a Keyword column in the Metadata browser with the keyword selected, which will filter for photos containing exactly that keyword.   

If you Ctrl/Cmd-click additional keywords in the Keyword column, that does a boolean OR of the selected photos (photo contains K1 or K2 or K3...).   You can add additional Keyword columns to the browser, and that will do boolean AND of each column. So to find photos containing both Maddy Nuff and Mark Felix, select Maddy Nuff in the first column and Mark Felix in the second column.

To make this a little easier, define a filter preset, using the drop-down menu on the right end of the Filter bar, containing 4 Keyword columns (with no selections).  Then you can quickly open up the Filter bar with the columns ready to be used.  

Unfortunately, if you have a long keyword list, the Keyword column is quite tedious and fussy to use -- it's got a tiny scrollbar with jerky scrolling on large lists, and there's no way to search the list by typing. 

Instead, you could use the Any Tag plugin's Filter By Keyword command, which lets you search by one or more exact keywords.  You enter a keyword by typing just the first few letters of one or more words in the keyword, and it will do auto-complete -- very fast to enter keywords to search for.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Regarding searching for faces with assigned names, to test my understanding: You'd like to search for photos with face rectangles assigned the keyword Mark Felix but exclude photos that have Mark Felix assigned as a keyword but not assigned to a face.

Unfortunately, there is no way to do that using LR's built-in features. You'd have to use the Any Filter plugin with this search:


This search is pretty slow (about 50 photos/sec) because LR doesn't make catalog face data available to plugins, so Any Filter has to search the photos on disk.
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Mark Cornwell

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John, thanks for the detailed reply. I hadn't appreciated the subtle difference between Contains Words vs Contains All.

You ask for clarification of your understanding in your last post.

Your understanding is nearly correct.

To be honest I didn't come here for a long discussion on what I was after - and am surprised it is happening. It's not a bad thing... just unexpected. The technician told me to come here to make suggestions for improvements to add to the wish list. It feels very much like this is just a regular forum. If it is a regular forum then the technician has given me wrong information.

Let me explain my logic a little more.

I'm not after using a plugin particularly. If need be I'll create a collection by keyword search and then remove items from it. It's long and irritating but it will do the job. I'm simply making a suggestion that I hope to improve a future version of Lightroom.

I'll start at the top...

Lightroom introduces Face Detection to its arsenal of tricks. On the surface of it this seems like a good thing - even if it isn't too accurate it has to be an improvement.

But there's something missing. Seeing subsets of the photos that have been confirmed as detected en-masse.

As I see it whilst Face Detection adds keywords it also adds some XML note of not just who the face is but also where that face is on the photo. Therefore to say "lightroom only adds keywords" is only half of the story. The developers have set it up to add keywords but they could also add a type of keyword: a person keyword. Something like that is more useful.

On a typical shoot I import the files and then select the whole shoot and will add the name of the subjects to the shoot, I'll add the location, I may add other details of others involved.

For example: I do a wedding. I say "Jenny Maiden, John Steel, Greywall House, St Vincent Church, FlowerPower, Styled With Love, Hair by Tash".

That's got the whole wedding info on it. If "Styled With Love" ask me if I have any photos of their weddings I can go and find them. They don't actually *appear* in any of the photos. Ditto FlowerPower floristry. "Hair By Tash" might ask the same thing and I might see actually them in the images of the hair and make up of preps.

John and Jenny got married but they do not appear in every image of their day. But I might want bridal shots of Jenny. So I might want to do a "person search" for Jenny and find images of her. I don't want that search to find every image from their wedding. But I do want every image of their wedding to be tagged with her name.

In other words all of the keywords are relevant even if the person mentioned is not in the shot.

That's in my business situation.

Now onto my family stuff - which is where I started this.

I've gone and allowed Face Detection to run on 128,761 images - indeed it is *still* running now. (*sigh*)

In doing so it has found just 3489 images of my family. I've confirmed just 777 images of my wife.

As a "simple user" I double click on my wife and I see thumbnails of her head. Lots and lots of them. Oh. That's odd.

That was my first thought. Why don't I see all the images of my wife? (I simply wanted to choose a few of my favourites to send to my phone, believe it or not).

Literally that was the starting basis for my observation: I was surprised to see dozens of thumbnails of heads rather than sets of images.

Ok, I check the way this stuff works and I see that what happens is that it "adds a keyword". Fair enough.

But just like when I come back from a shoot I tag the whole shoot... yeah... that happens with holidays too.

I've come back from a trip to Italy, I've tagged both of us, I've tagged with FAMILY and HOLIDAY and the city and Italy. She's not in every landscape I took on holiday. She's not in every street scene. But she was on holiday with me so she is tagged.

Net result... if I look at "identified photos of my wife" I see 777. But if I go into keywords and search for her name it shows me 1712 images That's the best part of 1000 images that are not her!

It would be super cool to be able to make a collection of "my wife in Italy" and choose images from that rather than scour the whole Italy 2020 Holiday album (no... obviously that holiday is made up! :D ).

My *suggestion* for a future version of Lightroom was therefore that they use the individuals identified positively by the photographer in the "named people" section as something that one could create a collection of and indeed also a a smart collection too.

That way I might see an image of a crowd of people that just happens to have my wife in the background and take the detected face off it beause she's not the subject of the image, and my Smart Collection just updates to remove that image where she's not important and gives me a good view of images of my wife. Or my kids. Or a bride/groom/model.

The assumption tht a photographer goes and tags only images of a person with that person's name is false. Many of us leave images tagged with all sorts - either for speed (tagging a set all the same), or because we genuinely need to keep them tagged with other things.

The way around would simply to be that the "named people" tags were made useable as entities to create collections and smart collections from.

Does that make more sense now?