Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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For two different, but similar purposes I need some software to assist me.

In the first case I need to take pictures of a lot of swimmers (could be anything - in this case it's portraits). I have a list of names, and the swimmers enters in a random order. Here the task is to keep track of images taken mapped to the name of the swimmer.

The second case is that I take pictures at a swim event. Last time we had a proof of concept, where we took orders to take pictures of the swimmers in the pool. Here I had a list of names with the race, heat and lane number I had to map to the pictures taken.

Now my question is, if any kind of software exists to help in these situations? Pen and paper were in both cases a small chaos, and it also required a second person to help.

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Not a full answer to the problem but a tool suggestion. Lightroom has a function called "Auto-stack" which stacks photos based on the amount of time between the shots. So you can say: stack all photos which where taken within 10 seconds of each other. Assuming that there is more time between the swimmers than between the photos you have now all your photos of each swimmer grouped. No idea on how to couple it to the names though.... Good luck –  Bart Arondson May 11 '12 at 9:34
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If mapping with people is the requirement, then you can look at the 'faces' feature in Aperture and the similar function in Picasa. Not sure what your second requirement is. –  Vaishak Suresh May 11 '12 at 11:03
    
Is this about keeping track of which photos are of which subjects (swimmers, say) during the event, or categorizing/cataloging the images after the event when you have transferred them to the computer? The answers to these two questions may very well be very different. (If the latter, it's easy: I'm pretty sure any half-way-serious photo organization software supports some form of image tagging, which will do nicely. Even better if it does hierarical tags, such that one can search for tag A and it will match images with tags A, B and C where B and C are "children" of A.) –  Michael Kjörling May 11 '12 at 12:26
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It requires some discipline (manually taking meta-pictures), and may not work for you, but is "using additional pictures as metadata" a solution? So when you're about to start taking pictures of a swimmer, take a picture of the piece of paper with their name on it (with your finger or a pencil pointing to the name if the sheet is crowded), then take the pictures of that person. Or, take the pictures of the person then take the metadata picture. –  drewbenn May 11 '12 at 20:39

2 Answers 2

I'm not sure this answers the first part of your question but here's what I've seen done for the second part (in this case at youth hockey tournaments):

The photographer snaps away during the games. After each game, all the shots are placed on a server. Anyone wanting to purchase photos can browse on one of several laptops connected to the server, noting the filename and game of any photos they wish to purchase. When ready, they take a list of photos to the photographer's assistant who takes the money and prints the photos.

This system has the advantages that the photographer doesn't have to identify each person in the photos and the photos are delivered on the spot.

I realize this isn't a software solution but it appears to work well. The disadvantage is the investment in hardware (server, laptops, and really nice photo printer).

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I've had to do something similar in a non-photographic situation for case 1. What I would do is have each swimmer write his name, and any other info on a piece of paper as they come in. Place each piece of paper in a box. That gives you the order in which your swimmers will appear in the images, which should let you sort out who is who. If that's too much trouble, get a voice recorder and just say the name into the recorder as they come in.

For the second one, writing (or recording) the race number and the actual time at which it starts will let you match images to races. But I've no idea how to match each swimmer in each race. If they are wearing club colours you may be able to get an almost-exact match.

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I like the idea of using the time for mapping. For each race we have an accurate start time, so I would just have to synchronize the cameras time. It will still leave something to be managed, like which lane in the next race, but with one thing less to think about chances are also that one makes less errors. –  homaxto May 14 '12 at 6:45

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