I'm going to be in a public area taking portraits of many people (for example, at a themed, public event, or while doing a 100 Strangers Project, etc..)

After taking someone's portrait, I want them to give them access to their portrait (and only theirs, not everyone else's).

So, given all the pictures I take that day, how can I keep track of all the photos (matching up them up with their portrait, and then providing them a way to see/share the photo)? Also, what token, if any, could I give them to find or receive their photo later on?


The ideal solution for me would

  • give them access to only their portrait
  • minimize the amount of personal information I get from them at the time of encounter (a name only, for example. The assumption is that people would not want to give out their contact information.)
  • minimize wasting their time (in other words, be a socially elegant solution)
  • maximize the amount of time I spend shooting while I'm out "in the field" as opposed to bookkeeping

I'm comfortable giving them my contact information.


4 Answers 4


Well, just an idea: print cards with your email. Write a number and a password in each card. The numbers must be consecutive and you should use them in order. Every time you meet a new subject, take a picture of a card and give it to him/her. They just need to send you an email indicating the number and the password. The number will help you to find the photo.


All answers are interesting ideas! Here is what I ended up doing.

In summary, it involved printing predefined, randomized access codes onto cards, and taking pictures of each one before I handed it out to my friend-stranger. I also build a small web application that interfaced with Flickr's API to retrieve the photos.

Doing this achieved the following results

  • This allowed me not have to worry about jumbling up the cards or to have to rely on sequence of anything (photos or access codes)
  • Minimized bookkeeping on my end
  • Also, it prevent people from being able to extrapolate on the access code to discover others' photos.

I posted about it on my blog

  • \$\begingroup\$ The link is broken. \$\endgroup\$
    – user
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 19:20

The key thing is going to be to rely on the numbering of photos in your camera. The camera should shoot sequentially so you can match it up with sequential cards you give out. If you don't want to manually handle distribution, you can put a random code on the cards, but still give them an internal order. You could then tie it to a series of web galleries that are password protected with the code. You would need some basic scripting knowledge though as you'd probably have to write a custom setup to import the codes in to the gallery application.


Crazy idea: Face recognition FTW!

This would require some custom software, because I don't think there's nothing out-of-the-box (it might be interesting to develop, so I'm thinking about doing it on my spare time just for fun!).

Basically you upload the pictures to a server (tagged with place and date, to constrain a little bit the search, being less computationally expensive and adding an extra layer of security).

You give the address of the public access for the server to the people you photograph (in printed business cards or however you decide), maybe along your user id if it's shared among different photographers.

The person that was photographed goes to the server, enters your photographer id, place and date the picture was taken. Then a different picture from them is requested, it might be taken with the computer webcam or mobile camera for convenience, or just uploaded.

The server looks up in the library of faces for that day and place, and shows the user the ones that match his or her face!

If there are no matches (face recognition is not perfect after all), they could still send a human verification request and you could give them access manually.

P.S. I always wanted to play with image processing and this might be an excellent personal project, if there's interest I am totally willing to do it!


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