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Digital photography FAQs

We round up the month's most interesting questions about digital photography, ranging from use of a polariser and face recognition to Picasa 3, plus the best reader tips.

Face recognition

I recently saw an ad for Apple that says it can help organize photos for you based on face recognition. How long will it be before something like that is available for Windows users so that I can better organise my photos? Kathleen Diehlmann

Apple might be actively advertising face recognition (and to be honest, I haven't seen those ads myself), but rest assured that there are several programs for Windows with face recognition technology built in.

Right now there are three programs you can try for a taste of face recognition. Picasa Web Albums can recognise the faces in the photos you store on the Web. PicsMatch is a fully featured desktop photo organiser with face recognition, and Windows Live Photo Gallery has some limited face recognition features as well.

Face recognition is one of the last frontiers of digital photography, Kathleen; I think we'll see a lot more of this sort of thing very soon.

Photography news, reviews and tutorials

More clever camera tricks

Recently, I wrote about six clever ways to use your camera, and a lot of readers couldn't resist sending me their own unconventional uses for digital cameras and camera phones. Here are the best reader tips.

I use my camera to take photos of preexisting damage to rental cars on business trips. I try to also shoot the odometer or other surroundings that document the date. On the rental agreement, I note that I took photos of existing damage. I haven't had a problem since! S Calabrese

On vacation, I'll often see a public map. Paris has many of these as you exit the subway, for example. I quickly snap a photo of the map and refer to it as we tour to stay on track and avoid getting lost. Once we have left the city I simply erase the picture and retrieve the camera space. Rob Schenk

Take pictures of your luggage before you check it. If lost or damaged, you can give them a picture, which is better than a description. If the luggage turns up damaged, you can use the photo to prove they did the damage. Lester

I've got a tip for the do-it-yourselfer: If you take something apart to repair it, a photo of the gadget in different stages of disassembly can help you get all those darn pieces go back together in the right order, with no missing pieces at the end. Charlie Bress

Traveling abroad? Keep a digital picture of your passport on your camera. If you should lose your passport, the data on the picture will speed a replacement passport. jaygeecee

See also:

Tutorial: Master digital SLR photography

Photo FAQs: improve your digital photography

Camera reviews

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