With thousands of photos of faces and activities, searching for a particular photo can become a hassle. If you know you want a photo of the trumpet section at the Winter Concert, you can search through hundreds of band photos until you find one with just the trumpet players. If you want to know the name of a student in a group photo, you can ask the advisor or another student, but that takes a lot of work! Why do all that work when you can use Google's search abilities in Photos and Drive?

Photo Release Forms and Guardian Permission

Remember to check each student's photo release form. Federal law requires that districts give these forms to parents and guardians on an annual basis.  This is my district's photo release form.

If a guardian checks no on the photo release form, we can tag their student's photo with "Do not use" in Google Photos under Info -> Description. By labeling the face as "Do not use," yearbook staff know that it cannot be used in the yearbook or any school social media.

If you have not already read about FERPA and how it applies to yearbooks, please click here.

Search Features in Google Drive

Colors, dates, places, activities, etc, can be searched even if they are not labeled. Google uses article intelligence to help you search photos and files in their apps. For example, if you don't remember the day that a photo was taken but you remember that you were wearing the color red, you can type "red" in the search box of either app to filter the photos by that color. You can type "Hawaii" and your vacation photos will pop up. A few additional photos may also pop up but that is because it is not perfect.

Search in Google Drive

  1. In drive.google.com, type a subject or color in the Search box. For example, plants.
  2. Select the down arrow.
  3. Choose from the drop-down menu to filter results by Type: Photos and images.
  4. Photos and images fitting the search description will be displayed.

 Search in Google Photos

  1. Click on the Search box in photos.google.com.
  2. Filter options will appear. Select one or type descriptors such as a city you took photos in and a year.
  3. Photos matching that description will appear.

Improve Search in Google Photos and Google Drive

Sometimes additional photos will be added. Remember, the artificial intelligence search is not perfect. You can improve the searching capabilities by typing a description as the title of Google Drive image. We discussed how to add descriptions to photos/images in the Yearbook Caption section of this website.

Use Search when Inserting a Google Drive Image

  1. In a Google app such as Slides, click on the insert image icon.
  2. Select Photos or Drive.
  3. Type a description of the photo such as "red."
  4. Select the photo(s).
  5. Click on INSERT.

Replace Image and Search Option

I have my students rename images in Google Drive, preferably with the students' name and activity. This makes finding those images easier.

The following image is an example of a layout with image placeholders. Learn more about image placeholders in the Edit Yearbook theme section (to be created).

  1. Click on the circle on the image placeholder.
  2. Select Drive.
  3. Type the search items. In my example, I typed mex16 graduation.
  4. Select the image.
  5. Click Replace.

Search Features in only Google Photos: Label and Filter by Face

The search features in Google Drive are nice, but only Google Photos has the ability to label faces. When facial features can be clearly viewed in a photo, Google Photos has the option to label that face. Those photos can be filtered and the best ones can be chosen for the yearbook.  The private face labels will not be shared even if the photo itself is shared with another person.

How to Turn on Face Grouping

  1. Select the main menu bars in the upper left corner of Google Photos.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. If you are using a GSuite for Education account, you have unlimited storage. Turn on Original photo quality.
  4. Turn on Face grouping. You can also allow contacts to recognize your face, as well as show pets as people.

Find people, things and places in your photos

How to Apply a Label to a Face

  1. In Google Photos, select the i icon.
  2. Select the face you want to label.
  3. Notice that photos with similar faces are grouped together.
  4. Type the person's name and select DONE.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for the other faces.

Additional Resources

YouTube Playlist

  • Google Demo Slam Marriage Proposal - She Said Yes!!! by James Sanders
  • How to find people in Google Photos by Michele Berner


Photo Scan

Don't forget the baby pictures section! Learn how to scan photos from your phone using Google Photo Scan.

Updated January 22, 2023.