Microsoft's Project Oxford research project has resulted in what is now publicly available within the Microsoft Cognitive Services. A set of "Vision" APIs is just one of the results of this project that is now available to the public. If you find you need to know more about visual elements or that you need to work and manage visual assets, these APIs should be on your list to review. If you find you need to pull insights from visual elements, such as determining emotions from a picture, then again, these APIs should be on your list to review.
The following slides present five core APIs that you can access today from the Cognitive Services area on the Microsoft site.