Nature Notes

July 25, 2009

Rating and Sorting in Lightroom

Filed under: Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Lightroom Rating

Lightroom Rating

One of the best of Lightroom’s features is the means of quickly and easily rating and sorting your images. It offers the following three methods.

Three methods of rating

You can rate each image as per the number of stars. I think most people who use this method tend to rate with either 4 or 5 stars and leave the rest unrated. You click one star with your mouse to set the rating. A click on the fourth star sets the image to four stars.

Rating the images by flags, involves clicking on Flag (Pick), No flag(No Pick) or leaving it unflagged.

Rating by Color involves picking a color by mouse for an image. You cannot pick more than one color for each image.

At the far right edge of this toolbar is a small icon you can click on to bring up a menu which allows you to choose any or all of these systems to appear on the toolbar.

Sorting Your Images

Below the toolbar, you will see a duplicate set of each of the three rating systems. Clicking on this set sorts your images by choosing all images which match the value you’ve picked here. You can choose by more than one of the systems, for example you can choose all flagged items rated green. The star has an equal or greater than icon which allows you to pick all starred items in this manner.

In fact this system is only part how you can sort. You can also sort by keywording (which will be covered in a separate post), by metadata, by folder, and by any combination of these things. For example you can sort by the folder 2008, by all images of ISO100, by all images tagged Yellow. You would be wrong to think this would not be useful, as in my own setup, this would nicely pick out all of the images I have applied HDR treatment to in 2008, and not yet processed.

My system

You can see that there is a great variety of rating and sorting methods available to a user.

My own method is very simple. After uploading a new folder to Lightroom, I go through them and rate them either Red for items I will trash, or yellow for items which will be processed first. After this run through, I select all red, and right click-delete them. I can then select all yellow and begin processing them. After processing an image, I change the rating for it and any processed copies to green. When I do this, it also withdraws them automatically from the group rated yellow.

At any time I can go back to unrated items to pick further candidates, remove candidates yellow ratings, etc. As I often don’t process all images immediately I can return anytime and readily pick up with my sorted images.

I will often use other colors where I want to make a special collection. After an overseas birding trip, I often assign another color to bird images where I am unsure of the identification.

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