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2.2 Star Ratings and Color Labels

Lightroom offers a variety of metadata options for “tagging” our images with statuses. Two of these options are star ratings and color labels. This lesson will help you think about how to use metadata tools to add meaning to your images and keep them handy in your workflow.

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2.2 Star Ratings and Color Labels

Now that we've covered culling your images with flags, I wanna take some time to talk about some other tools that we can use to work through an edit. There are two other tools that I think are really powerful for picking out your best images and labeling which ones that you might wanna continue working with. The first of this is the star rating system, which you may already be familiar with. Images can be rated between one and five stars or have no star rating at all when working in Lightroom. To add a star rating to an image, one way we can do it is to choose a number from our keyboard. Choosing any number between 1 and 5 will add that number of stars to the image. So if I press 5 on my keyboard, the image will get a star rating of 5. And you can see those 5 stars added below the image on the film strip. Now another way that we can add a star rating to an image is to Ctrl-click or right-click on Windows on an image and choose Set Rating and choose the rating that we wanna add. And again, the shortcut of pressing Caps Lock, and then applying a star rating, will auto-advance it to the next image, so, that if you want to, you can add those star ratings really quickly while working through them. Now star ratings are a really powerful tool that you can use to kind of pick out your best images, and determine which may be your keepers, as well. You can design your own system for how you want to use star ratings. One of my favorite star rating systems is to use 3 stars for anything I want to deliver to a client. Four stars for anything we wanna use for a portfolio shot. And even save those five stars for maybe your best images overall throughout your entire collection. Now just as we filtered for images based on pic status, we can also filter for images images based on the star ratings that we've added. And again, number of different ways to do this in Lightroom, that's a theme throughout the application. My favorite way to do it is to keep this filter bar expanded and then use this panel to choose a star rating. Now this operates on a greater than or equal to system by default, so if we choose 1 star, it's gonna show us any image that we have 1 star or higher of a rating applied to. And as we move up the chain and choose something such as 4, it'll filter down to any image that we have 4 stars or higher added to. So right here you can even see a key concept that we've applied already, and that's that I've applied a flag filter status, and then greater than or equal to four stars. So these filter statuses stack. We can choose various different ones to really refine our image selection. So again, flags are really one of these key systems that we can use as photographers to label our best images, and it's really powerful to add these types of metadata. It helps us browse through our best images at a moment's notice. I'm gonna go ahead now and unfilter the stars by clicking it again, and pull the flag status off by clicking the flag. I'm now back to having all images selected. And I want to talk about one more tool that we can use to kind of approach our edit as a process, and that is the color label system. With color labels I want you to really think creatively about how they can power up your work flow because they have no implicit meaning. So if I choose an image like this, I can apply one of a number of different color labels to it. And we can do that by pressing Ctrl on our keyboard, and choosing Set Color Label, and selecting one of the color label options, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue or Purple. Another way to apply a color label is to use the numerical keys. A 6 will apply a Red color label. 7, a Yellow color label. 8, a Green color label. 9 is Blue. And the Purple color label actually cannot be applied from the keyboard, but instead has to be applied from the right-click menu. As I've mentioned, these color labels can mean practically anything you want them to. Photographers approach this in a number of different ways. You could use a Blue color label for any image that you want to eventually post on social media, or a Red color label for any that might require additional processing in Photoshop, for example. But again, the key thing here is that you have a tool that you can use based on your workflow's needs. So whatever workflow need that you have, you can use a color label to create, basically, this custom grouping. And the filtering rules that we've talked about with flag status or star ratings apply with color labels as well. So I can click Blue for example from this menu and immediately filter to all images with a Blue color label. I can't tell you how color labels will work exactly in your workflow, only that they're an awesome tool that you can use to really create these custom groupings like we've talked about.

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