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3.2 Metadata for Workflows

An image workflow is all about taking images from start to finish. Three pieces of metadata in Lightroom are fantastic for taking a shoot and cutting the images down to the cream of the crop. Learn to apply flags, ratings, and color labels in this lesson.

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3.2 Metadata for Workflows

When you start working with your latest shoot and light room, you might be looking for a way to work through the images to take a shoot from capture to completion. We call this the workflow. There are three key pieces of what I like to call workflow metadata that are perfect for this. It's the type of metadata that we can add to an image to help us work through an image from start to finish. We add metadata, and then use it to find what we're looking for. So let's get started in the library module the first, are what Lightroom calls flags. We can use flags, to mark an image as one we want to keep. Images have three statuses, flag is PIC, flag is reject or no status at all. Let's mark an image as a keeper by pressing P on our keyboard to add a flag to it. You'll see here the small flag icon that illuminates in the upper left corner of the image and that means that we flagged it as a pic. This is how I mark an image that I want to keep working with. This is usually my first pass on my images, simply marking them with the flag that tell myself that I'll keep working with it. We can also choose another image and press X on our keyboard to mark an image is rejected. However, I often don't use that. I simply either leave an image unflagged or add a flag to it to say that I wanna keep it. So to remove a flag status of either type, I can just press u on my keyboard. And that works for both, if an image is flagged as a PIC or flagged as a reject. Typically, if I don't want to keep an image, I just won't flag it at all. Next up, let's really rate our images using star ratings. We can give an image a rating between one and five stars. Just press the number on the keyboard that corresponds to the number of stars to add to an image. Watch as I press 1 on the keyboard to add one star three for three stars and five for five stars. Now as we're adding these bits of metadata, they show on the images here in the top panel, but also on the film strip down the bottom as well so that you can glance at an image and instantly know what we have attached to it. These ratings could be used to add a second level of selection to your images. You could first flag your images that you want to keep, then filter for the flags, and use higher star ratings for the best images in your collection. You could use three stars for any image you definitely want to keep, and four stars for portfolio worthy pieces, for example. Now let's talk about the last piece of handy metadata that we have, color labels, these color labels can mean anything you want them to. We can add them to an image and then later on go back and find all of the images of a certain color. These are just markers that can mean anything you want. Let's use the number keys to cycle through the different color labels. I can press 6 to add a red color label, 7 for a yellow color label. Eight for a green color label and nine for a blue color label, and again, you'll see that that label is added both to the image in the top view, as well as on the film-strip, and if I click off of an image that color label is really pronounced, and how it's presented. Each of these can be used in a different way for each and every photographer. I like to use a blue color label for example to mark an image to add to an e-mail. For all of these pieces of workflow metadata you can always come up to the photo menu and choose the flag, or label, or rating options to change them from the menu as well. Simply to set flag, set rating or set color label to toggle that option, one last tip for you. Let's turn on auto advance and look at some ways that we can work through our images really quickly. Now when we come back to our images and add metadata with a keyboard short it'll automatically move on to the next image. If I'm looking at each image for example, and I want to cycle through my flag statuses I could press P on the keyboard and watch that Lightroom automatically moves me on to the next image. Now when I'm working through my images, I'll just keep my hand on the pic here, and simply mark any image that I wanna keep and let room automatically take me to that next image. Now if I don't like an image and don't wanna add a flag to it, I can just press u and it will automatically skip to the next image, and whether we're doing that or adding a star rating as I am here. It'll automatically cycle through those images, so this is definitely the quickest way to work through your images. Keep auto advance on and with each bit of metadata you're adding from the keyboard shortcut. It'll automatically keep your workflow moving nice and quickly. Using the keyboard shortcuts is one of the most efficient ways to work through a series of images in Light Room, along with using this workflow metadata. These three things are all you really need to know to workflow your images from start to finish. After you use all of this workflow metadata to mark your favorite images you could then jump over to the develop module later to correct and edit the images visually. In the next lesson, I'll show you how to use this metadata to filter your images and show only the ones that meet our metadata rules.

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