1.3 Using Stars for Your Workflow
It’s easy enough to add star ratings, but how can you make them work for you? In this lesson, I’ll suggest a system that will make stars a powerful and permanent part of your photo workflow. Learn how to apply the right number of stars to each image.
1.3 Using Stars for Your Workflow
[SOUND] In the last lesson, we talked about pretty much every way possible to add star ratings to your images. So now, let's think about how you can use stars to add meaning to your images. Basically, we're going to talk about how to approach this whole rating process as a photographer. The first pass for me over my images is to flag them. I add flags to the images that I wanna keep working with. We'll have a separate short course for those but I just wanted to mention this because I think it's important to make a first pass with flags, and then rate all the images you gave a flag to. Basically, I think the best process is to do a simple pass over your images with flags and then go back later and star rate them to really set your best images apart. I'm currently filtered for all images that have flags. When I'm working through the rating process, I'm gonna be working in Loop View. Let's double-click on an image to switch to Loop View. Now, you'll want to see an image nice and large that you can give it a rating that matches its quality. To get an even better look at your images, one of the things that I like to do is to put Lightroom into Lights Out Mode by pressing L on our keyboard. Pressing it once kind of dims the areas around it and pressing it twice totally blacks out the surrounding areas. Now, when we're in Lights Out View, all of our other keyboard shortcuts, including adding star ratings with the number keys 1 through 5, still works. And I can even press the left and right arrows to switch between images. So, when we're in Lights Out View, we don't have to give up the ability to work with adding star ratings. We're just getting a great look at the image. Pressing the letter L on our keyboard one more time will cycle back to Standard View. I'd also highly recommend hiding your panels on the left and right by pressing the Tab button on your keyboard. That clears up a lot more room for us to view our images and the idea here is that we want the best possible look at an image at the largest possible size. One more step is to click on the black bar at the bottom of Lightroom to hide the film strip. Now, we pretty much have our image at maximum size. We can bring the sidebars back just by pressing Tab again, and the film strip will come back if we just hover over the bar on the bottom. And we can click it to bring it back up for good. But for now, let's turn all of that off so that we have the best possible look at our image. Let's re-enter Lights Out Mode by pressing the letter L on a keyboard at least once. When we're looking at an image in our collection, we need to make judgment calls about how we rate our images. That's not easy because we might not know how a four star image differs from say a three star image. We need some clearly defined categories and meanings for our star ratings. Here are my suggested star ratings. We could use one star for any image that we want to eventually deliver or keep in our collection, basically our good images. Two stars are for images that stand out a bit better than the ones that we've given a one star rating to. Three stars are for some of our favorite images from a shoot, and we want to end up with maybe around ten per shoot. Let's reserve four stars for our absolute favorite image from each shoot and five stars for our portfolio worthy images. And we want to use five stars extremely rarely. Basically, the bulk of your catalog should be rated between one and three stars, and we're gonna reserve four and five stars for some of our absolute favorite images. Zero star images could be the images we skip in the rating process and wind up removing later. Maybe these are the images that we thought we wanted to work with but after looking at our whole shoot, we can ditch them and wind up not using them after all. Back to Lightroom, as we discussed in the last lesson, the best way to rate your images is to use the keyboard shortcuts with our fingers on the number keys between 1 and 5. I can just take a quick look at an image, give it a star rating, and then go on to the next image with the arrow keys. Start at the beginning of your shoots and repeat this process. I can just use the arrow keys to move between images and tap the number of stars I think is right and repeat until I'm finished. So for example, if I think this image is worthy of four stars, I'll just tap 4 on my keyboard. Then press the arrow to the right. You can also turn on the auto advanced trick from the Photo Auto Advance menu to keep this process moving. On the next image, if I think it's just a solid image, maybe I'll give it two stars and press the right arrow. Maybe this image is just a one star image but that's basically the process that we're gonna use. Use the arrow keys to switch between your images, add star ratings as you see fit and in no time, you'll have a star-rated collection. Remember that with star ratings, we can change them any time. So, there's no need to get too hung up on what we give an image. In fact, I think it's best to kind of trust your gut on the rating to give an image. Nothing good comes from spending long amounts of time hung up about if an image is worth two or three stars. Just keep the process moving quickly. When I wrap up rating a shoot, one thing that I really like to do is jump back to Grid View by pressing the letter G on my keyboard, and I'll go ahead and exit Lights Out Mode by pressing L on my keyboard twice. Let's go ahead and bring the Toolbar in by pressing the letter T on our keyboard. I'm going to sort my images now by choosing the sort option and choosing Rating. Now when we do that, what it does is it moves all of our highest rated images to the top and you can see here that I didn't star rate the whole collection, so the unrated images are at the bottom. But I like to use this as a check step at the end of my rating process, so that I can review my images and see the star ratings I've given them. Maybe while I'm doing this, I decide to adjust some of the star ratings here. Maybe I like one image better than another and I think it's actually worth four stars. So the key again here is that you kind of make a quick pass at first just using the keyboard shortcuts, and then you can always go back at the end and adjust the star ratings as you see fit. I hope this lesson has been a big help to you for thinking about how star ratings can work for you. Thanks so much for joining me for this Coffee Break course.