Rating by Upgrading

by Johann Gudbjargarson

One of the most daunting steps in most photographers' workflow is to go through the pictures after a shot and select and rate photos. Often photographers take few dozens or hundreds of photographs in a shoot and just go quickly through the photos and work on a few and export and after that don't touch the other photos. Therefore the star rating system is very helpful and now it is one of the most vital steps in my workflow and I'm going to talk a little bit about how I go about rating my photos.

What I do when I have imported my photos is to switch to the loupe view and go through the pictures and give the pictures which are keepers one star and don't give stars to pictures I'm going to throw away. When I have finished going through the pictures I sometimes throw right away the unrated pictures but usually I wait a few days or weeks before I thrash them.

After this step I then filter the pictures by one star and above and go through them again in the loupe view and upgrade the best pictures to two stars. Then I repeat this step for the two star pictures (change the filter to two stars or more) and upgrade the best photos to three stars.

After these steps I have my photos rated from 1-3 stars along with the pictures I want to trash. The beauty of this method is that I don't have to select for each picture trash, 1, 2 or 3 stars but do this by iteration which in my opinion is much easier process. Also I sometimes wait for one day before upgrading to two and three stars and then I'm fresher and more distant from the shoot itself and therefore my better judgments on the ratings.

I don't use the 4 and 5 stars in my daily ratings as suggested by Peter Krogh in his excellent book The DAM Book. He suggests that 4 stars should be used for your portfolio images and the five stars should be used later for something special. I agree with this method and use 4 stars for portfolio pictures and haven't used the 5 stars yet.

After the rating process I usually start by developing the three star images in the Development module and then develop 1 and 2 star images by batch processing them but work in more detail on the three star images.


Eduardo Mueses
2007-02-08 18:38:44

Great tip! I think I'll add this to my workflow. Seems natural and much more easy.

2007-02-24 15:47:47
Excelent blog. From now on, that's how I'm going to do it as well. Quick and easy.
2007-04-30 20:14:45
Such a simple idea, but very very cool. Thanks for the tip!
2007-07-06 20:59:16
This is an interesting method, sounds logical and productive.

Hugsa að maður prófi þetta. ;)