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Flags, Tags, Ratings and Using Filters

Many software systems, such as Photoshop, CaptureNX, Lightroom and other editing software also have the ability to add flags, ratings to your images and using filtering systems allow the images to be sorted and selected based on these criteria. Before using these you need to sort out what the different flags and ratings mean for you and define what each is to represent and then ready for when you come to add them.

Flags and ratings incorporated into your workflow allow you to be able assign each image a priority. You can use the rating system to rate the images based on relative quality or on what work needs to be done. As you rate your images, you are assigning a higher value to better pictures, and you are making it easier to find these images within the groups at a later date.

Most systems/software packages have at least a 5 or 6 level rating ability. In general, when searching for images, you will first want to look through pictures with the highest rating. If you are unable to find a suitable image among those, you can move down the ratings until you find something that suits.

Some programs will have two rating systems, one with stars and one with numbers and you can use these different systems to determine different functions. For example you could use the star rating for 'quality of images' and the number system to flag up those that need work done on them to differing degrees. For example where an image with the top number needs little work and the lower numbers for those that need a lot of work on them.

The rating system is a useful tool and can help in identifying and sorting your images within a directory. However in order to do this effectively, you will need to make very broad definitions for each of the rating designations. These definitions will need to span across all the different types of photography that you do—for example, you wouldn't want three stars to mean "very good" for commercial work, and "pretty good" for personal work. But you also need to build a system that will last into the future and will grow with your collection of images. Nut you also want to make sure the rating system you use is future proof and will expand with your collection, as having to go back and re-classify those you have previously done will be a time consuming process. Having said this it doesn't mean you can't re-flag items in the future, after all I expect many of you find that when you come back to an image later sometimes it may not look as good, or may be better than you thought initially when you flagged it. Any of these systems are not fixed and final operations, but you do want to try and be objective when flagging and try to avoid having to re-flag a large number of items later.

Once the ratings have been assigned to the images these can then be used with the inbuilt filter systems which allow you to reduce the number of images you need to look through at any one time, based on the criteria you have set. Filter systems can also be used in conjunction with the keywords and captions in some systems so can make a formidable image finder if setup and used well.


See Also:

Organising and Indexing Your Images

Keywords and Captions


Free Organising Software

Backing up your photo collections

External Hard Drives



By: Tracey Park Section: Photography Section Key:
Page Ref: flags_and_filters Topic: Editing, Printing and Publishing  Last Updated: 11/2008

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