I want a consistent system for rating my photos. Know of one?
November 29, 2010 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody have a good system for rating photos in iPhoto or some other 0-5 stars rating system?

I have a bunch of pictures sitting in an iPhoto library, starting from when I first received a digital camera in 2001. I am a mix of digital pack-rat and scorched earth digital cleaning techniques, and I want to split the difference by getting myself to at least get rid of the really crap photos (incorrectly focused, horribly blurry, THUMB), and rate the rest.

To that end, I was wondering if anybody has developed a totally awesome rating system for themselves or others based on something more concrete than "Uhh, I guess this is better than a 2, maybe?" I want a rating system where I could relatively painlessly be able to decide among the different ratings, and end up with a consistent system of ratings for 10 years of photos. I am looking to minimize subjective decisions (perhaps except for a 5 star rating for "I think this photo is one of the best I've ever taken" or something). Publicly posted on the internet or your own personal system that you love both welcome!
posted by that girl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Adobe Lightroom. Great cataloging abilities. They have a free trial.
posted by Rikocolin at 8:58 PM on November 29, 2010

I'm not thrilled (or even consistent) with mine, and I often complicate things with color ratings too (I edit/archive all in Adobe Lightroom), but this is my system, it works most of the time:

1 Star: Trash
2 Stars: Keep for archival purposes, but not a good photo
3 Stars: Generally Decent photo, wouldn't mind sharing but not good enough for detailed edit
4 Stars: Good Photo, hand edit and share
5 Stars: Exceptionally Good Photo, probably portfolio piece
posted by svdodge at 9:21 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

How would Lightroom help me rate photos, Rikocolin?
posted by that girl at 9:26 PM on November 29, 2010

It looks like mine is similar to svdodge's system--albeit I have a bit more color in mine:) I also keep a printout of my rating scheme near my monitor as a reminder when I get indecisive.

1 Star: Just delete (out of focus, strobes didn't trigger, hopeless exposure error, waste of disk space, etc.)
2 Star: Crap (I eventually delete these once I know I don't need anything out of them)
3 Star: Meh (technically okay, but nothing that excites me. I save these to look at after a few months to see if I see something different)
4 Star: Fuck Yeah (self explanatory. I would be willing to show these to others)
5 Star: Print it. Wall worthy (anything that I would print and hang on a wall)

I use Lightroom, but I don't think it will gain you anything just for rating pics.

My process:
1. After a shoot I pull everything into Lightroom into a date-stamped folder.
2. I immediately speed through all the images and give a gut reaction 1-4 rating.
3. I then set a filter and focus on my 4's for actual attention and edits. At this time I start looking at things critically and usually start demoting 4's to 3's as I go. Anything that qualifies is bumped to a 5. I'll usually take a second look through my 3's for anything as well if I'm not completely happy with my 4+ set.
4. As I'm going through edits I will also start demoting 5's if decide they just don't make the cut.
5. At some point in the future (after I lose the emotions of what I /wanted/ to take during the session) I will look through my 3's to see if there is anything I didn't see initially. I'll also go through my 4's and 5's and prune again.

Also, I don't hold ratings to be sacred. At any point I will demote or promote pictures as I progress--last year's 4 and 5's usually become todays 3's. Right now I hate about 90% of what I have framed...

I keep telling myself I'll start using tags to help organize but I never get around to it.
posted by volition at 11:09 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Sorry that girl, had to go out for a bit.

Lightroom, if you haven't been playing with a copy yet, gives you the ability to use many different rating systems that you can use by itself or stacked upon each other. You have both approved and rejected flags. Upon these you can narrow down and apply star ratings 1-5. And yet again, on top of these. you have the ability to apply a color code to further narrow down or pick your picks. Once you do these you can sort your picks by the attributes you have given it.

I have a great mess. Upon importing, I either approve (white flag) or reject (black x flag). From here, I use colors. Red for ok, green for oh cool, purple for holy crap I shot that

Then within Lighroom itself you can do non-destructive editing. You can use just Lightroom or export to Photoshop back and forth. I just use Lightroom unless it's a tight complicated thing that needs precise masking, thus Photoshop export.

After editing, I then give it a star rating. 3 for edited, but still meh. 4 stars for yeah, ok. 5 stars for print ready.

Really, check it out. Very inexpensive but PACKED full of amazing photo cataloging and editing and other tools.
posted by Rikocolin at 12:56 AM on November 30, 2010

I'm a diehard flickr fan and post my stuff there all the time. On flickr, I post any photos I rate 2 stars or higher in iPhoto (if you use flickr too, flickr export is a phenomenal add on for iPhoto!!!)

5 stars = Best Of!
4 stars = I love it! (not quite my best though)
3 stars = Great!
2 stars = Like it.
1 star = I don't want it to be lost in the sea of trillions of unrated photos in my library that I was too stupid to delete even though I probably should have.

I also created seven Smart Albums, with one for each rating (including one for "all rated photos" and one for "no stars")

My FIVES and FOURS albums are synced to my iPhone. I really like having a small "Best Of" album on my iPhone for showing people what I do, photography wise. It's fun to hand someone my iPhone and let them flip through the photos. Of the thousands of photos I've taken, only 30 or so are rated five stars, and another 150 or so are rated 4 stars. This makes rating photos pretty simple.

5 stars = I'd show this off before anything else!
4 stars = If somebody's really interested, I'd show this next.
3 stars = I'd post this on flickr, but it's not good enough for a best of.
2 stars = Sure, why not post this on flickr.
1 star = Don't delete it, but don't share it.

I love being able to create specific iPhoto albums to be synced to my iPhone.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:24 PM on November 30, 2010

I don't star my photos - I keep meaning to but, you know, lazy - but I have a internal rating system that roughly translates to:

1 - It pains me to look at this photo. Delete it now.
2 - It's not a great photo, but it documents something important. Keep it filed away even though you'll probably never look at it again.
3 - This is okay. A little tweaking here and there and it'll be good enough to make publicly available.
4 - I really like this photo. I may actually go out of my way to show it to people.
5 - Sweet Jeebus, I have no idea how something like this came out of my camera, but it's awesome.

Someday, perhaps when I'm hit by a bus and can't leave my hospital bed for a few weeks, I'll go through my photos and actually do a serious rate-and-cull. The opiate painkillers may color my judgment a bit, though....
posted by MShades at 3:24 PM on November 30, 2010

It seems that most people use about the same criteria for their ratings. Mine is:
1- Delete
2- Snapshot at best, keep it if there's some sentimental value, but otherwise delete. 2 star pics of grandma or the kid will probably get kept. 2 star picture of a length of chain will get deleted. (Yeah, I take pictures of lengths of chain.)
3- An okay picture. Good enough for a quick run through color correction/contrast/cropping, and posting to flickr, but that's probably about it.
4- Probably worth printing or posting to my oft-neglected photo blog.
5- I wonder when an actual photographer accidentally picked up my camera and shot this!

Most of my pics come out as a 1 or a 3.
posted by Morydd at 11:00 AM on December 2, 2010

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