Lightroom Tips

Are you a Lightroom Flagger or Rater Recap

Last week I wrote a post about 3 (and a half) reasons to use Flags Instead of Ratings in Lightroom. Then I asked whether or not you were flaggers or raters. I was pretty surprised at how many comments came up (over 100). So, first of all – thank you. As I’ve said before, it’s the community here that makes a site like this possible, and I’m always grateful that you spend some of your valuable time here.

Since there were so many comments, I figured most of you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) have the time to read through all of them. But there was a lot of really interesting thoughts on the topic, so I didn’t want them to go to waste. They even got me thinking about different ways to do things. Now, I couldn’t’ go through and recap all of them, but here’s a quick recap some things I found interesting.

• First off, I found that a majority of people use both. Flags at first but then most people resorted to the star rating system to refine their picks. I have to admit. After thinking about it, I’ve done the same before. I’ll usually do my flagging first, but sometimes I 5-star the absolute best from that group.

• One thing I didn’t point out about flags is that they’re specific to the folder or collection in which you flag them. Meaning, if you created a collection and then flagged some photos, they wouldn’t be flagged back in your original folder. It’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing. It’s just something you should be aware of when flagging so it doesn’t catch you by surprise. For me, flagging photos is how I get them into a collection so it’s not a big deal. But definitely something to keep in mind.

• Flag status doesn’t get stored in metadata. So they couldn’t be read by programs outside of Lightroom. Again, not a huge deal-breaker for me personally. I don’t have a need for other programs to recognize my flags. And I’d never approach using LR with the thought that maybe one day I wouldn’t be using it. It’s kinda like getting married, expecting that one day you’d get divorced 🙂
That said, a reader (Christian) pointed out that some website scripts would read stars and I could definitely see a value in that if you had your photos tied in with websites and portfolios, etc…

• Mike McCarthy had an interesting comment:
“1 – Crap, 2 – Possible Keeper, 3 – Definite Keeper
Once I go through a shoot this way, I delete the 1?s. If I have a lot of 3?s – which doesn’t happen often! – I [P]ick the better ones on a second pass. I then process the flagged 3?s and increase the final edited copies to 4?s for exporting for the client. Anything that I want in my portfolio gets made into a 5 and automatically added to a smart collection.”

• Mike’s comment above got me thinking. I’ve been approaching stars as if you HAD to use all 5. But you don’t. You could just as easily say you’re only going to use 1-3. 1 is bad (or “crap” as Mike puts it), 2 is OK, and 3 is a select. Even if you don’t go as far as Mike did with 4 and 5, just using 1-3 could work well to keep it simple.

• When I wrote this, I really wasn’t targeting it toward, say, a stock photographer. Most stock photographers have more requirements and a need for something more than flagging. For example, some stock photographers will give photos a yellow label if they’ve been submitted to the stock agency. A green label if they’ve been accepted. A blue label if they’ve been rejected, but it’s something they plan to resubmit after changes. And a red label if it was rejected and it’s not going to get resubmitted.

• Glyn Dewis wrote another interesting comment:
“I Quickly go through shots flagging up the Picks and Rejects. Then when working through the Picks in Lightroom, those that are ‘complete’ are labelled ‘Green’ and those that are going to be taken over to Photoshop are labelled ‘Red’.”

So what’s all this mean? It means there’s lots of different ways to do things 🙂 If you’re part of the group that flags first, but then moves to some sort of rating system then you’re part of the majority. Anyway, if you get a few minutes it’s definitely worth reading through the comments from last week. You may pick up on a better way to work through your photos.