Results from Yesterday’s Lightroom “Tagging” Survey


Thanks to 1,800+ of you who were kind enough to take the survey yesterday (much appreciated).

I was surprised to see…
…that nearly 40% of the respondents use Color Labels as part of their workflow, especially since Lightroom Mobile doesn’t yet support Color Labels (a feature that’s been in the desktop version of Lightroom since 1.0). It supports Pick Flags and Star Ratings, but not Color Labels. Maybe if the LR team at Adobe sees that enough people use Color Labels they’ll add it to a future Lightroom Mobile update.

So, thanks again to all of you who participated. 🙂




  1. IanB 21 January, 2015 at 17:19 Reply

    I’m a flagger and Xer; lots of Xs lol
    Try this to flag a file
    Hit the “~” key will add a flag and a second hit on the “~” will remove the flag
    Now it’s easy to have the left hand doing the flagging and rejecting [“X” key]

    Thanks Scott for all the tips, videos and books [even if lr5 did fall apart lol]


  2. Bill Whitmire 4 January, 2015 at 20:14 Reply

    Mine is very similar to D’s up there in the thread. I use star ratings for initial cull with the caps lock on so it’s quicker to skip to the next one. I’ll sort by star rating afterwards and see how many great ones I got. Depending on the importance of the shoot, I delete 1s and 2s and MAYBE 3s if I have a ton of 4s and 5s.

    Then I apply a “pick” flag to the ones that I or the client want to edit and then color those green. Green = client selects. So later if I remove the P flag for any reason, I still know.

    Lately I’ve been using collections to keep up with client selects. I know, I’m behind.

  3. robert 21 December, 2014 at 08:45 Reply

    i don’t use lightroom mobile and may never use it. i only use the rating system when doing pay work which these days are few and far between for me. too many things going on to take on photo work.
    thanks for all the tips


    • KC 22 December, 2014 at 12:03 Reply

      Maybe the surprise should be that many of us don’t use Lightroom Mobile, not that so many use Color Labels since LR Mobile doesn’t support Color Labels.

  4. John Q 20 December, 2014 at 22:42 Reply

    I use Color Labels all the time and have several set up. Flags are really only used to accept or reject an image when I first import it. The way I use Color Labels is shown by these examples
    * PAID WORK SET – “RAW-Needs Correction”, “Ordered-unpaid”, “Good to Use”, “Ordered-Paid” & “Despatched”
    * SPECIAL SET – “Monochrome”, “Focus Stacking”, “Good to Use”, “Panoramic” & “HDR”
    * COMPETITION SET – “Highly Commended”, “Commended”, “Acceptance”, “Entry” & “Not Accepted”
    * CLUB COMPETITION SET – “Honour”, “Merit”, “Acceptance”, “Entry” & “Other Awards”
    The vast bulk of my images are labelled with “Good to Use” which appears in multiple sets. This approach does mean that I need to select different Color Label Sets from time to time but offers the advantage in being able to search by Metadata in that field. In effect I am not really using the color so much as the label that goes with it. I have set up several smart collections so can, for example, find all my monochrome images instantaneously.

  5. D 20 December, 2014 at 07:35 Reply

    I use all three, each for different thing.

    I use stars during the culling process and to make it easier to find the images that I considered to be good enough to consider for submission or portfolio inclusion. Anything below a 3 simply gets deleted.

    The Pick Flag is used for final selects. These are also marked with a keyword – I use XMPs as a point of redundancy with the catalog, but I discovered they didn’t keep track of flags.

    Colours are mostly used to clearly delineate specific versions of certain images – for example, if there’s a censored and non-censored version, the censored is marked blue and the non-censored is marked red. Other colours are used to mark things like behind the scenes shots.

    As for the use of colour labels even though lightroom mobile doesn’t support it, I’m not sure why you’d be surprised. First of all, most of us developed our workflow before that even existed. Secondly, there’s a lot of people who don’t even own an iPad or iPhone (or any other Apple device for that matter). Finally, there’s those who may own a suitable iOS device but prefer to do their work on a desktop.

    • Mike Johnson 20 December, 2014 at 14:45 Reply

      First pass through, p and x, getting rid of clear losers and isolating those I want to work on.

      Then, in the develop module, if I process an image in LR it gets one star
      If it round trips to photoshop or a plug in, it get’s two stars ( it also comes bac as a tiff)

      If I print it or post to my website it gets three stars

      If it goes to my website it gets a purple tag. I use other colors for temporary projects along with collections.

      I am saving four and five stars for the image I have yet to make.


  6. Tony 19 December, 2014 at 19:32 Reply

    I voted ratings, but the accountant in me can’t ignore the fact – those numbers don’t add up!

    It should be 39%, 38% and 23%.

    • Scott Kelby 20 December, 2014 at 12:29 Reply

      Then certainly the accountant in you realized since the respondents could make multiple choices (choosing Pick Flags AND/OR Star Ratings, AND/OR Color Labels), it’s not supposed to add up to 100%, like a survey that only allowed one answer. Don’t let the accounting licensing bureau see your comment. 😉

  7. Hasi 19 December, 2014 at 14:28 Reply

    Golly gee whiz…… I use color labels, but so many more people use flags. So I guess I’d better change my method, cause I want to be like everyone else.

  8. David Terry 19 December, 2014 at 12:36 Reply

    I attempted to post a reply, but the website told me I was posting too many replies too quickly. (I only hit the submit comment once). If you don’t see my original reply, could you please let me know and I will submit it again. Thanks.

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