Rating photos for the future

It’s important to have a consistent idea behind rating photos so that in the future you can sort through thousands of photos properly.

My rating system

I start by rating all my photos in the middle with three stars, and then I rate up or down from there:

  • 1 Star: I might want to delete this
  • 2 Stars: Not ideal for my private galleries, but not something I should delete
  • 3 Stars: The default all photos start at
  • 4: Stars: I like it
  • 5: Stars: I’m amazed

How to efficiently rate everything

I use Photo Mechanic (before importing anything to Lightroom) to rate everything super fast.

My system is to select all imported photos and rate them as 3, then go through each photo and do the following:

  • Delete any obvious bad shots.
  • Rank anything less interesting down to 2.
  • Rank anything more interesting up to 4.

Because I have both Photo Mechanic and Lightroom set up to use sidecar XMP files, the ratings will transfer into Lightroom when I import them.

This method is saving me disk space because I’m a lot better at deleting via Photo Mechanic than Lightroom, and the program is so fast I’m able to rate my photos instead of lazily do only a few.

Back to my series about managing my family photos and videos

Ryan Anstey
Creative Technologist