Adobe’s Lightroom has powerful tools to help you tag and find your photos besides just looking for photos in a traditional file structure. However, it can be quite confusing to figure out a system for how to use Lightroom’s attributes like stars, flags and colors.
In this blog post, I will explain my system for using these attributes that I developed after using the tool for several years. Lightroom’s Filter Bar is very useful to find the files that you marked with these attributes.
There are two types of flags in Lightroom a white flag and a flag with an x. The flag with the x indicates this photo is marked for rejection. You can quickly mark a file for deletion by pressing the “X” key while in the Library Module. The rejected photos can then be easily deleted by selecting “Delete Rejected Photos” in the Photo Menu.
I use the white flag to indicate that a photo is in the process of being edited. I often have several files in this state and this is an easy way to find them.
Lightroom also has color attributes that you can attach to your photos. Here is how I use the color attributes in Lightroom 4.
Red. As I’m going through a new folder of photos, I mark the ones I don’t like as rejected and the ones that I like the best using the Red attribute. Red is reserved for the best photos from a photo shoot.
Yellow. I use Yellow for photos that are one step below the Red. This photo may not be one of the top photos from the photo shoot but these photos are worth consideration.
Purple. I mark photos with the color purple that I want to go back and edit. These are photos that I’ve processed and I’m not quite happy with. Over time, photo processing software will be updated and improved, you will acquire new software and plug-ins, and you will learn new post processing techniques. It is fun to go back and reprocess these photos using the updated software and new techniques. You’ll be surprised with the results.
Blue. I like to keep a queue of processed photos so that I can release a new photo to my website and share over social media each day. I use blue to tag photos that are ready to post.
Green. Once I return from a photo shoot, I go through the folder of the new images in lightroom and mark the photos as rejected or with a yellow or red attribute. Sometimes I will not have enough time to go through the entire folder in one sitting. I use the green color to mark where I have stopped in reviewing the new photos.
I use stars on my final images. I star the photos so I can easily find what I consider to be my best photos. This helps when I want to submit photos to contests or find photos for business cards and other purposes.
There are probably hundreds of systems out there for using Lightroom attributes. I thought I’d share the system that has worked for me. Hopefully, it will help you with your system of marking your images. If you have another method for using Lightroom’s attributes post a comment or send me an email with your system.
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