Keywording/rating/culling strategies

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ruahrc, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I have been needing to standardize on my Keywording and rating and culling strategies. I use lightroom to go through my pics and usually upon import I apply some basic keywords but I am not sure if I am following the best strategy.

    What words do you tag your pictures with? Do you keep specifics like the place or building, the city? What about the state? Or a description of the photo (I.e. Landscape, sunset, pano, etc.)?

    How do you initially sort and/or rate your pictures? I use the pick/unflag/reject feature of LR a lot but dont take much advantage of the stars. I use the color labels to sort out categories (blue for stitching into panos, red for blending into HDR) but feel I need to come up with a better way to more accurately sort the pictures so I can better focus my time on the pictures worth going over closely and not waste too much time on lost causes or pics I don't really end up liking.

    How do you handle all this? I should mention that I just shoot as a hobby and don't need the overkill keywording that stock photographers use, nor do I generate thousands and thousands of images to sort through on professional shoots.
  2. mahood macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2009
    Personally, I'm just getting a strategy sorted also. What I do use is nested keywords - so I have a folder called 'People', with sub-folders called 'Model', 'Friends', 'Family' etc and individual names under each one. The advantage of this is that the whole hierarchy can be searched on. This way you can pull up all the 'models' at a glance to check you have contact details, or one model alone to build a portfolio. You can also go as deep or as shallow as you like - one friend of mine tags by hair colour, so he can fine-tune a request.

    I use the colours (minimally) also, as you seem to. For me, I'm mostly using the red tag to select shots I want in my online portfolio - in combination with a smart collection in the export section of LR3, this lets me painlessly change my 'top ten' shots.

    The stars are useful too - 5 star is an image I'm proud of, 4 star is one I'm happy to show people and post online, 3 star is one I might be able to work on to improve, but am not best pleased with. 2 stars means 'learn from your mistake' and 1 star is reserved for leaving the lens cap on :) I only 'reject' test shots and utter failures.

    What does help me is grouping similar shots together into a stack - in the studio I make a stack for each pose, leaving the best of the set on top. I do this after the rating (and sometimes after the editing). Then at a glance in each folder I can zero in on the image I want more quickly, especially if I've had 20 shots of very similar poses, trying to get the shot I want.

    As I say, work in progress - but I'd be interested to see how other people manage their images...

  3. herkyjerky macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2007
    I am interested in reading others replies, but here is my workflow in LR:

    1- Upload with standard keywords (senior, family, etc.)
    2- While in Library mode I quickly go through each photo and if I think it has a chance to be included in the final group I will flag it
    3- After flagging all possibilities, I will go into develop mode and do some post processing (crop, sharpen, color etc) on each photo (I do 95% in LR, some in Photoshop if needed)
    4- If I like the photo I will give it 5 stars which means it will make the final group to be uploaded to clients gallery, if, as I am working on the photo, I don't like it I just leave it as flagged but not a 5 star
    5- When done processing all flagged photos, I will upload all 5 star photos to the client's online gallery
    6- I will then filter only the 5 stars and give a red color label to the 5-10 favorites to be uploaded to facebook and my blog

    It is a quick and easy system for me but I am always looking to be more efficient!
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I'm still trying to figure out how to use flags/colours/stars (I mean, I know how to use them - just trying to work out a strategy...)... however, I am now comfortable with my keywording system. I did whack of reading on keywording earlier this year. So, that's my first suggestion... search the 'net for keyword articles. Read a bunch because you need sort through everyone's personal recommendations to find what will work for you and your shooting.

    I do two things, predominantly. I combine images into collages and create fine art. Images that I take that might be used for this get minimal keywording.... basically that they are 'self work', and maybe a colour and texture note. I should probably use one of the colour labels for that, eh?

    Images that I want to use for stock get extensive keywording. Start with a caption, and make sure all the important get put into the keywords. Then expand on those. I also add weather notes (sunny, cloudy, etc) mood notes if obvious (moody, gloomy, energetic, etc ) colours, generally vegetation (trees, grass, meadow)..... etc etc. It can take a while, but I generally have several images that share keywords. I nest my keywords as much as possible, and have started creating synonyms.

    Generally I tend to use the colour labels and stars if I'm working a particular project... so it's a temporary use, I guess. Reading this thread makes me realize I now need to figure out how to use these labels more efficiently. I don't tend to use stacks, but I am starting to create collections.
  5. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2008
    Workflow "efficiency" is really subjective. People organize themselves differently and what works for some people doesn't work for others. That's why LR has several systems for organization, I don't really expect that any one person uses all the possible tools to organize their photos during their workflow.

    For me:

    Keywording: I am the type that uses the folder structure on a "per shoot" basis, so keywording is pretty important. I'll usually keyword twice - once while importing (and applying any other presets), and again after I am done if I am left with any images that fall outside the general mood of the shoot. (As an aside, presets, once you figure them out, save a TON of PP time).

    Flags: I will usually look through whatever I have just unloaded and flag to reject anything that I think would be 1 or 2 stars. There's no point in going to the develop module on a photo that is flawed compositionally.

    Colors: I will only use these if I don't do all my PP at once. Exposure blends, focus stacks, anything with a batch processing theme - these will get color codes. I use these the least.

    Stars: After all is said and done, I'll rank them. 4/5 stars get uploaded to smugmug or sent out if it's a paid gig. 3 stars get archived.

Share This Page