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Rating your images is a critical part of effective post-production workflow. If you're doing your job as a photographer, then you should be shooting lots of images of every scene that you shoot. This process of working the shot is how you explore a subject, and eventually find the best image. Working the shot this way also means that you'll be going home with a lot of images, most of which will not be keepers. By rating your images, you can easily filter out the good ones, and not have to waste time reviewing or editing lesser shots.
You can start your rating process in the camera itself by applying ratings of one to five stars. These ratings can be read by many image editing applications, including Adobe Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom. The ability to rate images in camera means that you can rate an image as a keeper while still on location, when the shoot is still fresh in your mind, or if you're sitting in an airport waiting to go home, you can go ahead and start reviewing and rating your images, without having to drag out a computer. The rating interface on the Mark III is a little goofy, so follow along closely here, and we'll take a look at it.
I am going to go into the menu, and here in the second page of the playback screen, I have an item called Rating. If I go in here, I see the last image that I was looking at, I can scroll around through other images, and I've got this thing up on top, which is an interface both for assigning a rating while simultaneously looking at how many images on the card currently have each rating. In other words, right now I have zero images with any rating of any kind. Here's one star, two, three, four, and five. So let's say I want to give this three stars; I am going to hit the Set button, and that's unqueued for that right there, and then it changes to this up and down thing.
Now watch where it says Off; I am going to go one, two, three, so now I've got three stars. Also, over here I can see that I now have one image on the card with three stars. I am going to hit the Set button to take that, and move on to the next image. I don't want to do anything with that. I am not crazy about that. Oh, that's a nice enough picture; I'll give that three stars also. I am going to Set again, dial up to three stars, and now I've got a 2 over here. So then maybe I decide that's a little overexposed, but maybe I could fix it later; I'll give that two stars.
Hit Set, dial it up to two stars, and now I've got one image with two stars, and two images with three stars. This gets a little confusing, because you see the one, and the two, and the zero, and you think maybe those are ratings, but those aren't. The ratings are the little star icons in brackets. There are a lot of different rating strategies; I typically don't get so granular as one and two star images. I typically go through, and find the images I like, and give them three stars. Later, if it turns out that there are some of those that I like more than others, I've got some kind of rating headroom that I can use to dial up higher ratings.
Again, you'll probably do the bulk of your rating on your computer, but this is a nice way to, if you need to deliver a batch of images quickly to someone, and need them to know your selects, so you can quickly rate them in camera. Or if you've got some downtime on your vacation, or on a job, you can go ahead and start your post-production right here in camera by getting started with your ratings.
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