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Assigning ratings to your images is a great way to know which image is the best when you have a series of shots that are very similar in nature. So the one thing that you don't want to do is that if you want to share, let's say, an image of a sunflower with a friend, or you want to put it on a Web page, or you want to make a print, is to every time go back through all of your sunflower shots trying to decide which one is the best. That is not efficient. Whereas the very first time when you were looking at the images, if you assigned a rating then, you would know which is your best sunflower shot. So then all you have to do is go to the one with the highest rating, attach it to an e-mail, and off you go. Much more efficient way to go.
So let me show you how that works in Aperture; we are in Aperture right now, this is also true for Lightroom, and this is also true for Bridge, a file browser. In fact, a lot of file browsers have rating systems. So this is a concept that you'll see in many applications, and it basically works the same way. What I like to do when I have a group of shots is, first, I want to get a closer look at them. Now in Aperture, I can rate from one star to five stars, and that's pretty much the standard with most applications.
In my case, the more stars, the better the photo. So I usually start out, the first time I go through, and just if it's a decent photo, I give it two stars, if it's not, no stars. Now this is like keywords and a lot of other things in photo management; you are going to devise a system that works best for you. Again, the key is consistency. So all I have to do in Aperture is hit the number 2, and you'll see that I get two stars. I am going to hit the right arrow key, again, 2.
I am just going to go through the sunflower shots. These are all decent, but what I really want to know is which one is the best of this bunch. At the moment I am just getting a feel. Now, the reason why I don't assign the final ratings the first time through is because I haven't seen all the shots yet. Therefore, my rating could change over the course of the images. Whereas if I just go through the first time and sort of do a ye or nay, then when I go back through the second time I have a feel for all of those images.
So now we are now on to a different set, so I am going to go back down. So all of these were decent photographs. Now what I want to do is find the best one. So I am going to go through them one more time. I am going to double-click, because I have seen everything, and in fact, I'll tell you, I have my eye on what I consider to be the best of the bunch already. It's not this one, it's not this one, and the reason why I am rating this one at 2 instead of higher is because the bee, to me, feels a little out of focus.
And in the Aperture, if you are in question about that, you can just put the cursor where you want it, hit the Z key, and you can actually zoom in and take a look at the image. And you go, yeah, that's not the sharpest rendering of the bee at 100%. Then I am going to hit the Z key and pop back out. So that's going to stay at 2. I think that one is a 2, that one is a 2, this one is pretty good, that one is pretty good. This one is looking pretty sharp right here; the bee looks pretty good.
That one is way out of focus; in fact, I might even downgrade that one to 1. All right, so we are going to go back through these again, and I am going to go, wow, I think of all these shots,as I go through these, that I tend to like this one the most. So I am going to give it a 3. Now I am going to double- click to back, back out. Now when I look at my sunflower shots, I know which one I like the best.
Now something that I could change this is if I did a little image editing on it, I could improve it through some cropping, through some sharpening, through some color enhancement. It might go from a 3 to a 4. And if that's the case, then all I have to do is hit the 4 key, and I could upgrade it to a 4, and then I know wow, that's actually one of my better shots. So rating is a nice shortcut; the time that I think you should do it is when you are first looking at your photos. Use the keyboard shortcuts to rate them, and then that way you'll know which are the good shots, and which ones are only average.
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