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Ever afraid to play favorites? With my kids, I’d have to answer YES! With my photos, NO WAY! In fact, choosing, picking, and sorting my favorites in Lightroom one of my favorite features. I am sure it has SAVED me HOURS of time over the last several years!

How should you sort your photos? Well, ultimately that is up to you. But here are the 2 main ways you can rate and sort your photos in Lightroom.


You can use flags to pick the photos that you like. The easiest way to flag your photos is to use the "~" key that is right next to the number 1 on your keyboard. If you accidentally flag a photo that you don't want flagged, then just press the same "~" key again and the flag will be removed! SIMPLE!


You can easily rate your photos using stars by pressing the number 1 for one star, the number 2 for 2 stars, the number 3 for 3 stars, and so on up to 5. If you rate a star and you want to remove the rating, just press 0 and the stars will be removed. One caveat: Don't get caught up giving your photos star ratings based on "how much you like it" (5 stars for the best photo you have ever taken and 3 stars for just an average shot and 1 for just slightly above "junk.") Just rate the ones you like using SOMETHING. I use the number 3 to rate any photo that I like. I reserve the number 5 for photos that I want to show in a portfolio.

Why would I want to spend the time to pick favorites in Lightroom?

By spending a few minutes (and by few, I mean 10ish or less for about 100 photos) to pick out my favorites and double check their sharpness, I save myself LOTS of time while editing. Once I have picked

my favorites, I sort them from the rest of the photos using the tool bar above the filmstrip. Now I only see the photos that I want to spend time editing. I am no longer overwhelmed, distracted, or second-guessing about the ones that I didn't choose. I edit the favorites and call it good.

Rating my photos also helps me when I am going back through folders looking for a specific photo. Typically, I only remember photos that I have used or edited. So instead of looking through ALL the photos, I make sure I have a filter set so that I only see my favorites.

Rating also helps me when I want to use Lightroom's Smart Collection's feature. This is a feature that literally saved me 3 DAYS worth of work the last time I put together my family's semi-annual book of photos. The following SHORT video will show you how to use Smart Collections to quickly grab and sort photos in Lightroom!


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Hi!! I am Gayle. I am a wife to my handsome husband and mom to 4 beautiful kids. In my spare time, I am a photographer and blogger at Mom and Camera. I have a passion for sharing my love of photography with others. I teach local photography classes and regularly share photography tips and tricks on my blog. I hang out there a lot—I’d love you to stop by and visit!