Lightroom: How To Sort and Rank Photos

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom gives users the ability to sort and rank photos. And, this can be extremely important for users with a large image library, especially for professional photographers working with a client's photos or trying to select photos for their portfolio.  Lightroom easily allows users to quickly find their best photos based on information and ranks given to them.

Step 1: Trying to Locate Photos in a Library

While thumbnails do allow users to quickly scan photos, they don't usually give a lot of information. If a photo is named, and the photographer happens to remember the name, they may be able to find it. Or, if they remember what day it was taken, it helps narrow down the search. Photographers, however, still need to do some searching.

For photographers with large libraries, this can be especially frustrating. So, Lightroom's ability to sort pictures and its ranking feature helps photographers lessen the leg work that is needed to locate photos.

Step 2: Using the Sorting Feature

The Sorting feature in Lightroom allows users to sort all the photos contained within a Library. Users can sort images by date, the name of the file, extensions or even the date in which they were added to Lightroom. Further, users can choose whether or not they would like to sort the photos from A-Z or Z-A, or even by numbers in ascending and descending order.

While this feature is limited by what a photographer can remember about a photo, it's also a start.  If a photographer has a general idea of the name of the photo or when it was taken, it will help them better determine for which photo they are searching.

Step 3: Using the Ranking Feature

While the Sorting feature can be a bit limited, the Ranking feature allow users to do a bit more. Photographs usually take a lot of shots, only to have one or two per session be worth it. But, most photographers still want to hang onto the other images, just in case they made need them in the future.

The Ranking feature allows users to "rank" photos. These ranks can come in the form of keep or reject flags, star rankings or even color tabs that denote the best photos. For example, a blue tab can be used for the top photos while a green tab can be used for the good, but not best photos.

Once a photographer labels all their photos, these can now be easily searched for using the terms associated with the ranks. And, they can also be sorted or displayed based on the rankings. For example, if a photographer only wants to display the photos with the blue tabs, they will just set their search terms to only display photos with blue tabs.

Step 4: Making the Photographer's Life Easier

The Sorting and Ranking features do make photographers' lives easier. They don't have to remember information about their favorite photos; they simply have to rank them and then sort them. This feature can also be used in client sessions since photographers can simply rank their recommended photos and display only those to clients. Clients won't even have to see the rejects.