What do you use star ratings and color ratings for AND ratings on originals vs. edits?

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Shutter-bu Junior Member • Posts: 41
What do you use star ratings and color ratings for AND ratings on originals vs. edits?
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I'm in the process of migrating to new DAM software from the software I've been using for 15 years. I'm having to change some of my workflow due to that (new software uses 5 colors instead of 9) so I'm taking the opportunity to re-evaluate my entire workflow. It is complicated a bit by the type of photography I do (see below)

Three questions I'm struggling with:

1) I realize this will vary based on what type of photography you do or whether you are a pro but... When you are rating pictures do you rate based on technical favorites or emotional favorites or combine the two? What I mean is ... when you are doing your ratings (stars or colors) and are marking your favorites do you separate "technical" (wow that's a great shot or composition) vs "emotional" (awwww, it's the first time Grandma held her new grandbaby and the expression on her face is priceless but the pic is a bit fuzzy) favorites or are they all mixed together OR do you handle those via two different types of mechanisms (ratings or keywords or something else)? I'm not sure what makes the most sense to do. In the DAM "bible" it talks about Keep, Show, Recommend but the Show and the Recommend to me might be different depending on the audience/purpose ... but sometimes not (an Amazing picture of Grandma with the new Grandbaby might be one of my emotional and technical favorites). Having them all together would make it difficult to separate those types if you just want to see your technical favorites (like trying to show someone your best work) but in a good number of cases, they tick both boxes.

2) When you create an edited version of a photo, do you leave the original with the original rating (like 4 stars or the green label (favorites) or however you rate) or do you "down grade" it (like make the original be 1 star and leave the edited version 4-stars) after you create an edited version? I can argue this both ways.

3) If you use star ratings to "rate" your pics, what are you using your color ratings for? (status in workflow, ones that need more work, which ones are published somewhere,???). I'm looking for ideas for how people are using those.

I don't like reinventing the wheel so I'd like to learn how y'all are addressing those 3 areas.

A quick background on what type of a photographer I am so you can understand where I'm coming from:

  • Have 300,000+ pics in my collection
  • Primary shooter for my extended family (so I "cover" all family events) and share those with the family
  • Do tons of "volunteer" photography (marching band, soccer, organization events) so I have a lot of non-personal photos that I keep b/c I'm a digital pack rat and don't like deleting my work.
  • Other than family/volunteer photography I also like to shoot just for fun (scenery, architecture, macro, etc.) of course
  • Starting to dabble in some professional work (product & portrait)

I could make separate catalogs for different types but that gets complicated due to the overlap (sometimes my family is in the events that I do "volunteer" photography or sometimes some of my photo play shots involve my family) so I'd rather not have to move those photos out to a "personal" vs. a volunteer vs pro catalog. So to "separate" those functions, I use keywords/categories to designate which kind of photo it is (personal, volunteer, photo play, pro).

Thanks in advance for your advice.  It's just always good to hear how other people do things.

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