If one looks at many sites/tutorials/books etc. about how to work with Pick, Reject and 1-5 Rating System, will find a more or less common strategy:

  • Select the 'good' ones with Pick
  • Select the 'bad' ones with Reject

...and after that refine the process by deleting the Rejected ones, adding Stars to the Pick group. Of course, there are variants to this - but I won't go in detail.

The actual program implementation (see Lightroom and others) is that one can have both Pick/Rejected at the same time with Star Rating.

I think that's much better to have the Pick/Rejected cleared automatically when one rates the image and, also, when one marks the photo with Pick/Reject will clear the Rating.

Hence the well-known 5 Star System will became 7 "item" system:

  • Pick
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Star
  • Rejected
  • {unrated}

...rather than having two parallel lines: one for 5 stars and one for Pick/Reject

Of course, for selecting photos for other means there are 'Add to Quick Collection', Tag boxes, Color Labels etc. I don't think that it is good to mix things.

Do you think that this is a better alternative?

What disadvantages and advantages do you see?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about designing a workflow program, like Lightroom, not about working with existing one, including all its limitations. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 4, 2014 at 20:36

4 Answers 4


You've combined the pick/reject model with the star rating model -- which is fine -- however that's not necessarily representative of everyone's use.

Personally, in my initial sort I almost never use pick but always use reject. Anything I don't want to keep is rejected (and deleted) so the remaining ones are, arguably, all picks. Marking all photos as pick is meaningless, of course.

I assign the pick flag based on the photos that the client (or, more likely for me, friend or family) has selected.

Ratings are completely independent of that system. A 1-star photo could be a pick. Any 5-star photo is the best or favorite, but for me it also means it's a photo I've published on my site.

The beauty of all of these meta options is that you don't need to use them in one specific way. You can combine them into a workflow that works well for you.


Separated Flag and Rating tools have some benefits:

  • Rating value can be written into image metadata while Flag is stored in your database (catalog) only.
  • You can Pick the photos with 3 or 4 stars, but you might still need to distinquish images that you picked.
  • One of the Daminion's customers marks images that were rejected by his clients but these images are good, have positive ratings and can be Re-used and offered later for other customers.

I see that Nikon ViewNX combines Reject with Rating but having separate Flag and Rating values gives you more power while organizing and searching for images.


Personally, I use pick for images I plan to do further touch up on. They may be any rating. Flags are separate from rating and artificially limiting them serves no purpose. Those who want to use them in concert can with minimal extra effort this way, but if it followed your suggested approach, then it would be impossible for many people to operate the way they operate. The current behavior is thus more flexible and better workflow management.

  • I use Reject for quick selection of blurred/underexposed/etc. pictures - and delete those.
  • I use stars just to select good pictures. Usually I use only 4 stars for good pictures, then I just filter by 4 stars, and review those (compared to others) and give 5 stars for the really good ones, and sometimes change the 4 stars to 3 if it is not as good as some variant.
  • I use colors for images at different stages of postprocessing.

E.g. I have 60 good pictures (after starring them), let's say out of 3000.

  • Then I create variants, do Develop tricks, crop, etc. Then those I considered good get e.g. a red color. Then I filter by "red".
  • Then I go into more messy editing, and the results get another color, like "yellow".
  • And so on.
  • There are only a few at the end that get my final attention - but those can get 10 to 50 hours on retouching in Photoshop.

So at a glance I can select good pictures (by stars), but I can also select photos that were completed in post-processing or those that I abandoned (but my taste or free time may change, and I might revisit those).


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