An Overview of the Aperture Rating System

After finishing a shoot, photographers typically review their images and determine which ones are worth working with. Although a “yes or no” appraisal of an image can work with a small selection of photos, with a larger collection of similar images that show small variations, photographers need an organized method of noting which images are superior shots, which deserve further review, and which are poor quality or rejects. A simple and effective rating system can help photographers narrow the number of images to focus on during the selection process.

Rating is a simple process with powerful results. If you can easily identify 100 out of 500 images that aren’t going to work, removing these images reduces your workload by 20 percent. Rating and thereby reducing your workload can save you a considerable amount of time.

Aperture provides a system for rating images from Select to Reject. The easily decipherable image ratings appear on the images themselves as overlays. Positive ratings appear as stars; you can rate images from one to five stars, with five being the highest, or Select, rating. A negative, or Reject, rating appears as an X.

Figure. Group of images showing rating overlays.

The process of rating an image can be as easy as selecting an image and clicking a rating button in the Metadata inspector.

Figure. Rating buttons in the Metadata inspector.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quickly assign or change ratings.

You can select and rate multiple images at once. You can review and rate images in the Viewer, Browser, and Light Table, as well as in Full Screen view. When you’ve finished rating images, Aperture allows you to sort images according to their ratings.

You can use the Filter HUD to hide or show images of a certain rating. For example, after an initial ratings pass, you can set the Filter HUD to show only those images that are rated one star. You can then closely inspect and further refine your selection or begin an adjustments pass. Aperture is preset to hide images that are rated Reject, so you may need to change the Filter HUD settings to see rejected images.

Figure. Filter HUD showing Rating search criteria.

Aperture also comes with a set of Library Smart Albums that are preset to gather images throughout your library that are rated Select, one star or better, and Reject.

Figure. Library Smart Albums set to gather rated images in the Library inspector.

Tip: It’s a good idea to review the images gathered in the Rejected Library Album on a periodic basis before deleting their versions and masters. From time to time you might find an image you rejected by mistake.

For more information about working with Smart Albums, see Grouping Images with Smart Albums.