Image ratings are essential to my work flow and management of my Smug Mug photo galleries. Using that data in a consistent way is important to me.
EXIF is short for EXchangeable Image file Format and can be used for storing quite a bit of text information with or inside of a data file. EXIF typically stores image capture time, identification of camera and lens and many other optional fields. This posting delves into my use of the Rating field. Which is really nothing more than a very short integer limited to values of 0 to 5. Those values are often represented as a count of stars (⭐️) to show a rating.
Five stars this is the top rating and indicates a “best” image. These are shots that want to be printed large and proudly display on a wall.
Four stars indicate a really good shot, a clear highlight. They should be seen in any highlight slide show. Highlight worthiness can be driven by being the “best” of a noteworthy subject or just being a really good image. Rarely is this or a higher rating assigned to more than one image of a particular subject.
Three stars is a good useable image. It indicates an image that should be used in a BarrettPhoto book or included in a slide show focused on a particular event. Typically only one shot of a particular subject in a particular composition or orientation will carry this rating.
Two stars indicates an “ok” image. Not particularly special or overshadowed by a similar shot with a higher rating. These shots are likely more meaningful to someone interested in a particular subject. Shots with this rating are often included on the website in narrowly focused galleries, for example all the images of “John Doe” or shot by “Camera X” from an event.
One star images are either used in construction of higher rated composite images, e.g. panoramic shots -or- images that are being retained for completeness as opposed to appeal. These images are rarely posted to BarrettPhoto.us but are retained in our archive.
This sad little rating is where everything starts. It indicates a photo that has not been rated or should be deleted. Many/most photos shot during events end up here util they hit the bit bucket.
Rating, Keywords, and SmugMug
EXIF data is supported by most photo apps unfortunately, SmugMug which powers BarrettPhoto.us is not one of them. Because of this, I use a workaround to implement ratings on SmugMug.
Each rated photo that will be uploaded to SmugMug has keyword(s) added to indicate the rating in a field that can be used to drive smart galleries. A two star image has the keyword “2star” added to its keyword metadata. A three star image has both “2star” and “3star” added. This continues all the way to five star images that gain 2star, 3star, 4star, and 5star.
Multiple rating keywords are imbedded in higher rated images because SmugMug lacks a concept of greater than in its smart gallery implementation, it only supports an includes or doesn’t include level of logic.