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Reviewing and Organizing Images in Lightroom 2

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Lightroom 2 delivers numerous tools to make finding and organizing your files intuitive and enjoyable. The Adobe Creative Team shows how you can view an impromptu slideshow, create collections, and compare images side by side, so you can make the best use of your image library as it continues to grow.
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When you work with many images in Lightroom, you need to be able to find exactly what you want, and quickly. You've already started structuring your catalog if you've applied keyword tags to images you imported. Keyword tags enable you to find or group image files based on descriptions you associate with them, independent of how they're named or where they're stored. You also should make a habit of going through a few cycles of reviewing and organizing your files each time you import new images. The features described in this article simplify the reviewing process and help you to get (and stay) organized.

Working While Watching a Slideshow

To review images you've just imported, sit back and enjoy the convenience of an impromptu slideshow:

  1. In the Library module, make sure that the Grid view is displaying the thumbnail images from the previous import, and then choose Window > Impromptu Slideshow or press Ctrl-Enter (Mac: Command-Return). This action plays a slideshow in full-screen mode using the current settings in the Slideshow module. The slideshow repeats until you return to the Library module by pressing the Esc key.
  2. While the slideshow is playing, press the spacebar to pause and resume playback. Press the left-arrow key to return to the previous image or the right-arrow key to advance to the next image.
  3. To assign a rating to the currently displayed image in your slideshow, press a number from 1 (for 1 star) to 5 (for 5 stars) on your keyboard. To remove the rating, press 0. You can attach only one rating to each photo; assigning a new rating replaces the old one.

    Rating stars are displayed under the thumbnail images in any of the Library module views and in the Filmstrip (see Figure 1).

  4. Another way to sort your images is to flag them. Press the P key on your keyboard to flag the current image in the slideshow as a pick, press the X key to flag it as a reject, or press the U key to remove any flags.

    You have the option to display flags—and other information—beside the thumbnail images in the Library views (as shown in Figure 2) and under the thumbnails in the Filmstrip. Images that are flagged as rejects are grayed out.

  5. Use color labels to mark photos for specific purposes or projects. For example, you might use a red label for images you intend to crop, green for those that need color correction, blue to identify photos that you want to use in a particular presentation, and so on. To assign a color label to the current image in your slideshow, press 6 on your keyboard to assign a red color label, 7 for yellow, 8 for green, or 9 for blue. (There's no keyboard shortcut to assign a purple color label.) To remove a color label, press the same number again. In the Grid view of the Library module and in the Filmstrip, a photo with a color label will be framed in that color when selected, and has a tinted background when unselected. If you so choose, the color label can appear only under the thumbnail image in the Grid view (as shown in Figure 3).
  6. Press the Esc key to stop the slideshow and return to the Grid view in the Library module.
  7. In the Library module, you can filter your images by text and metadata content, refining your search by specifying star rating, flag status, or color label, so that only the photos you want are displayed in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. If it's not already open, open the Filter panel above the main display area by choosing View > Show Filter View. The Filter panel offers a number of helpful filtering options (see Figure 4), as shown in the following table.




    Turn Refine filters on or off.


    Filter by flag status.


    Filter by star rating.


    Filter by color label.

  8. Select the Refine filter. Click the third star, and choose And Higher from the pop-up menu (see Figure 5). Lightroom now displays only the photos with at least a 3-star rating.

When working with only a few images as in this example, rating, flagging, and filtering may seem unnecessary, but as your library grows to contain hundreds or even thousands of photos you'll find these tools invaluable.

The goal of this step in your workflow is to ready your images for processing in the Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules.

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