iPhoto 11x; keep track of your best pictures with ***** ratings

The first secret of a good photographer is: Don’t show people all your pictures.  Just show them your best ones.  Then they’ll think all your pictures are that good!

iPhoto makes this easy to do.  If you’re afraid of the time it will take to rate your pictures one by one, don’t worry; I’ve got a great shortcut.

First, decide on what your ratings from * to *****  will mean.  Also, decide which rating most of your pictures will typically get.  For example, here’s my system:

***** = Great picture; let’s show it off!

****  = Good enough to show people.

***   = Average picture; avoid showing it around.  Most of my pictures are just average   8(

**    = Poor picture.  It’s the only picture I have of Aunt Clarabelle, so I’m keeping it.  But it’s not to be willingly shown.

*      = Delete this picture; out of focus, thumb over lens; etc.

Next, organize the pictures you’re going to filter into an album (or a folder of albums).

Now rate all the pictures in the album at once with your default rating (*** for me).  To do this, click the Edit menu; choose Select All.  All of the thumbnails get yellow borders (if yellow is your computer’s selection color).  Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 6.05.56 PM

Then click the Photos menu and select My rating.  Pick your default rating (*** for me).Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 6.06.43 PM

Now review the pictures in the album.  Change the rating of any picture that should have a non-default value.  You can use the Info tab in the bottom right toolbar.  You might like to enter other information about the picture, too.Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 6.11.17 PM

You might also like to edit the pictures as you go.  Keep in mind that, in an album or folder, you’re working with pointers; so you can’t delete pictures from here.  You’ll have to do that in the Photos section, which you can choose at the top of the left pane.  For now, rating the pictures you want to delete * will keep them out of the way and help you find them later.

The easiest way to filter rated pictures is to sort them by their ratings.  Click the View menu and select Sort photos.  Select By rating.  Click the View menu again, select Sort photos again, and select Descending.  This brings your best pictures to the top.Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 6.54.44 PM

Now for the filtering.  Select the range of best-rated pictures, starting with the first one and ending as far down as you like.  Include them in a new album named like “Best of,” using the Add to tab in the bottom right toolbar.  (They’ll still be in their former albums too.  Remember that, thanks to pointers, a picture can be in more than one album.)

If you want to show your “Best of” pictures in date sequence, use the View menu to sort the new album by date, ascending.

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