We all take too many pictures. But since storage is so inexpensive, there’s no reason to throw any of them away. (Okay, that accidental picture of the ground – that can go.) Even with a few deletes, most of us still have too many pictures. A rating system allows us to keep them all and still focus on the ones that matter most.
Google Photos and Apple iCloud Photo Library limit you to “Like” or “Dislike” – shown with a ♥ or the lack thereof. Mylio’s version is a flag, and it’s conveniently located in the ratings bar. If that does the trick for you, then you don’t need the rest of this post. If you’re like me, though, you want a more nuanced rating system. That’s what we’ll talk about here.
Having a rating system means I can find an individual photo fast, and I can also quickly access groups of photos. Pulling up groups is really helpful when you want to share, show, create albums, or take a walk down memory lane. One reason many people avoid rating is because it seems like too much work. Mylio makes the whole process efficient, so you can spend more time enjoying your photos! Let’s see how.
Developing A Rating System
Why Rate? Rating pictures allows you to categorize them – quickly and with minimal work – into groups. These are the star-rating categories I use when rating my photos:
- Show: Your best pictures, the ones you want to be in your slide show, the ones you print for the wall, and the basis for making books. The goal is to keep this number low so your best photos really stand out.
- Next Best: This is an optional category, which I sometimes use, and often ignore. Say you have 1,000 Show pictures and need to get down to, say 250. Of course, you can demote all the rest to Keep, which is what I do most of the time. Sometimes though I’ll pick a few, perhaps because I am looking ahead to printing or to making a book, and mark them as Next Best.
- Keep: If you’re like me, most of your pictures will (eventually) end up in this category. Keepers are pictures you don’t want to show off – because nobody wants to see thousands of pictures – but also don’t want to delete. You’ll look at them occasionally and you might eventually put them into an album, but they’re not pictures you show off regularly. If you ever make a book or really large print, you will want to consider both “Keep” and “Show” versions of pictures to see which is really the best. Simply put: with digital pictures there is no down side to a “keep picture bucket”.
- Weak: I rarely use this rating, but it can be helpful for those times when I don’t like a photo but also don’t have any better versions of it.
- Delete: Some people never delete any pictures. Personally, when I see a picture of my lens cap, a picture of the ground, or a picture that is so blurry it has no meaning, I rate it as Delete. Of course, you can delete those pictures as you come across them. I find it faster (and safer, honestly) to rate pictures as Delete and then at the end take one last glance at the “delete bucket” before getting rid of them all at one time.
Say you agree with these categories. Next ask yourself, “How do they translate into ratings?” Mylio offers three rating schemes: colors, stars, and the flag. I suggest using either stars, colors, or a combination. The approach I use is:
Stars + Colors
The key to speed rating is the Auto-Advance switch. This toggle appears at the bottom of the rating panel. Auto-Advance is your friend; whenever you change the rating of a picture, Mylio automatically advances to the next one. This means you can race through hundreds or even thousands of pictures, rating each one and moving on to the next with a single tap or keystroke. Seriously, it’s a major time saver.
Say you’re ready to work on a folder. If it’s one of the “small events” folders, it is useful to do the splitting out first. The reason is simple: having an idea of the number of pictures in a folder or event makes a big difference to your rating decisions. If there are only 15 pictures from that luncheon, most of them can be Show. But if you took 1,500 pictures at the birthday party, only a few should be Show and most of them should be Keep.
On a trip, there are many strategies for “when to rate”. Usually even though I make a point of importing my pictures every day, I almost never rate them right away. There’s usually too much else going on, or I am too tired, and there is no rush. Sometimes I won’t rate my pictures until the end of a trip or even after I’m home. However, Mylio makes it uniquely easy to rate pictures wherever and whenever.
With Mylio you can rate your pictures on your computer, your phone, or an iPad. So when I’m on a trip, I’ll often rate while at the pool or in a vehicle traveling between places. Airplanes are another favorite place for rating, since Mylio doesn’t need a wifi connection. If I really have a lot of pictures to rate – which happens a lot – I’ll do most of my rating on a computer or tablet, but sometimes, when I have a long cab or car ride, I’ll get through some more pictures on my phone. It’s cool that I can work on my pictures on any device and always pick up right where I left off.
Speed Rating on a Keyboard
While I do some of my rating on an iPad, it’s far more efficient and enjoyable to rate with a computer keyboard. Mylio supports ten accelerator keys, which allows me to rate in a flash. The numbers from 1-5 correspond to the stars from ☆ to ☆☆☆☆☆. And, then on the keyboard 6 = Red, 7 = Yellow, 8 = Green, 9 = Blue, and 0 = Purple. I use the colors to label the theme of the photo, and you can choose any themes you want. For me, Red is family, Yellow is work-related, Green is travel, Blue is food, and Purple is other.
Now I’ve got a quick way of finding photos. When I rate a photo as 5 + Red, I know it’s a great photo of family. And when I’m ready to create a family photo album, I can filter just the 5 star + Red photos and instantly see a collection of just those photos. If I want to see all the 4- and 5-star travel photos, I simply select 4 star and green to see those!
Triage: Final Approach
When dealing with a big event – a trip, a wedding, a family reunion – I always (always!) have too many Shows. A good rule of thumb is that getting down to 250-300 pictures makes for a great slide show. Here’s one last Mylio trick that lets us do the final triage in a really cool way: combining Show All Media with the Filter Bar.
Since we’re talking about really big events – whether a trip or at home – for sure we are also dealing with subfolders. Those subfolders are life-savers in terms of taming the picture explosion, but they really get in the way when we want to put all the pictures together into a final “Show Everybody” set. That’s when Show All Media saves the day. It dissolves those subfolders and makes them temporarily go away, so now you are looking at all the pictures for the entire event. To make this magic happen, put yourself in the main folder for the event, but “above” the subfolders. So, you are looking at a grid with exactly the subfolders displayed. Now go to the three-dot menu on the upper right and select Show All Media; suddenly the subfolders disappear, and you are looking at all the pictures for the entire event.
Now we need to see just the Show pictures to see how bad our problem is; that’s where the Filter Bar comes in. Tap on the Funnel at the top of the screen. Then pick 5 stars to see you Show photos. As soon as you tap there, Mylio will display only your most highly rated pictures. The extent of your triaging problem is right in front of your eyes. If you open the info panel, the number at the bottom tells you exactly how many photos there are. What happens next is magic.
Say you re-rate a picture. For example, if you change a rating from 5 stars to 3 (Show to Keep), you do that by selecting the picture (tap and hold, or click) and then picking the new rating. Wait a moment, and the picture will disappear from the filtered view as well! As we re-rate, Mylio shows us only what’s left as we go along.
Rerating in this way is powerful for several reasons:
- Whole Event: You get to see the Show pictures for the whole trip or event.
- Context: Each picture, in grid view, is in the context of the pictures around it.
- Multiple Select: This is a good time to use Multiple Select (tap and hold again) to pick 5, 10 or even 23 pictures to be rerated all at once. It is a very fast way to get around.
Important Note: If you’re using tap and hold, after each “batch rerating” one picture will be left selected that’s in the Show set; remember to tap on that one picture to deselect it before picking more pictures to re-rate.
It may take several passes, but you are done when the set looks good and the count is down to where you need it to be. On one trip I took over 5,000 pictures and started out with 1,500 in the Show set. On the first triage pass, I got down to about 700. Then from there I went to 400. And, one more pass did the trick: 265 pictures and a perfect set. You might do all the triage in one day. Often with a really large set I’ll do a first triage, perhaps two passes, one day, and the come back a day or two later. With the benefit of time, it is often that much easier to let pictures go.