Aperture 3’s Color Labels – What to Do With Them?

by Mike on March 2, 2011

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Aperture-based workflow. Here’s how I usually do things:

1) Import Photos Into New or Existing Projects, Keywording Everything

2) Rate Photos Using the Star System

3) Delete the Junk

4) Backup to External Hard Drive

5) Edit the Good Stuff with Aperture 3 and the Nik Complete Collection

6) Export Edited Photos

7) Backup to External Hard Drive a Second Time (VERY IMPORTANT!)

Up until now, I haven’t found much use for Aperture’s system of color labels, which are pretty much what they sound like – color labels you can assign to photos.

Here’s how they work:

Select a photo or photos, and then click on the Metadata tab on the top of the screen. You’ll see Label as the second item in the drop-down menu, under which you’ll see the colors options ranging from red to gray:

Just click on one to assign a color rating to the selected photo(s). Alternately, you can click the Command Key along with a number from zero (which assigns no label or removes an existing label) to 7 (gray).

You’ll then see colored circles in the lower-right hand of each of your images:

Now we know how to assign color ratings. But what should we actually do with them?

My idea is this – use the color labels to mark an image’s editing status. I mean, is it untouched? Partially edited? Or finished?

For my own work, I’m going to keep it simple:

No Color Label = Untouched

Yellow Color Label = In Process

Green Color Label = Finished

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Johann March 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I use red for the ones I am planning to send to flickr.

Lin April 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

I have assigned color labels to some of my photos, but when I try to change the color label to a different color, it doesn’t show in the browser window. Can you help? Thanks ever so much!

Mike April 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Lin, hit the Y key to show your metadata in the browser window.

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