I thought I would try out Windows Photo Gallery as a tool to work my photos. This application is included with Windows Vista. Basically you can import your photos into this application and then use it to tag, rate, filter, edit, and perform some other tasks to them.
Anyhow, I uploaded all my trip photos as well as the photos from others on my trip and I have over 3,700 photos to go through. What I did was put them all into the same folder and import them into Windows Photo Gallery. Next, I sorted them by Date Taken so that I had all the photos in the correct order (you need to make sure everyone had the same date setting on their cameras).
Once a double clicked on the first one, it opened up into full screen and it allows you to navigate through the photos one at a time. While looking at each photo, you can press the arrow keys to go forward or back. The other thing you can do is press the number keys 0-5 to rate the pictures with the corresponding number of stars. Check the screenshot below of my photo of Hong Kong blown up. Note the stars on the right hand side. You can click to rate the photo or just press 0-5.
Windows Photo Gallery – Photo View
Basically, I would go through the photos and rate them with a 5 or 4 if I deemed them worthy of developing or publishing. As I went forward and maybe saw a better candidate photo of the same location or person, I would quickly go back to the one I rated 4/5 and press 0 to clear its rating again.
At the end of this exercise, you now have a set of rated pictures. Windows Photo Gallery will then let you display sets of photos based on their rating. You can even select all of these filtered photos and copy/paste them into another folder or do whatever you want.
This is a very similar method to a lot of applications like Adobe Lightroom or even iPhoto on the Mac. Regardless, it is free and already installed on Windows Vista, so why not make use of it.
By the way, it also supports other media files like video.