7 Best Photo Culling Softwares in 2021 with & without AI


By Narrative

Culling is a time consuming and painful process that every photographer has to deal with. But, what if you could make this process easier, faster and overall more enjoyable experience? Well, you can! Using culling software saves you time because these products are built to deal with large amounts of images and they have features that make choosing the best images easier too. Some culling products even use AI power different culling features.

So, here is a list of some of the best...

1. Narrative Select

Select by Narrative is the best culling software on the market and better yet it is free to try!

Unlike some other products that attempt (and often fail) to cull your images for you, Select empowers you to choose your best images faster with the help of industry-leading AI. Why not just do it for you? Because we are photographers too and we know that often images that aren't perfect still make the final selection because of more artistic reasons outside of what any AI can detect. Select still has features that can do some of your culling for you too but it gives you both options because we know most photographers aren't willing to compromise the quality of their work to save time, they want both great work and to save time!

Select is only currently available for on Mac.

Features:

  • Speed - Narrative Select is lightning fast when it comes to ingesting and scanning through large amounts of images. Forget waiting for previews and images to load, once your images have uploaded Select has virtually no load time between images.
  • Blink and Focus indicators - Do you find yourself constantly double and triple-checking, zooming and scanning faces to make sure people are in focus aren't blinking? Select's warning indicators can quickly tell you if faces are blinking and out of focus so that you can quickly identify flaws and move on!
  • Close-ups panel - View closeup crops of all faces, all at once  - making it a breeze to compare the same people across a series of similar images.
  • Face Zoom - Face detection means when you hit the space bar to zoom into an image Select knows to zoom into a face and not just to the centre of your image. No more wasting time dragging around to find a face.
  • Ship to Lightroom - Once your finished culling Select makes it super simple to ship your chosen images along with their different star and colour ratings directly into Lightroom.
  • Scenes and Image Assessments - Select uses AI to identify scenes (groups of similar images). This allows you to quickly skip to the next scene if you have found the best image in that group and are ready to move on to the next one. It also allows our AI-powered Image Assessments to choose the worst images in each scene for you, and apply red and yellow warnings to them. You can also choose to filter out any of those images with red and/or yellow warnings applied to them, resulting in fewer images for you to cull.

2. Optyx

Optyx uses AI to auto-group and auto-cull your photos for you. It is compatible with both windows and mac.

Pricing: Free Plan - 100 Photo Limit Per shoot / Pro Plan - Unlimited $99.99 (one-time purchase)

Features:

  • Cull images
  • Automatically groups your photos
  • Auto Cull
  • Lightning-fast previews in case you want to manually cull your images.
  • Focus detection: Highlight’s faces that are out of focus by marking them.
  • Selective condition feature that helps select photos in a group. (Ex: Picks up the least blurry among a group of blurry photos)

3. Kodak Pro select

Kodak Pro select’s AI-powered assistant is a photo culling software that culls photos based on technical aspects and aesthetic qualities.

Kodak Select is currently available on Windows 10 and Mac Mojave.

Pricing: Yearly - $299.95 / Monthly - $29.25

Features: 

  • Tag with keywords
  • Adjust orientation
  • Add star ratings
  • Organize Files

NON-AI-Based Platforms

4. Photo Mechanic

One of the most used platforms for culling photos, PhotoMechanic helps process bulk images and gets them ready to be exported to Lightroom.

Compatibility: Mac and Windows

Pricing: Free Trial period for 30 days / $139 one-time payment

Features:

  • Processes images quickly
  • Cropping and tagging

5. ACDsee Ultimate

ACDSee Ultimate can be used for photo culling, cataloguing and photo editing. It has customisable keyboard shortcuts to increase your culling and editing process.

Compatibility: Windows

Pricing: $89 per year 

Winning Features

  • Histograms to add layers and adjust different aspects of the photo (great for portraits)
  • Adjust the colour tone of the image
  • You can create customized pre-sets 

6. Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom is a program most photographers will be familiar with and it is build primarily for editing images. Lightroom will be much slower than a dedicated culling tool. 

See our blog on how to speed up Lightroom.

Compatibility: Windows and Mac.

Pricing: $9.99/month

    7. Fastraw viewer

    Compatibility: Windows and Mac

    Pricing: $19.99

    • Reads embedded JPEG images + Raw images
    • Increases the contrast in the highlights of the image to determine what can or cannot be corrected.