Top 5 Photo Mechanic Free and Paid Alternatives 2021

By Narrative

Photo Mechanic is not the only option out there when it comes to culling tools. Many new tools have emerged and they have even better features than what is available on Photo Mechanic too! Take at some of the great free and paid alternatives we have found.

1. Narrative Select

Select by Narrative is the best alternative to Photo Mechanic. It is built for speed and it has many other exciting industry-leading features that will not only speed up the photo culling process and but also help you choose your very best images. 

Select is free to try download and see more information here.


  • 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.

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!

2. 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.

Pricing: $89 per year 


  • 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 

3. Adobe Lightroom

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

See our blog on how to speed up Lightroom.

Pricing: $9.99/month

4. Fastraw viewer

Fastraw offer a product that is fast dealing with RAWs.  

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. 

5. 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.

Pricing: Yearly - $299.95 / Monthly - $29.25


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