Choosing the Right Photo Culling Software

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What is photo culling?


According to Culling software, culling is

the process where photographers select the best images from their photography session. Those images will then be edited and delivered to the client.

This process involves reviewing, organizing, and choosing the images that best represent a vision and meet the needs of a given project. 

Effectively, it is the point where a photographer decides what to work on. Therefore, you can imagine how important it is to get culling right. 

The obstacles to choosing photo-culling software is time


No matter how hard we try, we spend hours sifting through hundreds (or even thousands) of photos to get a perfect shot. Therefore, with the right photo-culling software, we could say goodbye to this chaos and enjoy a more pleasant image selection process. But the real obstacle is taking the time to find the right software.

An Adobe Bridge interface loaded with numerous photos of a model
Because I have not taken the time to "take the time" I find myself in the old fashioned Adobe Bridge interface. With AI powered tools, I need to think of moving on

We have the power to organize our photos


With powerful algorithms, today’s photo-organizing software can take the guesswork out of image selection and help maximize a photography workflow.

So, let’s explore HOW the right culling software choice can change how we choose images. This will get us to concentrate on what to look for in a photo management software package.

silhouette of a statue in a park in a sunset skyline
You can spend hours and hours clicking the right and left arrow on your computer keyboard to find the perfect shot. Maybe it doesn't have to be so hard.

Challenges of manual photo culling in 2023


Before photo-culling software, we had to rely on manual methods to go through images. We had to scroll through thumbnails, zoom in and out, and compare images side by side to make selections. 

So, a manual approach like this consumes energy. Long hours staring at a computer screen leads to decision fatigue and decreased productivity. As the number of photos in a shoot increases, picking and choosing becomes overwhelming. Hence, we chose the wrong images. It is that simple.

Lightroom library interface with side by side images of a gymnast
This is Adobe's Lightroom Classic: Being able to compare two very similar images down to the pixel can make or break your photo culling software choices. But this side by side decision process can be long and tedious and lead to poor photo decisions.

Moreover, manual photo culling results in missed opportunities. With limited time and patience, we overlook images with potential, dismiss them too quickly, or fail to recognize an image’s true value.

In this age of digital photo files and 128 gigabyte SD cards, capturing thousands of images per shoot is easy. So, the more photos we take, the more decisions we make. Hence, we make the culling process even worse. We all are guilty of this since getting THE shot can sometimes be solved by a simple spray and pray.

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Why photo culling software should be your tool 


Photo culling software uses advanced computer algorithms to simplify and streamline image selection.

Also, in 2023, AI-powered algorithms can analyze and rank your photos based on various criteria, such as technical quality, composition, and subject matter. This automated ranking saves you time.

Features like side-by-side image comparison, zooming, and rating systems allow you to evaluate and compare images easily.

With the right software, you can also organize and categorize better. Tagging, keywording, and metadata management tools help you keep track of your photos, making it easier to locate specific images when needed.

Multiple images of dancers jumping within the Excire photo culling software interface
Excire offers a lot of interesting AI-powered photo oganization tools to make your workflow even more effortless.

Features to consider when choosing a photo culling software



When selecting a photo culling software, you must consider your specific needs. But here are some key features you should always look for:


1. Automated Ranking: 

Choose software that offers AI-powered algorithms to automatically rank your images based on criteria that matter to you, such as technical quality, composition, or subject matter.


2. Side-by-Side Comparison: 

When you take many pictures, their differences can be very subtle. But there is always a better photo. Look for software that allows you to compare images side by side, making it easier to see differences and choose the best alternative.


3. Zooming and Loupe View:

Ensure that the software offers zooming or a virtual loupe view. This allows you to examine the details of each image.


4. Rating and Tagging System: 

Opt for software that provides a rating and tagging system that lets you categorize and organize your images efficiently.


5. Metadata Management: 

Including keywords and captions to ensure your images are easily searchable is vital. You can maximize your image selection process by selecting software with these features.

Top photo culling software options 


There are many culling software solutions—enough for it to be the subject of a future blog post and maybe even a YouTube video. However, several excellent photo-culling software options are available on the market today. Here are a few top choices:



This relatively new software has standard photo-culling features but with a big AI twist. This includes Text search, Alikes, Face detection, Automatic tagging, GPS search, Duplicate search, and Aesthetics assessment. It will be a contender in the coming years.

Excire Foto 2024 interface
Excire is a relatively one button photo culling solution where AI is robustly integrated.



Adobe Lightroom, available in Classic and Cloud versions, is popular among photographers and content creators. It offers powerful photo culling features, automated ranking, side-by-side comparison, extensive metadata management capabilities, and new AI-powered features. Moreover, it also does photo edits and is part of the Adobe CC collection.

2023 Adobe Lightroom home web page
Lightroom also boasts the ability to do tethered shooting and is equipped with all the basic edits you need as a photographer.



Aftershoot offers many of the cool features that Excire offers. This includes Face Detection, Duplicate detection, reject grouping and more. This AI culling software gets the tedious selection process done fast. It is subscription-based and offers an AI edit option as well.

Aftershoot home webpage
A subscription based AI photo culling software solution



Capture One is a professional-grade software that offers advanced photo culling features, such as customizable ranking systems, comprehensive metadata management, and powerful editing tools. CaptureOne is THE photo tethering solution for most professionals because it is known to be robust, bug-free, and colour-accurate.

Capture One home page banner
Capture One is THE software for wired and tethered photography but it also boasts excellent photo editing and culling capabilities.

These software options vary in terms of price, features, and user interface, so it’s essential to explore and compare them to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Which photo culling software is right for you?


There are other software out there that are very effective at getting the culling process done. But the wisest thing to do is to download the demo versions of each one, use it for a while, and ask yourself these questions.

  1. Is photo import to your liking?
  2. Can you automate photo ranking?
  3. Is Side-by-Side Comparison clear and precise?
  4. How are the Zoom features?
  5. Is rating and tagging easy?
  6. Is backing up intuitive?

Conclusion: Embracing photo culling software gets results!



You can make the most of your photography and stand out by automating the initial culling process. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking to enhance your workflow or a business needing impactful visual content, photo culling software is a game-changer that can revolutionize how you choose images.

And remember, the most important thing to do is to go out and shoot!


About the Author

My name is Jacques Gaines, and I am a photographer, videographer, and copywriter living in Quebec City, Canada. I also have a YouTube channel and an Instagram account dedicated to creation and creativity via my main loves of photography, music, and writing.

To get in touch with me and discuss a collaboration, service needed, or advice, go to my contact page

  • Jacques Gaines looking in a camera pointing upward

    Learning, sharing, and community through photography and music

Check out Jacques’ Instagram page

4 Responses to Choosing the Right Photo Culling Software

  1. Pet

    this is a good article for portrait and wedding photography… not great options for bird and nature photography though where AI really isn’t up to snuff yet. I want software that will let me compare 120 burst images of a bird, choose the sharpest and most pleasing compositions and present me 10 of them to further manually cull.

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