Get Started with Aftershoot Culling
Harshit Dwivedi avatar
Written by Harshit Dwivedi
Updated over a week ago

We've all been there - trying to win back to some time through constant attempts to optimize our workflows.

Culling is one of the most essential parts of any photographer's workflow. Essential but also monotonous, tedious, and time-consuming. It is generally believed that the best way to finish a cull is to do it quickly and in a single cull. Which is often easier said than done.

It is Aftershoot's goal to aid you in improving your workflow, with our AI taking care of the menial and repetitive things, so you can focus on more important parts of your craft, business, and life.

Take a look at this video a for quick intro to Culling with Aftershoot to begin your journey to winning back your time!

Who is Aftershoot Best For

Everyone can benefit from AI-Automated & AI-Assisted Culling, but those who stand to gain the most are photographers who deal with large volumes of photos on a regular basis and work with:

  • Weddings

  • Events

  • Portraits

  • Journalism

With that in mind, even if you don't activate in any of these fields if your photoshoot involves humans, you can use Aftershoot to improve your workflow. Furthermore, some users have found our AI-powered culling even in Product and Landscape photography scenarios.

Platforms and Image Formats Supported by Aftershoot

Aftershoot is supported by both Windows and MacOS devices that are equipped with at least 4 CPUs and 8GB RAM.

When it comes to image formats, Aftershoot supports all leading RAW formats, as well as JPEGs and PNGs.

How to Use Aftershoot Culling

Culling with Aftershoot is a four-step process.

Before we begin, sort the RAW/JPEG files of the images you wish to cull into a single folder.

In order to achieve the best results, it is preferable to ingest and cull your images with Aftershoot before importing them into Lightroom or Capture One.

Note: If you'd like to import your images into Lightroom or Capture One before culling them in Aftershoot, please read this blog post on alternate culling workflows with Aftershoot.

Step 1: Create an Album and Import Your Images

To begin, click on + New Album or Create Album on your Aftershoot's Home Screen.

What you have in front of you is the Import screen. Here is where you will add the images that you wish to cull. You have two options to choose from when adding your images:

  • Browse your system and add them manually

  • Drag and Drop them directly into the center part of your screen

Note: You can't cull Capture One/ Lightroom catalogs, those can only be edited.

On this screen, you can choose your Import Settings from the following:

  • The format of the images that you wish to import;

  • If you want to include the sub-folders in the folder you chose to import;

  • In case you're ingesting your photos from a memory card, you can choose to have them backed up on your device before you cull them.

Once you've set up your Import Settings and imported your photos you are ready to proceed to culling.

Step 2: Select Your Cull Type

On the upper side of your screen click on the Cull tab. Next, click on Start Culling and you will be presented with a choice between AI-Automated Culling and AI-Assisted Culling.

With AI-Automated Culling Aftershoot will analyze your images and select the best ones for you to review. Alternatively, if you prefer to curate your own images, you can opt for AI-Assisted Culling. In this mode, you make the selections on your own but are assisted by Aftershoot with Duplicates Grouping, Key Faces Detection, and Image Scores to ease and speed up the process.

Step 3: Select Your Cull Preferences

Depending on the Cull Type you choose, you will be presented with a Preferences screen to further customize your cull.

AI-Automated Cull

First, select the type of photoshoot that you intend to cull in this session. Aftershoot's AI will take this into account when analyzing and deciding which of your images are the best.

Next, you need to choose between a standard Automated AI Cull and a Customized AI Cull.

An Automated Cull will apply default preferences based on the photoshoot category that you chose. The only thing you have to select here is the culling strictness level, depending on the amount of photos you'd like to receive.

A Customized Cull lets you tailor your preferences when it comes to how Aftershoot assigns the following filters to photos:

  • Highlight Photos - Aftershoot will create a separate group of images, that it thinks are best out of the selected ones.

  • Duplicate Photos - the AI will analyze the images for their likeness and group the most similar ones together, putting the best one forward. You can also customize how strict should the AI be when deciding which photos are similar, by choosing the amount and size of duplicate groups that you wish to receive.

  • Blurry Photos Detection - toggle this on to have the AI group blurry images separately. You can also select how strict or lenient should the AI be when deciding if a photo is blurry or not.

  • Closed Eyes Detection - by having this option on, Aftershoot will analyze your images of faces with closed eyes and place them into a separate group.

Most of these preferences and filters can be adjusted through a slider. As a rule of thumb keeping the slider on the left side will give you fewer photos and keeping it on the right will give you more.

Another thing that you can customize to suit your needs better is Stars & Colors. To do that, press the Change Stars/Colors button.

On this screen, you can assign filters with the Color Labels and Star Ratings that make the most sense for your process.

And of course, you don't have to change these Preferences if you don't want to and can leave everything on default or opt for the Automated AI Cull.

AI-Assisted Cull

There are two Preferences you need to select here. First, you choose the photoshoot type you intend to cull in this session.

The second and last preference you need to set is how strictly you want the AI to decide which photos are similar, by choosing the amount and size of duplicate groups that you wish to receive.

After the Preferences have been set, simply click on Start Culling, sit back, and relax, while Aftershoot is importing and culling your images. Once it's done, you will receive a notification on your screen


Step 4: Review and Change Aftershoot Selections

Once Aftershoot is done culling your images it's time to review them. In this sense, both AI-Automated and AI-Assisted Culling are pretty similar, except for some features designed to improve the designated purpose of each culling type.

At this point, you can already export the images without reviewing them if you wish to do so. You can export directly into Lightroom or Capture One, or onto your device's memory.

Reviewing an AI-Automated Culling Session

The first thing you see once culling is over is a Grid View of all your images, which lets you view multiple images at once and quickly make adjustments to Aftershoot's selection.

You can access Quick Filters on the right side of the screen to view photos that were marked as Blurred, Closed Eyes, Selected, etc. More options are available at the top of the screen, where you can choose to display photos assigned with a specific Color Label and/or Star Rating.

To the right of that, you can find Advanced Filters, by clicking on which you can access filtering by Camera Type, Lens, Photographer Name, Image Orientation, and much more.

Next to Advanced Filters, you'll find the Sort Photos feature, which lets you decide the order in which your images appear by File Name, Capture Time, and Duplicate Count, in ascending or descending order.

Now, let's go over interacting with your images and changing Aftershoot's selections. Let's take a look at the image below.

Click on the image you wish to interact with to highlight it. Change or remove the Star or Color rating by clicking where they are displayed below the image. If an image has duplicates, circle through by clicking on the left and right arrows at the bottom of the image.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you can see the Key Faces on this image. Zoom in or out of to check their sharpness, by adjusting the slider above them. If an image has duplicates, they will be displayed below the Key Faces screen, for you to review.

Now, look at the top left side of the screen and click on the square icon - this will transition you into Loupe View.

In this view instead of focusing on multiple images at once, a single image is brought forward and center. Similarly to Grid View, you'll see Key Faces and Duplicates on the right side of the screen.

At the bottom of the image, you will see its name, and the same Star and Color rating controls as in the Grid View. To the left, you will see three more actions. The first one will disable the Color Label in case you don't want to see it. The second one will enable Image Scores, which will analyze the people in the image based on focus and closed eyes, and display the scores for you. And the last one lets you delete the image from this session.

At the bottom of the screen, you will see a carousel with all the other images in your culling session. You can switch to another image by clicking on it or by using the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard.

To the right of the Loupe View icon is the Survey Mode icon.

In this view, you can compare multiple duplicates side by side. Aftershoot will automatically detect duplicates and stack them for you to review. The rest of your images will display in the carousel at the bottom of the screen and you can sift through them using the same controls as in other views.

Aftershoot has a multitude of keyboard shortcuts to change ratings, circle through and select images. Check them out by clicking on the Key symbol at the top of the screen.

Find out more about using Keyboard Shortcuts in Aftershoot to improve your workflow in this article.

Reviewing an AI-Assisted Culling Session

AI-Assisted Culling comes with no Quick Filters, or Selected and Highlights grouping. Neither does it have automatic ratings for Blurry Images and Closed Eyes.

AI-Assisted Culling was designed in a way that gives you complete control over your image selections while enhancing and speeding up the experience with AI tools.

By default you will see your images in Loupe View and with Image Scores turned on.

But you can of course change to Grid View or Survey Mode the same way that you would in an AI-Automated AI Cull.

A notable difference between the Culling modes is Scenes View which shows your image duplicates stacked together.

If you want to unstack your duplicates you can just switch to All View.

Step 5: Save the Changes and Export the Photos

You're done with your culling session and now it's time to export your photos. That's if you don't want to edit them inside Aftershoot first of course. If you wish to do that check out our Culling & Editing Workflow article.

If you have made changes to Afershoot's selection you need to save them first before exporting. To do that click on the Save Changes button in the bottom right corner or by pressing Command + S on MacOS or Control + S on Windows.

Note: Keep in mind that if you haven't made any changes to Aftershoot's selection, you don't have to do this, and the button will just say Export Photos.

First, choose which photos you'd like to export. To do that, head over to Quick Filters and click on Selected, My Selections, Highlights, or any other filter. This will choose the photos marked under that filter to export. Then simply click on the Export Photos button on the bottom right corner.

A new screen will appear where you will have the choice between exporting your photos directly into Lightroom, Lightroom Classic or Capture One. You also have the option to export the photos into a folder of your choice on your device.

If you opted for exporting your images directly into an app, Aftershoot will open that app on the Import Screen with the selected photos already being chosen.

Note: If you're using Aftershoot on Windows, it's not possible for us to have the "Selected Images" preselected on the Import Screen. Instead, Aftershoot will let you import all your photos into Lightroom or Capture One.

Then simply click the Import button and let Lightroom or Capture One import the images. Once it's done, you should be able to see your Star Ratings and Color Labels applied inside Aftershoot, here as well.

Importing images manually is just as simple. Head to the folder that contains the culled images on your device and drag and drop it directly into Lightroom or Capture One. This will have the same results as exporting All Photos from Aftershoot directly into the apps.


If you encounter issues while using Aftershoot or notice that something doesn't work as it's supposed to, consult our Troubleshooting blog to see how to solve common issues with the app.

If that doesn't help, feel free to contact us at [email protected] - it will be our pleasure to help you out!

Make sure you join our Facebook Community of like-minded photographers and creatives who are dedicated to winning their time back by using Aftershoot!

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