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A Complete Guide On Culling Photos & Why We Do It

Culling is the first step in the post-production phase. Whatever be the photography style or type – this is a process that pretty much every photographer has to go through (unless you outsource it. But more on that later). After a photography gig, you often come home with hundreds and sometimes thousands of images in your drive, and not every image is a masterpiece, but what you finally deliver to your clients should be. And that requires going through every single photograph you have taken. Moreover, editing takes time and effort, so in a way, culling saves you from wasting time editing photographs that are not worth it. Want to learn more about culling photos and why it’s a necessary part of your post-production workflow? Then we have answers for you.

What is Culling?

Infographic stating what is culling and why do you need it

Culling is the process of segregation and careful selection of photos before moving on to the photo editing phase. It requires you to go through all the photographs and sort/choose them in order to keep only the ones that stand out. It’s a great way to save your time and energy because you only have to edit a bunch of selected photos out of the hundreds or thousands that you initially captured.

Why Do We Need to Cull?

Are you still confused about the use and need for culling? The following reasons simplify why you need to make this process a part of your post-production workflow.

1. Remove Duplicates

Infographic stating culling removes blinks, blurs, and duplicate images

As wedding photographers, you are always on the lookout for special moments, and that sometimes leads you to capture multiple photos of the same scene, which often leads to duplicates. The process of culling photos can help you steer clear of these duplicate images (which add no value and just occupy digital space) as you choose the best and remove the rest.

2. Steer Clear of Bad/Random Photos

Of all the images that you photographed, there are going to be some that are just random and don’t serve any purpose. They can be images with bad facial expressions, poor lighting, out-of-focus subjects, etc. Culling helps you weed out such images at an initial stage so that you can focus on photographs that will impress and please your clients instead.

3. Save Editing Time

Now that you have already removed most of the bad images, it leaves you with only a few selected ones that you can start editing. This way, you can speed up your post-production workflow by only working on the images that need to be delivered to the client. Even though the process of culling is time-consuming, it does save you a lot of time in the long run. Imagine editing images and then realizing that there’s no saving them because they are just not up to the mark? Even if you wasted 5-15 minutes editing it, that’s still time wasted. And this eventually increases your turnaround time, which is not great news for your wedding photography business. Moreover, couples don’t want to receive every single image from the wedding, they only want the best ones.

How to Cull Photos

Now that we have already talked about the benefits of culling, the next step is to get it done. Here’s how to do it quickly.

1. First Cull, Then Edit

Infographic stating culling saves time because you are not editing bad photos

Going back and forth between the same steps helps no one. Instead, it makes the process more complicated and exhausting. So we’d suggest that you cull first and then move to edit. Doing both jobs without paying your full attention to either not only defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place but also makes it more time-consuming. So before you wear your photo editor hat, go through all the photos, and select the ones that need to be edited.

2. Be Very Specific

One of the challenging things about culling photos that you have photographed yourself is that they might all appear good to you, making it difficult for you to decide which ones to reject. However, to deliver absolute perfection to your clients, you need to be tough and strict as you cull. You could even pretend that you are culling for someone else. Be very specific about what you select, and at the same time, don’t overthink. The motive is to choose the best from a set of every scene.

3. Streamline the Process by Picking a System

There are several ways you can choose to cull, and there are different photo culling software you can use. However, to streamline everything, you must stick with a process that works for you. Everything takes time when you are doing it for the first time, but if you stick with a process, you get used to it, and it may even seem to get easier as time passes. The same goes for the process of culling photos. Flagging, star rating, and color labeling – different things work for different photographers. Find out what works for you and stick with it. This way, culling won’t feel like a new or exhausting process every time you do it.

Related Read: Culling Images In Lightroom: A Step-By-Step Guide

Free Culling for Life

Infographic stating ShootDotEdit offers free culling services for life. Yes, you read that right

Culling photos can become time-consuming and tiring, but as much as you may want to skip it sometimes, it is an essential part of post-production and also something that saves you a lot of time. However, if you wish to speed up your post-production workflow and jump ahead to the part of delivering the photos to your clients – we can make it happen. One of the ways to free your time is never to cull again. And ShootDotEdit can make that happen with free culling for life. Yes! You read it right. Not only do you never have to cull again, but you don’t have to pay for it either. This service comes as an added benefit with the Unlimited Plan with the fastest turnaround time of 48 hours.

At ShootDotEdit, we aim to make your post-production workflow easier by taking editing off your plate. This way, you can invest more time in growing your wedding photography business. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.


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