9 Best AI & Non-AI Photo Culling Softwares in 2021

9 Best AI & Non-AI Photo Culling Softwares in 2021

We all agree that Photo Culling is a wearisome task and quite frankly, the whole process is sluggish and takes away a big chunk of time out of a photographer’s workflow.

If you are on the lookout for a great photo culling software, then here is a list that could be your big answer for a faster photo culling workflow.


  1. Narrative Select
  2. FilterPixel
  3. Optyx
  4. Cull AI
  5. Kodak Pro Select
  6. Lightroom
  7. PhotoMechanic
  8. Fast raw viewer
  9. ACDSee

Now let’s look into Photo Culling Apps that are powered by AI

AI-based Softwares are most effective and advantageous in an environment where the job is monotonous and time is of real essence. It’s efficient, super-fast and helps automate your workflow

However, some might wonder how AI figures in Professional Photography.

Would you simply trust an algorithm based on AI to make creative decisions for you?

Well, it sure has its advantages and disadvantages! However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by a long stretch and the drawbacks are so minute in comparison that it’s almost negligible.

AI-Based Photo Culling Softwares

1. Narrative Select: Beta version

Narrative Select is a photo culling app that is powered by AI and culls images very quickly by eliminating out of focus, blurred and blinking eye images.

Compatibility: Mac (No Windows version yet, but on its way)

Pricing Information: Not disclosed yet (Currently offers free trials)

Winning Features:

  • Has an interesting Close-up feature that gives you a closer look at all the faces from an image and makes it easier to rate them quickly.
  • AI Assessment tool that assesses images and shows colour coded warnings on the image based on the quality of the image.
  • Features like “standard zoom” and “zoom to face” make zooming in and out of faces easy with one quick tap on your spacebar
  • Easy keyboard shortcuts to apply star ratings, colour rating, to tag/untag images, to clear ratings etc.
  • One-click import to Lightroom by using the Ship button
  • Enables you to work on multiple projects with their multi-tab feature.
  • Colour coded segregations like Green, Red (full eyes closed) and Yellow (partial blinking)
  • Great for portrait and wedding photography culling.

    Supports CR2 CR3 CRW NEF NRW RAF JPG JPEG DNG Files.

2. FilterPixel: Beta version

FilterPixel’s Beta is an AI-based photo culling software that culls 1000’s photos at once. It segregates the images with errors even as it’s importing files.

Compatibility: MAC and Windows

Pricing Information: Not disclosed yet (free trial for your first 3 projects)

Winning Features:

  • A faster culling process that segregates “out of focus”, blurred or closed eye images while you are importing
  • Smart Bar feature that quickly segregates images into 4 different categories as Accepted, Rejected( major eye quality and out of focus issues), Warnings( Minor issues like focus and eye quality) and Unrated (photos without any issues)
  • AI Sliders that further chooses the best among the good with regard to eye quality and focus.
  • Face view feature to quickly check errors without zooming in and out.
  • Easy keyboard shortcuts to apply star ratings, colour ratings, to clear the ratings and to tag/untag images
  • Syncs photos to Lightroom seamlessly with a single click.

What’s new?

Look out for their dedicated Lightroom plugin which will allow you to see colours, ratings, and keywords as flags inside Lightroom.

3. Optyx

Optyx is a photo culling software that selects your best shots in seconds by using AI technology

Compatibility: Mac and Windows (also compatible with Apple’s latest MacBook with M1 chip)

Pricing Information: Free version with 100 Photo Limit Per shoot, Pro version with unlimited Photo Limit, priced at $99.99 as a one-time purchase

Winning features:

  • Culls images and segregates them into different groups according to their similarities.
  • Auto group feature picks up the best shot from a series that is from the same timestamp or which are very similar
  • Auto Cull Feature has different culling profiles like rating, colour, picks and portraits. It auto culls and assigns star ratings to the sharpest faces or happy faces.
  • Also picks the best photo that has a combination of people. Picks and rates images according to their sharpness, overall best and solo images etc.…
  • 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)

What’s New: Release of Optyx v1.5 version that promises sharpness labels with higher accuracy.

Compatible with Apple’s latest MacBook with M1 chip.

4. Cull AI

Compatibility: MAC (Windows version coming soon)

Pricing Information: Free

Winning features:

  • Automatically detects important faces that appear more often ( like the bride and groom) while selecting the best photo in the group and flags it as ‘Picked’
  • Face Capture quality: Chooses photo from a group of photos with the best overall quality of each person that is present in the image
  • Filters bad quality photos from the good ones from a group of similar images
  • Filters like Face Capture quality, help in weeding out photos with bad lighting quality, camera shake, closed eyes etc.
  • It groups all the photos that are similar and selects the best of the lot.
  • Can also adjust the grouping sensitivity by higher or lower sensitivity groups. The higher the sensitivity, groups more photos together which could be less similar

What to look out for: (windows version coming soon)

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.

Compatibility: Windows 10 and Mac Mojave

Pricing: (30 day free trial), $299.95 / year or $29.25 / month

Winning features:

  • · Easy keyword tagging and star rating tool for a faster workflow
  • · Groups duplicate images together for a faster selection process
  • · Segregates photos according to colour, focus, brightness, exposure, contrast and sharpness and other aesthetic qualities like eyes opened, smiling faces and centred faces.
  • · Easy and fast interaction with Kodak’s cloud-based software


NON-AI-Based Platforms

6. 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 OS and Windows (64-bit edition of 8, 9, 10) not compatible with Windows Vista, XP, NT, 2000, ME, 98 or 95

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

Winning Features:

  • · Quickly ingests images from your memory card or your drive with utmost ease.
  • · Solely used for culling photos, Photo Mechanic doesn’t offer too many editing options except for a few basic features like crop and tag/untag
  • · A great platform for image tagging and browsing, their IPTC metadata feature is very extensive and helps in sorting your images for further use, especially when you want them copyrighted for selling.
  • · Code replacement feature to caption or use shortcodes to names in the image. Especially useful when you are a Sports Photographer. You can simply add codes instead of the player’s name that are often long and complicated to remember hence making your keywording process faster.

7. ACDsee Ultimate

ACDSee Ultimate is a versatile tool that can be used for photo culling, cataloguing and photo editing. It also has customisable keyboard shortcuts to increase your culling and editing process.

Compatibility: Microsoft 2010 or above

Pricing: Subscription Plan at $8.90 or $89 per year (Lifetime License at a discounted rate $109.95)

Winning Features

  • Its ‘Multiple Layers’ feature lets you use histograms to add layers and adjust different aspects of the photo (great for portraits)
  • “Colour tonewheel” feature to adjust the colour tone of the image and a slider section along with it to make changes for that chosen colour scheme.
  • You can create customized pre-sets using an array of options and use batches to apply these pre-sets to all your images.
  • The “Automatic focus stacking” feature is pretty good, especially if you are photographing still lifes. It blends similar images, picks up the sharpest element from each image and creates a new image with the best combination to enhance the focus and sharpness.

8. Adobe Lightroom

Compatibility: Windows 10 (64-bit version) and mac os Mojave (version 10.14 or later)

Pricing: $9.99/month

  • Lightroom, like Photoshop, is one of the best photo editing platforms that is used by almost every professional photographer in the world. Though culling with speed is not its best feature, it still is used extensively by most to process and edit photos.
  • Winning features:
  • Library Module to cull images faster to increase speed and organisation.
  • Render previews directly from your import dialogue box
  • Can use the “build smart previews” tool to increase the speed of culling while importing 1000s of images
  • Can use the “use smart previews” option instead of the original preview to edit your photos immediately.
  • Keyboard shortcuts to clear clutter like background and information overlay above the image.
  • Lights out mode to darken or blackout the surroundings outside the image for better concentration

9. Fastraw viewer

Compatibility: Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10) and Mac os (10.12 +)

Pricing: Free 30 day trial period (Introductory price at $14.99 and 19.99 thereafter))

  • If you are looking for a platform that handles raw files like a pro, then Fastraw viewer is the tool for you. It not only reads embedded JPEG images+ Raw images but also reads and ingests its original raw file along with its raw histogram
  • Winning Features
  • It ingests every kind of raw file with speed and efficiency. This eases the decision-making with a quick preview of real raw data and statistics.
  • The “Highlights inspection tool” increases the contrast in the highlights of the image to determine what can or cannot be corrected. This quickly helps in deciding if you want to keep the image or get rid of it.
  • “Display fine details” feature that shows the finer details and the sharpness degree in a raw image.


While some might argue that human intelligence is far more capable of handling situations based on past experiences, abstract ideas and self-derived creative insights, adapting an AI environment into a tedious workflow is far more practical and rational at most times.

Also, considering how AI has taken over most businesses across all major platforms, AI-based Photo Culling Softwares can be your perfect solution if you are looking at automating your work-flow with speed and efficiency and still own complete control over your final resolution.

Want to save your photo editing time?

Hey, I'm Aayush Arora, founder of FilterPixel. FilterPixel has saved 10k hours for photographers around the globe. My only question is, how many it will be able to save for you?

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