Blog > Culling Is Painful & Lightroom Is Not the Tool To Do It With

Culling Is Painful & Lightroom Is Not the Tool To Do It With

a camera, cup of coffee, and a laptop with FilterPixel on screen

It’s always exciting to shoot and return to your workplace with full energy to dive deep into your photos.

Everything goes well until you took your sd card out of your camera and started having a gut-wrenching feeling – the culling.

While you still want to deliver the shoot faster to your client, the process of culling inside Lightroom will never let you do so.

Even after learning from photography experts the various tips and tricks on photo culling, you still feel busy in this repetitive part of the workflow that you don’t like.

But have you ever stopped for one minute and thought about why culling really takes time? It is possible that it is not your fault but actually the fault of using the wrong tool for an important part of your workflow.

How do you cull inside Lightroom?

While Lightroom is not the best way to cull your photos, there are still ways to achieve some productivity.
Let’s see what can be the most productive workflow to cull photos inside Lightroom.

1. High-Speed Pass

The most effective way to start your culling inside Lightroom is to go through all the images as fast as possible and mark all the blurry, out of focus, and closed eyes with errors and warnings.

In this way, you will be most productive in your next iteration as our mind allows us to focus on one task at a time very well.

closed eyes
Credits: Maribella Portraits

2. Second Pass and Choosing the best from duplicates

In the second pass, you go through all your similar images and select the best ones from them. This can be on various factors like composition, framing, etc., based on the way you pick photos. Selection is just like pressing p on the keyboard inside the lightroom.

You can also star/color these images according to your workflow.

Now, you are done with 2/3rd of your work, till this step, and ready for your last pass.

3. Last Pass

You have to go through your selected files in the last pass and star/color them for different purposes. For example, 5 stars to the ones you want to send to the client and 4 stars to the ones you want to take to social media.

best portrait
Credits: Maribella Portraits

Why is Photo Culling painful in Lightroom?

Lightroom is not bad software; it’s an industry-standard tool for photographers. But one tool can’t fit all tasks, and lightroom is not a dedicated photo culling software.

The entire Lightroom culling experience can be divided into the following parts:

  1. Importing photos and waiting for Lightroom to generate previews
  2. Checking focus, eye quality on each photo and getting rid of bad ones [ Rapid Cull ]
  3. Procrastinating between duplicates to decide which one is best
  4. Make your final selections and take them for editing.

The icing on the cake is the boringness and frustration that adds to this culling process, and that’s why it never completes in a single iteration.

Even if you are the most productive person on earth, you can’t deny that the lightroom operates at snail-like speed. One of the major frustrations is preview rendering speed and the storage of the entire catalog it creates on the disc.

The most repetitive and boring process is your first iteration, where you have to check every photo for focus and blinks.

The lightroom is a heavy application, and when it comes to culling, it definitely is not the best way to add productivity to your workflow.

Using a dedicated Photo Culling Software

A dedicated photo culling software helps you clean your workflow and removes all the distractions you have while culling inside Lightroom.

If the photo culling software is AI-Powered, that gives an exponential boost to your productivity.

An AI-based culling software automatically can check eyes and focus and can reduce your workload inside Lightroom.

It can also group all duplicates so that you can pick up your favorites quickly from them.

While the AI is not deciding the best photo for you, you still save 70% of the frustration you actually have to go through otherwise inside the lightroom.

That’s how FilterPixel AI culling software works:

  • Import files instantly and generates real-time previews.
  • Auto Tags photos with focus and eye quality issues with errors and warnings
  • Groups all similar files together so that you can select your favorites
  • It integrates seamlessly with Lightroom.

It reduces your number of iterations from three to one. As lightroom is a heavy application, light photo culling software will not clog your system for resources.


Lightroom was never designed for culling photos, and it will never fit our needs when it comes to using it as a dedicated photo culling software.

As the world is progressing towards AI, we see AI software booming into the photography industry.

It’s time to realize that technology can help make our lives easier by making culling less painful.

You can try FilterPixel AI culling software for free by signing up here

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