WHAT IS CULLING IN PHOTOGRAPHY?

what is culling in photography

Photographers are constantly faced with what to include and what to exclude from their photos. The culling process is the act of selecting all the images that will be included in a photo album, for example, or what photos will make it through post-production editing. Photographic culling can result in an abundance of material that isn’t used, which photographers refer to as “losing.” This article will explore some common reasons why photographers might choose not to use certain images they’ve captured.

Why Do Photographers Cull?

There are a few reasons why photographers might cull their images:

To Reduce The Number Of Files To Be Edited

One common reason photographers cull their images is to reduce the number of files to be edited. This can be helpful when you’re working with tight deadlines or a limited amount of storage space. Culling your photos also helps you focus on the best final images and makes it easier to edit them.

To Get Rid Of Bad Photos

Not every photo you take will inevitably be a winner. Sometimes, the lighting is off, the composition is cluttered, or someone walks into the frame at the wrong moment. When this happens, it’s best to get rid of the image and move on.

To Save Time

Culling can also help you save time in the image editing process. If you know you have a great photo, there’s no need to spend time fiddling with small details. You can move on to perfecting the next shot.

How Do Photographers Cull?

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There are a few ways photographers cull their images:

Manually Going Through Each Photo and Selecting the Best Ones

One of the most common ways of culling images is by manually going through each photo and selecting the best ones. This can be done using software like Adobe Lightroom or Apple Photos.

Using Auto-culling Features

Some newer cameras have auto-culling features that can help save time. For example, the Nikon D850 has a “group select” feature that lets you quickly select a group of similar images which helps with photo culling

Using Third-party Apps

There are also a few third-party apps that can help with culling raw files. PhotoPills, for example, offers a “Selections” feature that makes it easy to choose the best photos from a shoot.

What Are The Different Systems Used For Culling?

Two main systems can be used for culling:

The star system

Photographers rate their images from one to five stars in the star system. This is a quick and easy way to identify the best photos from a shoot.

The Keep/Delete System

In the keep/delete system, photographers choose which photos they want to keep and which ones they want to delete and transfer them to a separate folder. This can be helpful if you’re unsure about what photos to include in your final edit.

Color Labeling System

Some photographers also use a color labeling system to help with editing photos. Each photo is assigned a color in this system, which represents its quality. For example, green might represent a great photo, while red might represent a bad photo.

This system can be helpful if you’re working with many images and need to identify the best ones quickly.

No matter what system you use, or how many images are available, it’s important to be consistent with your ratings. This will help you quickly identify the best photos from each shoot.

When Should You Cull Your Photos?

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There are a few different times when you might want to cull your photos:

After a Shoot

One of the best times to cull your photos is immediately after a shoot. This will help you quickly select images and make it easier to edit them later.

Before You Edit

Culling your photos before you edit can also be helpful. This way, you can focus on perfecting the best images instead of spending time on flagged images that aren’t worth editing.

When You’re Done Editing

You might also want to go through your photos one last time after you’re done editing. This way, you can ensure you didn’t miss anything during the editing process.

How To Cull Pictures Using Lightroom

Lightroom is a popular photo editing software that can be used for culling. To use Lightroom for culling, you first need to import your photos into the software.

Once your photos are imported, you can begin rating them using the star system. Click on the photo you want to rate, and then click on the number of stars you want to give it.

You can also use the color labeling system in Lightroom. Click on the photo you want to label and then click on the “Color Label” button. You can choose what color you want to assign to the photo.

Once you’re done rating and labeling your photos, you can begin culling them. To do this, click on the “Library” tab and click on the “Filter” button.

From there, you can choose what photos you want to see. For example, you can choose only to see photos rated three stars or higher. Or, you can choose only to see photos that are labeled green.

Once you’ve selected the photos you want to keep, you can click on the “Select” button and click on the “Delete” button. This will delete all of the photos that aren’t selected.

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully culled your photos using Lightroom.

How To Cull Pictures Using Apple Photos

Apple Photos is another popular photo editing software used for culling. To use Apple Photos for culling, you first need to import your photos into the software.

Once your photos are imported, you can begin rating them using the star system. Simply click on the photo you want to rate and then click on the number of stars you want to give it.

You can also use the color labeling system in Apple Photos. Click on the photo you want to label and then click on the “Color Label” button. You can choose what color you want to assign to the photo.

Once you’re done rating and labeling your photos, you can begin culling them. Click on the “Albums” tab and then click on the “All Photos” album.

You can click on the “Select” button and then choose what photos you want to keep. Once you’ve selected the photos you want to keep, you can click on the “Delete” button. This will delete all of the photos that aren’t selected.

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully culled your photos using Apple Photos.

How To Cull Pictures Using Picasa

Picasa is another popular photo editing software that can be used for culling. To use Picasa for culling, you first need to import your photos into the software.

Once your photos are imported, you can begin rating them using the star system. Simply click on the photo you want to rate and then click on the number of stars you want to give it.

You can also use the color labeling system in Picasa. Click on the photo you want to label and then click on the “Color Label” button. You can choose what color you want to assign to the photo.

Once you’re done rating and labeling your photos, you can begin culling them. To do this, click on the “Library” tab and click on the “Filter” button.

From there, you can choose what photos you want to see. For example, you can choose only to see photos rated three stars or higher. Or, you can choose only to see photos that are labeled green.

Once you’ve selected the photos you want to keep, you can click on the “Select” button and click on the “Delete” button. This will delete all of the photos that aren’t selected.

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully culled your photos using Picasa.

Culling Tips

Now that you know how to cull your photos, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start by rating your photos using the star system. This will give you a good idea of which keepers are and which ones you can delete.
  • Once you’ve rated your photos, begin labeling them using the color system. This will help you track which photos you want to keep and which ones you can delete.
  • When you’re ready to start culling, start selecting the photos you want to keep. Then, click on the “Delete” button to delete all other photos.
  • If you’re not sure if you should delete a photo or not, sleep on it! Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a break and return to your photos with fresh eyes. This will help you decide what to keep and what to delete.
  • And lastly, don’t be afraid to delete photos. Remember, you can always take more! So if you’re not sure if a photo is worth keeping, err on the side of caution and delete it.

Benefits of Culling

Culling your photos has a few benefits, including:

  • It helps you focus on the best images
  • It saves time in the editing process
  • It helps you identify what needs to be improved
  • It makes it easier to find specific photos

Drawbacks of Culling

While there are some benefits to culling your photos, there are also a few drawbacks, including:

  • It can be time-consuming
  • You might accidentally delete a good photo
  • You might not be able to tell if a photo is good or bad at first glance

Conclusion

Culling your photos is a great way to improve your photography skills and editing process. You can easily select the best ones to keep by rating and labeling your photos. And by deleting the rest, you’ll have more time to focus on the images that matter. Culling your photos isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it!

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