Project Description

Photo culling is a crucial, front-end element of post-processing. This tutorial demonstrates efficient methods for sifting through the good, the bad, and the excellent image selections from a portrait session.

Photos: Kyle Ford


Because Exposure does not use a catalog, image copying doesn’t require a lengthy import step. Instead, it’s a fast, streamlined process of copying photos, applying metadata, and renaming them in a single step.

During the copy process, you able to begin working with the images immediately. There’s no waiting around on a slow import process. If you already have your photos on your system, you can use Exposure to simply navigate to them and begin working, without the need to import them.

A great place to start is by assigning a reject flag to any photos that will not be included in the final selection.

The mouse or the shortcut keys can be used to cull through a photo shoot. Shortcut keys cover most of the culling steps in Exposure, and help you work faster. View or print out a PDF of all Exposure’s shortcut keys from the Help menu.

Press the minus key to assign the reject flag. Hold the Shift key and press minus to assign the reject flag and have Exposure automatically cycle to the next image in the grid.

Browse through images one by one, or use the Grid view to select multiple photos. Press the on the Mac, or Ctrl on Windows to select which images to reject, then apply the reject flag (minus on the keyboard) to all of them simultaneously. Rejected photos are dimmed in the grid view.

Unclutter the view by hiding the images marked as rejects. This will display only the candidates for editing. Refine the remaining selections using star ratings.

Rate images from thumbnails in the Grid view. The thumbnail size can be changed to see them clearly. Use the keys 1 through 5 on the keyboard to assign star ratings.

Full-sized images can also be viewed when applying ratings. When using full-sized view, holding the Shift key will cycle through to the next image after you assign a rating. When the session’s images have been organized and rated. Use a filter to sort which images appear in your view.

Now the session has been narrowed down to just a few images. Exposure’s Side-By-Side comparison views are helpful here. From Fit view, select one of the comparison view options. When activated, the Link Views feature enables panning and zooming both images at once. This enables a quick zooming ability to compare finer details, like expressions.

Color labels are another helpful way of keeping track of images for different purposes. If you’re working with lots of images for different purposes, having five color labels really helps you quickly classify them. For example, assigning a red color label in your workflow could indicate files for social media and internet uploads. A green color label could be used to mark images for print.

Organizing your images while you cull your sessions is a great way to keep things tidy. Being able to quickly locate specific images you captured plays a huge role in fulfilling your client’s needs, even if you just shoot for fun or for friends and family.