Lightroom Classic: Culling experience prior to import

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  • Updated 2 months ago
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I feel that Lightroom needs to adapt to the current needs of photographers. A lot of busy event photographers I know cull in an external application such Photo Mechanic or Irfanview because these are faster.
I would still like to be able to to that process in Lightroom itself. I want to suggest two process:
1. A new Cull Photos option in the file menu that opens a wizard style import dialog box. First you select a folder and then you go full screen to cycle through photos (with the spacebar) and delete photos you're sure you won't use. You can select in the preferences if the Culling Wizard uses the embedded Jpeg inside the RAW files (speedy) or reads the actual RAW file (slower). Even better would be a way to switch that with a keyboard shortcut while inside the wizard. Once images are culled they are imported into the catalog. 
2. A new Culling screen next to the Library | Develop screens. This will be aimed at people who have fast computers. The difference from option 1 will be that you will load all your photos into Lightroom, go into the Culling Screen and choose the photos you don't like or like there in full screen (or not). In terms of functionality it will be similar to what you can already do right now with flags in order to at the end delete rejected photos and/or with the rating system but easier to find and activate with relevant side buttons on the side or as pop up transparent buttons in the bottom in full screen (coming up when you scroll to the bottom or with one customizable key). Again, all this functionality exists right now in Lightroom but is just difficult to get to (very small on 4K screens), or to even realize it exists . 

I hope this all makes sense. I can post later some sample graphics menus when I have time.
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Amit Zinman

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Posted 2 months ago

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Joel Weisbrod

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Have you tried using Embedded Preview Creation during import. This speeds up the import and makes review in Library mode quite speedy.
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Amit Zinman

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That is definitely something I would look into, but what if I shoot 5000 photos and I don't even want them to get into my catalog or spend time and disk resource for building a preview for them? It also might not make sense in my process as I only need to do the speedy culling in the first phase and then choose the photos that actually go to the client by evaluating the actual RAW file.  
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Joel Weisbrod

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Okay, so you either do the culling on the Import Dialog or just let them import with the embedded preview (get coffee or something while it is importing). Then, walk through the grid (full size loupe view on second monitor if possible) and set the flag (click or press "P") for anything you want to keep. When done, create a filter for UNFLAGGED photos, select all, right-click and select "Remove Photos" and poof they are gone. This uses LR as a proofing tool as designed. I do this all the time and I find it to be the best and quickest way to make these choices. This way, you also can use COMPARE or SURVEY view mode to see more than one image at a time to choose the best of a series. There are many other reasons this is a great methodology - try it out!
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Amit Zinman

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Yes I know how to do this, but it is hard to find it and get to it and also it's very very slow on some machines including my own laptop.  Also, I don't drink coffee and creating previews for 5000 photos can take quite a long time. That's why most photographers I know use and even buy external apps.
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john beardsworth

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If you don't want to get the images into your catalogue when reviewing them, you could always use the Import dialog. In Import's Loupe view you can zoom in at 1:1 using the embedded preview. The X and P shortcuts let you mark the current image as a reject or as one to import. Hit the Import button and only the selects are imported.

There has always been a niche of high-volume fast-turnaround shooters who will use PhotoMechanic, and I don't think this is a bigger demand now than it was years ago.
(Edited)
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Amit Zinman

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This niche is become bigger as cameras like the Sony A7/9 provide more frames per second.  I can tell you that a lot of wedding photographers on FB forums are looking elsewhere for software that is cheaper, faster and easier to use. I think that Lightroom should follow the actual process of actual digital photographers, move away from its film inspiration.
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john beardsworth

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Lightroom doesn't have a film inspiration. It was explicitly introduced for a fully digital workflow.
I agree that high frame rates in mirrorless cameras is a growing problem - I can shoot at 14fps and sometimes return home with 3-4000 frames. But I just don't see that reflected in greater interest in PhotoMechanic (which I've used for 12+ years) or the like. The niche interest has always been there, and probably always will be, just like the CaptureOne image quality or customisable UI crowd, but the way forward for Lightroom isn't to chase these niches.
You seem to ignore advice to use the embedded and sidecar method (hard to find, really?), use Compare, or cull with the Import dialog, but these are there specifically for higher volume use.
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Amit Zinman

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I am not ignoring this advice, I did look into it and it works okay once you get used to the tiny tiny inconvenient buttons at on the right bottom side of the screen. My tests show that it works pretty well with a strong fast computer, while my previous method (using irfanview) works fast even on the slowest laptop.
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Hamish Niven

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I'm in total agreement with you here,  LR is obnoxiously slow when it comes to importing and a way to cull would be wonderful.  I don't shoot 5,000 pix a day, but  importing images that will go straight to the bin is a waste of time and resources.
The native OSX generates previews faster than LR does, so I often copy my images to where I want them to be on my hard drives and then cull, then import the folder into LR - again its another step that could be implemented from LR's import dialogue / cull feature rather than using external software / Operating system.

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dmeephd

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I have to agree with John.  LR should not be attempting to catch up with the niche market programs.  I think they should focus on streamlining LR, boosting performance, and dropping useless features which perform poorly (GPS) or not at all (facial recognition).

I download my images direct form the cards to an external drive, use the Mac OS to rename, and then quickly cull the obvious crap.  Then, if I am on a time-sensitive assignment (motorsports), I use Photo Mechanic to apply keywords, do some more culling, and then import into LR.

If the assignment was not time-sensitive, or for pleasure, I skip PM and go from the drive to LR.

Once in LR, I open DxO Optics and apply their lens and camera profiles—which are far superior to those from Adobe; this creates a set of .dop files—and then post-process in LR (or other, specialized external editors).

What I would like to see is the ability to disable LR from attempting to Import and Build Previews in parallel.  This 'feature' in LR 7.x is bad news.  It has significantly slowed down the import process as LR was never optimized for multiple-core processing.  (I have asked about this several times on this forum to see if I am missing an obvious way to disable this behavior but heard nada, so there probably isn't.  Too bad.  Bad decision by Adobe developers.)
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Hamish Niven

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facial recognition is not important for me, but it is pretty damn accurate, so I'll not agree with you on that one @dmeepdh, because it works for those who need it.
100% behind you when it comes to making the program actually perform at speed - that would be nice.

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Olivenoire

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It is maybe too early for me to share my very first test.
But after year using LR4-5-6 I'm not happy with the actual offer. LR classic is fat and slow. LR CC is under powered.
And I've discover "exposure x4". Did not know before. It seems developing is great but It seems good enough for culling. Maybe you should give a try.