One of the most time-consuming parts of your workflow is also one of the most important. But if someone said you never had to cull again, would you jump at the opportunity? Picturesqe is hoping everyone’s answer is yes, because their software claims to select your best shots for you. That’s a hefty promise to make, but to deliver on it could mean a turning point in the creative process we all go through.
This could be a fundamentally huge change in how we sift through the onslaught of data we now produce as digital artists. Wedding photographers in particular are used to returning from jobs with thousands of images to go through, and culling is a time-consuming but necessary process to undertake.
“The problem is that professional photographers take thousands of photos and have to spend countless hours to manually delete wrong shots and select the best ones,” Daniel Szollosi, founder and CEO of Picturesqe, told TechCrunch. “Speed to market is a crucial factor, such as in live sports. And in other fields (e.g. weddings, events) dozens of pictures are very similar, so that the final selection becomes an expensive, time-consuming task.”
Even if you have a solid culling process in place, it can take upwards of a few hours per gig depending on how many photos you average and how meticulous you are. I currently use Photo Mechanic and an Xbox controller to cull my images at a fairly good pace, but outsourcing that to an automated solution is very tempting. While you’ll still be in control of what the final selection of photos is, Picturesqe’s ultimate goal is to take the culling reigns completely after you’ve interacted with it enough to teach it what a good photo is, and what a good photo isn’t.
Picturesqe supports over 600 RAW camera formats and automatically groups photos together that are visually similar, then ranks “them based on visual aesthetics.” It will also flag for deletion any shots that fall short on sharpness or exposure, saving you the trouble of sifting out blurry or over/under-exposed photos. Selecting the sharpest photo is easy with the “intelligent zoom” feature, which zooms into the same area on all photos being compared. Picturesqe uses your feedback to get better and better at automatically ranking your photos, which means you should save more time the more you use it. In the end, you still get the final say as to which photo(s) from a set are selected.
I’m curious to see photographer’s reactions to the announcement of this sort of technology. Is this something you’ve been secretly begging for? Or is this something that will kill an entire creative portion of our workflows? I’m currently using Picturesqe side-by-side with Photo Mechanic to see how it develops as time goes on.
Picturesqe is currently available for Windows as a stand alone application or Lightroom plugin, and is free for the first three months. After the trial period there are various subscription plans to choose from, from $9.99 monthly to $39.99 yearly.