The Fastest-Growing Culling Tool: Narrative Select Software Arrives for Windows

The Fastest-Growing Culling Tool: Narrative Select Software Arrives for Windows

“It's not AI that will take your job; it’s someone who’s using AI who will.” Narrative Select is the fastest-growing photo-culling software. Until now, it’s only been available to Mac users. That is about to change, as it becomes available to even more photographers.

Already claiming a hefty user database with a culling rate of over a billion photos a year, ever more photographers are switching to Narrative Select because of its excellent use of AI that leaves overall control with the photographer. Previously only offered to Mac users, photographers using Windows machines will now benefit from its first-class culling capabilities too.

As every professional photographer knows, the most time-consuming and often boring task is selecting images. Yet, it is an essential part of our workflow. It’s a painfully slow process that most of us would like to speed up if we could. Furthermore, substantially cutting not only brings major financial savings but gives us the chance to do other work instead; it reduces the opportunity cost. This is where Narrative Select comes into play.

Using AI for culling is especially useful for photographers commissioned for weddings, events, family shoots, and portraits. It helps us to flag images where, for example, we have missed focus, or the bride has blinked.

Narrative's CEO and founder, James Broadbent, a successful international wedding and elopement photographer at his other business Chasewild, explains how Narrative came about:

For every day I spent behind the camera, I would spend four behind the computer, and one of those days was dedicated to the culling process. Culling is one of the most important aspects of your workflow. It defines your work, what you deliver, and what you share on your website or social media.

However, the process can be painful. It involves making thousands of repetitive decisions, spending hours in the weeds, and trying to determine if people are in focus, what their expressions are, and how each image contributes to the overall story.

The pain of this process drains your creative energy and hinders you from producing your best work. I wanted to create something that was lightning-fast and eliminated the thousands of small decisions involved in culling. This way, I could channel my energy towards the creative aspects of culling that define my photography and my style.

James Broadbent, CEO and Founder at Narrative.

James Broadbent

At first, Narrative was only available for Mac. That restriction was so that the company could concentrate on developing and perfecting the product. By repeating and tweaking steps in its design, James and his team continuously improved it, making it the superb software it is today.

Part of that was developing a new culling mode called Scenes View, powered by AI. It was designed to streamline the photographer’s workflow using AI, while still allowing the photographer to maintain creative control. Narrative Select places the images in order, putting what it thinks is the best first, but still allowing you to dig deeper and choose your more artistic shots if they are not the software’s first choice.

When using Narrative Select, the photographer is an integral part of the selection process. That is a key difference between Narrative Select and other AI culling tools. It's a fast program. Importing images takes less than three seconds. As an owner of an older computer, it is great to see that those requirements are relatively meager compared to other software: Windows 8 or later, a CPU with more than four cores or greater than 2 GHz clock speed, 8 GB Ram, and a GPU with 2 GB VRAM or greater with DirectX 12 support.  

We think this is important, as Select gives you speed when it comes to culling, but without compromising your craft and creativity.

Browsing through your shoot is speedy as well; there is no delay in image navigation.

Built into the software are indicators that warn you if eyes and faces are out of focus. Furthermore, Narrative Select's close-up panel ensures you can see everyone’s faces without having to zoom in and pan. There is also a handy Smart Face Zoom that will zoom straight into a face by tapping the space bar.

Focus and Eye Assessments provide you with critical information about subjects in any given shot, with helpful colored indicators that understand a huge variation of face and eye states. These indicators allow you to easily scan photos so to understand which are likely to be the best.

Focus assessments appear below subjects’ faces giving information about how well their faces are in focus, and Eye Assessments show whether a subject’s eyes are open or closed. There are also colored warnings that let you know if the software thinks there are better similar photos in the same scene. As you can see, it’s grown into an impressive tool. Consequently, ever-more numbers of photographers switching to it. Now that Narrative has refined the software, it is being released for Windows, which is great news for those of us with PCs.

AI is changing the way we operate. In some cases, it seems scary and threatening to photographers, especially considering its development speed. But like it or not, it is here to stay, and we can use it to our best advantage. Narrative Select is a tool that uses AI to help us with the time-consuming drudgery of culling while leaving us in control of our creativity.

At Narrative, we hold a core philosophy that emphasizes the vital role of photographers in the creative process of photography. While AI may appear to possess creative capabilities by generating innovative concepts, it lacks the fundamental attributes intrinsic to the creative process, such as consciousness, experience, and emotion. It is through tapping into these aspects of our experience that we discover the source of inspiration that we call upon in our art.

That philosophy is the driving force behind Narrative’s use of AI. It is a tool crafted to assist photographers, and not automate the entire process.

We firmly believe that AI should empower photographers to become the best versions of themselves. By alleviating the burden of countless trivial decisions, it enables them to channel their focus toward the deeply human aspects of creativity and unleash their true potential to produce their best work yet.

It's not AI that will take your job; it’s someone who’s using AI who will.

There’s little doubt that AI can greatly assist with the culling process, and Narrative Select is a first-class option for doing that. There are a range of plans available. What’s exciting is that if we shoot relatively few events, there is a free version too. That's great news for those who are just starting out on their journey into professional photography.

It is currently available for Mac. The Windows version is available to download today.

Ivor Rackham's picture

A professional photographer, website developer, and writer, Ivor lives in the North East of England. His main work is training others in photography. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being. In 2023 he accepted becoming a brand ambassador for the OM System.

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Might check this out, Been using Aftershoot with good results

Yes, it looks promising.

Tried Aftershot, but at the end, it had to many false positives, so I gave up. Aftershot has clearly more functions than Narrative, but at the end, I was happier with Narratives lesser features, but it's easier to learn and to use.