Just Shot Thousands of Photos? How to Cull, Edit, and Submit Your Images in Record Time

Events shooters can generate thousands of images in a very short space of time. But how do you manage that volume of photos, and what can you do with your workflow to make it as fast and efficient as possible?

In this short video, experienced Formula 1 shooter Kym Illman takes you through his processes for taking a vast number of images, culling, editing, adding keywords, and submitting them to his clients, as well as quickly publishing to Instagram. He has a workflow that makes good use of a piece of software called Photo Mechanic, which allows him to be brutal when it comes to choosing which images to import into Lightroom. Some shooters will be horrified at the prospect of not going through every single image in close detail, but when volume and speed are the priorities, the processes change accordingly.

Also critical is the work that Illman has put into setting up Lightroom so that much of his work is automatic: presets are absolutely critical, both for editing the images and for exporting them.

What steps have you taken to make your workflow as efficient as possible? Are you as ruthless as Illman when it comes to culling images? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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PhotoMechanic -> LR.


11min isn't a short video either.

I didn't quite catch that. Could you summarize your summary?

This. If you want to cull in record time the only way is Photo Mechanic, then push into your raw editor of choice.

I left all Adobe bloatware behind months ago!

Now a happy Capture One Pro / Affinity Photo user!

C1pro is great, but it's still pretty slow when i comes to culling large amounts of photos.

Agree! I kept hearing about how much faster CP1 is over LR. I've been using CP1 for a month now and I'm definitely not seeing the speed increases, especially when importing files.

The speed increases become apparent when working with the image... Application of adjustments, filters, rendering speed, and image quality is where C1P outshines LR, which for me is the most important, as there were times I would try to pan and move around a 24mp image in LR and it would go pixelated for LONG periods while it re-rendered.

Even after Adobe's update to support hardware acceleration on macOS, it was still a dog by comparison.

But yes, if you're not shooting tethered, and you have a lot of images to import into C1P, even if using SDXC UHS-II 300MB/s read cards, with the proper card reader, it can be artificially, and painfully slow :(

Good comments and just started to try C1P. The big issue I have is that I use PFixer panel with LR6, which saves me huge amounts of time. Do you know if its possible to setup C1P with the same?

Unfortunately I’m not familiar with PFixer, but I do know that C1P has plugin capability, but from my casual exploration of this, and what’s available, it doesn’t seem like many of the plugin developers have ported any of their tools to C1P yet.

So in your scenario, if you’re a plugin user, I would be careful going to C1P, as you might find yourself frustrated by the lack of those tools...

Thanks for the response!
PFixer is a midi hardware control panel using a Berringer panel. It allows the use of real sliders and knobs instead of mouse control, huge time saver. So yea, if C1P does not have midi integration, it won't work for me it seems.... Once you get used to the control hardware panels, its hard to not have them.

Yes C1P is a bit slower at certain tasks, such as importing large amounts of files, but the actual render engine, application of adjustments, and image quality blow LR out of the water in those respects.

And as C1P supports tethered shooting with Sony, it's a no-brainer for me, as that alone saves me a LOT of time over LR importing.

I dont know what you are talking about guys. I find C1P so much faster than any Adobe program when working with bulks of images. Importing images is the same, it depends on many other aspects than just software. But when it actually comes to rendering, working, using presets, outputing multiple images into any other formats and e.t.c. C1P blows away everything.

Try working with 6000-10000 images from d850 in bridge or lightroom, its a nightmare. Capture One is smooth like MJ in his prime ;).

"But yes, if you're not shooting tethered, and you have a lot of images to import into C1P, even if using SDXC UHS-II 300MB/s read cards, with the proper card reader, it can be artificially, and painfully slow "
I dont see any speed differences between any other program. Maybe its a hardware issues? Actually C1P is so much faster in applying engine, presets and e.t.c. And showing me full-res preview at the same time comparing to even bridge. Once bridge hic-cups you cant do anything. Same goes to Lightroom (same engine i presume). Rarely happens in C1P.

I'm not saying it's not faster than Adobe, it is. But if I shoot more than 1k'ish images to card (not tagging as I go tethered) and need to run through to pull selects I do it in Photo Mechanic, because it saves me time.

Why dont you use Bridge?
Are you talking about just selecting process? Or there are some automation involved.

For someone who needs to ruthlessly cull his photos, he should ruthlessly cull about two thirds of this vid. I wanted to learn about PhotoMechanic but lost patience.

Does anyone have any idea what the unnamed program is that he has on his phone that allows him to connect to his comp and keyword with a single keypress?

"How to cull images quickly"... "fly through approximately 5fps and choose one borderline at random around the best moment without actually really looking at it". Looks like for a lot of it he just fires off high speed continuous shooting and then just 'selects' the one closest to the moment - there's almost no tangible benefit compared to just one shot as close to the moment as possible, as he's not even comparing them, just saying "this is the closest, it'll do" and moving on, again at about 3-5fps.

Sure it is, literally, culling, but it's being done with very little regard to "was the frame before or after my select technically better? who knows, because I'm certainly not checking".

Wow, what I see so far is that he just even doesn't know the power of PhotoMechanic for keywording just by pre-setup everything using certain variables to do most of the stuff automatically.

This article was about PhotoMechanic 6, but if you get the (still in beta) PhotoMechanic 6Plus, you can dump Lightroom altogether and use the catalog feature in 6+. The speed of PhotoMechanic remains blistering in 6+.

I add to 6+ the amazing RAW Power for image modification, although there are more and more choices for that specific job being made available every day.
I'm able to accomplish things far quicker than I 've ever been able to before, get better results, and have quite happily left Adobe behind.

I do use Affinity Photo if there is heavy lifting required, but otherwise it's bliss with just PhotoMechanic 6Plus and RAW Power.

People should also check out FastRawViewer. I have both that and PM but for the money, and if you don't need all of the extensive features in PM, it's far greater value and won't hurt any photographer's pocket. It's also a blisteringly fast RAW reader.