Cullai for Mac Is a Good Idea but Has a Way To Go

Cullai for Mac Is a Good Idea but Has a Way To Go

CullAI is a new Mac app recently on the scene. It's designed to let you point to a folder of images and let the software create a catalog that lets a photographer quickly decide which photos are worthy of further use.

CullAI by default selects a photo with the best overall face capture quality of people in that group of photos. As this is a subjective choice, you can select a different photo manually also. It is also designed to filter out bad photos by finding images taken in bad light, by finding out-of-focus primary subjects, identifying camera shake or focus issues, and finding eyes that are closed.

You can adjust the Face Capture Quality threshold to filter out photos with a lower overall quality. Threshold is applied to the face having the highest Face Capture Quality among all faces in that photo.

Many times in events like weddings, photos will have many people besides the primary subjects of the shoot. CullAI claims to automatically treat people who are part of more photos as more important, but users can change this using thresholds given for each detected person. This is required so that one out-of-focus person in the background shouldn't influence a better photo in a group.

Trying It Out

I gave CullAI a try on some old wedding photos I shot. It did a good job of sorting pictures by similar looks, for example, a lot of people around a table.

It also found photos where two people were together and three. It identified the people who were in a lot of shots, a helpful feature when trying to get all your photos of the bride and groom. I didn't have any out-of-focus images, but the app claims to cull them when it identifies them. By adjusting the sliders, you can make the parameters tighter or looser. You can also rate each photo using a one-star system. When the app finds similar images, it groups them and gives the number that are grouped with a red marker. 

The Downside

I'm primarily a landscape photographer, and it wasn't much help there, and the app is not intended for my kind of uses. I gave it some soft-focused photos, and it missed finding those. Since my images are people-free, it simply didn't do anything with a folder full of landscapes other than find two similar flower photos that had some effects applied. Although with a few tweaks, it could really be useful at finding badly exposed and out-of-focus images. On the other hand, Lightroom can make it easy to find those problems too.

The rating system is pretty basic. A single star just isn't enough to differentiate a wide range of acceptable photos.  

I wasn't sure exactly how everything worked, so I clicked on the help menu, but there was no help offered. There is info at the Mac App Store, but this app really needs documentation. 

The controls are pretty clear, but I think many users will have questions.

Summing Up

The Good

  • Can usually identify people by facial characteristics
  • Did a good job of finding similar photos and photos taken at a similar time
  • Can assist a photographer by giving you more than just a slide table view of photos
  • Reasonable price

Not So Good

  • Would like to see it handle more photos than people photos
  • Help is completely missing
  • The rating system is weak and too broad

I think there are some good ideas here, but it seems like the version 1.0 that it is. Wedding photographers or others who photograph people could well find CullAI useful, especially as the app progresses. It's reasonably fast, but works best with folders containing 200-500 images. After that, it can bog down. It opened all the photo formats I threw at it, including raw files from Canon and Sony digital cameras.

By default, you get CullAI Lite Version for free. CullAI Lite Version can only import and process 50 photos at a time. You can buy CullAI Standard Version any time, which does not impose any restrictions on the number of photos you can import and process at a time. You can also try the standard version for 14 days by selectinging a free 14-day trial in-app purchase. The full version is $10.

For free, it is definitely worth a look to see if it meets your needs. After that, a $10 investment seems reasonable, especially if CullAI improves. There are versions planned for Windows, iOS, and Android devices. You can get it here.

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Hi, Shailesh here, Maker of CullAi, Thanks for your review and feedback!
Totally agree with current shortcomings, for first release we wanted to go out with unique features and get feedback, and improve in subsequent releases.
We just released our latest update 1.1 today and it already addresses UI Help part, also adds Keyboard Shortcuts and Standard Share button among other features and fixes. Stay tuned, we have lot more features coming up.
We will definitely pick up more robust and compatible rating system when we add LR plugin.
All, please give it a try, your feedback will shape future of CullAi..

Windows guy here so not for me yet but that looks really helpful. I've been culling 3000 images from a stage show shoot I had to do the other day. It's painful work waiting for Lightroom to load each individual image. I was thinking as I was doing it "gee I wish Lightroom would just remove all the ones where the subject is slightly out of focus." Something to do that simple task for me would be a huge boon and it looks like this can do a lot more than that.

Wow.. thanks, please subscribe for windows notification on
curious, how many photos you actually shortlisted from 3000 and post processed?

About 250. Of the unused shots about 40% were slightly off focus- high I know but they were very tricky shooting conditions. Having those removed before I got into would be amazing.

cool.. thanks for the insights, general feedback is, this is the case in most of the time critical photoshoots where some things are out of your control to capture every shot perfectly, so we are here to help.