Aftershoot: Hours Worth of Editing Reduced to Minutes

Aftershoot: Hours Worth of Editing Reduced to Minutes

Working as a photographer for over a decade has helped me realize one important thing: I hate editing photos. I absolutely love every aspect of being a photographer, except for the editing. This is why Aftershoot has been incredibly useful to me.

Editing photos after a long shoot is something I generally don't want to think about. Depending on the budget of the shoot, I occasionally send photos to an editor; however, events generally don't pay enough to justify the additional cost. Therefore, I can either buckle down and go through hundreds of images myself or use Aftershoot Edits 2.0 to do the editing for me. This is the latest upgraded version of the AI editing experience in Aftershoot.

What Is Aftershoot?

Aftershoot is an AI-powered software that aims to reduce the amount of time you spend culling and editing photos. In a lot of cases, photographers spend far too much time culling images, straightening, fixing white balance, and correcting exposure. All of these things can be done with Aftershoot.

The software has two modes for Culling. AI-Assisted Culling allows users to make their own photo selections with the assistance of AI. The AI groups similar images and assigns a quality score to each one, but the user makes the final decision on which photos to keep. 

This differs from AI-Automated Culling, where the AI automatically selects the best photos. This is especially useful if you have a large batch of photos from an event or a wedding because Aftershoot can quickly go through all of the images for you. What would generally take a couple of hours to complete can be done in just a few minutes with Aftershoot.

Effectively, the software aims to reduce the amount of time you spend fixing and correcting images in Lightroom. Of course, more complex edits that you would apply to portraits and such may still require a hop over into Photoshop; however, Aftershoot can help you move past the first stage much faster than doing it manually.

A Brilliant Interface

As someone who tests software and cameras, I actively avoid reading manuals and watching tutorials. This is because I want to see how intuitive the software is and how easy it is to navigate. I'm happy to say Aftershoot passes this one with flying colors. The software is easy to understand and doesn't overcomplicate anything.

The homepage of the software, when you first open it, offers two main options: import a folder or import a Lightroom Catalog. I prefer to import folders because I find that easier to manage, and I catalog files without using Lightroom's system. The only thing I did not like about this was the fact that I couldn't find a way to import individual images like you can in Lightroom or Photoshop. Instead, you have to import the whole folder.

Having said that, it makes sense that the software would have this "limitation" because Aftershoot is not about editing a single file; it's about bulk editing.

Once you import your folder, the software will quickly analyze the images, and you then have the option to start culling. If you need to go back to the homepage, there is a home icon in the top left corner of the software frame. I wish this icon were bigger or more visible; however, it wasn't difficult to find.

At this point, you can add more images to your folder or start the culling phase. The culling process in the software uses AI to ensure it doesn't delete images you actually need. The software aims to remove duplicates, out-of-focus images, and images where the subject may not be captured in an ideal manner, such as having their eyes closed.

I decided to use AI-Automated Culling to see how it performed. I imported 151 images, and it took around 33 seconds to go through all of the photos.

Once completed, I made a couple of changes to recover two images and then moved on to the next step. All in all, the interface is simple and easy to understand with a linear system operation. It would be difficult to get confused with this software, and for that reason, I think the interface in Aftershoot is simply brilliant.

AI Editing With Aftershoot

Once the culling process has completed you can move onto bulk editing the images you have left. There are two options at this stage. The first is to select one of the profiles or styles from the marketplace that has been developed by Aftershoot or other professional photographers. For anyone starting out, this is probably a great place to begin as you develop your own style and profile.

Creator Styles such as those from Lilly Red or Joy Zamaro offer you the ability to grade your images in a way that helps you produce striking photos that grab immediate attention. These kinds of styles can take decades to develop and are available to you immediately from the Marketplace

Additionally, the first 500 edits you do with the Creator Styles are completely free and 100% of the fee you pay for any styles after that goes directly to the creator. 

The second option is to import 2,500 images into the software for it to figure out how you prefer to edit your images and use that as a basis to edit future images. Although this was possible for me to do, I decided to use one of the profiles from the Marketplace so I can demonstrate how that looks when the editing process is complete.

I decided on a warm, film-like profile developed by Aftershoot instead of one of the photographers, and for the most part, I'm really pleased with the results.

There were a few subtle changes that needed to be made in order to get the images looking the way I wanted them to. For instance, one of the overexposed images only had the colors adjusted. This was an easy fix, so it's not a major problem by any means. Other than that, the software left me with results that were ready to submit to the client, and all of this took a total of 7 minutes.

Highlights were clipping, so that's probably why the software didn't fix the exposure. 

The last batch of 200 images that I had to edit took me almost an hour to complete, so to go from an hour's worth of editing to 7 minutes in total is a huge improvement.

With the two images above you can see the software not only corrected the exposure, but also adjusted color, straightened the images and cropped them to a more pleasing composition. All of these things were done simultaneously. Another feature the software included is masking which, although I did not require for this particular batch, I did find useful. The masking feature allows you to select a subject in the image and perform localized edits quickly without affecting the area you have masked out. 

Finally, exporting images from Aftershoot is as easy as dragging and dropping directly into any other software you wish to use such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Therefore, if you wish to perform more detailed edits on any of the images, you can transfer single or multiple images quickly into another software. 

Final Thoughts

I've used Aftershoot for actual shoots and projects I'm currently working on and it has thoroughly impressed me. The fact that I can take a batch of images and quickly and effectively edit them in a manner that is ready to deliver in a matter of minutes is simply incredible. This has especially been useful for me over the last couple weeks based on the number of shoots and events I have photographed. 

If you're a photographer that focuses on photographing portraits and events, then Aftershoot is probably a brilliant option. If you're just looking into AI software and looking for ways to reduce the workload, then you should probably give this software a try. Not only does it have a great interface and perform tasks quickly, but the results are also fantastic.

Additionally, the results you can produce with the software only get better over time as it learns how you prefer to have your images edited. Trying to find the perfect portrait from an entire shoot or having to go through duplicates from an event is costing you time away from what actually generates money, and that is the shoot itself.

Aftershoot Edits 2.0 is currently available completely free for 30 days even if you've used Aftershoot before and there is a discount of 20% available if you subscribe. 

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

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Seems a bit "pricey" ?

I've been trialing their software for the last 3 weeks. Overall, I like it. The culling is fast and does a pretty good job. It gives me a smaller set for the final culling. Though, nothing is perfect. I have the Highlights and Closed Eyes options turned off so I'm only left with the duplicates. I would quickly go through those to mark any images 5 stars I want to make sure makes it in the final culling.

I use this software in post to already imported and cataloged projects. Transferring the ratings (colors and stars) is simple since they use xmp files. Whether on Capture One or Lightroom, you'd just need to re-read the metadata. No need to exit and re-launch C1/LR for changes to take effect.

Their AI Editing Profiles is pretty good for LR. You may need to tweak a few here and there.

Their support was really helpful and knowledgeable. I was communicating real-time via their in-software support chat. So refreshing to have this type of support.

What I really really don't like is their page and software make it sound like they have full edit support for C1, which they don't. Their support had to add a special beta C1 editing profile to my account, which only does exposure and white balance. And, from what I can briefly tell, just uses C1's auto features.

I've used it for almost 2 years now and likely will not be renewing after this year. If anything, I've noticed it's gotten worse.

A perfect example? Last 3 shoots culled with it, my second camera body was hanging by my side and the shutter button on the side got depressed and snapped a solid 10 out of focus frames of my feet and the ground.

No big deal, AI culling will auto flag those as junk, right?

It selected three of those photos as 5 star "great" photos and then missed over a dozen portraits of unique students.

I end up spending as much time going back through and reviewing the "culled" photos as I would have just manually culling myself.

Love the idea, so I immediately tried it. For me it was a no. No real editing support for capture one. Many bad images were selected, and good ones culled. Actually added time and anxiety to the process since I had to go through the images more carefully.

Good article about an interesting product. It's way too expensive for me as a hobby photographer, so I won't even give it a try.

For me editing is half of photography. It's what makes an image yours and not some algorithms.