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Post Production Tips

Example of Culling-In Workflow in Lightroom

By Pye Jirsa on March 28th 2013

The following is an excerpt from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workflow System Workshop on DVD, a system designed to increase your post production speed by 5 to 10 times. Click here to view more details.


In this tutorial, we will go over the preferred workflow process we currently use at Lin & Jirsa Photography. If you have seen our tutorial from the Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD, you will know that we have also used the “Editing Out” Culling System to cull our images. There are many different workflow processes, but we now use the “Culling In” Workflow Process because we have found it to be much more efficient than any other workflow processes. Feel free to use whatever workflow process to suit your own personal needs as there is no one “right” workflow process. However, we hope that you will pick up a few tips from this tutorial that will help speed up your production workflow.

Watch the Video

“Culling In” Workflow Process: What Is It?

In the “Culling In” Workflow Process, we are going to select all of the images in our catalog and then reject them. Once we have rejected all of our images, we are going to go through each image and select which ones we want to keep. When we go through our images, do not worry about applying any develop settings to an image. We are simply just going through our catalog and picking out which images we want to keep.

Culling Our Images

First, get to the Grid View by hitting “G.” Then select all of your images by simply hitting “Ctrl + A.” As you can see below, all of the images in our catalog have been selected.


Once we have selected all of the images in our catalog, we need to reject them. Reject your images by hitting “X.”


After we have rejected our images, go to the Loupe View by hitting “E.” You can also get to the Loupe View by double-clicking on an image. Once you are in the Loupe View, go through each image by using the Left/Right Arrows on your keyboard. As you can see below, we are in the Loupe View and we are using our Left/Right arrows to move from image to image.


When you come across an image you want to keep, simply hit “P” to flag the image as a “pick.”


As mentioned before, we are not applying any develop settings to our images in the “Culling In” Workflow Process; we are only culling our images. That means that the culling process and the develop process are split into two components, allowing us to focus on each component separately. When we are culling our images, all we have to worry about is if we want to pick and deliver the image. Likewise, when we are developing our images, we only need to focus on batch processing.

Culling in the Grid View

We can also quickly cull our images through the Thumbnails in the Grid View (hit “G”). Once again, you would hit “P” to flag an image as a “pick.” To adjust the size of the Thumbnails, hit “+” for larger Thumbnails or “-” for smaller Thumbnails. We recommend having larger Thumbnails so that you can see your images more clearly. As you can see below, we are in the Grid View and the images we have flagged as a “pick” are not grayed out and the image you are currently viewing is highlighted.


After you have increased the size of your Thumbnails, you can also shrink the left and right panels, as well as the top and bottom panels to see your images more clearly. To toggle all of these panels, hit “Shift + Tab.” As you can see below, we have toggled all of the panels and increased our Thumbnail size to view our images more clearly.


As a side note, if you are worried that you cannot tell if an image is sharp or not in the Grid View, you will be able to tell when you are actually developing the image. When you are developing the image, you can always click the filter to show all of the images in your catalog and then select a different image that you might think is sharper. However, for the most part, you should be able to tell if an image is sharp or not when looking at a larger Thumbnail.

Conclusion & Learn More!

You can use the “Culling In” Workflow Process in either the Grid View (“G”) or the Loupe View (“E”). This workflow process is great because you can solely focus on just culling your images rather than developing them at the same time. In this workflow process, we only need to hit 1 button (“P”) to pick an image. We highly recommend using the “Culling In” Workflow Process as it will save you a lot of time. You can still use programmable keyboards, such as RPG Keys, but they are not necessary in this workflow process. You can still quickly go through your images with just a mouse and keyboard. In fact, Lin & Jirsa Photography can produce around 1,500-1,600 images an hour with this simple workflow process.

To learn more about the SLR Lounge Workflow System Workshop on DVD or to purchase it, click on this link.

To purchase the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which includes A-Z Tutorials, the Preset System, and Workflow DVD, click here.

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting

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  2. Robin Groenevelt

    I’m a huge fan of using a filter when culling. as soon as an image receives a rating or reject flag it’s no longer shown. This removes clutter on your screen when and give satisfaction as you’re trimming down the number of images to cull

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  3. Carlos Tornatore

    Hello Pye,
    Really big fan of your images and work flow. I had the opportunity to second shoot a hand full of weddings before I felt comfortable and confident enough to go on my own… So I shot my first engagement and wedding of a truly wonderful couple. That being said I now have around 2500 images of the wedding and reception, watching your video was a true time saver I was just about to send all my images off to for culling and processing and getting ready to spend a boat load of money, now that I have went through the culling process, how and where do I save the images to? Will the images still be available in lightroom and how would I import those images back into lightroom, I currently use lightroom 3, I have lightroom4 disc but was waiting to order my new computer before installing it. Any information you provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for share all of your knowledge, images and videos. Carlos Tornatore

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  4. bikweb

    That’s a great idea! Always had trouble with selecting images.

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  5. simplyjennifer417

    I really like this idea – especially with the “spray and pray” method that’s sometimes all too necessary with fast-moving children and lifestyle images!

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