best photo review software?
July 6, 2016 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I have about 2000 images (100 GB of RAW+JPG) that I shot on my two week vacation. What's the best free or cheap software for reviewing and culling the best shots? My goal is to prune them down to my 100-150 favourite shots.

I don't have a very fast computer (5 year old Thinkpad with HD, not SSD). So speed and efficiency is of the essence. Therefore full fledged photo management software such as Adobe Lightroom is too bloated and slow for me.

I want something that will let me move between JPG previews VERY fast (full screen, not thumbnail), and once I've chosen the best, I will use Adobe Lightroom to process the RAW images.

I'm OK to pay up to $50 if the software is outstanding.

posted by wutangclan to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
i make a copy of the entire folder (to have a full backup while i'm whittling) and then open one in windows photo viewer (on windows 7). i navigate through with the left/right arrow keys, deleting the ones i don't want as i go by pressing the delete key.
posted by noloveforned at 1:06 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: yes, that's my current workflow. looking for something better (if it exists).
posted by wutangclan at 1:08 PM on July 6, 2016

Windows Live Photo Gallery is probably better than the default viewer. It has a Flag function, but not sure if there's a Flag/Unflag keyboard shortcut. You may need to install a separate RAW viewer for your camera, depending on how the RAW+JPG is stored.

I used XNView years ago, but am not sure if it's still good for this or if it has the RAW viewer you might need.

If you let Lightroom build thumbnails first, is it really too slow to do this? A five year old laptop really shouldn't be that slow. Do you have 2GB of RAM or more?
posted by cnc at 1:59 PM on July 6, 2016

Adobe Bridge has a lot of the organization features that Lightroom does, and it's free. Once you've let it generate the previews for a folder (set it to "Always High Quality") it's very fast at displaying them.

Agreed that Lightroom shouldn't be one of your slower solutions... decoding 100GB of photos is going to take awhile no matter what you use. Lightroom ought to be able to generate the previews for your entire photo catalog in one go, if you set the cache size high enough.
posted by neckro23 at 2:57 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite tool for that kind of thing is Thumbs Plus.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:59 PM on July 6, 2016

Well, I use Irfanview for this exact thing. Free, oodles of features. Use F7 to move, F8 to copy. Both of those keystrokes then allows you to specify up to 14 target directories. It can also do batch conversion/rename, thumbnails, etc. Runs on Windows. If you decide to use it feel free to MeFi Mail me, but use whatever you like best.
posted by forthright at 5:44 PM on July 6, 2016

Have you tried enabling Smart Previews? It can make things much more tolerable, and would keep you inside a single tool. Increasing the RAW cache and turning *off* GPU acceleration (on older or lower powered GPU machines) can also help. If you're zooming in while making decisions, prerendering 1:1 versions will speed things up as well.

If you have a fairly fast phone or tablet, you might consider using the mobile version of Lightroom to do your previewing and rating. I've found it to be pretty decent performance on recent iPads and high end Android phones, though getting the photos to sync up was more of a pain than it should have been. Once it's working, I like this process, as I can review photos over lunch or similar downtime and create preliminary edits and metadata that get exported back to the desktop application when I'm ready to make the actual final photos.
posted by Candleman at 5:56 PM on July 6, 2016

Check out Daminion
It's free for up to 15,000 photos per catalog (and you can make multiple catalogs)
posted by Sophont at 9:09 PM on July 6, 2016

I just today figured out how to get XnView to act as a slide sorter. First open a folder in browse mode. Then select a layout that shows the thumbnail pane and preview pane. Goto View -> Tag and select Show Tag Box. You can now set thru the thumbnails with your arrow keys and "tag" (which has nothing to do with labelling, it is more a sticky select) the images you want with the space bar to work with further. Once you have tagged those images you can then copy/move/invert the selection/delete etc. the tagged images.
posted by Mitheral at 10:33 PM on July 6, 2016

cnc - LightRoom thumbnails aren't the problem, it's the fact that generating the previews takes forever on a slower system (open files, click to see large version, wait forever before the blurry pixelated image becomes clear enough for you to decide whether to keep or not, click to next image, repeat the endless waiting cycle). It gets super tedious to screen through large numbers of images.

I've never used Irfanview but have seen it recommended lots of times for this sort of thing. Only other photo viewer I have installed is Picasa, which is pretty fast, but (a) don't know if it handles RAW and (b) it tries to identify faces, which will bog down your system pretty fast.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:31 PM on July 7, 2016

You'll find that with a large volume of photos, you won't want to choose which photos to delete, but which photos to keep. So choose something with tagging or similar: tag the photos you like, then delete the rest.
posted by gorcha at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2016

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