Aftershoot Review: AI Photo Culling & Editing Software
Aftershoot is an AI-powered software that helps you cull photos quickly and easily. Used by professional photographers around the world, here's our full review.
I’ve heard “Aftershoot” mentioned a few times and only recently had the opportunity to give it a try for the first time.
What I didn’t realize was that it was actually a very involved AI photo-culling tool with a whole lot of features and parameters.
It saves you a ton of time by freeing you from making a bajillion little decisions.
Automated way to select, cull and edit thousands of photos in record time - invaluable for pro photographers.
Use code SHOTKIT10 to save 10%.
The Aftershoot team makes some pretty bold claims, like the fact that using their program is the fastest and easiest way to automatically select, rate and find your best photos in a given gallery.
They also claim that 9/10 users who try their software never go back to the old way of culling their images again.
And what do I like to do when people make bold claims? I say, “Challenge accepted”, and go on a deep dive!
I discovered there were a lot of things I really liked about Aftershoot, as well as a few things I wasn’t so sure about.
All in all, though, a few things are undeniable: Aftershoot’s AI functions are VERY fascinating, and it’s an amazing tool to get you started on your culling process.
Let’s take a closer look at my in-depth Aftershoot Review… which also includes a discount code :)
Table of Contents
What is Aftershoot?
- Use of AI for automated culling is a big timesaver
- It’s Windows, Mac, and even M1 Mac friendly
- Nothing is permanent! Even if we don’t like Aftershoot’s decisions, manually culling after the fact is easy
- (NEW) Edits feature can save you tons of time
- AI works better in controlled environments
- Sneak Previews selections falls short for wedding photography
Aftershoot is a program you use after you shoot! More specifically, it’s a tool that literally does your culling for you.
It uses AI to automatically cull entire galleries by detecting blurry photos, duplicates, closed eyes, etc.
One of the more interesting functions Aftershoot has is “Sneak Previews,” which is a feature that automatically selects a group of photos by comparing what is popular on Instagram.
(So, in theory, you won’t need to spend as much time going through your gallery and choosing what photos to send to a client.)
Thanks to a recent update, Aftershoot is also an AI editing tool, with ‘Edits’ lending a hand – more on that below.
NEW: May 2023 Aftershoot Update (v2.6.900)
In May 2023, the Aftershoot team unveiled several updates to make your workflow even faster.
Here’s what’s new:
- Reskinned app with experience improvements
- For Spanish and French photographers, you can now use Aftershoot in your native language (more languages are in the pipeline)
- Get your final selections faster with My Selections
- Train your profile and edit it with Virtual Copies
- Automatically apply your Tone Curves for the perfect edit
- Search the folder/collection you want to edit
- Improved school portrait selections
- Invisible yet powerful algorithm improvements
I’ll be looking into these new features and updating this Aftershoot review soon, but in the meantime…
Aftershoot Review: Features
(NEW) Aftershoot Edits
Introduced recently, Aftershoot Edits learns from your past photo edits and uses that information to magically color correct and edit your photos with your own personal custom profile.
It uses AI photo editing technology to adjust Tones, White balance and all the other various things you’d normally do manually to make your photos pretty.
(Apparently, there’s support for local adjustments coming soon too, which would be a huge time-saver if you like getting down to the nitty-gritty with your editing.)
While Aftershoot started as an AI culling platform, with ‘Edits’, it’s now a fully-fledged editing station, working directly with Aftershoot Cull, allowing you to both edit and cull at super speed (1,000 images in les than a minute!)
All the edits are compatible with Lightroom Classic and eventually Capture One too.
Aftershoot Edits is currently in Free Beta stage, meaning you can see how much time and effort it can save you with no fee whatsoever.
When the production version is released, I’ll update this review with how well it performs in the real world.
In the meantime, check out the video below to see what it can do:
Parameters and Thresholds for Automatic Culling
Aftershoot uses AI to automatically cull by determining whether a photo is blurry, a subject’s eyes are closed, if duplicates are present, and can even automatically select a series of sneak previews for you.
Each parameter has its own threshold level, so you can choose how lenient or strict you want the app to be with its culling process.
When Aftershoot has finished culling, it uses the information above to assign a star rating and a color code to each photo in the gallery. You can customize the star rating and color code options in the settings.
We can then use the quick filters function on the right-hand side of the app to sort and view images based on its decisions.
The program will group duplicate frames in a gallery based on similar subjects and locations.
It will give a 5-star rating and display the very best of the group in our selections, and we can click to expand the group and see the others in its set.
We can also use the parameters to determine how lenient or strict we want it to be with what it considers to be a duplicate or unique frame.
This handy feature gives us a preview of each subject’s face in a photo up close and personal.
That way, we can really pixel peep group photos for sharpness and find the frames with the best expressions – this is a great way to quickly cull through group shots to see which photos to keep and which to discard.
Export to Lightroom and CaptureOne
You can also export the photos to your hard drive, which is useful if you’re a Bridge or Photoshop user.
When it comes to loading a new gallery into the app for culling, there are definitely faster culling tools out there.
One thing to mention, though, is that I reviewed version 2.4.9, and understand that with the forthcoming 2.5 release, performance is one of the main things that the team are working on.
One of the things I really love about Aftershoot is that you can start setting your AI culling parameters and thresholds while photos are loading into the program.
You can also choose to automatically begin culling with said parameters. The load time is hardly noticeable or relevant.
As for the actual AI culling itself, I have to admit that I found it a little hit or miss before I properly understood its limitations.
For anything photojournalistic, or weddings, events etc in ‘uncontrolled’ environments, I found that the AI selections weren’t always what I would have chosen myself.
However, as soon as you feed it photos from a controlled environment like in a studio, the selections are on point, and I’d happily let it do all the culling for me.
Either way, the selections that Aftershoot makes for you using its AI magic aren’t permanent
Alternatives to Aftershoot
- Narrative Select is really hot right now in the AI culling universe, and I thoroughly enjoy it myself. While the two are pretty similar, Narrative doesn’t cull for you. It’s also worth noting that Aftershoot does a lot of what Narrative has you pay for, but for free, and Narrative is only available for Mac users while Aftershoot caters for both Mac and Windows.
- Photo Mechanic was the O.G. photo culling software that caused a global meltdown across the industry years back. I can’t say I have personally tried this one, but feel compelled to include it in this list because I know a metric boatload of photographers who rely heavily on it.
- Adobe Bridge, which should be included in the Photography Creative Cloud subscriptions, is another external tool you can use for selecting images before you ship them to Lightroom. Or you can simply import everything into Lightroom and cull from there as I did for probably way too long.
Value for Money
Aftershoot paid plans start from around ten bucks a month, which I would say is pretty solid value for money for all the sweet AI features they give you.
Time is money, and ten dollars is hardly a bad trade-off for all the time I’m saving by using Aftershoot to sift through duplicate photos and whatnot!
They are also one of those companies that love their customers enough to offer a free option. In the free plan, you’ll still get some of the AI functionality for detecting closed eyes and blurry photos.
You’ll also get the key faces feature, which is ridiculously helpful for saving time when culling group photos.
All in all, if you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer, the cost of Aftershoot is a drop in the ocean, especially if you calculate the amount of time it can save you.
You can save 10% by clicking here and using the discount code SHOTKIT10 when signing up for one of the Aftershoot plans.
Aftershoot Review | Conclusion
From what I’ve gathered after photo culling a few different weddings with Aftershoot, it’s a fantastic starting point that will help you get next-level organized before you begin really culling.
Should you trust it to automatically cull perfectly at the click of a button? If you’re a portrait photographer and shoot in more controlled environments, you might be surprised how well the tool culls for you!
However, if you mostly shoot weddings and other photojournalism, you might want to spend more time doing manual reviewing.
You’re probably like “ok and WHY should I trust Aftershoot to automatically cull my images at all then?”… and I can tell you that even when all is said and done, Aftershoot makes it really easy for you to maintain control over the selections. So if you don’t agree with what it spat out, you can go in and manually look at everything else really quickly.
I know I really love that Aftershoot sets me free from making a ton of little decisions while culling my stuff.
I feel like it’s really saving me from burnout and giving me the mental capacity needed to focus on the things that really matter, like editing thoroughly and delivering on time.
And what is my number one rule? Work smarter not harder. So hopefully if you’re in the same boat, Aftershoot will help you guys to work smarter, not harder as well!