Using Photo Cull

Getting started with picture manager “Photo Cull”

When starting picture manager software “Photo Cull”, the configuration window will be displayed. This allows you to enter the directory where your photos are stored (this will include all subdirectories). Once set, press OK.

Picture manager - Photo Cull configuration
Photo Cull configuration

Photo Cull will now search the directory for all photos and display them in date order, two at a time, side by side. The date used is the date the photo was taken. If this metadata does not exist, then the file’s date is used. On a big screen (unlike your 5″ smartphone display), you can see the image detail and directly compare the photos that were taken one after the other.

Picture manager - Side by side date ordered photos. Single key press to delete or rotate either photo.
Click to enlarge. Side by side date ordered photos. Quick delete or rotate of either photo.

At the bottom of each photo is a summary of the image. This includes:

  • The image number from the series.
  • The star rating (if available).
  • The image title (if available).
  • The image file name and directory.
  • The image resolution and file size.
  • The date the photo was taken (or file date).

If the photo rating is 4 or 5 stars, then the photo summary text is shown in the color red to highlight that you probably don’t want to cull this photo.

Duplicate photo finder

Before using Photo Cull to cull your photo set, it is a good idea to run the duplicate photo finder to check for identical photo files, especially if you may have copied your photos multiple times (by mistake).

If you have recovered photos using a photo recovery tool after a system failure, this will be a life saver.

Press the “Find duplicates” button and deClutter disk software will run to find duplicate photos in the specified photo directory (and subdirectories)

Picture manager. Duplicate photo finder example.
Duplicate photo finder

You can use Windows Explorer or deClutter disk to delete the duplicates. Please see the help for deClutter disk.

Picture manager – navigation

Now, with Photo Cull displaying two “in sequence” photo’s, it is simply a matter of deleting either image, rotating either image (if required) or moving to the next image.

The aim is to make the process as quick as possible so that thousands of photos can be culled quickly and simply. As such, Keyboard keys are the suggested way to navigate and delete photos, as this is much faster than using the mouse (but you can also use the mouse to navigate and delete photos if you prefer).

Picture manager. Keyboard controls
Quick keyboard navigation

 

To speed up the process, no confirmation of a photo cull is requested. It should be noted that culled photos are moved to a directory:

<My documents>\InPocket\PhotoCull\Deletes

If you make a mistake, you can just press undelete to get the photo back into your photo library.  You need to explicitly delete these culled photo files using:

Configuration->Permanently delete culled files.

Work through your photos until you are at the end of the photo set. Note that when you exit Photo Cull, the last reviewed photo date is stored, so that next time you start Photo Cull, it will continue from that date. So you can do this over multiple rainy days if you are reminiscing with your old photos.

In our opinion, be brutal, you probably don’t need 30 photos of a BBQ you had.  5 are probably enough to capture the moment.

Where should I store my photos?

Now you have a set of photo’s that you really like, what do you do with them. Having a master copy of your photo library in one place is ideal.

Historically, for most people the PC was the hub and people kept their photos locally on their PC. If they were diligent they backed them up onto another local drive. If they were really diligent, they made a backup and gave it to a family member for offsite storage (in case the house burnt down) – OK, not many people did this.

Cloud storage and a photo backup

With high speed broadband, the increasing number of cloud storage solutions (like Google drive), and the fact that most people are taking photo’s with their smartphones and automatically backing up to cloud storage, we think the time for the PC to be the hub (master copy) for your photos is probably over.

However, if you want to keep your PC as the master copy of your photos and you are happy with the organization of your photos, then you can just finish here.

If you want to keep your PC as the master copy of your photos and you are not really happy with the organization of your photos, then you can export your photo’s to a local drive. Exporting your photos has a number of advantages outlined below.

If you are ready to take advantage of Cloud storage, namely accessibility from anywhere that is connected to the Internet and an offsite backup to boot, then export your photos to Cloud storage.

iPhone or Android phones

Your choice of local vs. cloud storage will depend on what devices you are using to take your photos (e.g. iPhone or Android), what Internet plan you have and what cell plan you have. For example if you have a household full of Android phones that you use to takes your photos, then we think using Google drive as cloud storage is the first thing to investigate.

Export your photo library to cloud storage

To export your photo library to cloud storage, like Google drive, you will need to install software from the storage provider (e.g. Google) to show your cloud storage as a directory on your PC. With Google drive, you will need to install Google Drive from Google’s website. You can then export your photo’s to this Google directory and have Google drive sync with the cloud storage.

Alternatively, you can export your photos to a local directory.

Picture manager. Export to cloud storage. A great photo backup.
Export your photo library to cloud storage. A great photo backup.

Enter the destination directory for your photo library (this can not be in your original photo library).

Stars

You can export all images (the default), or if you only want to store your 4 and 5 star JPEGs on your Google drive (for example), then you can select “Export JPEG images with a rating of 4 or 5 stars”.

Dates

When you change a photo file, like add a metadata title or star rating, the file modified date is updated. Hence, the file date may not reflect the date the photo was taken – i.e. the more important date (most people don’t really care about the date they added a star rating to the photo). Unfortunately, Windows and Android both tend to sort based on the file date, rather than the date taken. Photo Cull can change the file dates to be the metadata “Date photo taken” (where available) so the file dates match the date the photo was taken. This can help when sorting photos from a web browser or a smartphone application. If you would like to do this as part of the export process, select “Change the file dates to be the date taken”.

You can delete the files after they have been exported, to keep a single copy of your photo set by selecting “Delete image files from the original directory after copying to the destination directory”.

Photo library organization

There are three options for the destination directory layout.

  1. “Keep the existing directory layout” (the default) will make the same directory structure in the destination folder that exists in the original photo directory. i.e. the directories will not be reorganized.
  2. “Make yearly directories” will make a subdirectory for each year (e.g. “2014” and “2015” for the photos) and put them in the year folder based on the photo date.
  3. “Put all images in the same folder (no directories) will copy all photos from the original directory and its subdirectories and copy these into the destination directory (with no subdirectories). It should be noted that if you have photo files of the same name, only one copy will be stored in the destination directory.

Export

Once you have configured the export, press the “Export” button and the “Export status” display will be updated.

Keeping your photo library clean

If you are using cloud storage, like Google drive to backup your android photos, these will now be synced to your Google drive on your PC. So now to cull your photos, you just need to run Photo Cull on your Google drive photos directory every few months (rainy day activity) to keep only your worthwhile photo’s. Again, fast and all on a detailed big screen with side by side in sequence visual comparison.

If you kept your master photo set on your PC, then you can just run Photo Cull every now and then to clean it up.

Photo’s on Windows PCs and Android phones

Digital photo’s have metadata that describes their orientation. Most newer cameras and smartphones insert this data in the image file. Most newer smartphones and PC’s (e.g. Windows 10) use this data to display the photo with the correct orientation.  Windows 7 photo viewer and explorer do not use this data, and hence, the photo may be displayed with the wrong orientation – and hence have a different orientation on your smartphone. Photo Cull displays images after taking into account the photo’s orientation in its metadata I.e. correctly.

If you are going to automatically backup your photos from your Android phone to your Google drive, we suggest setting the “Upload size” to “Original” (and not High quality). While we like the idea of deleting lots of rubbish photo’s, we don’t like the idea of reducing the image quality of our best photos. Especially if Google drive is going to be your master copy of your photos.

Next: Download Photo Cull