Micro Review: Photo Mechanic
In today's post, we are going to give a quick overview and our opinion on the culling and basic editing software known as Photo Mechanic. For a more in depth look at how this software directly benefits our workflow, check out our article How to Cull in Photo Mechanic in 10 Easy Steps.
Our quick review of Photo Mechanic
First of all, the reason why we have decided to go with a "micro" review of Photo Mechanic is quite simply because it is a one-trick pony. Well, not an actual pony, that would be really cool if it was - but what we actually mean here is that Photo Mechanic actually serves one primary purpose - to help expedite post-photography workflow by streamlining the amount of time and energy it takes to cull photos. That is not to say there aren't other features - there are, such as some lightweight photo editing tools, but if we are being realistic...the vast majority of professional photographers are using more popular and nuanced photo editing tools such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. For sure, we are...so there is really no benefit to our work at all to have the ability to lay down some initial edits.
As a photo culling tool, Photo Mechanic earns a place on our work computer. Despite the $150 price tag (and free 30 day trial), it has been worth every penny with the amount of time and headache is spares us. For your average, non-professional, photographer - Photo Mechanic is probably not worth your time or money. However, photographers like us, who may be culling through thousands of images for a single wedding...multiplied times shooting 15+ weddings a season...you can probably see how flicking through 10's of thousands of photos every year can become extremely tedious with the built in Finder windows on a standard Mac or Windows computer.
The specific issue we needed to address was that it would take forever to go through photos and cull them down. This was made worse by the file size (usually 20mb+ for our RAW data files), and rendering a single image could sometimes take 5+ seconds on our high performance computer. After culling a few weddings by hand with upwards of 4-5 thousand photos we took (combined from both of our cameras) and this taking at least 4 hours to go through fully just once - we figured there had to be a tool to help expedite this tedious process.
Photo Mechanic is the perfect tool for increasing speed of a cull.
In practical terms, it's interface literally presents itself much like the standard Finder window you will find on your computer. You search through your folders and sub-folders to find the one you want to work with, open the images up, and can quickly jump from one to the next with near immediate loading times at a reasonable resolution. It might be hard to believe, but the increase in time to process a cull of images was impressive. The first time we used this, one a folder filled with about 1,000 photos from a second shot wedding - we were able to cull down to 250 standout images in about 10 minutes. Doing it the old way, we would have easily spent an hour or two on this set.
By expediting the workflow to cull photos, it allows us to save ourselves a little bit of sanity during the thick of wedding season, and get to editing photos quicker. This is important for us, and for our clients who are more than excited to see the images from their wedding day. Culling with Photo Mechanic has turned out to be an unexpected lifesaver for us, as never would we have really imagined having a specialty software like this would be necessary prior to starting our own photo business - but now, we are sure glad we do have it!!