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ever seen something that looks so old school and un-cool that you just decide to NOT give it a chance at ALL. You know what I mean…. like hole-in-wall restaurants or ghetto-fabulous boutiques? Sometimes the GREATEST things are in the nastiest places! Seriously! The last engagement session I posted was shot in one of the ROUGHEST areas of Richmond… but yet the locations were beautiful! So, as we approach this “Time Saver” post… keep this in mind. Photo Mechanic, in my opinion, doesn’t LOOK legit. I mean really, look at that logo!  When I was first introduced to PM, I thought to myself, I am NOT paying $150 for a program

whose logo looks like it was just copied and pasted form google images! No thank you. Because of the “look” of this program, I automatically  wrote it off  as something that wouldn’t help me. I use Lightroom 4 and Bridge and Photoshop CS5… what more could I need, right? Well, if you’re shooting in Raw like I do, you have probably noticed that LR can take FOREVER to fully render a cr2 file while importing… making CULLING (selecting the BEST images) extremely difficult. Sure, you only have to wait about 10-15 seconds for each image to load but 10-15 seconds ADDS UP!  I had heard the Photo Mechanic was GREAT for culling and importing. Well, me being my stubborn self kept saying… “well, LR works just fine, besides, why would I want ANOTHER program to work with”.  Well, what I wasn’t realizing was that those 10-15 seconds to render images in LR was eating up HOURS of time during my workday.  Raw files are MASSIVE and LR just doesn’t process them quickly while importing. I like to cull WHILE I import and so this is why I started using Photo Mechanic for IMPORTING, CULLING and SORTING.



I have a system where I import my raw files to my first DROBO  and I place them into a folder titled : “TJ and Meredith” and then a subfolder titled “TJ and Meredith UNEDITED”.  Photo mechanic is EXTREMELY fast with rendering full screen raw images while importing so that I can CULL my images AS they come in. There is a great reason why I do this:  When are you most excited to see your images? Right after you shot them….so why not CULL them when you’re excited to see them. Don’t just look through your images, cull WHILE you’re looking. Once you’ve seen them, that takes away 1/2 the excitement and you automatically lose motivation to cull later. So just DO it then! Once a wedding is culled, in my opinion, it feels like 1/2 the work is done!


So after I import and cull all of my images in Photo Mechanic, I create and new subfolder under “TJ and Meredith” titled “TJ and Meredith 5 STARRED”.  That’s just my term for the “keepers”.  If an image is 5starred… that means it’s top notch:). So I drag the 5 starred images into their new home and Photo Mechanic transfers these raw files instantly! It’s AWESOME! So now, I have a 5STARRED folder with all of the images I’m going to edit and THEN I import those images into LR.  Most people import into LR, cull in LR and then EDIT in LR.  This didn’t work for me for two reasons: 1. LR is too slow for sorting and culling and rendering and 2. LR shouldn’t import EVERY file you shot. If you import and then cull in LR, even when you’re only viewing your culled images, LR is still processing through that WHOLE folder of images.  LR can edit MUCH faster when it’s working with one folder of 1,200 cr2 files instead of 3,000 cr2 files!!


So basically, I LOVE Photo Mechanic because it saves me TIME. It’s $150 and it was such a worthwhile investment! My good friend Chris Isham randomly tweeted about it and so I looked into it. After getting over the fact that their branding is horrible, I realized that the product they were offering was definitely LEGIT! It’s awesome and I’m so glad I took a risk and tried something new!!!  And ps. A lesson to be learned…. If your BRANDING doesn’t match the quality of work your business offers, it’s a HUGE diservice to you!! Branding MATTERS.



xoxo, Katelyn
16 Comments Ask Anything, Education, Resources
  1. Kimberly Walker reply

    Thanks so much for sharing Katelyn – I’m going to check it out. I agree that importing and culling takes up WAY too much time in Lightroom.

  2. Sabrina reply

    Funny how I’m reading this as I’m waiting for images to load in LR so I can cull them… thanks for the tip!!

  3. Meredith VanWagner!!! reply

    HMMMM Katelyn this is such a tease!!!!! :)

  4. Abby Grace reply

    AMEN about the branding thing. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how awesome your product is- if your branding is sub-par, no one will give it a chance! I need to suck it up and buy PM- that 10-15 second lag time in LR is such a buzz kill.

  5. molly reply

    SO SO SO true about the branding. When people say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” that’s SO not true because OF COURSE we judge a book (a brand) by its cover.

  6. Lydia reply

    I added Photo Mechanic to my workflow this year, and it has make such a difference! It actually makes me a little more excited to cull. :-) Just hoping for an update on the zoom feature…

  7. Faye Bernoulli reply

    LOVE Photo Mechanic and it’s such a time saver! Justin & Mary had a 10% coupon code a while back…it might actually still work, but you have to call the folks at Camera Bits.

  8. Steven reply

    Heard good things about Photo Mechanic, another option is to render all the 1:1 previews in Lightroom before you start culling. It takes a long time but if you go to Library, Previews, render 1:1 previews you will be able to flip through each image with no loading time. Just an alternative that might be worth mentioning!

  9. Annetta reply

    I LOVE Photo Mechanic. You talked about it in another post last year and I bought it immediately at that time and I’ve never been sorry.

  10. eryn kesler reply

    I so wish Photo Mechanic would give us some love with a coupon code now and then! I have been waiting for almost a year, and NOTHING! I guess I just need to buck up and do it! LOL.

  11. eryn kesler reply

    PS…so, this might be a dumb question, but how do you import directly to your external hard drive? I haven only been able to do that directly through LR or Adobe Bridge.

  12. Ali W reply

    I used PM when I interned for Casey Templeton. It was sweet for what he did, but I didn’t really see a difference for my workflow. There are some SWEET features, and it’s perfect for same day slideshows. I do cull as I import, but I’ve added a snack time during the first card import, so I’m always a card behind in culling as I bring them into lightroom :)

  13. heather reply

    I love Photo Mechanic as well! I was hesitate as well to learn another program but it is awesome!

  14. clyde reply

    Haven’t tried photomechanic but use Canon’s free bundled ZoomBrowser for reviewing and culling RAW files and find it does a good job. is photomechanic faster?

  15. Heather Elise reply

    thank you for the push to purchase photo mechanic!

  16. Hochzeitsfotograf reply

    Great article, I use PM now too and want never miss it.
    Greetings from Cologne/ Germany

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