I am passionate about photography, and digital photography specifically. It allows you to try new techniques, and if you don't like the image you can easily delete it later on. Given the price of storage now days, it is often easier to store photos so that these can be re-edited, or edited later (as your editing style changes), or you improve your skills.

For some, keeping these photos is not a major issue as there may not be that many but for others they make take thousands of photos a year. The sheer quantity of photos makes it much harder to work out when photos were taken, to allow you to be able to find these later on. Lightroom does have catalogue functionality, where images can be rated (pick or reject, star rating or colour rating), additionally images can also be given keywords or tags which can be searched at a later date (e.g. show me photos of birds I took that I flagged as picks).

Whilst this functionality works well, it does require you to tag or keyword your photos to be able to identify these later. It is also not as simple when you are trying to find photos of people (do you tag these photos as people, kids, adults, number of people or otherwise). This is where I use Excire Search 2022 in my workflow.

Excire Search 2022 is an AI powered plugin which integrates into Lightroom Classic. It adds a number of features and expands functionality to Lightroom Classic and in effect analyses your images as they are imported. When these images are analysed the software can then be used to:

  • Search for people (that is select an image with a person in it, and find people in other photos based on the degree of similarity).
  • Search by keyword (e.g. images of a sunset)
  • Search for faces (e.g. age group of person and number of faces, example single portrait of child, male / female, smile/no smile)
  • Search for duplicate photos (based on similarity).

Excire Search has a number of additional settings, in my case I configured Excire Search 2022 to automatically transfer keywords when the photos are imported. This means that when the photos are imported it applies keywords to each of the images.

By applying these keywords, it means that I can continue to use the keyword functionality built into lightroom to find images of birds or animals, and I can also use the functionality of Excire Search 2022 to do more advanced searches (like find portraits of kids).

Using the catalogue functionality also allows for things like smart collections to be created, so I can have a collection of all animals I have captured. If i cant find it in a smart collection, I can then search by keyword through Excire Search 2022, or Lightroom to find the type of photo I am looking for and start to do editing of this images.

This means that I don't need to remember what date the photo was captured, nor do I need to remember the month or even year. I can do a simple search and find the photos I am after fairly easily. Excire Foto also allows me to do this however, since I use lightroom as my primary photo editor and digital asset manager / organiser for me it makes most sense to use a plugin that integrates with Lightroom Classic.

There are lots of plugins that allow you to use machine learning / AI to get keywords however, I like Excire Search / Foto the most as it does not require your images to be sent to the cloud for these to be determined. All images are analysed directly on your local machine.

It should be noted that Excire Search 2022 and Foto are not perfect, and I do find that often the keywords won't be quite right. As an example I might take a photo of a Kite (bird) and it will be tagged as a Hawk. This is not suprising as the AI is trained on a wide range of images but it is not really specific to birds. In most cases if I am looking for a bird like a Kite I know it might be mis-tagged and I can then look for something like Hawk and change the keywords accordingly.

Additionally, adding keywords on import does use some processing power on your computer, so it will slow it down during import (which may be somewhat wasted as you may end up deleting images that were keyworded anyway). For me this is not a major issue, and the benefits outweigh the cons.

The version of Excire Search I have been using is 2022, I expect there will no doubt be a new version released soon so stay tuned as no doubt a new version will have many great new features. Excire Serch 2022 is a one-time payment and is not based on a subscription model. For more information you can follow the links in this post or click here.

Note Excire Search 2024 has just been released (as of 16-17th Jan 24), for more information you can click here. Use the discount code travishale and you may get a discount at checkout (* may not always apply during sales).

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