How To Cull Images Quickly With Fast Raw Viewer

After months of not shooting, I finally had my first post-Covid-19 session this weekend.

I forgot that I am a serial overshooter.

Back when I was a Canon user, I was missing focus a lot even though I’d calibrated my lenses and done everything else to get my images in focus, I was often missing. I started overshooting to make sure I would always have one perfectly sharp image.

Now that I’m with Sony, every image is sharp, but somehow I haven’t learn to trust my camera, or myself yet.

Back to this Sunday’s session – I had nearly 2000 images from a 2 hour newborn session…oops…

The first thing I did was head to the Photo Mechanic website, I was finally going to give in and get it. When I got to the website, and saw the price tag, just to cull images…I decided to look for an alternative.


A quick google search led me to FAST RAW VIEWER. At a fraction of the price of Photo Mechanic, I figured I’d try it (they offer a free trial).

I played around with it for about an hour before feeling comfortable enough to use it to start culling. It is SO MUCH FASTER than Lightroom. My image previews loaded so quickly allowing me to get through my mountain of images fast.

Fast Raw Viewer offers a lot of other features but I’m just going to focus on how to cull using the software.

You can watch the video or scroll under the video to learn exactly how to set up FRV to work seamlessly with Lightroom!

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Normally I import my images directly through Lightroom, but since I’m going to cull before going into Lightroom I am going to import directly to a folder on my hard drive. *Fast Raw Viewer allows you to cull directly from your SD card, but I’m not really comfortable with doing it that way.

In Lightroom, I cull using the P key to “pick” and the X key to “reject” an image. Sometimes I also give my images a star or color rating, so the first thing I did was customize Fast Raw Viewer to use the same keyboard shortcuts.

First, head to the menu, Click on FAST RAW VIEWER / PREFERENCES, go to FILE HANDLING / COPY/MOVE/REJECT and check the option “Enable move to Selected subfolder”

On the same tab, change the warnings to NO or MULTIPLE SELECTED, otherwise every time you select or reject an image you’re going to get a warning.


Go to the File/Copy/Move/Reject Tab

Change the last 2 options:

Move current file to _Selected Subfolder – Change this to “P” (you will get a warning telling you that the key P is already assigned to another function – that’s ok, you can assign a new shortcut for Focus Peaking in the Image Display tab)
Move current file to _Rejected Subfolder – Change this to “X”

Doing this will make the keyboard shortcuts the same as in Lightroom BUT FRV will create new subfolders in your original folder and move the rejected and selected images to those folders. Rejected images won’t be permanently deleted, just moved.

From the same screen, click on the XMP Rating tab. The default setting is to press ⌥ (Option or Alt key) and the number, but in Lightroom, we just press the number 0-5 to set our ratings, and we want this to be a seamless experience so we don’t screw everything up ?

So, change the No Rating option to 0 and do the same for 1-5.

Here it is after I made the changes:

Next go to XMP Labels and do the same thing to make the color labels the same as in Lightroom:

Here’s how it should look once you’re done:

Lightroom doesn’t have a shortcut for Purple, so I never use it and didn’t add it here either.

To speed this up even more, grab my Keyboard Shortcuts here and just upload them to Fast Raw Viewer on your computer using the Load button at the bottom of the customization window.


If you’re not using Auto Advance in Lightroom, you really should be. You can turn it on in Fast Raw Viewer too.

In the panels on the right side of your screen, scroll down to the XMP Metadata panel and click on the gear icon and set it to “Rating or Label is set”. Now as soon as you set a rating or label you will automatically move to the next image without needing to press an extra key.


Now you’re ready to start culling! Scroll to your folder on the left side of the screen and start culling, just like you would in Lightroom! All your keeper images will end up in your _Selected folder.


There are 2 simple ways to do this.

1 – Go to Lightroom and select FILE / IMPORT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS then find your _Selected folder and import all the images.

2 – Open Lightroom and make sure you’re in the Library module. In Fast Raw Viewer select ALL your images that you want to bring into LR and drag them over to Lightroom.


If Lightroom completely overwhelms you and you need help getting to grips with it, I’m now offering personalized Lightroom help. You can get the details here.

DO YOU PREFER LEARNING AT YOUR OWN PACE? Grab the self-paced Lightroom course here.

If this post helped you I would love if you would share it with your photographer friends and groups or leave a comment!

*I am not affiliated with Fast Raw Viewer and am not making any $$ off this post, I just like the product!

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  1. Thanks I had made a clumsy rating system but it only made them 5 stars and didn’t reject or create a flag. Do you know if there’s a way to tell FRV to auto rotate the vertical?

    1. Hey Mary! I don’t know any way to force it. I go into the gallery view (press G) and select all the images, then click the rotate icon, it rotates them all in one click this way. This is the best solution I’ve found (although I haven’t explored that far!)

  2. Perfect – this is exactly what I was looking for. I’m just replacing PhotoMechanic (for the same reason) so was looking for how to set up the keyboard shortcuts as I had them before, so thank you!

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