I’ve long been a fan of Excire Search, a tool that lets me find images based on subject, color, faces and more in my Lightroom Classic catalog. It highlights the power of artificial intelligence (AI), without sending your photos to the cloud, meaning that your photos stay private and on your local machine. While the initial database creation can take some time depending on your catalog, Excire Search has been an asset to my workflow.
I’ll be honest, I’m not great at keywording my images, so sometimes finding a photograph proves to be difficult. That’s where Excire Search truly shines.
If you haven’t checked out my first look at version 2.0, be sure to read this for all the information about the update.
The upgrade process
Before I could get started, I had to upgrade my Excire Search Pro database. This is rather simple. After installation, you open up Lightroom Classic and you’ll be met with a dialog box to start the process. There’s a few things you have to click through before the process actually starts.
Once it does start, it can take quite a while. For my catalog of just over 100,000 images, it took just under three days to complete. So I strongly recommend completing this process when you have some downtime, and when you don’t need to do a bunch of photo editing. Leave your computer on overnight for a few nights and let it do its thing.
Searching for faces
How it works
For this test, I wanted to search through photographs I had taken for Grand Rapids Magazine. I photograph a lot of their food and drink features, and occasionally get some people shots when I’m at restaurants. I wanted to find just the photos I had of people, so I could potentially put a few of those in my portfolio.
To do this I chose my collection set in Lightroom Classic, then went up to Library > Plug-in Extras > Search for Faces…
This opened up a dialog box of options I could choose from. I can narrow my results to things like the number of people, the age as well as dominant features between males and females. I could even select whether the subjects would be smiling or not. For this, though, I just wanted a broad shot of people photographs.
One thing I did note is that if you chose multiple options, like Adult and Baby, it wouldn’t find photos because I didn’t have any photos with both an adult and baby present. Think of this like an “and” command, instead of an “or” command. I unchecked these filters in order to not include age at all in my search, and the results opened up.
The search was really quite fast, and out of the 6446 photos I had in my collection set, it found 881 with faces present. It automatically puts these results in another collection called “Excire Search.” With each search you have the option to replace this collection, or start a new one.
In looking at my results, they were spot-on. There were some photos where there were people right at the corner of the frame, and it caught those, too. Out of the 881 photos it found, only three didn’t actually include a face. But I can see why they were included — they were food shots that had textures that were similar to a human face (think grilled octopus, a large mushroom, etc.).
The great thing about putting the results in a collection is that I can then use Lightroom Classic’s filtering options to filter my photos down even more. So I can take those 881 photos and, for instance, filter them down to just those with a blue or green label (which are images I’ve delivered and/or processed). This lets me ignore the shots that I don’t want to even consider to share with my audience.
All in all, the Search for Faces tool is really, really powerful. The fact that it now includes profile views is a game-changer for me, as I regularly capture people in their natural environments, instead of posing them. Next week, I’ll take a look at the new Search for People tool.