Excire Search review

Excire search review



Most photographers have a large Lightroom catalog. Going through thousands of images in order to find that one picture can take a lot of time and effort.Excire takes most of that pain away,  analysing and tagging your images for you with the click of a button. This Lightroom plugin uses Ai (aka machine learning) to quickly scan your entire catalogue, automatically detecting objects, people, dominant colours, clouds, trees, etc.

Big tech companies already use similar machine trained models to automatically moderate image uploads on social media for example. But it’s the first time, at leat to my knowledge, that a technology like this is available to consumers.

Let’s have a look at how to setup the excite search plugin and all the features.

Initializing your Lightroom Catalog with Excire search

The first step you have to take in order to use Excire search with your Lightroom catalog is clicking the downloaded file. In your Lightroom plugin manager, you can check which initialisation option is selected and you can adjust the options depending on what you need most. You should select the fast initialisation option if you have a large library. If you have heavily edited the photos where you drastically altered the colours or extreme cropping the image, then you would not want to check the fast initialisation box.

You can additionally select smart previews which allows you to edit images that are not physically connected to your Mac. You do need a fast SSD in order to work with the larger files (this is a Lightroom feature by the way, nothing to do with Excire)

Make sure that all your drives that you use for your Lightroom library are connected to your computer before you start initialising your catalog. We want the photos to be available, otherwise Excire might not be able to find the images that should be available in your catalog. If you work with image stacks in Lightroom, then you can select the option to direct Excire search to only initialise the first photo of the stack in order to speed up the process. Both English and German languages are available

You can choose if you want to either initialise your whole catalog or if you’re using Excire for the first time, you can choose to just initialize just the a certain collection of photos. You can also pause and resume the entire process.  Excire will initialise up to ten thousand photos an hour if you have a really big catalog. I chose to initialise my entire 5 TB library at once, and that did take about 3 days.

Once analysed with the Ai, these photos are assigned keywords according to the detected characteristics. all this information is stored on your own computer, so you don’t need to be connected to the internet in order to use it in the future.

Excire search options

In order to use Excire search, you need to open the Library dropdown menu and go to the Plug-in Extras. There you’ll find all the Excire search functions available.

You can:

  • Search by example photo: search similar photos to the one selected.
  • Search by example photo with previous
  • Search by external example photo
  • Search by keyword: search from the auto generated keywords like beach, tree, desert, people, etc.
  • Search for faces: search for any picture with human faces.
  • Search for people: choose a reference photo, select a face and Excire will find any other picture in your catalog with the same face.

How reliable is Excire Search?

Excire search is actually pretty accurate. I tested the search for people functionality extensively, and was surprised that it could even find people in low lit scenes with pretty terrible definition.

How much does it cost?

The Search Pro version costs 99 Euros, while the Search version costs 49 Euros. Black Friday prices are 55 and 33 Euro for a limited time only.


Even though you won’t use Excire search on a daily basis, I do believe that it’s a worthwhile investment for any Photographer. If you have large library and often find yourself scrolling through the slow loading Lightroom catalogue for that one shot from Italy with the chapel and the trees. I was also quite surprised that the Ai has gotten so accurate at finding faces, and even tracking down images with similar colours.

wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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