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03-25-2019, 04:29 AM   #1
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Digital - Do you keep everything

I still tend not to delete photos, at all. I suppose it's because, with film, I never threw anything it's all stored and filed and digital just became an extension of this. Only recently have I begun to delete images I don't want and most of them are me testing and trying things, I still keep near misses. I am beginning to change a little though, brought into focus by swapping online backup providers and having to upload my image folders again on a modest broadband link.

In the same way I still organise folders along the same lines as negs, it's just that the folders contain more images. There's a probably a more effecient way of doing things, like by date instead of something like pen-26, which is how I do it but old habits die hard, so wandering what others do. At least I do use collections in Lightroom, which is very handy.


Last edited by 3by2; 03-25-2019 at 09:48 AM.
03-25-2019, 04:45 AM   #2
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I hoard my photos ( not advisable )

starting this year, I transfer from SD to multiple folders, designated by " location, date, lens + focal length " used plus other smaller folders: " lens " determinative, and then " subject matter determinative " all stored in multiple external hard drives and some upload to major back up and then I format sd card in camera


for example , " Topeka Zoo 50mm 1.4, 500mm mirror " plus 2 smaller files " SMC Pentax-A 50mm 1.4 " - " Topeka zoo x/xx/2019 " and "Tamron Apdaptall-2 SP 500mm f/8 Mirror (55BB) - " Topeka zoo x/xx/2019 " and then various " subject matter " divisions " Topeka zoo x/xx/2019 bears "

I primarily only do pp on the main folder - " location, date, lens focal length "

and finally after complete pp, I keep those files in date order to the forum and/or flickr.com

I found that I am initially very critical of my photos and then after coming back to them and doing some basic pp, I find more to my liking

so I end up with multiple files, smaller than the primary one.

Last edited by aslyfox; 03-25-2019 at 04:55 AM.
03-25-2019, 04:54 AM - 4 Likes   #3
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I've learned to cull my shots... I don't need three out-of-focus shots of a dog's tail... I tend to keep pretty much only what I upload to Flickr...
03-25-2019, 04:57 AM   #4
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that would be smart

but external hard drives are cheap compared to the past and I hope that as my pp usage and skill develops - - -

03-25-2019, 05:27 AM   #5
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Yes I do use two or three hard drives as well. Hard drives are likely to fail so it makes sense and an online backup too. last year I had a mirrored NAS fail completely and discovered I didn't have some of that backed up so had to go through some shenanigans to load ubuntu and mount one of the drives to recover everything. I've also had both hard drives in my PC fail at the same time which was fairly astonishing. That time I didn't have my Lightroom catalogue backed up to a third place so i lost a lot of PP that hadn't been exported to a jpeg or other and all my collections. Of course I still only have one set of negatives and slides in a cupboard but at least I have got around to digitising a large portion of that.
03-25-2019, 05:43 AM   #6
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I keep them on an external hd, plus backup to optical, and what I keep online...
03-25-2019, 06:03 AM - 4 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 3by2 Quote
so wandering what others do
I delete about 80% of what I shoot.
03-25-2019, 06:07 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
I've learned to cull my shots... I don't need three out-of-focus shots of a dog's tail... I tend to keep pretty much only what I upload to Flickr...
I do the same, actually multiple culls. Even though I grew up with film, selecting shots to take because I'd need to change film after 36, I've transitioned to full digital, often taking bursts of shots. I first cull all but the best of each burst. Later, in post, I cull again for anything redundant.

03-25-2019, 06:31 AM   #9
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It all just -depends-.

Test shots and near duplicates while trying to zero in on a product shot, yes these are all deleted.

Unique, spur of the moment snapshots that appear to have no discernible interest? Definitely keep most of them because
you never know when yet another photo of some clouds or the side of building may be just the perfect image for a webpage,
brochure, etc.

"Bad" images of people I love and/or of some notoriety? Definitely keep. Well, most of them. I don't need a blurred shot
of the back of my brother's head, (but see below).

"Bad" images illustrating some particular equipment or environmental flaw, (motion blur, lens flare, etc). I keep many of these
as they often have artistic merit in their own right even for, often because of their 'badness'.

Periodically, (when I'm >really< bored), I'll cull through folders and delete stuff that no longer seems relevant. But as others
have mentioned above, storage is cheap. My main reason for deleting digital images is a desire to not have to wade through
any more chaff than necessary while hunting for the perfect shot of the side of a building.
03-25-2019, 06:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by 3by2 Quote
I still tend not to delete photos
I'm guilty of the same. "Guilty" because it is quite obviously not the best strategy.

- I should start deleting obvious failures (but I won't delete images that are merely "bad", as I have on more than a few occasions revisited old images and "discovered" shots that I initially had ignored as flawed in some way).
- I should also get better at tagging my images. I tag some but am far from as consistent as I should.

If I did the two above it wouldn't really matter what directory structure I choose. Tags, dates, and other metadata would be sufficient to track down images in the catalog. I do like to have separate sub folders for special events (birthdays, holidays etc), and keeping images in folders using dates as names (mostly to avoid having too many files in one single directory), but that's really just "poor man's tagging".

(As for backups, I alway have at least one copy of everything stored away from home. No matter how many copies I have at home they would all perish in case of a fire.)
03-25-2019, 06:45 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I used to keep every single photo, but now I only keep what I find acceptable. As soon as I download the photos from the card, I view them & start deleting the out of focus or accidental photos. Then I go back once more & delete additional photos that I don't really need.
03-25-2019, 06:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
I should start deleting obvious failures (but I won't delete images that are merely "bad", as I have on more than a few occasions revisited old images and "discovered" shots that I initially had ignored as flawed in some way)
I've done the same. Shots I initially thought hadn't worked I've gone back and treated differently. I also find it handy to have an aide memoire to revisit scenes and see how I've approached them in the past but even so, I've still got room to cull a few more, like those focus adjustment shots of the back fence. Now why am I keeping them!
03-25-2019, 07:20 AM   #13
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I've been working on brutally culling redundant images. There's usually no need to keep similar images once I've selected 'the best'. I have a short memory, so I do keep test shots and add notes in the comment field or in a pen & paper notebook referencing the image number. This usually stops from performing the same test shots again in a few weeks. Utility photos for AF adjustments, or examining for dust, etc, I don't see much point in keeping. If a photo idea turns into an utter failure, I will still keep a few representative images from the shoot to refer back to.

Everything goes into folders sorted by camera then by date. The bulk of the organizing is done in Lightroom, keywords, collections, star ratings, etc. This makes it pretty easy to filter things out so I'm only seeing what I want to see (especially if I've been diligent with the keywording). It's all duplicated on two internal hard drives, and is only deleted from the sd card once it's made it to an off site hard drive.
03-25-2019, 07:40 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I often shoot 3 or four shots bursts for everything. If I shoot 800 images I might keep 20. Even for stills, shooting a hand held 3 or 4 shot burst gets you an image in even 1/8s type situations. My choice is to error on the side of too slow a shutter speed to keep my ISO low, and take full advantage of the camera's dynamic range and colour depth.

But for bird images, I'll shoot 300-800 in an hour or hour and half, I shoot burst because they change their poses so rapidly it gives me the ability to select, based on pose.....there might be 10-20 when I'm done culling.

I shudder to think how many hard drives I'd own if i didn't.

Last edited by normhead; 03-25-2019 at 09:11 AM.
03-25-2019, 07:43 AM   #15
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After a "shoot", (whether it be a project, part of a vacation, or just a daytrip), I copy the folder from the SD card to my PC, and rename it YYYY-MM-DD <subject> <camera>. If there are multiple shoots in a day, then I'll add a #1, #2 to the date. Then I go through the folder and delete any blown shots (unless, as others have said, there's some value to keeping them). Then I go through again and delete the duplicates - having six near-identical shots just wastes time later in deciding which one I want to share. It may take two or three passes to clean up the folder, and sometimes I have to wait a few days to be sufficiently brutal in my choices. If there is a need for notes on lenses or whatever, I'll add a text file to the folder. Every few months or so, I'll back up the folders to an external drive (which, in theory, should be stored at work or family's home and rotated/tested periodically, but until they make USB drives that transport themselves, it isn't happening ).
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