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Do you ever permanently delete any photos?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by coffeecat, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Hi all,

    this is my first post...

    I have a question - what percentage of your photos do you permanently delete? (and how often?)

    Obviously (?) when I shot film, I never destroyed any prints or negatives.
    Then I got a compact digital camera and couldn't justify the expense of a digital SLR (pressures on family finances at the time...), and I've never deleted any of the thousands of digital pictures I've taken, even the obviously "no good" ones. But now I've bought a G3, and am trying to get back in to "proper" photography again after a 6 year gap from the last time I shot a film in my old SLR.

    Now I find that shooting max quality jpeg + raw, the thing uses up disk space at a frightening rate. I went to the Olympics and shot nearly 20GB in a day. At this rate, my PC is filling up fast. Whilst you might say "disks are cheap", I have two offline NAS backups, plus use Jungledisk for offsite backups, so it's not just a question of buying one new disk - there'd be a cost multiplier. SO then I thought - why not delete the pictures I don't like? And then I wondered - what do other people do?

    Any answers gratefully received.
    Oh, and I'm loving this site - it has really reignited my enthusiasm for taking photographs again.



    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk 2
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I am fairly selective at keeping my picture files. I always shoot raw so this eats up quite some disk space, also in the backups I keep. It also becomes easier to browse your pictures if you clean up the bad ones, although you could also use the ratings in Lightroom or a similar approach to filter on pictures. I usually end up throwing away at least 50 %, sometimes much more when I have shot sequences to pick the best one later. This throwing away is mostly done in phases: on a first round the really bad ones are thrown out and after a few days I mostly revisit and throw out some more after I've done processing.

    I was astonished to hear that some of my colleagues never empty their SD cards. They simply buy new ones and keep the old ones as an archive. Maybe that's a valid approach as well but I don't trust the permanence of these cards, I rely on hard disks that are actually in use, checked and backed up regularly. I only have a few cards; I import the images into Lightroom and reformat the card in the camera every time.
  3. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    I delete loads, there's no reason not to. Basic workflow is to load to computer from memory card asap after a shooting session, then in "viewer" just go through and get rid of anything but the decent ones (or occasionally keep bad pics if needed for something).
  4. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    I have deleting sessions but always keep them for a few months unless they are really bad ... so most get deleted straight away ... hmmm.

    Where in the SW are you?
  5. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    I'm in Brizzle...

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk 2
  6. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    After I download the photographs, I delete atleast 80-90% of the photographs. I do not retain most of them because I know I am not going to go back and work on those photographs. I know which photos I like in the field, so I am mostly looking for those. The rest are not worth it for me, so they are deleted. That way I save a lot on space as well.
  7. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    It highly depends on what content we're talking about here. For family trips, i retain as much as possible. I delete just the really bad ones (misfires etc).
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Agreed. I tend to keep a much higher percentage of family pics, even if they're not technically perfect. I am scanning my old slides and I'm grateful that I kept the not-so-good ones.
  9. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I probably keep around 90% of the photos that I have taken, and usually immediately delete the bad ones (hopelessly out of focus, motion blur, etc) on camera, and when loaded onto the computer, I will delete a few more bad ones, but am probably keeping more than I should, even semi-decent ones that I will most likely not revisit again...

    Now that I have started shooting RAW (started couple months ago), I am getting a lot larger files, and will need to be more selective in retaining my photos, or my hard disk will fill up quickly...
  10. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    I try to be selective in my shooting (legacy from analogue days) and when finished, I am pretty critical at editing in camera and thus reducing the number of images / amount of time editing on laptop.

    I do not believe in shooting 10 shots for 1 image no matter how good the scene, but thats just my preference.
  11. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    That's a good point - I've noticed a worrying tendency in myself since getting my new G3, to take multiple pictures of the same scene, mostly for little benefit...

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk 2
  12. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    I delete 85-90% of my images and select keepers off the bat. I usually do a first run-through then after a few days go back before permanently deleting everything. I usually come up with 2/3 to 3/4 of my collection from the first round but up to 1/3 from the second round.

    I used to shoot jpeg but only recently upped the ante by shooting raw. So I'm still building a portfolio. And I only get to shoot 1 day a week on weekends.
  13. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I seem to only delete the ones that are obviously flawed beyond saving.
  14. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    I shoot almost exclusively in Raw and have 3 external hard drives on my system. I import all images off of the card into Lightroom and simultaneously to one of the external drives. I consider this drive as housing my negatives. After some culling of stinkers (which I should be more aggressive about, to be honest), I backup my culled photo library to a 2nd external drive and back that up to a 3rd external drive. So, I end up with all my "negatives" (Raw files) on one drive and 3 copies of my working (culled) library. Periodically (every few months), I go back over my culled library and delete any photos that I haven't really looked at or have immediate attention to process. That increases available disk space on my main system disk and 2 of the externals - but the disk with the Raw files is untouched in this process and just keeps filling up....

    I guess that I'm an eternal optimist and pessimist regarding this. Optimistically, I keep all of the Raw files because I'm always hoping that either my skills or software will improve to the point that I can eventually process them so that they're all masterpieces. :biggrin: Pessimistically, I keep them all in case I have a triple disaster happen to my culled library.

    TBH, I really should cull/delete more aggressively since it does all take up lots of disk space. But to do so just seems so........final. :redface:
  15. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Yes. Over 90%.
  16. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    Every shot I take is perfect and print worthy out of the camera ;) 

    typed on my phone, sorry.
  17. jar

    jar Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 25, 2012
    I don't delete anything. I've only had my G3 for a few months though. We'll see what happens when my 3TB disk fills up.
  18. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I tend to delete some in the camera (the obviously bad), but typically not from the computer. It is a matter of time and not a matter of archival righteousness of my unique vision and photographic technique. I'm an old film guy who was armed with motor drives and free film, so I've always shot a lot. I'd be very happy with a 10:1 'keeper' ratio. Back in film I'd print about 1 per 36 frames ... still about the same today.

    • Like Like x 1
  19. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    yes, and like Gary, I will do in the camera as well. percentage wise right now, I keep around 90% the first pass and about 60-70% the second pass.

    funny thing, I just threw away a whole bunch of slides last night that I thought were great years ago! :) 
  20. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Subscribing Member

    Nov 4, 2010

    Thats the thing why i dont delete photos. Being emotionally attached to a photograph (the subj, the scene, how you took it, etc) its makes the image a whole lot nicer, 'as of the moment'. But when you get to look back, even at miserable images, i tend to learn on how i shouldve framed better, or the settings were off, how i wasnt shooting enough (i used to be trigger happy but lessened downed quite a bit) for some time now.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
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