Saving or deleting ugly photos

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I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
were only recognized later for being as good as they were.

So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
you:

1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
doesn't impress you?

2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
deleting those that don't impress you?

3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
deleting shots that don't impress you?

4. Save everything, impressive or not?

It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
are to delete good photos by accident.

But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
What do you tend to do? Why?
 

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I'm running out of hard drive space quickly but up till now I've been
saving almost everything. I'll download them & scoll through, either
marking with a + in the name or simply moving them into/out of a
"seconds" folder and sometimes even a "thirds" folder. If I edit a file,
I stow the original in the seconds folder: I've also made a folder
called "originals" for that but prefer to keep things simple.

It is exhausting torture for me to go through the weeding process so I
don't dare throw out things casually. As I go back to two year old
archives, I'll pretty often find something interesting in the seconds
folder. Also I do save a lot of pics because they capture the subject
accurately but are not particularly beautiful compositions, usually
that's when I get into a "thirds" scenario. Renaming with the plusses is
also nice because I can search for "++" or "+++" and find the most
gorgeous shots in a category quickly. OTOH I often re-discover unmarked
pics later with no + mark.

I think the guy above had the right idea about naming:

2004-12-27-rainstorm
2004-12-27-rainstorm-originals
2004-12-27-rainstorm-seconds
2004-12-27-rainstorm-web-version

is better than what I've mostly done:

2004-12-27-rainstorm
originals
seconds
web-version
2004-12-27-rainstorm

Because you can see what you've got without opening folders & can move
the seconds easily to backup when your hard drive fills up!

Also I've moved my web versions into another folder so ultimately I'll have:

C:\pictures
2004-12-27-rainstorm

C:\web\pictures
2004-12-27-rainstorm

D:\picture-extras
2004-12-27-rainstorm-originals
2004-12-27-rainstorm-seconds
 
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On 27 Dec 2004 12:06:22 -0800, "Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> wrote:

>I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
>photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
>differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
>was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
>and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
>sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
>looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
>publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
>later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
>realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
>were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
>So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
>you:
>
>1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
>doesn't impress you?
>
>2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
>deleting those that don't impress you?
>
>3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
>deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
>4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
>It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
>are to delete good photos by accident.
>
>But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
>on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
>What do you tend to do? Why?

3.8.
Everything goes on the computer to see.
Then the obvious bad shots get dumped. These are the out-of-focus
shots, the ones where someone stepped in front, the snap shot (not
*snapshot*) that didn't work at all.
I find that often the ones that I would delete because they don't
strike *me* as being any good are later seen (by myself or someone
else) as something that's actually very decent.

--
Bill Funk
Change "g" to "a"
 
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"Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> wrote:
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?

When I review a pic on the camera, I'll delete it if it's badly blurred or
if it didn't come out - like the corner of a room instead of a person's
face, or if something walks in front of the lens. Otherwise, I save
EVERYTHING, usually in both JPG and RAW. I make daily directories with
shooting information in the name (like "1998-12-11 XMas tree and sideboard")
so that I can browse through the directory quickly. I can make more than one
directory with the same date ("2004-12-25 Christmas" and "2004-12-25 Moon")
if I'm shooting more than one thing. I name them yyyy-mm-dd so that they
automatically sort by date.

But yeah, everything's saved if it's legible.
 
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Alan Meyer wrote:
....
> What do you tend to do? Why?

I don't know what kind of answers I was expecting, but I got some
really useful ones that gave me some new ways to think about this
problem.

I've been saving most good and bad photos together in the same
directories. The result is that 1) I wind up flipping through lots of
dross to find the photos I really like, and 2) I get depressed seeing
what a poor photographer I am.

I think I'm going to work up some kind of scheme like others have done
here to put better and worse photos in separate locations, or name them
separately, or something like that. I'll study what you folks have
suggested and think about it.
Meanwhile, I'd love to hear any more ideas.

Thanks.

Alan
 
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"Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1104177982.954611.74590@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?
>
I am close to option 4. I save almost everything, but I do delede some very
bad and very obvious duds. Uses a lot of disk space, but that is cheap.

Don Dunlap
 
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"Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> writes:
> I think I'm going to work up some kind of scheme like others have done
> here to put better and worse photos in separate locations, or name them
> separately, or something like that. I'll study what you folks have
> suggested and think about it.

There are a bunch of programs that put up thumbnails and let you
caption them. You could assign a rating (A=excellent, etc.) to each
photo as you caption it, recording the rating either as part of the
caption or in a separate field. Then when you browse, you could
look at just the A's, or only stuff higher than D, or whatever.
 
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Alan Meyer wrote:
>
> I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?

Substitute "poorly exposed or focussed" for "don't impress you", and
that's my approach.

>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?

This is the second level,where one can see in more detail if a shot is
technically acceptable, and start to make aesthetic decisions.

>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?

If you own stock in Seagate or WD or Maxtor, sure :)

>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?

Edit, edit, then edit again, where editing means to eliminate photos
that don't make the cut. When you get to where you're not comfortable
cutting any more, save them all.

Lisa
 
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"paul" <paul@not.net> wrote in message
news:-eWdnWM9EqHP4k3cRVn-sw@speakeasy.net...
> I'm running out of hard drive space quickly but up till now I've been
> saving almost everything.

I just bought a 250 GB hard drive at Best Buy for $99 after rebate.
 

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Cynicor wrote:

> "paul" <paul@not.net> wrote in message
> news:-eWdnWM9EqHP4k3cRVn-sw@speakeasy.net...
>
>>I'm running out of hard drive space quickly but up till now I've been
>>saving almost everything.
>
>
> I just bought a 250 GB hard drive at Best Buy for $99 after rebate.

That ought to last a while, I got a new laptop as a desktop replacement
& you can't get bigger than 80 GB. I do have my old 120GB for backup on USB.
 
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Alan Meyer wrote:

> Meanwhile, I'd love to hear any more ideas.

I forgot to mention that sometimes I use
Lupas Rename to batch rename entire
directories. It's a very handy application
that attaches to the right-click menu,
allowing you to bring it up from the Windows
Explorer. You can select files by extension,
prefix, suffix and so on, and can renumber,
add prefixes, suffixes, substitute text and
so on. I use ACDSee and Lupas Rename
a LOT.
 
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"Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1104177982.954611.74590@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
<snip>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos?
>
<snip>
> What do you tend to do? Why?
>

Keep in mind that this answer comes from a *complete* amateur. However,
here is what I do. I review pictures as soon as taking them as possible.
However, I only delete those where it is obvious that they are absolutely
unusable. Otherwise, I keep everything because I have often found that I
really can't see enough detail on the camera. Some shots that I thought
were inferior turned out to be much better than I expected after viewing
them on the computer screen (especially with some selective cropping and my
limited attempts at contrast control). I haven't even gotten into
histograms, but I am interested in this if I can learn enough to
"understand" it. More often, shots that I thought looked good on the camera
screen turn out to be unacceptable when viewed on the computer monitor.
Even so, I keep most pictures. I have a very large (and fast) hard disk, so
I don't mind the extra resources used in this way. I keep files labeled
"All 2004 pictures," "All 2003 pictures," etc. That is where I store the
originals. I never edit them in any way, and I keep the original filenames
generated by the camera. Then, I maintain folders by categories of pictures
that I want to view from time to time -- "family," "pets," "travel -
subcategorized by location," etc. There I store *copies* of the originals,
and these are the copies where I do some cropping and editing. I also
rename them by using descriptive filenames instead of the numerical sequence
assigned by the camera. And, of course, I greatly restrict the number
placed in these folders so that they won't get out of control.

MaryL
 
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"Alan Meyer" <ameyer2@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1104177982.954611.74590@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do

I have never ever deleted a single RAW. There have been times when I have
breathed a sigh of relief at this, when finding something I just -knew- I
had somewhere.
 
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Alan Meyer wrote:
> I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?


Hi Alan

Not at all qualified to answer, not a photographer,
just a guy that takes tons of pictures... nevertheless,
I'll offer my 2 cents worth, and include a reason, if
I may.

I'd suggest that with the possible exception of bracketed
shots that you save every single one of 'em. Storage is
so cheap that it's virtually free, and you never ever
know what's going to tug at your (or someone else) heart
strings later on in life.

Got me a picture of my youngest about 30 years ago.
A slide. Back in the days of manual focus. So badly
out of focus, so poorly exposed that only I really
know who she is and what she's doing. So bad that it
never even made it to a tray, just stayed in the little
yellow plastic box that Kodak mailed it back in.
Back then it was totally valueless.

Today, it's my most precious picture. If I had to
somehow lose all but one, then in a heartbeat I'd
pick that one to save. Brings back incredible
memories for me (and for her)

So - save 'em all. You never know what decades from
now will be important to you.

Take care.

Ken
 
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"Ken Weitzel" <kweitzel@shaw.ca> wrote:
>
> Got me a picture of my youngest about 30 years ago.
> A slide. Back in the days of manual focus. So badly
> out of focus, so poorly exposed that only I really
> know who she is and what she's doing. So bad that it
> never even made it to a tray, just stayed in the little
> yellow plastic box that Kodak mailed it back in.
> Back then it was totally valueless.
>
> Today, it's my most precious picture. If I had to
> somehow lose all but one, then in a heartbeat I'd
> pick that one to save. Brings back incredible
> memories for me (and for her)
>
> So - save 'em all. You never know what decades from
> now will be important to you.

I took some throwaway photos of my son when he was about 4 years old, at a
firehouse a couple of blocks away from my father's apartment on the Upper
East Side. They were nothing special at the time - he's standing next to the
truck, looking at a firefighter, etc. They were very nice to him though,
considering we just walked off the street because he wanted to see the
engines.

Four years later, a dozen men from that firehouse died on 9-11, and the
pictures now provoke a very different emotional response.
 

mort

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Hi,

Save everything, copied to CD-R, where you can store about 200 hi-res
pix for under $1. You never know when a seemingly ordinary picture
becomes important, or even priceless.
Mo

Alan Meyer wrote:

> I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?
 
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"mort" <mort@cloud9.net> wrote in message
news:41D0C582.ACCB42DA@cloud9.net...
> Hi,
>
> Save everything, copied to CD-R, where you can store about 200 hi-res
> pix for under $1. You never know when a seemingly ordinary picture
> becomes important, or even priceless.
> Mo
>
> Alan Meyer wrote:
>
>>

I have a photo of John F. Kennedy -- pretty ordinary, as you described. I
was standing right by the side of the road, and he turned directly toward me
as the motorcade passed by. There is nothing wrong with the photo, but
there is also nothing "special" about it -- at least, there wasn't when I
first took it. The photo is like any of many, many others taken by
thousands of other people. However, it took on new meaning for me after the
assassination, just a few months later.

MaryL
 
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Alan Meyer wrote:
> I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
>
> So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> you:
>
> 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> doesn't impress you?
>
> 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> are to delete good photos by accident.
>
> But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> What do you tend to do? Why?

I review them as time permits. I dump everything I don't like. I have
to please only myself, I don't really care if anyone else hates them or
loves them. In the end, I'll bet most people who see my photos, would say I
am a much better photographer than if I saved them all.

--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
 
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Joseph Meehan wrote:
....
>> What do you tend to do? Why?
>
> I review them as time permits. I dump everything I don't like. I
> have to please only myself, I don't really care if anyone else hates
> them or loves them. In the end, I'll bet most people who see my
> photos, would say I am a much better photographer than if I saved
> them all.

After reading some of the other replies I have to add something. It is
not storage space that is the primary reason for dumping duds, rather it is
my time. I just don't want to bother looking through all the duds to fine
the few really good images. I will often make several cuts, getting rid of
the real problems the first time, then the marginal ones and after a couple
of more cuts I get down to just the really good ones I am proud of or that I
must keep for other reasons.

--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
 

mort

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Lisa Horton wrote:

> Alan Meyer wrote:
> >
> > I heard a very experienced professional National Geographic
> > photographer interviewed on TV talking about some of the
> > differences between film and digital. One difference he noted
> > was that, with digital, he tended to review his shots in camera
> > and delete those that he thought were no good. With film, he
> > sent his exposed film back to headquarters where his editor
> > looked at it before he did - sometimes choosing an image to
> > publish that the photographer would have thrown away. Only
> > later, after the photo editor singled it out for him, did he
> > realize that it was a great shot. He thought that some photos
> > were only recognized later for being as good as they were.
> >
> > So, my question is, how selective are you in keeping photos? Do
> > you:
> >
> > 1. Review a shot immediately after taking it and delete it if it
> > doesn't impress you?
> >
> > 2. Review all your shots in the camera when time permits,
> > deleting those that don't impress you?
>
> Substitute "poorly exposed or focussed" for "don't impress you", and
> that's my approach.
>
> >
> > 3. Save everything to your computer and review it there -
> > deleting shots that don't impress you?
>
> This is the second level,where one can see in more detail if a shot is
> technically acceptable, and start to make aesthetic decisions.
>
> >
> > 4. Save everything, impressive or not?
>
> If you own stock in Seagate or WD or Maxtor, sure :)
> No, no,no. A blank CD-R that can hold 200 hi-res pix costs less than $1.
> You definitely do not have to store pix on a hard drive.

Morton

>
> >
> > It seems the closer we get to number 1 above, the more likely we
> > are to delete good photos by accident.
> >
> > But the closer we get to number 4, the more likely we are to hang
> > on to reams of useless, embarrassing dross.
> > What do you tend to do? Why?
>
> Edit, edit, then edit again, where editing means to eliminate photos
> that don't make the cut. When you get to where you're not comfortable
> cutting any more, save them all.
>
> Lisa
 
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