Don't Delete That Shot !!!

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I hadn't visited By Thom for a while so was catching up on his recent posts. I read this article wherein he says he doesn't delete ANY images other than accidental shutter releases. Hmmm. As time goes by I have found my culling process to be getting more and more selective. I used to do pretty much what he describes in the article. But as time has gone by and I've realized how few images I actually go back and do something with, I've gotten more selective on the front end. I'm more likely to hang on to shots with good content but slightly OOF, camera shake, etc, Software is improving all the time and it's amazing what can be recovered nowadays. But poor content is just poor content. It's never going to get any better. A bird butt is always going to be a bird butt. Why keep it? Maybe Audubon will call some day looking for that angle of that bird?

At any rate I was wondering how many people do like Thom?
 
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I delete everything I do not like, or is not at least marginal and can be corrected. I don't delete in camera unless it is an accidental shot of the sidewalk or lens cap on.

Other than that I agree. I do mostly #3
 
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Interesting timing for a discussion.
Until now I did much like Thom. I never delete in camera. Once downloaded I would only delete obviously erroneous images. I have a huge library going back to 2005. I find I rarely go back more than a few years.
With the upcoming purchase of the Sony a1, 50mb images at 30 frames per second I realize I will have to cull and delete ruthlessly or I will be overwhelmed. I have spent the last few days coming up with a culling plan and approach, using the tools in fast raw viewer to help pick out the winners. I plan on keeping at least one image from each sequence, but my delete key is going to get a lot more use.
Plus if I don’t cull more my computer guy will kill me. Between images, huge music dsd files, and other data I have way to much data stored everywhere. And when I go into the final wash, as Ansel Adams called it, no one else will know what the vast majority of this stuff is.
Gary
 
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I didn't take the time to read the article, but I delete everything except the images I fully post-process. That's almost entirely because it's simply not the end of the world for me if someday I realize I wish I had kept a particular image, especially considering that I don't ever remember wishing I had kept one that I had trashed. I don't even keep any of the focus-bracketed images I use for focus-stacked photos that are fully post-processed and cataloged.

The strongest argument in my mind that can be made for keeping images is that technology changes so much that an image that doesn't pass scrutiny for technical reasons today might be absolutely terrific just a year or two from now thanks to recovery that can be done using software of the future. That's probably true now more than ever because of the impact of artificial intelligence on the software industry.
 
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Butlerkid

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In camera, I only delete very obvious errors, blanks, etc. I only do this if there is a long lull and it's something to do! LOL! I've never been close to running out of cards in the field.

I download my images and star rank them......3 sharp, good composition, 4 or 5 for really nice images or the best of a series of similar shots. If I have a lot of one scene, I critically look at sharpness at the eye, etc. to decide on a 4 or 5.
Less than the best 3's of one scene get a 2. I also give a 2 to any images that are slightly OOF if they are a unique shot. 1 is for OOF, really poor composition, exposure way off, etc.

I then start processing, picking the 3, 4 or 5 best of each scene I photographed. Ratings may change a little during this process.

Once I've finished processing a shoot, I will go back through the 1's and 2's to make sure there are no keepers there. I will also go through the 3's I didn't process. I change 3's to 2's if they are simply a redundant image that I have already chosen a keeper and processed.

Then I select all the 1's and 2's and delete them. Everything else gets fully keyworded and backed up.

My keeper rate is about 10%.......
 
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I try to be somewhat selective in what I keep, so I delete most of my images from a photo shoot. I probably end up keeping too many—need to learn to be more selective as I still have too many mediocre at best images in my Lightroom catalogue. I have never regretted deleting an image, but I have often wondered why I saved some of them!

Glenn
 
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I used to, and had over 150,000 images in my archive.

it got to be a right royal pain to keep all those images , not from a space perspective, but from a cataloging perspective. My work is not so critical that I may need an image 50 years from now or covered an event that is going to be part of something history worthy.

I spent a lot of the pandemic going through my entire catalog and deleting a lot of the chaff shots.

everyone has their different perspective on what they keep, but I don’t need 500 shots of an deadlifter pulling the bar once to keep forever. I need the key moments.
My capture strategy has not changed , only my storage and culling. Instead of keeping everything, I’ve gotten even more ruthless on what is kept versus what is deleted.
 
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Oh, I delete all the crap images when editing a card I downloaded. I even delete shots in camera if the exposure or focus are a total miss.

No point in keeping every image you click. You will never go back and review them from years ago and it also wastes a lot of disc space you can use for good images.
 
I am really bad about culling my images. I have the best intentions of doing so, running them through Photo Mechanic before I move into actual editing....but all too often I decide I just want to quickly jump into DXO PhotoLab 4 and see if those couple images I thought were so great while I was shooting them really are, and then of course along the way while looking for those I edit a couple more.....and then I set aside the whole RAW file with the stated intention of "culling it later." Wellllllll........ Somehow "later" hasn't arrived yet and I've got a huge backlog now! I am seriously thinking of just going back through the archives and ruthlessly deleting the RAW files altogether as clearly if it was worth editing something at the time, I did so, and probably I never WILL get back to reviewing and editing images I shot back in 2010 or whenever.

And, yes, since now I am using the 61-MP Sony A7R IV, those RAW files are huge, and they certain add up quickly, taking a lot of space on my external drives. This makes it even more important to cull those files, and for a while last year I was doing pretty well with that but then got bogged down and stopped doing it. I really need to get back in to the 2020 files and of course my current 2021 files and try and get a handle on this before it gets to be too problematic. I tell myself, hey, I could save a lot of money in the long run if I'm not having to run out and buy more external drives because I'm running out of space!

I never delete in-camera, with the exception of something that is clearly an image not intended to have been shot, such as accidentally touching the shutter release when I didn't mean to do so and getting some weird image or part-image. THAT kind of thing I will delete promptly right then and there. I have seen articles that state that deleting images in-camera can mess up the file system and so it is best to wait to delete when the files are in the computer and no longer on the memory card. I shoot, put the card into the SD card reader, get the images into the computer, then take a quick look at the file in the computer before then putting the SD card back into the camera and formatting it, preparing it for the next time I'll be shooting.
 
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Pretty selective in what I shoot and rarely will I shoot over 50 images in a full day. Exception is if working with model in which case I average betwen 250-300 images. I'll delete in camera obvious screw ups ( shutter release with lens cap on, lens pointed at feet and inadvertant release and such). But even when rating and initial cull of those I'll later process I don't delete any of the images. I probably have every image cataloged either in Lightroom or Capture One since I 1st picked up the D100 as well as film images number of film images scanned using Nikons Coolscan II and later the Epson V750 for 4x5 and 120 film. Those that have not been added to the catalogs are still in folders on my external hard drives that contain all my images.

I do find that as my processing abilities progress I'll go back quite often to an image that I wasn't able to get a satisfactory result in the past.

Image from N Ga. Natural light with reflector under the trees at Unocoi State Park. D100 with the old sigma 70-210 shot back in 2005 but didn't process until summer 2020.

HTLVI_050521_AMY_0026-1-1.jpg
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Commodorefirst

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Delete 70-80% the first pass. I am vicious on my images. The next 5-10% I cull much more carefully, and if different than other shots but not ready for full post work, I keep them as Original raw.

I post process on average around 7-10% of my total images. Have to remember that I have taken close to 600,000 shots since 2002, I have about 40,000 raw images I have kept, and have a “Keeper” fully processed library of 8 thousand images which includes the era of dance recitals and air shows and heavy number of wildlife shots.

I kept track of number of shots I have ever taken via my camera bodies. Just add them up, and write down what actuations when I sell them.
 
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I do NOT delete in camera, cuz it is too easy to delete the wrong pic. Been there, done that. :eek: :mad:
1 - I upload everything to the computer.
2 - Then I make a copy of the upload into a different folder/directory.
3 - Then I start culling in the copies.
I do this because I have culled too fast and deleted pics that I did not want to delete. :eek: Then I can go back into the original uploads and copy it into the culling folder.
4 - When I edit, I make a copy of the culled directory/folder. Cuz I have screwed up when editing, and had to go back and get the unedited file.

I cull in at least two passes. Three if I shoot in burst/continuous mode.
#1 - Get rid of the goofs; out of focus, accidental shot of my foot, etc.
#2 - Cull the burst. When I have a burst of 12 frames, I only want the ONE or two shots, I don't need the other 10.
Although, I have sometimes found unexpected good shots in the burst where I did not expect it. So I do study the burst.​
#3 - For content. Example, if I have a front shot where I can see the face, I don't need a shot where I can't see the face.

The practical side is if you keep EVERYTHING, you are going to have multi-TERA-Bytes of images to store and back up.
To manage this, I periodically go thru my pics, and delete the intermediate working directories/folders, and just keep both ends; the originals, and the finals. I need to clean house again, as I have about 85% of a 4TB drive filled.
 

Commodorefirst

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I changed the file name to reflect the camera body (DS1 and DS2).
This prevents me from accidentally have two files of the same name coming from two different cameras, when shooting the same event. And accidentally having one overwrite the other.
as soon as I download, I change the name of them all before I cull so today my files would be 210306Cafe01.nef or whatever event for example.

excellent to bring up about multiple bodies and also older vs newer. I ran into that when I was shooting with multiple bodies in 2005 and changed my naming format way back then. For a few years I shot with 3 D200 bodies each with a different lens attached.
 
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None of Thom's described types fits me. Somewhere in between.

I don't hesitate to delete in camera. When there's downtime during a shoot I go through and cull the obvious ones that are badly OOF, badly clipped subject, back of animals head, etc. Started doing so when I got a D800 and card space became an issue. I used to cull maybe 10 or 20 percent on first pass after downloading. I'm a little more disciplined nowadays and it's probably closer to 50 percent. At the same time I identify the ones for initial PP. When I start doing my PP I typically cull a few more but for the most part that's it. At that point it doesn't do me any good to keep looking at stuff. I need some time removed to get emotionally detached before I can cull any more. Ultimately I end up keeping about 10-20 percent of what I shoot.

Shooting events etc is a different story. I tend to only cull the images with technical issues or really bad content. I learned a long time ago that images I'd pick are rarely the client's favorites. Also I archive those files and never revisit them unless/until I get a client request. I rarely shoot events any more so the required storage isn't increasing enough to worry about.
 
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as soon as I download, I change the name of them all before I cull so today my files would be 210306Cafe01.nef or whatever event for example.

excellent to bring up about multiple bodies and also older vs newer. I ran into that when I was shooting with multiple bodies in 2005 and changed my naming format way back then. For a few years I shot with 3 D200 bodies each with a different lens attached.

I never had two bodies until recently, so it was a non-issue.
But at school, we have several cameras, so a dupe file name will eventually happen. And kids being kids won't realize that their pics are overwriting someone else's pics.
I think I did have that one time when I had dupe file name, then it was an "oh $hit" situation.
Then I learned from "someplace," about putting a camera code/indicator in the file name, so the camera IDs itself when it writes the file.
I did this with the athletic dept's Nikon D5600, but I did not do it with the yearbook's cameras. I need to talk to the YB advisor about that. Thanks for the reminder.
 

Commodorefirst

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I did this with the athletic dept's Nikon D5600, but I did not do it with the yearbook's cameras. I need to talk to the YB advisor about that. Thanks for the reminder.

I did what you said with our school’s graphic/art department camera bodies when I was working.
 
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I never delete in camera, the cards I use are big enough I don't have to worry about space, and my culling process on the computer is fast enough I don't gain anything from taking time to delete in camera.

In the story I'm probably a 3.5, but I'm working to move to a 4. After I work the images I want from a shot and process them, I very very seldom ever go back and look for other images to post process or rework from that event.
 
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About going back to other pics.
When I shoot sports, I "try" to get all the kids. But you know that never happens.
It is in the later stage of editing when I am sorting the kids that I find, "I'm missing someone."
Then I will go back into the original pics, to look for "any" pic of that kid, just so there will be at least one pic of each kid on the team.

I sort later in the process, because it is easier to sort and edit 100 pics than 1,000 pics.
 
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