Tuesday, November 14, 2006

11/14/06: Keep or Delete?

One of the many debated topics in digital photography is whether or not to keep your "trash" images. Call me a digital pack-rat...but I prefer to keep most "trash" images (maybe because I only have 2 of them in the past 20 years!...okay, just kidding!).

Here is why I recommend saving some of your reject or trash images...
You can learn a lot from those rejects. When I shoot an engagement session, I learn a LOT about the bride and groom. Maybe one of the persons blinks a lot...or another has a tendancy to pull their chin back from camera shyness (which can create unwanted double chins). When I'm about to shoot their wedding...I go back and review their engagement session photos -- ALL of them. The reject ones (that were never shown to the couple) can serve as a quick reminder about the photo personalities of the couple. If they are prone to blinking a lot when a camera is present, I'll make a note to shoot extra frames for the posed images.

If you are more of a nature or sports photographer, it's nice to keep old reject images to serve as a benchmark to improving your photo skills. We like to vacation in Montana -- we don't get there as often as we like, but it's nice to compare images I shot in 1998 to images from 2002 to images from 2004...and I can learn from the comparison of prior year / visit shots.

I don't keep everything -- I mean if a flash didn't fire due to rapid shooting (or drained batteries), or if an unwanted person walked into the frame when I was shooting candid or photojournalistic shots, I'll delete those. But I do keep most everything else. You might consider saving some of your "less than expected results" images so that you can use them to improve your photography skills.

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