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Thread: Past Photo Retention

  1. #1
    The Commander mikew09's Avatar
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    Past Photo Retention

    Hi fellow AP/ers. I have just been doing a tidy up of my photos as over the last 3 yrs or so I have accumulated some 1.6 TB of photos. A large follow of them are the raw images. I find myself struggling with should I keep these old shots. At the time I thought they were pretty good but as we know, over time we developer a skill and a lot of those old images just dont cut it.

    Do we keep a collection of them as a reference for our journey in photography when they server no really other purpose apart from consuming vast amounts of hard disk. There is a point in time I think when my photos are worthy of keeping.
    So:
    Do I keep them all
    Do I keep only a selection of them as a reminder of where I came from
    Do I archive them on another drive and store them for a time capsule and future reference - they will be interesting to someone one day, maybe in 200 yrs. or
    Do I just bit the bullet and delete them

    Caveat - some photos are personally historical like those of the big flood here in the Lockyer Valley, so obviously we keep those.

    I am very keen to hear how others have dealt with this situation as I am sure anyone that has been seriously into photography would be in the same realm.

    Cheers,

    Mike
    Please be honest with your Critique of my images. I may not always agree, but I will not be offended - CC assists my learning and is always appreciate

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  2. #2
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, I reckon you've started on the right track.

    You have begun to ask yourself, "Why do I want to keep this picture?", and you started a list of
    possible answers: you photographic journey, historical purposes... Keep making up a few reasons and then run your
    pictures past them. I don't think I would give much credence to taking up lots of disk space at this stage of your
    sorting. That's just arm-waving.

    Anyway, you're not alone. Lots of people are in the same boat. Maybe you can swap a whole heap of your images
    for theirs

    Am(arm waving).
    Last edited by ameerat42; 17-03-2015 at 5:15pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Cheers ameerat42, wise words.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    About every 6 months I review the photos I have taken over the last six months and delete whatever I no longer want or like . What I thought was good at the time might not be good any more of I took a photo for some reason no longer relevant . I try to be ruthless and might delete 20 or 30% . Repeat the process after a few years on the previous two years of photos and so on . I don't see much point just storing them on drives in the hope someone may one day look at them . They probably won't. They may not even know they exist there .

    Every year I have started to produce a "Top Shots" photo book. My 100 or so favourite photos of the year. People do look at this book and I like to think that if I was run over by a bus tomorrow , these would be my photographic legacy that children and grandchildren might actually look at as time passes.
    The name is Brad ......

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    The Commander
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcys1961 View Post
    About every 6 months I review the photos I have taken over the last six months and delete whatever I no longer want or like . What I thought was good at the time might not be good any more of I took a photo for some reason no longer relevant . I try to be ruthless and might delete 20 or 30% . Repeat the process after a few years on the previous two years of photos and so on . I don't see much point just storing them on drives in the hope someone may one day look at them . They probably won't. They may not even know they exist there .

    Every year I have started to produce a "Top Shots" photo book. My 100 or so favourite photos of the year. People do look at this book and I like to think that if I was run over by a bus tomorrow , these would be my photographic legacy that children and grandchildren might actually look at as time passes.
    Thanks Brad - that is a good idea about making a yr book with your best 100 shots. There a great by product to that in which photos to keep also.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    "Don't it always seem to go but you don't know what you've got til it's gone"
    I rarely go back to my old shots but I lost pretty much a whole year's shots due to a HD failure and it hurts.
    In 10 years time, looking back at the old shots will bring a smile to your face.
    If not all the RAW files, at least your edited ones.
    Nikon FX

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swifty View Post
    ..."Don't it always seem to go but you don't know what you've got til it's gone"
    ...
    And look out for that "Big Yeller Taxi..."

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    I am in the middle of 'reprocessing' my old pics, most are jpegs.
    Now with new lightroom and converting the jpegs to .dng format, my old edits really suck.
    So I have started by converting the originals to current day standards, deleting the edits and starting from scratch again.
    Big job, but fun and it's good to see how far you have come with your PP and modern programs.
    I don't think some people appreciate how far technology has come, since PS1 and crt monitors.
    Also a lot have made it to the bin.
    Regards
    John
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    Ausphotography Regular Dug's Avatar
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    We all have different attachments to our pictures.
    I used to keep far to many, but I've put in place a simple personal system.

    If it has memories attached I'll keep a lot more than my purely photograph shots.
    A trip or holiday or an event were I took the camera more to record, I'll keep a good variety of shots of varying merit .
    Where as when I upload images from a photography outing I will cull out the ones that are not the best of a set, a yard stick I like to use is "would I ever print it", if the answer is no then all the shots from that set go.

    If an upload of 30 shots from a day out becomes 5 shots before I start actual editing then that is usually about right for me.
    It's a good way I've found to keep the blow out of images under control without having to deal with it later.

  10. #10
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    First thing I do when I import images (I use Lightroom), is browse through them and delete any I do not want to keep. Anything that is even the slightest not in focus, or the composition is not what I really wanted, etc. They all go. Not sure what editing software you use, but in LR it is rather easy, you can make the images full screen and then use right arrow on the keyboard to move to the next one. When you find one you do not want to keep, hit X. When finished looking at them all you can delete all the X ones in one step.

    Now going back over your archives might not be the best idea, just keep em all. But even if from today you are more judicious, you will start saving space into the future. And you only have the keepers as well.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    First thing I do when I import images (I use Lightroom), is browse through them and delete any I do not want to keep. Anything that is even the slightest not in focus, or the composition is not what I really wanted, etc. They all go. Not sure what editing software you use, but in LR it is rather easy, you can make the images full screen and then use right arrow on the keyboard to move to the next one. When you find one you do not want to keep, hit X. When finished looking at them all you can delete all the X ones in one step.

    Now going back over your archives might not be the best idea, just keep em all. But even if from today you are more judicious, you will start saving space into the future. And you only have the keepers as well.
    Yep, LR also Rick. I have just adopted the same practice and is a good start to minimizing the volume of photos kept.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Some helpful and great feed back in this thread. So I am working through my photos, yet again :-( and it is very time consuming I have to say. At this point I am taking the approach of treating all photos as if I have just taken them. Using Ricks method in LR to remove all shots that didn't hit the target and giving particular attention to any shots that have sentimental value such as family or holidays etc but even those groups of photos have shots not worthy of keeping. I have also discovered that when I first started out in photography I used to take multiple of very similar shots so in many cases it is just a matter of identifying the best of them and deleting the rest.

    To date, I have recovered close to 400Gb of drive space ;-).

    As a emergency roll back in the case I have a panic attach about the deletions, I have backed all the shots up on spare drive for now and will hold it for maybe 12 months. If I find I have never had any need to go to that drive I will add it back to my storage bank.

  12. #12
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Rate them.

    I'm a ratings nazi!

    I rate everything, even resembling a mere hint of worthiness for the purpose of posterity.

    Use whatever rating system you prefer, but make sure you have a well defined system.

    I use the number system available in my software(1-9, with 0 a non rating .. ie. zeroed out).

    The traditional method is to use star ratings .. but each to their own I guess.

    I rate images down to a level 5, of which will be pretty crappy in quality ,.. which could mean out of focus, motion blur, over/under exposed and all that .. but the rating will be allocated purely for one simple reason.
    Personal value.

    I then review all images after the year is up(when I can remember) .. and go back through them to delete whatever I can.

    the rating system makes it all easy, in that if I haven't already done so, I use the rating view/filtering tool to locate any non rated images.

    if the image is not rated, it's immediately deleted.

    Then comes the technically hard part.
    deleting the rated images.

    Like I said, even tho the image is technically crappy, and rated a 5, I might still keep it because of some intrinsic value(eg. kids first step .. crappy image of a UFO .. etc )

    But I may also delete technically good images.
    Say I shot a series of images(bracketed or something) .. and they all come out sharp and well exposed, and all that.
    I don't need 10 of them, even tho i might rate them 9 or something like that.

    So I may delete some of them .. maybe half or so. There is no set formula. The individual image is the defining reason for keeping it or not. Is it different enough .. etc.

    I'm currently luckier than you Mike in that my drive is only 1.36Tb full .. which is exactly half the usable 2.72Tb that is supposed to be a 3Tb drive.

    But if I didn't delete ruthlessly, I'd probably need at least 3 more drives by now .. one more to keep the other 1.5Tb's of images that wouldn't have been deleted, and another two to keep a second copy of each image as well!


    good luck with it all .. and above all be ruthless with them!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Rate them.

    I'm a ratings nazi!

    I rate everything, even resembling a mere hint of worthiness for the purpose of posterity.

    Use whatever rating system you prefer, but make sure you have a well defined system.

    I use the number system available in my software(1-9, with 0 a non rating .. ie. zeroed out).

    The traditional method is to use star ratings .. but each to their own I guess.

    I rate images down to a level 5, of which will be pretty crappy in quality ,.. which could mean out of focus, motion blur, over/under exposed and all that .. but the rating will be allocated purely for one simple reason.
    Personal value.

    I then review all images after the year is up(when I can remember) .. and go back through them to delete whatever I can.

    the rating system makes it all easy, in that if I haven't already done so, I use the rating view/filtering tool to locate any non rated images.

    if the image is not rated, it's immediately deleted.

    Then comes the technically hard part.
    deleting the rated images.

    Like I said, even tho the image is technically crappy, and rated a 5, I might still keep it because of some intrinsic value(eg. kids first step .. crappy image of a UFO .. etc )

    But I may also delete technically good images.
    Say I shot a series of images(bracketed or something) .. and they all come out sharp and well exposed, and all that.
    I don't need 10 of them, even tho i might rate them 9 or something like that.

    So I may delete some of them .. maybe half or so. There is no set formula. The individual image is the defining reason for keeping it or not. Is it different enough .. etc.

    I'm currently luckier than you Mike in that my drive is only 1.36Tb full .. which is exactly half the usable 2.72Tb that is supposed to be a 3Tb drive.

    But if I didn't delete ruthlessly, I'd probably need at least 3 more drives by now .. one more to keep the other 1.5Tb's of images that wouldn't have been deleted, and another two to keep a second copy of each image as well!


    good luck with it all .. and above all be ruthless with them!
    Thanks Arthur, I hear a common theme "be ruthless". I have found the process of vetting the shots and immediately deleting shots I don't want to keep as soon as I have uploaded them is good value but I am interested in your rating method also. I am thinking I may add a rating just for shots I am on the fence about and then review them all at a later date.

  14. #14
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    LR lets you rate them.

    There are so many ways to do it, just choose the one you prefer

    Last edited by ricktas; 23-03-2015 at 6:34am.

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    I only keep my "best of" photos, I delete 95% after each session.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    My main reason for rating(with the numbers) is for an almost certain future with my collection.


    So at some point I know I'll simply have far too many files to store easily(this is inevitable .. no matter how many drives I try to acquire!

    My eventual plan is that with my 7, 8, 9 rating plan .. these images are generally slightly different copies of similar scenes.

    I know that the 9's will always be stored, but the 8's and 7's may eventually get deleted(even tho they are still keepers).

    Like I said, I know my system doesn't make sense, but I don't rate 5's and 6's for my general image collection simply because I know I use those two ratings for those really crappy images which I know I can't delete for some 'special' reason(as explained previously).

    ratings of 1-4 are reserved for the purpose of keeping track of collections of images for purposes such as focus stacking, HDR(rare) or stitching purposes.
    I use those ratings simply for those reasons and all those files are not so important, other than I want to keep them if 'better' software eventuates which may offer some new found advantage.

    But these files are very limited in number .. only a few hundred at last count, and don't really take up that much space as a percentage(compared to the 100+K general images).

    The other important thing to note with photo storage is that raw files take up a lot less room than do tiff files.

    Be ruthless with tiff files and delete with extreme prejudice, if you already have a raw copy of those tiffs.

    eg. In some situations where I've done panorama stitches with the D800, say I use 10 images. Each raw file 'only' takes up 75-90Mb .. but if I convert them to tiff files to do a higher quality stitch, the tiff files are usually just over to 200Mb each! (10 x 200 = 2Gigs!! basically for just the one image)

    Those individual tiff files, once they have been converted into the final stitch(and successful) are all deleted ... except for the final stitched pano.
    I only ever keep the final tiff format stitched up pano files. I may make a few jpgs for various purposes(eg. upload or a desktop version or whatever) .. and once they've been used for that purpose, are then deleted.

    It may be a pain to convert the raw files to tiff(for stitching again in future), or to convert the final stitched tiff in a jpg again for uploading or whatever .. but it beats having it stored when you don't really need it .. forgetting about it and letting all those pretty useless small files clog up your storage space.

  17. #17
    The Commander
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    LR lets you rate them.

    There are so many ways to do it, just choose the one you prefer

    http://youtu.be/o8xRWc3BmGE
    Great vid Rick, thanx

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pgbphotographytas View Post
    I only keep my "best of" photos, I delete 95% after each session.
    Wow, I want to be that brave - I like it

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