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culling photos
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Aug 10, 2018 11:11:27   #
dave.m
 
oh how true! I was hunting for a particular negative to scan and reprint. When I went through them there was so much irrelevant junk I was embarrased. What posessed me to take a photo of a strange dog in a field? I could go on. When I filtered the 100 or so images what was significant was the only ones that mattered today were of the people - family, friends, and a few that set the context. And don't forget they were in film days when every frame was carefully thought out (yea, right!)

Today I follow the advice of a professional who I asked the same question. His suggestions: Use a different memory card for each day. At the end of each day transfer images to a decent viewer (android 8" tablet in my case.) First quick pass, delete all images that are similar (ie 5 frames on rapid shooting of the same subject), or definitely useless (out of focus or hopelessly incorrect exposure or similar.) Then pass again. There are then 3 grades of images: keepers which you will definitely work on/ want to print or publish (5*), rejects which you would never use (0*) and maybe's (4*) which you might use if the same subject does not have a (5*). He argued if you are not to sure about a 4* why bother with 3,2,1? Finally check your images at the end of each day - this keeps the review process short and manageable. At the end of the event, do a quick review of everything you kept in case there are near duplicates on different days, and if there is something you desperately want to retrieve, you can from the cards before you reformat for the next event. He also suggested that if that seems a bit of a flog, imagine doing a review at the end of a long week of perhaps 1000s of images, or 10,000s if you are trying to find something 2 years downstream.

I did this on a bird shoot, and according to the exposure numbers, I shot almost 700 frames in 2 hours (continuous shooting, typically 5 to 8 frames at a time.) I filtered that to less than 150, and finished with 50 or so in an album.

Similarly with a 4 day trip to NY. 300+ according to exposure numbers, filtered to just over 100, 53 in the album. one double page spread but most 2 or 3 per page, gave a 26 page album which people enjoy looking at (as far as I can tell Although looking at it again, could probably remove 5 images because of similarity to others.

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Aug 10, 2018 11:29:09   #
wishaw
 
hj wrote:
It amazes me that because one chose to push the shutter at a given instant, now that picture whether good or bad is locked into storage for perpetuity. Amazing that some say "I never delete anything". Was it FATE that you pushed the shutter at that exact moment? If you had not, would you forever live with regret that you hadn't captured that moment in time. I notice one person posted their family would have fun looking at his 200,000 pics. I doubt it because many are mediocre or worse. CULL WITHOUT SHAME. I see others take 8000 pics on a one week trip. Taking photos at a machine-gun pace hoping to get a few keepers is not photography in my opinion.
It amazes me that because one chose to push the sh... (show quote)


Many are mediocre or worse. Shame on you. Commenting on my pictures without seeing them

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Aug 10, 2018 11:29:44   #
tomad
 
I've taken thousands of photos of hummingbirds recently. I have a problem culling and tend to keep everything unless it is out of focus or the subject is half in and half out of the photo. I did one of my infrequent photo posts recently (https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-546810-1.html) and it took me several days to narrow the field down to the few I posted. My process included several stages. The first was to go through all of them in one pass (took several days) and move all the ones that seemed good, i.e., good focus and good subject pose (for these) and still ended up with over 800 photos in a separate folder called "Best". Then I went through those over another couple of days and moved the very best ones to a folder called "Best of Best" resulting in about 400 photos, then went through that folder and narrowed it down to about 92 files, 7 of which I chose to post on UHH.

Culling to me is the hardest part of photography and now that I have learned to use a more sophisticated editor I find myself going back to some older photos that I might have thrown out originally that can be made into good shots through editing, so be careful not to over cull, especially if you are just learning to edit. Disk space is pretty cheap these days.

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Aug 10, 2018 11:34:12   #
steve49 (a regular here)
 
tommystrat
I thk it is a solid idea to make a first pass and then relook at whats left after some time.. whether a few months or years even.

make a next pass at that point.

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Aug 10, 2018 12:05:38   #
photoman022
 
I have my own file system for my photos (I use Photoshop Elements 14). I started the file system when I first got into digital photography and I'm not about to change it. That being said, when I photograph a large number of scenes I open the photos and change the "view" to extra large icons. I then do a quick run through and give the photos a rating of "a", "b", or "c". I just add the designation at the beginning of the file number by going to f2 (rename), pressing my home key, and typing in the designation.

How do I choose which ones are keepers? I ask, "will I print this and hang it on my wall?" Only my best photos get processed and the best of the best go into a special portfolio for printing and sharing.

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Aug 10, 2018 12:05:48   #
cjc2 (a regular here)
 
I WISH I had the time to properly cull. The best I can get done is to trash the awful ones, out of focus, etc., as I go through my work to select what I submit to my clients. Upon import, files are added to a local drive, the catalogue and a Synology NAS system. The NAS files remain unchanged as a backup -- nothing is ever deleted. When you shoot 100,000+ images a year (sports action) time is of the essence. I have the hardware and software to cull about 2500 images an hour. When that is completed I finish my pp and upload the finished images. On a very busy day I might have four games to shoot which would yield about 7500 images so my pp time would be at least three, perhaps five hours. Keeps me off the streets! Best of luck.

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Aug 10, 2018 12:11:34   #
Architect1776 (a regular here)
 
steve49 wrote:
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning out the photos that they shoot?
Do you save everything cause storage is cheap or
do you delete photos for good once you have sorted the " keepers"?

It is so easy to build a huge library with the ease of shooting digitally and I guess I wonder
how often I will revisit old material.

I travel a lot and generally sort by trip but do have a hard time picking what to save and what to chop.
Lately I find myself keeping the best and deleting the rest...

Anyone else wrestle with this?
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning ou... (show quote)


I look at technically good ones at least to me.
Delete the rest.
Then every year or so as I look at them delete more that have no real meaning to others or myself.
I keep most to help remember an event or trip but once I am gone they will also be mostly meaningless to others.
Some will be kept by family if they are in the photo or has meaning to them.
So it is an ongoing process just as life is and what's important changes.

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Aug 10, 2018 12:13:42   #
ppage
 
"keeping the best and deleting the rest" - That's me in a nutshell. I've been shooting for seriously for four years and only have about 250GB of photos and that is only because I have a lot of sentimental family stuff I keep from before when I wasn't shooting so seriously. As such, my backups and my catalog are entirely manageable. I am not a pro, so I don't have to store any work for clients so there's that... I hear and see discussions all the time about what to do when you fill up your hard drives and the trials and tribulations of backup. Well if everyone didn't keep so much crap, they wouldn't have these problems. Cheap storage has spawned photography hoarders moving around in little tunnels in their digital houses. I did a little math. Even if all my photos were 20MB (Which they certainly are not) that would be 12,500 photos. I will never print that many so I am essentially just archiving them on my hard disk. Having more than 12,000 photos to catalog my life and travels is great, more than enough. Storage is so cheap, it doesn't matter anyway. I just refuse to manage a lot of junk.
steve49 wrote:
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning out the photos that they shoot?
Do you save everything cause storage is cheap or
do you delete photos for good once you have sorted the " keepers"?

It is so easy to build a huge library with the ease of shooting digitally and I guess I wonder
how often I will revisit old material.

I travel a lot and generally sort by trip but do have a hard time picking what to save and what to chop.
Lately I find myself keeping the best and deleting the rest...

Anyone else wrestle with this?
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning ou... (show quote)

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Aug 10, 2018 12:30:50   #
hj
 
Obviously I didn't comment on the quality of your pics since I haven't seen them, but only on the fact that no family member is going to have fun looking at 200,000 pics when you're gone. My comments related to a mix of posts, but you must have recognized yourself to some extent. Sorry if I seemed rude.

wishaw wrote:
Many are mediocre or worse. Shame on you. Commenting on my pictures without seeing them

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Aug 10, 2018 12:47:59   #
coolhanduke
 
I shoot a ton of photos, especially sunsets on the west coast.

Typically I down load them all and then usually do a backup on my 8TB backup drive. I also backup on a portable 3TB drive which I keep off location in case of theft or fire. I do this so I don't procrastinate and risk that something happens that I loose the files.

I do a quick look through all the photos and make a quick determination or keepers or non-keepers. The way I do this is I ask myself the question, can I sell this photo?. Ir not, it gets deleted. I know I should probably follow this procedure before I backup the files but I figure if I need to clean up my backup it will be much easier to do after saving the keepers.

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Aug 10, 2018 13:01:11   #
wishaw
 
hj wrote:
Obviously I didn't comment on the quality of your pics since I haven't seen them, but only on the fact that no family member is going to have fun looking at 200,000 pics when you're gone. My comments related to a mix of posts, but you must have recognized yourself to some extent. Sorry if I seemed rude.


I should have said I have used picasa. Therefore my daughter can look at every visit to Disney, trips to Spain, Christmas, pics of her starting in 1983,her and me, her and her mother. I do not expect her to go thru them chronologically but pick and choose.
Maybe I am a hoarder. I make wooden and acrylic pens. I have a drawer full of 1/2 inch cubes cut from the blanks. Maybe I should throw them away but occasionally I pick out a dozen bits and make a pen with them.
Keep on snapping.

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Aug 10, 2018 13:16:08   #
safeman
 
One of the things I have learned in my75 years is that you ALWAYS want something the day after you get rid of it. I have every negative, print or electronic image I have ever taken. Some of them are really bad but they may trigger a memory. That is important to us old folks.

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Aug 10, 2018 13:20:04   #
speters (a regular here)
 
steve49 wrote:
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning out the photos that they shoot?
Do you save everything cause storage is cheap or
do you delete photos for good once you have sorted the " keepers"?

It is so easy to build a huge library with the ease of shooting digitally and I guess I wonder
how often I will revisit old material.

I travel a lot and generally sort by trip but do have a hard time picking what to save and what to chop.
Lately I find myself keeping the best and deleting the rest...

Anyone else wrestle with this?
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning ou... (show quote)

I only keep the ones, I think I may be printing, the rest goes in the trash!

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Aug 10, 2018 14:15:15   #
TonyL
 
I get a feel for anything that's got any mileage in it. That said i usually only delete stuff that just isn't worth keeping for whatever reason.

| Reply
Aug 10, 2018 14:30:01   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
steve49 wrote:
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning out the photos that they shoot?
Do you save everything cause storage is cheap or
do you delete photos for good once you have sorted the " keepers"?

It is so easy to build a huge library with the ease of shooting digitally and I guess I wonder
how often I will revisit old material.

I travel a lot and generally sort by trip but do have a hard time picking what to save and what to chop.
Lately I find myself keeping the best and deleting the rest...

Anyone else wrestle with this?
What does everyone do when it comes to thinning ou... (show quote)


In film days, I cut 35mm negs in strips of six and put each roll into a Negafile glassine, AFTER first making a contact sheet on 8x10 paper. I labeled the contact sheet the same as the negatives, so I could file them separately. Year/Month/Subject/Roll # of #

Now, I first load my originals into a file folder structure I can access with any application.

Year folder (contains the .lrcat Lightroom catalog file)

Month folders (in the year folder)

Event/Job/Subject Name (in the month folders)

In the Event folder, I'll have some of these:

Raw Images
Camera JPEGs (if captured)
Intermediate TIFFs
Print JPEGs
Print TIFFs
Proof JPEGs
[Other] JPEGs

Then I "import" them "in place" into Lightroom, evaluate in full screen, give them star ratings, add metadata where warranted, and delete the no-stars. Then I process the five star images. Next, I process four star images, three star images, and take a longer look at the one and two star images. By that time, I usually have what I need. I export to one or more of the folders created earlier, depending on the need.

At the end of the year, I just back up the year folder to an external drive, and start a new structure and a new Lightroom Catalog! If I need to go back to an old event, I just plug in the right drive, switch catalogs, do what I need to do (often just work on a single image or two), then switch back to my current catalog and drive.

Yes, of course I back up everything in several places...

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