Discussion: Deleting Digital Photos

by | Digital Photography Tips | 8 comments

Let’s take a few moments and talk about photos today. A few years ago I was stressed by how many photos I had. When I wanted to scrapbook a story from a particular time or event, I had too many choices.

I would get stuck thumbing through ten or more similar images trying to find “the best” for my scrapbook page. My photos slowed me down.

Does this sound familiar to you?

When I began researching simple scrapbooking ideas, the concept of deleting more photos was one of the first to demonstrate significant impact. By making decisions early and eliminating excess “photo clutter” from my archive, I could make scrapbooking easier.

Here are a couple of past posts on this:

Deleting can be scary, but is worth it in the end. I like to keep roughly 1/3 of my original shots, letting the rest go. I tend to choose a combination of technically good images as well as ones that evoke the most emotion to edit and keep.

I’d like to kick off the discussion with this question: Are you a keeper or a deleter? Has your approach changed over time?

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Kim Gowdy

    I am proud to say I no longer have issues deleting photos. As my photographic skills get better i have become much more critical of my photos. That does not mean the photo has to be perfect, but it has to be worthy of sharing! That is my biggest criteria…do I feel this picture is worth sharing!

    When I get back from a holiday or any photographic outing, one of the first thing’s I do is to download my pictures and do a quick purge & tagging of them. At this point I delete duplicates, blurry or pics that have no purpose! When I have more time, I review them again with a more discerning eye! Does the picture tell a story? Does the picture depict the environment? Is it well composed? Can I scrapbook it? Can I enlarge it? IS THE PICTURE WORTH SHARING? Nobody wants to see pages of pictures of the ocean or mountains or prairies…delete! delete! delete! Back up the best of the best!

    I also find it a good idea to revisit my picture folders after a few years have past…once again deleting pictures that have no meaning. These often include people pictures that have been shared and have no purpose for my needs. Sports pictures that have been shared but are of kids my son doesn’t hang out with. Because my skills improve each year…some pictures that I thought were good…no longer make the cut!

    Cleaning your digital files feels just as good as cleaning your closet! Maybe it feels overwhelming to do it all at once [for most of us it’s TOO MUCH!]…set aside small pockets of time [15-20 mins] and plug away…you’ll be amazed at how how much you can accomplish! Your computer will be happy you freed up space as well!

  2. Katie

    I am getting much better at deleting without guilt.

  3. Sue

    It’s getting easier to delete; trying to be mindful of why I took the picture and the quality of the result.

  4. Bernice J

    I delete the obvious ones right off the bat…blurry, too dark etc. Then I “sort” through my photos…I choose the best one of a series of similar photos etc. using the same criteria as Jennifer (technical quality and emotionally evocative). The rest don’t stay on my computer. However, when I back up my photos, I do back all of these up. The ones that are on my computer are the ones that I will use on my scrapbooking layouts.

  5. Missy

    I am a keeper. I don’t delete photos no matter how bad they are. I have a starring system that I use in lightroom to go through my best shots quickly. Storage for digital photos is cheap. I just can’t delete shots.

  6. Stephanie Hackney

    This has been an issue in the past, but I have learned some things over time:
    1. Yes, “film” is free when one shoots digitally, but that does not mean I need 853 pictures of the penguins on the beach! I used to shoot and shoot and shoot, hoping for that ONE perfect image. But, I learned that I rarely had the patience to go back thru so many pix and find that ONE perfect image. So, I now shoot fewer pix (317 penguins? lol).
    2. I often delete images from the memory cards while they’re still in my camera, before even downloading them to my computer. I generally won’t do so if it’s the only shot of something, but if it’s a bad shot, it’s gone!
    3. Once I download, I am rather ruthless about deleting, BEFORE I tag or edit. Less work!

  7. Leslie M

    I’m trying to be a deleter. I usually can cull 1/3 of the photos as bad or duplicative and then I bog down. My husband and I were going through the photo albums from 12 years ago and it really is better to only have 4 or 5 shots of a birthday party (back in the film days) than 50. It is so much easier for the brain to process and we really focus on the images we have on hand.

  8. Judi

    I have become very adept at uploading and deleting photos as soon as possible after taking them. I intend to go through my old files one day and delete the ones that are not up to standard.


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