How do I cull my photos?

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58
Edit My Images
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I love taking pictures, but it seems I save too many, as they often look alike. Am I doomed to be that guy who is a hoarder? Opinions/suggestions are always appreciated.
 
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15,713
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
I love taking pictures, but it seems I save too many, as they often look alike. Am I doomed to be that guy who is a hoarder? Opinions/suggestions are always appreciated.
Yes.

;)

If they're so similar then choose the best & dump the rest. But when you talk about hoarding, how many images do you mean? 20,000? 100,000? Storage space isn't expensive.
 
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2,373
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Jonathan
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The other question is what are you selecting them for? What do you do with them once they've been selected?
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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35,597
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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Or keep everything somewhere but only keep the "keepers" for showing to others, using Graham's method above to sort through them.
 
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1,955
Name
Lee
Edit My Images
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Don't take so many in the first place ;)

Of course, sometimes with certain subjects that's that's pretty difficult.

I don't usually take a photo unless I'm fairly convinced it looks good. Sort of an advantage of the camera in the backpack and tripod strapped to the side. Stops all the quick grab shots that soon amount to you firing off 100 shots in 100 yards.

Anyway, that is just for me.

I find in LR I'll flick through them all, flag ones that I like, reject the ones I don't and leave the ones I'm not sure on. I'll start on the flagged ones and by the time I've done that, I'll probably reject a few more.... I'll do this over time though, not all in 1 hour ;)
 

Asha

Blithering Idiot
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9,833
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Asha
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Don't take so many in the first place ;)
^^THIS^^

Try shooting some film, in particular large format 5x4 or 10x8 and you won't take more than one exposure at a time (unless you are very well off financially or the photo is extremely important**)

** This relates to a location that cannot possibly be revisited or the subject is so important it is imperative that a back up negative is available should an error occur during developing / PP
Normally though, one scene = 1 sheet of film

EDIT:
I might add that even with only one frame taken of a given scene, many of those negs don't become keepers.
Film is exposed, developed and the negative scanned.
If a defo keeper, it is printed either inkjet or wet printed.
If a dud, it goes straight in the bin.
If I'm undecided, I'll put the negative to one side for a couple of months then review it ( we often see the resulting photos differently after a period of time from actually taking them!)....If it pleases me more than originally then i'll try rework it into a print, otherwise it too goes in the bin.

I don't have many printed photos but those that i do have ( printed A3), please me and I am not ladened down with negatives, files, hard drives, back up discs etc, nor the frustration of what to keep!
 
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1,955
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Lee
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As an additional comment..... I also don't get straight into editing. We went out for the day on Friday, everything is still on the camera at the moment. Might import them tomorrow evening. Maybe Tuesday.

I find that helps with culling any images because you've lost the buzz of the occasion/day out/sunrise/mountain climb/etc where you tend to still love every image you took.....
 
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123
Name
Michael
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I have a process; after I download the photos from the camera, I back everything up to an external hard drive - my permanent record. Then I go into ON1 (or LR or whatever PP you choose), rate the photos that I think might be decent with * (most programs have some sort of rating system). I apply my own preset(s) to the images with 1 * and work from there. When I've finished, I delete all the 0 star images (jpg and Raw) from the local hard drive (but I still have a copy of the originals on the external).
 
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15,713
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Toni
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A slightly different POV on how many pictures to take - never be afraid to experiment. You can always delete the images you don't think are worth keeping, but you can never get back the images you never took.

As a previously film-using person, digital is liberating, allowing you to try all sorts of things at minimal cost. You aren't using a true full frame camera with 10X8 sheet film costing £10+ per image, and a little discipline early in the selection process will bring remarkable freedom from clutter.
 
OP
red14
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58
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I used film for 40 years as well. I remember the excitement of waiting to see those pics I thought would be great, and the crush of failure when they were usually disappointing. Digital is way more fun, but then I take way too many more. :rolleyes:
 

Stephen L

I asked a Stupid Question Once...
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4,663
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Stephen
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Good advice, as a bit of a grumpy old git I grew up on film and still shoot in the same way for most subjects, day out at Penmon on Friday saw me take just 18 images, of which 3 are keepers
:plus1:
 
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691
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colin
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I used film for 40 years as well. I remember the excitement of waiting to see those pics I thought would be great, and the crush of failure when they were usually disappointing. Digital is way more fun, but then I take way too many more. :rolleyes:
much of this is true, however I don't get the buzz from digital I used to get from film......wouldn't go back though
 
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red14
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58
Edit My Images
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much of this is true, however I don't get the buzz from digital I used to get from film......wouldn't go back though
I totally agree. With my old AE1 my rare good shots were greatly appreciated. My 'new' Sony A (2006) takes more good shots by accident than I do on purpose. :rolleyes:
 
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91
Edit My Images
No
I have a similar issue - as in taking too many pictures, although I have tried very hard to train myself out of the habit over the years. I totally get the temptation to shoot everything in sight, but you just end up with a lot of average images. The advice about shooting film is good. It really makes you slow down and consider every shot before you press the shutter button.

Failing that ...... I sit down once every three/four months or so and have a ruthless culling session. Give over 2-3 hours to it on a rainy day, or when there's some football on the telly - which ever is the more boring for you - and simply get rid!! Keep the best, dump the rest.

The tendency of some people to simply hitch up a new, empty hard drive and keep storing everything is bordering on hoarder territory to me, and I would rather keep fewer, better images than everything I take. The vast, vast majority of the images you take and randomly keep will never again see the light of day, so simply delete them, keep the keepers and move on.
 
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Jim
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What are you taking pictures of? Maybe get yourself a 'system' whereby you only need to take 2 or 3 images of each subject, that way you'll be able to cull as you process quite easily. the best method is to try and get everything right 'in camera' so that you can concentrate more on composition, then you may take fewer images - just a thought and not trying to teach you to suck eggs.
 
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1,373
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Trevor
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I use Lightroom and as soon as I’ve imported my images, I go through and delete any garbage and stack any focus stack, exposure blend and time blends, then revisit at a later date to decide which photos I want to keep. This includes going through any stacks to see if I need all the photos to achieve the desired end result, if I don’t, then the surplus are deleted too.
 
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2,591
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Gil
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I think culling - as people have pointed out - is best done over time. Sometimes decisions on the first sitting don't come easy - but as time passes, and you come back to a selection of photos, it does. Saying that I still have photos from 2018 to work through - eek
 
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5,836
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Lewis
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I use the “pick”/“reject” flags in Lightroom after import to rate files, then work on the picks and delete the rejects.

Whenever I export anything I assign it a colour, then I have a smart collection which collages any files over a year old without a colour label. Every so often I will review the files in this collection and either same or remove them - on the basis that if I haven’t used a file in a year I’m unlikely to ever need it.
 
OP
red14
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58
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How about Edit , select all , delete , Job done :)
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.I see you must have seen some of my pics. :giggle:
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.
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ONLY KIDDING :jawdrop:
 
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5,374
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Dave
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...if I haven’t used a file in a year I’m unlikely to ever need it.
I went through my negative files from 1976-82 last year and found pictures I'd never printed when I took them that I'm glad I saved. Likewise rubbish digital files of people who are now dead. We don't know what pictures we might need or find worthwhile in the future, so unless it's absolute crap or duplicated - save it.
 
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24,567
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Alan
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I tend to wait for a while before deleting anything as sometimes I end up liking pictures I initially almost deleted. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I must have seen something there to bother to take the picture and sometimes it's only later that I see and appreciate it.

So, my advice is not to delete anything straight away unless it's an obvious and irretrievable dud for some reason and to instead revisit the pictures over time and only when you're familiar with them and sure delete.
 
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5,836
Name
Lewis
Edit My Images
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I went through my negative files from 1976-82 last year and found pictures I'd never printed when I took them that I'm glad I saved. Likewise rubbish digital files of people who are now dead. We don't know what pictures we might need or find worthwhile in the future, so unless it's absolute crap or duplicated - save it.
I keep everything imported to Lightroom on separate drives, but in 12 years have never needed to recover one. I will keep doing that though.
 
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986
Name
Kell
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I remember buying a point and shoot that had a frame rate of something like 18fps.

Used it at that speed to capture my daughter graduating from nursery. Figuring I’ll take loads and select the best one later

What a PITA it was to sort through.

I definitely don’t use that technique any more.

To make the process quicker, what I learned from that experience was to take fewer shots initially so that I might only have three or four to choose from (in case of closed eyes or funny facial expressions) then view them in camera and delete anything which is obvious on the small screen.

Once imported, I go through each burst and pick a favourite and maybe one or two ‘nearly’ shots.

When processing, i spend more time on the favourite shot to get that how I like it and export that as a higher res JPEG. I then normally copy and paste those settings onto the other ‘nearly’ shots and export them as lower res versions


If I consider them to be ‘snaps’ rather than something I might want to keep or print, then I delete the raw files and just keep the JPEGS.

If I think it’s something worth keeping, I’ll retain the raw files too.

Everyone’s different. Yes it’s sort of free to just keep shooting as many as you like with digital. But then you have to be able to store them all and assess whether your time is better spent setting up the shot or spending hours in front of a computer screen sorting through them.
 
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4,859
Name
Phil
Edit My Images
Yes
I went through my negative files from 1976-82 last year and found pictures I'd never printed when I took them that I'm glad I saved. Likewise rubbish digital files of people who are now dead. We don't know what pictures we might need or find worthwhile in the future, so unless it's absolute crap or duplicated - save it.
I’m far less ruthless when reviewing photos with friends and family in. Whereas any attempt at arty stuff I try to be very ruthless.
 
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