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Don’t Delete Your Digital Photography Mistakes Too Quickly

Mistake

A few years ago while on a tour in Morocco with a group of others I sat next to a fellow traveler on a tour bus. He was quickly scrolling through the shots he’d taken on his camera – deleting picture after picture.

I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he was ‘culling’ shots to make more room on his memory card. As I watched him I wondered how much he could tell about the shots he was deleting from his camera’s little 2 inch LCD.

While I understand the feeling of getting to the end of a memory cards capacity when you want to take more shots – if you do have the space on your memory card I would recommend that you don’t delete too many shots while you’re out and about and wait until you get back to your computer to do so.

The reason I suggest waiting is that quite often some of the ‘mistake’ shots can actually end up being some of your best (sometimes in quite a in an abstract sort of way).

When you look at images on your camera’s LCD the photo is obviously quite compressed and you can sometimes not see details that you would when you view it on your computer. There may actually be something quite useful tucked away in the details that you’ll never know about if you delete too quickly.

For example – the picture on this post was taken on the streets in Morocco on that same trip. It was taken on my first little point and shoot digital camera (A Canon Powershot A60). It was actually a complete accident that I took the shot (I thought I was turning the camera off when I was actually pressing the shutter). At first glance it is an out of focus and poorly framed shot (actually it’s that on a second look too) but there’s something about this shot that keeps drawing me back to it.

The shot won’t win any awards but it is one that means something quite powerful to me and one that evokes some memories that I don’t want to forget about a part of Morocco that I may not have normally photographed.

I’m glad I didn’t join my fellow travellor in his picture cull that day because I’d probably have deleted this one.

Do you delete images in camera? Have you ever discovered a ‘mistake’ shot that turned out to be one of your favorites?

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://valeriemorrisonphotography.com v

    the pic above is actually quite interesting to me. i like it, there’s a sense of movement.

    sometimes, i delete in camera, but mostly shots i KNOW i don’t want….or mistakes. i do like to look at the images on the screen though before i delete them for good.

  • Cornell

    I have never make a decision in camera on whether an image is a keeper. I’ve always waited until I downloaded them into the PC. I have found that some photos that do not look good in camera are quite good after fixing them with PSE. Conversely, I’ve found that some which look good in camera are not worth keeping after viewing them through my PC.

  • jmonhollen

    I actually had one of those fortunate discoveries not too long ago. I was going through a bunch of pictures I took while I was in Seattle for the Mariners’ home opener, and I took one picture that was extremely overexposed, and everything that was moving was blurred. However, the stationary objects were clear and in focus, and after I touched it up a little in Lightroom, and converted it to black and white, it is now one of my favorite pictures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshrockphotography Josh Rock

    I find in certain situations its easier to delete from the camera than looking at the images on the computer. When I’m shooting a gig, and have taken atleast 500 photos, it is a lot easier to go through them on the camera, because it will take longer on the computer. Most of the ones I delete are clearly not worthy of uploading, especially if there are 20 other shots that are similar but better.

  • Silke Force

    At first glance, the image of the flowering pitcher plant was badly out of focus, but I don’t usually delete until I get things back to my computer. I was so glad that I didn’t delete this one — in the background of the plant, in sharp focus, was a sundew, no larger than an infant’s fingernail — that was the clue that sent me back to the same place twice a week for a couple of months, photographing the ever-changing display of rare wild orchids here in Ontario. I hope to go back for more this year — but there is no guarantee that I will find the same display if the climatic conditions have changed again.
    Thank heavens I didn’t delete that out-of-focus pitcher plant.

  • http://maikerufoto.wordpress.com/ Michael Stagg | Maikeru Foto

    Although I haven’t been shooting long, I’ve learned not to delete the images off of my card until I’ve ensured they are either on my computer, uploaded online – or both! I haven’t discovered any “hidden gems” just yet but I know that I may in the future.

    I seriously doubt that I’ll ever make it a practice to delete images directly from my camera. My wife has been making fun of me because I never leave the house without my little Kodak C190, four batteries and two extra memory cards. “Why do you carry all that extra stuff; isn’t just the camera enough?” she asks. I always reply that it is better to have and not need than to need and not have. ;)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitry_chastikov/4932811956/ Dmitry Chastikov

    This is one of the best advice I ever got. And here is an example of a shot I was about to delete immediately in camera.

    Luckily I recalled this suggestion and left it intact for better time at a big screen. This one appeared to be a keeper, and the other one technically fine but didn’t have that bliss type of expression.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitry_chastikov/4932811956/ Dmitry Chastikov

    HTML ref disappeared. So here it is in plain text: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitry_chastikov/1378404555/

  • Kate

    I don’t delete. I keep them for a long time and refer back to them, so I can learn from my mistakes .
    I look for the picture within the picture. If it is a local scene I can return and re shoot.

  • Peant

    Buy memory cards. they are cheap! easy, no?
    handle the same way you did in former years as you shot with real film material. easy, no?
    import your images and keyword them. easy to find everything you are searching for. easy, no?
    delete all the really bad stuff. easy no?

  • idb

    I delete a lot less in the camera than I used to. Just the very obviously bad ones and mistakes but never just to make more room on the memory card – I always have a spare card.

  • DorkySister

    I do not delete before I get home. Even when my teenage son “steals” the camera and takes pictures with the camera by his side as he’s walking through the room, or random shots of the ceiling, or people’s feet. I actually like some of the pictures of feet & shoes. It’s interesting what can come of unframed, unprepared, candid shots.

  • Dharmapala Senaratne

    I am just a novice in photography. Yet, I have been following this advice unconsciously. Now I realize how valuable the advice is. Thanks a bunch.

  • http://djib.fr/ djib

    I don’t delete any picture on camera:
    * Because it gives me a way to quickly check that I have dumped up all the photos I have taken (for instance, if last backup ends with picture 08112.JPG I know I’ll be expecting pictures starting from 08113.JPG).
    * Because I often ended up keeping shots I thought were bad in the first place.
    * And because it makes me think twice before actually taking the shot as I don’t want to pollute my card with bad pictures.

  • http://susdesigns.blogspot.com Sus

    Last Christmas I wanted to take some photos of ds, and the one I felt was the worst is actually now my favorite with a little editing, even though the focus is off. I usually don´t delete pics unless they are all black, or a total blur. Those I can see just a little potential in I keep and watch on my screen at home, since I hardly ever need more space on my memory card I can afford to do that

  • http://www.theshyphotographer.com Gary

    that’s exactly what i wrote last summer:

    http://bit.ly/bA8dYy

    even if i zoomed in, the 3-inch lcd screen won’t be able to beat the monitor of my macbook pro nor my external monitor.

  • http://www.wix.com/AndreasenPhotography/mandi mandi

    I agree i do not delete anything until i get to my computer. sometimes i’ll get one that looks really bad for instance i did some engagments and for some reason it was to dark and over sturated but once I got through with it in photoshop it turned out to be the couples favorite picture out of the whole bunch. it is on my facebook page, please check it out and become a fan if you want.. click this link will take you right to my page and the photo im talking about http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=191297265825&set=a.168243110825.132498.168213295825

  • http://rhicarian.wordpress.com/ Michele

    I rarely delete photos directly from my camera. Many years ago it was because I simply wanted to keep every single memory of my kids, even if it was blurry. Then my photography improved and my hard drives began filling up and I began being more selective, but I still waited until I looked at my photos in PSE Organizer before I deleted any. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that deleting from the camera memory card is actually damaging to it, reducing its life, or something like that. Anyway, the only time I came close to filling up my cards was when I was on a trip.

    Lately I’ve been keeping more of my photos again. Why? I’ve learned how to adjust levels in PSE to fix some of them!

  • janthom

    Amazing how many shots I’ve tossed over the years that have come back to haunt me, printed in high-end magazines… out of focus, strange angle, decapitated people, etc. Others are making money on things I’ve deleted? Now, I, too, delete only a few, and after I’ve had a chance to look at them closer at home. As has been said, additional memory cards are cheap, and a dozen fit in a pocket! — Happy Shooting!

  • Draku Zeos

    While I used to delete to conserve space, now days, I never delete anything (unless the image is completely useless, such as a completely blurred zoom shot of grass while taken while the camera was pointed down and I hit shutter button by mistake, etc.). Why? For just the reasons you mention. I have too often come across shots I considered mistakes years after I took them, only to realize a hidden power in them that, with some careful handling, became really amazing.

    Now that memory is so cheap, I hardly see any point in deleting shots that aren’t completely blotzed. OK, a shot of the inside of the lens cap is pretty useless, but a blurry shot of a model turning her head just before I fired … that might turn out pretty cool with proper handling.

    Excellent piece.

  • Ian Salsman

    This is an amazing shot. I am glad you did not delete it. I agree that technically, it does not follow the rules: framing, focus, etc. Yet, like you, it draws me back. I think it is because does have a captivating point of focus (subject wise). I know what I am looking at and what you want me to see as a photographer (albeit accidentally. But the “shakiness” from the motion and the blur simply adds to the mystery of our hooding beggar(?). Perhaps that blur is representative of his struggles and his life.

    I am glad you held on to it. I don’t think one could deliberately captured it.

  • Harro Kremer

    At one time, I did delete them on camera, mainly based on composition of the image. At home, I found that I ended up with a series of photo’s in which the details of the faces (notably eyes and mouth) were far below my standards. I never stopped wondering whether a deleted photo would have contained the right eyes. I completely stopped with deleting on camera.

  • Mark

    I never delete in camera. I seldom delete on hard drive. When I first started, I shot JPG and used photo editing software for really basic adjustments and cropping. As I have learned more about the software, I have lots of older images to practice on with the new techniques.

    You can do much more with levels and curves than I originally did with the brightness/contrast sliders! Dodging and burning brought whole new areas of salvaging old photos. Image layering and blending brought even newer frontiers and many of my old photos were used to master these skills.

    If you are still learning photography, the old “mistakes” can be very valuable as your skills advance. I am sure that at some point I will delete most of this old learning material and I don’t have many older “mistakes” that are now salvaged, but they did serve a useful purpose in my self study course of work.

    Cards and hard drives are so cheap these days that you only hurt your learning curves if you delete too soon. Deleting in camera makes no sense today and what I can see on that little screen is not enough info to make a good decision. At least look at it on your monitor!

  • http://www.emilyhphotography.blogspot.com Emily Hartvigsen

    Here’s a picture I took by accident…I’m glad I didn’t delete it!
    [eimg url='http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm69/emilyscrapper/2010-08-19058e.jpg' title='2010-08-19058e.jpg']

  • http://www.myphotographiclife.com Dave Burgess

    One time I was on a family vacation and I didn’t have my DSLR – just a point and shoot Sony pocket camera. I was standing on a bridge over a lazy river pool when my wife and brother in law drifted by. I pulled the camera out of my pocket and quickly grabbed this shot with almost no thought. They were drifting by just fast enough to confuse the camera autofocus. When we returned home, I uploaded the pictures and fell in love the shot – the diagonal composition, the bold saturated colors and the slight blur ands a nice lazy feel. The shot is in my portfolio and it pretty much a complete accident.[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/24843172@N03/5393257417/' title='Aruba Drift' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5095/5393257417_586dde67a1_z.jpg']

  • http://www.flickr.com/gowiththeflo Flo

    Yes I don’t see much in the shot on the screen but after I make it bigger I realize its potential and its great :)
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gowiththeflo/5373959218/' title='Going blind' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5129/5373959218_5572cc9c89.jpg'][eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gowiththeflo/5380384801/' title='Believe.' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5206/5380384801_c195307a5e.jpg']

  • http://www.thesiracusas.com Emanuele Siracusa

    I usually delete pictures only after I see them on my computer’s screen, but every now and again I delete them from the memory card. Here is an example of a ‘photo mistake’ that I’m glad I didn’t get rid of too quickly
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/stolenfant/5220537045/' title='Pushkar 21' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4141/5220537045_bc2d3be8ca.jpg']

  • Penny

    I delete very few and almost never in camera. One of my favorite shots was taken from a moving cab in Cairo. Several members of a family were standing on the street engaged in a conversation. I was so disappointed when I brought the shot up on my computer. Here was this great photo, decently framed, and just out of focus enough to mean it was not a candidate for printing, let alone framing. Rats! But then, while playing around in Photoshop, I applied the poster filter–nothing extreme, just a little bit–and hey, the photo looked pretty good. The poster filter gave it a bit of an artsy look and the only one who knows it’s really just an out-of-focus shot is me. I framed it and six years later, it’s still a favorite.

  • http://www.digidesignresort.com Monja

    hi darren,

    i agree with you. better to get a new memory card than deleting any picture! some pictures are not just valuable because they are good shots but they might be actually the only pic you´ll have from a person or situation. for example: i really do not have my pictures of my grandparents. i just have some digital ones. i´m so thankful for that. although i´d never think they are good shots – they are just valuable for me because now both are gone. pictures are memories, so don´t delete before you have them on the computer ;-)

  • Elissa

    I keep most of the shots I take for 4 reasons:

    1. I study them to find out why I don’t like them. It might be framing or focus or something obvious, but it might also be something less obvious…I used to have a tendency to only really look at the subject, framing etc. but found my mind’s eye would ignore distractions in the background. I saw this in bad shot after bad shot and it helped reinforce the message to me.

    2. Bad shots are great for teaching. If you only have good shots and nothing in the presentation to compare them to its hard to convey the difference. I think a valuable learning opportunity is lost.

    3. When composing a story after a trip it is helpful to look at photos to jog my memory about details. Even bad photos contain contextual information…I don’t use the photo in the story, but I use the information it contains to help me write it.

    4. Portions of any photo can be used to create interesting backgrounds, buttons, titles etc. for webpages. I have hundreds of shots where I attempted to photograph dolphins…but they are so fast I’m often left with images of just blue water. I got the idea to use these photos in photoshop as fill layers for a sign with the word “ocean.” It came out great….

  • Eric

    I never delete in camera. I use LR, and since I often have many photos of a similar thing or situtation, I pick keepers and delete the rest in the computer.

  • Jim News

    I like to go back to old folders, some shot years ago, and reexamine my work from days past.
    My poor battered laptop has over 25,000 images on its HD. When this laptop was new and young, it replaced another old battered laptop, also with over 25,000 images on it. In all, I have photos spread out on several HD’s on several computers. I rarely delete photos. I want to delete, but I just can’t let go.
    I guess some part of me likes to think those photos will one day, after I’m gone, be discovered and compiled into a book, “Jim’s Undiscovered Genius”. If the world suddenly decides it actually wants to see and pay for, really bad, poorly executed photos, I’m well positioned to make a fortune.

  • http://www.ashleyglasco.com Ashley

    This actually happened to me recently. I was going through my shots after a photo shoot and there was one in there that was really over exposed. Still, I liked the image because of the composition and clarity so I decided to keep it to see what I could do with it. I turned it into a black and white and it was by far, the best photo of the session!!!

  • Scott

    While I agree that it is not possible to make critical evaluations of a photograph on the small camera LCD, there are plenty of times a shot can be deleted in camera. Personally, I would trash the example photo – I don’t think that is a good example of a worthwhile “mistake” photo. Some of my best mistakes were done in the days of film. I used to swap rolls before finishing them and re-insert and shoot the rest later (in order to change ISO – something we now take for granted as so easy with digital). I accidentally created multiple exposures more than once doing this – my best “mistake” is a multiple exposure of my wife’s face amidst pink hibiscus flowers. Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it better.

  • Eric

    scott, can you post it here?

  • Artrina

    The only pix I delete from my camera are ones taken of the lens cap. When I get home from an event and transfer pix to my computer I make folders within folders titled “questionable”. That makes it easy for me to deal with pix; on the second pass thru folders more pix usually go into the questionable folders. When I get into the mood to play around with pix I go into the questionable folders and have found some gems in them.

  • Alexandra

    I never delete ANY pictures.
    I have a strange affinity to that. I always make two copies of my pictures – one to go through and delete, and one to keep every single picture. I keep the gone through pictures on my laptop, and I keep the whole set on an external hard drive. Maybe it’s a bit strange, however, it makes me feel safe, like I’ll never lose a picture that was good.

    And I take a whole lot of pictures :P

Some older comments

  • Alexandra

    May 1, 2011 08:42 am

    I never delete ANY pictures.
    I have a strange affinity to that. I always make two copies of my pictures - one to go through and delete, and one to keep every single picture. I keep the gone through pictures on my laptop, and I keep the whole set on an external hard drive. Maybe it's a bit strange, however, it makes me feel safe, like I'll never lose a picture that was good.

    And I take a whole lot of pictures :P

  • Artrina

    February 8, 2011 02:20 am

    The only pix I delete from my camera are ones taken of the lens cap. When I get home from an event and transfer pix to my computer I make folders within folders titled "questionable". That makes it easy for me to deal with pix; on the second pass thru folders more pix usually go into the questionable folders. When I get into the mood to play around with pix I go into the questionable folders and have found some gems in them.

  • Eric

    February 7, 2011 12:01 pm

    scott, can you post it here?

  • Scott

    February 1, 2011 10:11 am

    While I agree that it is not possible to make critical evaluations of a photograph on the small camera LCD, there are plenty of times a shot can be deleted in camera. Personally, I would trash the example photo - I don't think that is a good example of a worthwhile "mistake" photo. Some of my best mistakes were done in the days of film. I used to swap rolls before finishing them and re-insert and shoot the rest later (in order to change ISO - something we now take for granted as so easy with digital). I accidentally created multiple exposures more than once doing this - my best "mistake" is a multiple exposure of my wife's face amidst pink hibiscus flowers. Honestly, I couldn't have planned it better.

  • Ashley

    January 31, 2011 11:03 am

    This actually happened to me recently. I was going through my shots after a photo shoot and there was one in there that was really over exposed. Still, I liked the image because of the composition and clarity so I decided to keep it to see what I could do with it. I turned it into a black and white and it was by far, the best photo of the session!!!

  • Jim News

    January 30, 2011 04:25 am

    I like to go back to old folders, some shot years ago, and reexamine my work from days past.
    My poor battered laptop has over 25,000 images on its HD. When this laptop was new and young, it replaced another old battered laptop, also with over 25,000 images on it. In all, I have photos spread out on several HD's on several computers. I rarely delete photos. I want to delete, but I just can't let go.
    I guess some part of me likes to think those photos will one day, after I'm gone, be discovered and compiled into a book, "Jim's Undiscovered Genius". If the world suddenly decides it actually wants to see and pay for, really bad, poorly executed photos, I'm well positioned to make a fortune.

  • Eric

    January 29, 2011 02:59 pm

    I never delete in camera. I use LR, and since I often have many photos of a similar thing or situtation, I pick keepers and delete the rest in the computer.

  • Elissa

    January 29, 2011 02:00 pm

    I keep most of the shots I take for 4 reasons:

    1. I study them to find out why I don't like them. It might be framing or focus or something obvious, but it might also be something less obvious...I used to have a tendency to only really look at the subject, framing etc. but found my mind's eye would ignore distractions in the background. I saw this in bad shot after bad shot and it helped reinforce the message to me.

    2. Bad shots are great for teaching. If you only have good shots and nothing in the presentation to compare them to its hard to convey the difference. I think a valuable learning opportunity is lost.

    3. When composing a story after a trip it is helpful to look at photos to jog my memory about details. Even bad photos contain contextual information...I don't use the photo in the story, but I use the information it contains to help me write it.

    4. Portions of any photo can be used to create interesting backgrounds, buttons, titles etc. for webpages. I have hundreds of shots where I attempted to photograph dolphins...but they are so fast I'm often left with images of just blue water. I got the idea to use these photos in photoshop as fill layers for a sign with the word "ocean." It came out great....

  • Monja

    January 28, 2011 07:09 pm

    hi darren,

    i agree with you. better to get a new memory card than deleting any picture! some pictures are not just valuable because they are good shots but they might be actually the only pic you´ll have from a person or situation. for example: i really do not have my pictures of my grandparents. i just have some digital ones. i´m so thankful for that. although i´d never think they are good shots - they are just valuable for me because now both are gone. pictures are memories, so don´t delete before you have them on the computer ;-)

  • Penny

    January 28, 2011 02:52 pm

    I delete very few and almost never in camera. One of my favorite shots was taken from a moving cab in Cairo. Several members of a family were standing on the street engaged in a conversation. I was so disappointed when I brought the shot up on my computer. Here was this great photo, decently framed, and just out of focus enough to mean it was not a candidate for printing, let alone framing. Rats! But then, while playing around in Photoshop, I applied the poster filter--nothing extreme, just a little bit--and hey, the photo looked pretty good. The poster filter gave it a bit of an artsy look and the only one who knows it's really just an out-of-focus shot is me. I framed it and six years later, it's still a favorite.

  • Emanuele Siracusa

    January 28, 2011 02:38 pm

    I usually delete pictures only after I see them on my computer's screen, but every now and again I delete them from the memory card. Here is an example of a 'photo mistake' that I'm glad I didn't get rid of too quickly
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/stolenfant/5220537045/' title='Pushkar 21' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4141/5220537045_bc2d3be8ca.jpg']

  • Flo

    January 28, 2011 09:55 am

    Yes I don't see much in the shot on the screen but after I make it bigger I realize its potential and its great :)
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gowiththeflo/5373959218/' title='Going blind' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5129/5373959218_5572cc9c89.jpg'][eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gowiththeflo/5380384801/' title='Believe.' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5206/5380384801_c195307a5e.jpg']

  • Dave Burgess

    January 28, 2011 07:04 am

    One time I was on a family vacation and I didn't have my DSLR - just a point and shoot Sony pocket camera. I was standing on a bridge over a lazy river pool when my wife and brother in law drifted by. I pulled the camera out of my pocket and quickly grabbed this shot with almost no thought. They were drifting by just fast enough to confuse the camera autofocus. When we returned home, I uploaded the pictures and fell in love the shot - the diagonal composition, the bold saturated colors and the slight blur ands a nice lazy feel. The shot is in my portfolio and it pretty much a complete accident.[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/24843172@N03/5393257417/' title='Aruba Drift' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5095/5393257417_586dde67a1_z.jpg']

  • Emily Hartvigsen

    January 28, 2011 05:49 am

    Here's a picture I took by accident...I'm glad I didn't delete it!
    [eimg url='http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm69/emilyscrapper/2010-08-19058e.jpg' title='2010-08-19058e.jpg']

  • Mark

    January 28, 2011 05:05 am

    I never delete in camera. I seldom delete on hard drive. When I first started, I shot JPG and used photo editing software for really basic adjustments and cropping. As I have learned more about the software, I have lots of older images to practice on with the new techniques.

    You can do much more with levels and curves than I originally did with the brightness/contrast sliders! Dodging and burning brought whole new areas of salvaging old photos. Image layering and blending brought even newer frontiers and many of my old photos were used to master these skills.

    If you are still learning photography, the old "mistakes" can be very valuable as your skills advance. I am sure that at some point I will delete most of this old learning material and I don't have many older "mistakes" that are now salvaged, but they did serve a useful purpose in my self study course of work.

    Cards and hard drives are so cheap these days that you only hurt your learning curves if you delete too soon. Deleting in camera makes no sense today and what I can see on that little screen is not enough info to make a good decision. At least look at it on your monitor!

  • Harro Kremer

    January 28, 2011 04:49 am

    At one time, I did delete them on camera, mainly based on composition of the image. At home, I found that I ended up with a series of photo's in which the details of the faces (notably eyes and mouth) were far below my standards. I never stopped wondering whether a deleted photo would have contained the right eyes. I completely stopped with deleting on camera.

  • Ian Salsman

    January 28, 2011 04:42 am

    This is an amazing shot. I am glad you did not delete it. I agree that technically, it does not follow the rules: framing, focus, etc. Yet, like you, it draws me back. I think it is because does have a captivating point of focus (subject wise). I know what I am looking at and what you want me to see as a photographer (albeit accidentally. But the "shakiness" from the motion and the blur simply adds to the mystery of our hooding beggar(?). Perhaps that blur is representative of his struggles and his life.

    I am glad you held on to it. I don't think one could deliberately captured it.

  • Draku Zeos

    January 28, 2011 04:26 am

    While I used to delete to conserve space, now days, I never delete anything (unless the image is completely useless, such as a completely blurred zoom shot of grass while taken while the camera was pointed down and I hit shutter button by mistake, etc.). Why? For just the reasons you mention. I have too often come across shots I considered mistakes years after I took them, only to realize a hidden power in them that, with some careful handling, became really amazing.

    Now that memory is so cheap, I hardly see any point in deleting shots that aren't completely blotzed. OK, a shot of the inside of the lens cap is pretty useless, but a blurry shot of a model turning her head just before I fired ... that might turn out pretty cool with proper handling.

    Excellent piece.

  • janthom

    January 28, 2011 04:15 am

    Amazing how many shots I've tossed over the years that have come back to haunt me, printed in high-end magazines... out of focus, strange angle, decapitated people, etc. Others are making money on things I've deleted? Now, I, too, delete only a few, and after I've had a chance to look at them closer at home. As has been said, additional memory cards are cheap, and a dozen fit in a pocket! -- Happy Shooting!

  • Michele

    January 28, 2011 03:44 am

    I rarely delete photos directly from my camera. Many years ago it was because I simply wanted to keep every single memory of my kids, even if it was blurry. Then my photography improved and my hard drives began filling up and I began being more selective, but I still waited until I looked at my photos in PSE Organizer before I deleted any. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that deleting from the camera memory card is actually damaging to it, reducing its life, or something like that. Anyway, the only time I came close to filling up my cards was when I was on a trip.

    Lately I've been keeping more of my photos again. Why? I've learned how to adjust levels in PSE to fix some of them!

  • mandi

    January 28, 2011 03:44 am

    I agree i do not delete anything until i get to my computer. sometimes i'll get one that looks really bad for instance i did some engagments and for some reason it was to dark and over sturated but once I got through with it in photoshop it turned out to be the couples favorite picture out of the whole bunch. it is on my facebook page, please check it out and become a fan if you want.. click this link will take you right to my page and the photo im talking about http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=191297265825&set=a.168243110825.132498.168213295825

  • Gary

    January 28, 2011 02:57 am

    that's exactly what i wrote last summer:

    http://bit.ly/bA8dYy

    even if i zoomed in, the 3-inch lcd screen won't be able to beat the monitor of my macbook pro nor my external monitor.

  • Sus

    January 28, 2011 02:55 am

    Last Christmas I wanted to take some photos of ds, and the one I felt was the worst is actually now my favorite with a little editing, even though the focus is off. I usually don´t delete pics unless they are all black, or a total blur. Those I can see just a little potential in I keep and watch on my screen at home, since I hardly ever need more space on my memory card I can afford to do that

  • djib

    January 27, 2011 01:04 am

    I don't delete any picture on camera:
    * Because it gives me a way to quickly check that I have dumped up all the photos I have taken (for instance, if last backup ends with picture 08112.JPG I know I'll be expecting pictures starting from 08113.JPG).
    * Because I often ended up keeping shots I thought were bad in the first place.
    * And because it makes me think twice before actually taking the shot as I don't want to pollute my card with bad pictures.

  • Dharmapala Senaratne

    January 26, 2011 06:39 am

    I am just a novice in photography. Yet, I have been following this advice unconsciously. Now I realize how valuable the advice is. Thanks a bunch.

  • DorkySister

    January 25, 2011 12:34 pm

    I do not delete before I get home. Even when my teenage son "steals" the camera and takes pictures with the camera by his side as he's walking through the room, or random shots of the ceiling, or people's feet. I actually like some of the pictures of feet & shoes. It's interesting what can come of unframed, unprepared, candid shots.

  • idb

    January 25, 2011 11:13 am

    I delete a lot less in the camera than I used to. Just the very obviously bad ones and mistakes but never just to make more room on the memory card - I always have a spare card.

  • Peant

    January 25, 2011 07:04 am

    Buy memory cards. they are cheap! easy, no?
    handle the same way you did in former years as you shot with real film material. easy, no?
    import your images and keyword them. easy to find everything you are searching for. easy, no?
    delete all the really bad stuff. easy no?

  • Kate

    January 25, 2011 03:12 am

    I don't delete. I keep them for a long time and refer back to them, so I can learn from my mistakes .
    I look for the picture within the picture. If it is a local scene I can return and re shoot.

  • Dmitry Chastikov

    January 25, 2011 03:08 am

    HTML ref disappeared. So here it is in plain text: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitry_chastikov/1378404555/

  • Dmitry Chastikov

    January 25, 2011 03:06 am

    This is one of the best advice I ever got. And here is an example of a shot I was about to delete immediately in camera.

    Luckily I recalled this suggestion and left it intact for better time at a big screen. This one appeared to be a keeper, and the other one technically fine but didn't have that bliss type of expression.

  • Michael Stagg | Maikeru Foto

    January 25, 2011 03:02 am

    Although I haven't been shooting long, I've learned not to delete the images off of my card until I've ensured they are either on my computer, uploaded online - or both! I haven't discovered any "hidden gems" just yet but I know that I may in the future.

    I seriously doubt that I'll ever make it a practice to delete images directly from my camera. My wife has been making fun of me because I never leave the house without my little Kodak C190, four batteries and two extra memory cards. "Why do you carry all that extra stuff; isn't just the camera enough?" she asks. I always reply that it is better to have and not need than to need and not have. ;)

  • Silke Force

    January 25, 2011 02:36 am

    At first glance, the image of the flowering pitcher plant was badly out of focus, but I don't usually delete until I get things back to my computer. I was so glad that I didn't delete this one -- in the background of the plant, in sharp focus, was a sundew, no larger than an infant's fingernail -- that was the clue that sent me back to the same place twice a week for a couple of months, photographing the ever-changing display of rare wild orchids here in Ontario. I hope to go back for more this year -- but there is no guarantee that I will find the same display if the climatic conditions have changed again.
    Thank heavens I didn't delete that out-of-focus pitcher plant.

  • Josh Rock

    January 24, 2011 11:42 pm

    I find in certain situations its easier to delete from the camera than looking at the images on the computer. When I'm shooting a gig, and have taken atleast 500 photos, it is a lot easier to go through them on the camera, because it will take longer on the computer. Most of the ones I delete are clearly not worthy of uploading, especially if there are 20 other shots that are similar but better.

  • jmonhollen

    January 24, 2011 05:38 pm

    I actually had one of those fortunate discoveries not too long ago. I was going through a bunch of pictures I took while I was in Seattle for the Mariners' home opener, and I took one picture that was extremely overexposed, and everything that was moving was blurred. However, the stationary objects were clear and in focus, and after I touched it up a little in Lightroom, and converted it to black and white, it is now one of my favorite pictures.

  • Cornell

    January 24, 2011 04:39 pm

    I have never make a decision in camera on whether an image is a keeper. I've always waited until I downloaded them into the PC. I have found that some photos that do not look good in camera are quite good after fixing them with PSE. Conversely, I've found that some which look good in camera are not worth keeping after viewing them through my PC.

  • v

    January 24, 2011 12:38 pm

    the pic above is actually quite interesting to me. i like it, there's a sense of movement.

    sometimes, i delete in camera, but mostly shots i KNOW i don't want....or mistakes. i do like to look at the images on the screen though before i delete them for good.

  • Lon

    January 24, 2011 10:55 am

    Not for me, the sooner I can clear away the garbage the better. It's not that storage space is a problem, just that its less to have to deal with later (I have enough unprocessed raw files on my hard drive to go over as it is) plus its easier to decide right after the shot. I usually have a pretty good guess if I've gotten a bad shot when I press the shutter - a quick glance at the LCD to confirm my guess and in the trash it goes. Now there are some "iffers" that I can't tell, but if I have the chance I'll try to shoot off a couple more of the same subject/composition just to make sure and if I can capture the moment again I won't hesitate to get rid of the bad one. However if its just something wrong with composition or color balance that can all be fixed in post, but if its bad focus, shake, unpleasant blur or severely overexposed, its highly doubtful I'll ever be happy with the image. Another hint - use the zoom function in your camera display to get up closer to the details - that can tell you if really is sharp, and generally if it doesn't look sharp on your LCD then it won't look any better on a monitor (not that sharpness is the onlyl quality you should worryabout).

  • Darren Rowse

    January 24, 2011 08:10 am

    Sunay - I'm by no means suggesting people just take hundreds of shots in the hope of a good one - that's not the point of this article (or site) at all. We've got 1000 or so articles on taking good shots. All I'm suggesting here is not deleting your shots in camera til you see what you've got on a computer - because you might end up with something that is better than you thought.

    I'm also not claiming this to be a master piece - just a picture I'm glad I didn't delete based on first impressions.

  • Crystal

    January 24, 2011 07:26 am

    I never delete from the camera or from the downloaded files. I play with photo collages and find that fuzzy photos can make ideal backgrounds and yield interesting effects, especially when combined with hue changes and filtering. You can use Adobe Camera Raw with JPEGs as well as Raw photos and I started checking old underexposed photos to see what was there. One old photo produced a sweet photo of my granddaughter, age 3, "knitting". It was just fuzzy enough to be the basis of a dream collage

  • Eric Magnuson

    January 24, 2011 07:19 am

    Like everyone else seems to be saying, I also never delete shots. Hard drive space is so cheap these days, there's no reason to! (I just got a 2TB external for $80, for instance.) Plus, some of those "failed" shots may look great in B&W (or in some other treatment).

  • Rick

    January 24, 2011 06:12 am

    I never delete shots in camera. I always have two extra cards handy in my bag, though to this date I've never come slose to using up my main one. I also rarely use my screen to review pictures and laugh at people who use the screen to take the pictures. To me that just doesn't feel like photography. When I take photos I pretend that I have a film camera with an insanely large amount of frames. The only reason I went digital is to save money on post processing!

  • David Cutting

    January 24, 2011 05:56 am

    This debate seems to stem from the idea everyone is taught with digital cameras that it's free to take more shots, so just keep shooting. What no one seems to mention is that each shot does cost you something. It costs the time you spend reviewing and managing all those shots before you decide to edit out. Not to mention the time you spend going through the "bad" shots to find the "good" one you were looking for.

    There seems to be two basic approaches to capturing the moment. The old film days tended to make one compose and analysis the shot before releasing the shutter, thus the first pass editing was done before the shot was taken. With digital cameras, the modern thought is to shoot away, then see what you got. I can see advantage in both methods and have used each regularly.

  • GradyPhilpott

    January 24, 2011 04:33 am

    Not the best picture of the day and certainly one that might have been deleted in camera, but I'm glad I saved it because it is my favorite picture of that day.

    http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/GradyPhilpott/Cessna%20172/a94b90ec.jpg

  • Eduardo Mueses

    January 24, 2011 04:20 am

    Just last year I took a picture from the inside of my house handheld and with my tele-photo. Obviously it was blurry as must handheld teles are. I took it into photoshop and with the use of some clever filters I turned that photo into a oil paint that now hangs proudly on my wall.

  • barb farr

    January 24, 2011 04:11 am

    I do not delete shots in the camera, well maybe occasionally. In fact, I rarely even preview shots while I am shooting. Somehow, I am trying to regain some of the film mentality where you have to wait till post production to see what you have. At that point, on the PC I make my decision to keep or delete. And even after I hit delete, I do not empty the trash bin right away.

    If you are traveling, make sure you have enough memory cards. They are relatively inexpensive these days. That way you will never be in a position where you have to delete shots before you can really look at them.

  • Niki

    January 24, 2011 02:26 am

    I have done "accident" shots as much as anyone else. Even some of those out of focus, unaligned photos are still awesome in an "abstract art" kind of way :)

    The best are the ones my son or daughter take :)

  • ScottC

    January 24, 2011 02:01 am

    Never delete images in-camera! I have a high res screen on my camera, and still don't delete photos in camera. Buy more memory! If you can't afford the cards, don't buy the camera. This is one that I may have deleted (and would've never known to regret) if I were in a bind for card space, but the point is don't run out of memory for your camera....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4875729393/

  • William

    January 24, 2011 01:57 am

    My photo philosophy is; "The worst photo ever is the one that wasn't taken."
    I think that we make the decision to delete photos as necessary, my preference is towards not.
    I know I can get about 300 photos per card and my batteries will last long enough to take about 6-7 hundred photos. Winter weather will lower this number a bit but it is still ball park.
    I don't understand why people say they delete photos to make space. The price of cards today is cheap carry more than one card. I have about twenty or so 2 and 4 Gig cards I carry with me on vacation and location. I carry four batteries and use a battery grip.

    I personally like to upload my photos at day's end. I use Lightroom and I enter all the meta data I can onto the photos. I save my photos by year/month/day/location or event. That extra few minutes will eventually save hours on the search end. Once I get all the info I can remember into the photos then I burn them to disc. When I travel I buy post cards as often as possible. If possible I pick up pamphlets of places I've visited. Every couple of days later I send those post cards and discs home. I've heard those horror stories about losing your stuff and all your photos. I figure that I may be upset if I lose a days photos but I'd feel much worse if I lost a couple weeks photos.

    Vacation overload we see so much and we think we will remember every detail but truthfully we don't.

  • Peter

    January 24, 2011 01:56 am

    I was brought up on 12 exposure roll film which worked out rather expensive and as such I learned to make every exposure count. Each exposure was well framed and sharp and correctly exposed.
    After more than 50 years of photography, even though it does not cost anything to take digital pictures, I still find myself taking the minimal amount of exposures and will only press the shutter if I am completely happy with what I see in the view finder.

  • Trudy

    January 24, 2011 01:47 am

    I don't have as many mistakes as I did when I was first learning but I usually do not delete in camera if there is an "error." I put error in quotes because the small LCD isn't the same as viewing the photograph on a large monitor. Once I do that and cull images in Aperture 3, then I decide what stays and what goes.

    Sometimes a photograph is "technically" incorrect but really a meaningful image. Thus, sometimes the errors are good to keep.

    Good post.

  • Sunay

    January 24, 2011 01:41 am

    I'll just be honest with you...
    It's a horrible shot...if you'd call it that.
    And no it does nothing to interest or draw one's attention. It might hold sentimental value for you. Unfortunately, sentiments are personal (and only that).

    I knew a friend who tried to get trigger happy at a party in order to get at least some shots correct. He shot more than 500 in 2 hours with random composition. I have all of them. I am sorry to say, he could never become a photographer.

    You'd want to start learning how to photograph. If I were you, I'd avoid getting lucky by pressing the shutter every time I blinked in hope of hitting Gold.

    Cheers

  • Carol

    January 24, 2011 01:28 am

    OH, I just don't know how to upload a photo here!!!

  • Jenn

    January 24, 2011 01:25 am

    I'm still learning, so I take a lot of bad pics in order to get a few good ones (though gradually the number of frames I need to take is decreasing, hopefully a sign of improvement). When I take pics of food I often shoot, check histogram, check composition, tweak, shoot, tweak, shoot tweak etc. It may take me 50 frames til I have exactly the photo I want. In the end maybe the last 10 pics of the set are the ones I'm really interested in, and I usually delete the rest. But if I'm traveling and I only have one or two shots of something, I won't even think about deleting until I'm home just in case.

  • Robin Oberg

    January 24, 2011 01:24 am

    I prefer over-exposed photos over under-exposed photos, when I shoot in RAW. Can be "saved" to a greater extent, since there's more information in the picture.

  • Carol

    January 24, 2011 01:15 am

    I have made the big mistake in the past of deleting in the camera without putting them on the computer first. Here is a pic I took at my son's wedding and first glance it looks a mess... but then the colors and motion seemed express the excitement of the moment. He would be getting married VERY soon!! Maybe no one else likes it but "I DO".

  • jaicatalano

    January 24, 2011 01:13 am

    I totally agree. I took a photo months ago and just went back to the file to do the BIG DELETE to save not only space on my disk but save space on my computer. I came across a horrible photo of my brother and my brother is a very good looking guy so taking a bad photo of him is always on my part. Well low and behold I hit the ugly button on my camera when I took this one particular shot. It was too red, too blurry, too crooked, too bad for my computer space... and then I said wait. Actually I didn't say wait because I was by myself. So I opened up photoshop and tweeked it for 2 minute. WOW. After just 2 minutes my brother is still ugly in the photo but I have gotten so much business from showing what a before and after shot can look like in just 2 minutes. Ok so I am giving a little more credit to photoshop however, I still have the UGLY shot of my brother and then the fixed up UGLY shot of my brother so I never deleted it but cloned it. Now I have 2 UGLY shots of my brother. All jokes aside business is rolling... If you want to see the before and after UGLY shot of my brother email me and I will be glad to forward you some ugliness.

  • Jimmy D

    January 24, 2011 01:04 am

    I keep telling this over and over to my fellow photogs. I don't even recommend deleting images in the computer to hastily - what looked like duds once could prove to be something else when you come back to them later.

    A related story on my blog:
    http://sthlmstreet.com/2010/11/10/portfolio-images-revisited-media-consumer/

  • Sudhir

    August 20, 2010 04:21 pm

    I have the same problem of not wanting to delete any of the photographs I have clicked. Even bad or unfocused ones were useful to me for graphic experiments and Adobe photoshop experiments.

  • goran nacov

    July 29, 2010 11:42 pm

    My son is accidentally erased all the photos from my digital camera hp photosmart m537. If there is a way to give back to my pictures or are they forever lost? thanks

  • Jonathon Jenkins

    December 4, 2009 08:13 am

    I completely agree. I carry enough cards with me so hat I won't run low on space. If I do run low, then I change to shooting in JPG. Only after running low again will I even consider deleting in camera. Viewing images on a monitor makes all the difference in the world.

  • Baseball Bat Reviews

    October 21, 2009 11:53 pm

    I like my new 2009 DeMarini Doublewall Pitch White CF3 composite baseball bat is designed like the original DXCFB but includes a carbon material that is 22% stronger than competitors' composite materials.

  • Roy

    July 24, 2009 10:05 am

    I thought I took a lot of pictures, some of you have me beat by a lot. I think I took 1500 one day on vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains. the most I've taken since, in a single day, was 655. I never delete until I get them home in my computer where I can make some kind of judgment.

    the truly bad can be worked into some fantastic digital images when massaged with my Serif and Ulead photo programs. (Yes, I use 4 sometimes when one program won't do what another will, or not as easily.) I own an old version of photoshop but it's only on disc and not in my computer anymore.

    Some results can be seen in my DigitalM gallery at imagekind.

    I do a LOT of weeding. My old mind cannot keep up with settings and most of my images are 'snap shots', seldom posed or even the time to pose them.

  • Tracy Fanslow

    July 24, 2009 09:19 am

    Great reminder. I all too often unnecessarily delete stuff off if I'm out and about and bored. I have a 16GB card, so I haven't even run into any space issues just being out for the day. I will save all shots until I get back to the big screen from now on! Thanks!

  • Lu

    July 24, 2009 02:57 am

    I couldn't agree more about waiting to delete photos, for a couple of other reasons. I am an "amateur photoshopper". I create a lot of collages. Some of the "bad shots", especially of colorful things like flowers/scenery, sometimes make great backgrounds for photos when a filter/blur is added to them and a gradient placed over them.

    That being said, people have looked at me very weirdly, as I have taken pictures of brick walls, empty swimming pools, plain green grass, sand on a baseball diamond, and shadows of trees on a sidewalk. You never know what might make a great "texture" for a portrait background.

    Also, some pictures that I think are blurred when I look at that little LCD screen are sometimes "out of focus" because my forehead has left sweaty, oily marks on the screen and turn out to be in focus after all.

  • LifeSparkle

    May 15, 2009 09:48 am

    I've kept reject digital photos from the "olden days". As technology moved along, some were able to be fixed in the newer programs. I have also done this with audio files and have been delighted that my patience has paid off.

  • Mayur Channagere

    May 4, 2009 10:26 pm

    I absolutely agree with you on this … I used to delete images based on the quality I see on the view finder … but only to realize that few images that I thought were good actually turned out to be bad & There have been instences were it was the other way around.
    Now I keep all the images and carry extra memory cards on long trips.
    I know this is slightly off the topic but, I have also realized with the ease / cost effectiveness of digital we tend to go trigger happy … I can always delete right?
    On the contrary I feel if you get selective about what to shoot more thought will go into the image composition and will definitely improve your output.

  • Tim Griscom

    May 3, 2009 12:19 pm

    Two photos, which I initially planned to delete, won first and third place in a photo contest. The lens flare enhanced the photo rather than detracted from it, and the high contrast and the position of the sun made the photos.

  • Kirk

    February 9, 2009 02:50 am

    I agree whole-heartedly. I still have many images that I just won't let go of. Some for different reasons (saved to use later for creative incentives, etc . . . ). Also, sometimes a photo not quite in focus can be processed through a paint program (Essentials for example) and create quite a pleasing result. Also, with today's memory cards you can get a slew of photos on one. I'm not a pro, so I don't shoot thousands or even hundreds (dare I even say tens) of photos a day, so I'd rather wait to delete (if ever).

  • Ian Seddon

    February 7, 2009 09:54 pm

    I learned NEVER to delete anything while on a shoot, as you can't really judge from a 2.5" screen what's in the shot, invest in some extra memory cards and a portable disk backup device.

  • Shannon

    February 7, 2009 12:36 am

    I am most definitely with the "not to delete" crowd on this one. If for nothing more than, it takes too much time to do in the field. I like to shoot landscapes primarily, and it can be tempting to delete the ones that "look the same", but with a 42" monitor you can see everything. The point made in one of the other comments is perhaps the best reason: you can fix most problems in post..... unless you erase it first. The only bad shot is the one you don't take, and deleting it before you can really "see" it is the same thing. Every shot has something to be learned from it

  • Scott

    February 6, 2009 09:10 am

    I never delete fotos for the reasons above, but also for the worry that one slip of the finger can mean deleting one photo to 'deleting all'. It has never happened, but why chance it eh? It's much faster to delete on the computer than camera anyway.

  • Marcelo

    February 6, 2009 08:28 am

    I agree with you. The picture that you have gives a touch of mystery which may not taken again. It may cost somebody a thousand shots to have that same picture. Who would know that it was not taken intentionally but only you. For us, or maybe just for me, it is very nice picture it has drama and of good composition.

  • Mike Minick

    February 6, 2009 12:58 am

    I shoot theatre & dance in, generally, darker conditions and I get many OOF shots, so I delete in-camera frequently. I don't find that my LCD is so bad that I can't distinguish a bad shot from a good one. Having said that, I was going to delete an entire shooting session with one of my models, but after looking again in photoshop (instead of my slide show program), half of the shots were usuable. So what I learned was to not only review the shots on the computer...but review them using quality software.

  • Fred Albrecht

    February 5, 2009 10:19 pm

    I don't even usually look at my shots on the camera screen unless I have a complicated shot to set up where I have to check the histograms. I'm always amused by the photographers around me who shoot, look, shoot, look, shoot, look, shoot, look, etc. I wonder how they managed before digital (not that I'm nostalgic).

    But typically my camera's screen is off. I frob its knobs the way I want and if I don't get what I expected (rare) it's
    1. a surprise
    2. a lesson

    And small mistakes can be corrected in post.

  • Joanie

    February 5, 2009 07:25 pm

    I rarely delete in camera just to save space. And I have found some wonderful "mistakes" that turned into something special with a little work. You never know what you'll find once you get back to your computer, so I'm completely on board with the "don't delete" group.

  • Pamela

    February 5, 2009 10:33 am

    I try not to delete anything myself.
    One of my favorite things to photograph is auto racing. I never know when I've made or missed a shot until I see it larger. However, I will delete photos of my "favorite driver." Yep, the infamous "M.T. Track."
    Empty track photos aside, I've started to tinker with the better blurry ones and try to make them more artistic.
    I burn my cards to DVD before I delete them, so if I accidentally delete something I wanted to save from my computer, I have an original to recover.

  • Vicki

    February 5, 2009 09:20 am

    I don't delete anything! Not even over-exposed shots! I took a really bad shot of my grand-daughter (she's 2) It was badly overexposed on one side of her face and underexposed on the other side (because of the way the light was hitting her). Really a horrible shot. But I played with it in PhotoShop with textures and came out with an outstanding photo that I now have it printed and framed on my wall! And another printed and framed that I'm sending to my daughter and son-in-law. My daughter thinks it's the greatest picture ever of her daughter........all from a bad shot.

    When I get home from shooting I go through the shots quickly and whatever catches my eye immediately gets saved into a new folder. Everything else is saved. I have 1.5 tb storage so I don't have to worry about filling it up too quickly!!

  • Leah

    February 4, 2009 12:12 pm

    I delete photos that are obviously so over-exposed you can hardly discern what it's a photo of. Underexposed photos can be saved by photo-manipulation programs; overexposed ones can't be.

    I also delete photos that obviously aren't what I wanted: for example, if I'm taking a photo of a group of people and I've cut some people off the end, or there are people looking away, etc. Take another one :)

    I tend to get frustrated with my mother who will take ten shots of the one thing- all framed the same way- but some might be blurred or overexposed or whatever- and she won't delete the obviously bad ones. It's a waste of space if you're on a seven week holiday with few places to transfer your photos onto CD.

  • Mat Pancha

    February 4, 2009 01:11 am

    All valid points - and I can see why you wouldn't want to delete a photo. This leads me to just having too many photos to sort through, and no way of organizing them.

    I use iPhoto, don't see a need for Aperture, or rather did not use it b/c it did not work with Front Row. But, now that Aperture does stream to my PS3 (thanks to MediaLink, everyone should buy this $20 app if they have a Mac and a PS3), maybe its time to move on to it.

  • Ken

    February 3, 2009 01:07 pm

    Very, very true! The LCD can lie. I've seen so many shots thru it that I thought were great, only to view them on a monitor and see that I failed to get the focal point I wanted, etc. The opposite is also true, as this article points out. While bored once on vacation I took some panning shots on a rainy evening, I thought they were all terribly dark and blurred, but a couple of them are some of my favorite motion blur shots! I came close to deleting them in-camera.

  • Kevin

    February 3, 2009 07:35 am

    One of the major do-not's of taking digital photos in my opinion! I have taught most everybody I know not to delete anything before they get home. You just can't know what it really looks like when you're looking at it on your camera. Besides some of those "bad" shots could be salvaged in Photoshop. I never delete any photos at all, even photos of nothing or "bad" shots. Every photo is a memory, regardless of how "good" or "proper" it is, why throw away memories?

  • Theresa Lynch

    February 3, 2009 05:54 am

    You know, those of us who cut our teeth on 35mm roll film, never quite had the chance to "delete" a thing. We dutifully cut our roll into strips and filed them, in toto, in out negative file pages. Nothing was lost. Those shooting in medium and large format had greater ease at trashing the ashots, but I know of several studio photographers in Hollywood who kept every frame they ever shot.

    For my own purposes, I keep adequate flash cards on hand as they have come down quite a bit in price, and everything I shoot get treated as a roll, and get saved as it comes off the camera. I select the shots I want to worik with, those that should be printed or need a little post to them, in a seperate file. The rest all stay, unchanged, and eventually wend their way to the hard drive.

    One can never tell when that shot of Monica Lewinski that was not very good might be worth looking up in the file on the HD. And sometimes, it is fun to take the trash, and just fix it in post for some pretty and saleable piece of abstraction.

    As to the Morocco street scene...looks like something Eisenstadt would have rendered.Not perfect, yet compelling.

  • Mat Pancha

    February 3, 2009 03:20 am

    Fletch >> agreed re: 25 best vs all 500. I found that with my baby being born, he's our first, and the first grandson and great grandson - thus the first day he was born alone there were 1600 pictures taken. Sadly, I"m not exaggerating. As I go through them, I've been deleting them, but honestly I just want about 50, just have to find them in the pile of photos I have.

  • Andrew Ingram

    February 2, 2009 11:25 am

    If i'm shooting continuous I'll delete shots that are obviously very blurry or badly framed, but I'll tend to keep everything else. After importing into Aperture I just hit 9 (for reject) on any photos that don't make the mark or fail to interest me in some way, I very rarely delete the pictures completely.

  • Fletch

    February 2, 2009 07:52 am

    Whist the advice above is spot on and you shouldn't delete anything until you have had a chance I find the best way of appearing to be a decent photographer is to only show people your best shots. Even just for a vaction album of slideshow you 25 best shots are much more powerfull that showing people all 500 that you actually took to get 25 good one.

    http://jfletcherphoto.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/appear-to-be-better-than-you-are/

  • Mat Pancha

    February 2, 2009 02:43 am

    I can see your point, and its a valid one, but I guess where I get eager to delete is if I don't delete the "bad" shots immediately, they get imported into my library (iPhoto), and then when I want to find photos, I find myself going through several actually bad shots for a few good shots.

    I know I can easily go through and delete the bad ones once I view them on a larger screen or have had time to soak them in - but the fact is by the time I find time to do just that, I've already accumulated quite a few hundred photos and then its a daunting task.

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