Who constantly edits/deletes their photo library?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
Elyria, Ohio
Well, I am viewing photos I shot one year ago and realize they totally suck. I am deleting the out of focus/unsharp photos as hard drive space is ultra valuable. Thanks to many of the photographers posting in this section who pointed this out to me free of charge! :)

So, how many photographers view older photos and delete them on a regular basis? I'm being careful, just because the photos aren't on a professional level, they are essentially part of my footprint as a photographer. Are there any different takes on that?

Furthermore, my keeper percentage has decreased significantly during this period. Not that I nail the perfect shot per se, but I thought that keeping 35-50% of my photos was fairly common. Also, I read the thread a few weeks in which the OP asked what is the percentage of keepers in people's daily or weekly shoots. I was sorta surprised by a 10% keeper rate. I understand that I am slowly becoming a better photographer, if not a more judgmental one.

Lastly, is their an event or photo that you would like to use a 'do over'?


macrumors 6502
Nov 19, 2008
In Aperture, I'll reject (9) photos but NEVER delete them. Drive space is cheap and easy to come by and I keep a number of Aperture Libraries so that I don't have to keep all my photos on a single disk. You never know when you might want/need an old "reject" photo again. Once you delete it, that option is gone.

As for your last question... I wish that I could have a "do over" for the vast majority of photos that I've taken. As I learn more and more, I constantly wish that I could give an old photo another try with my new found knowledge and newest gadgets. Being able to work with a photo in post too gives me new ideas for how I could have approached things differently from the start as well.


macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2011
I think people were more selective with their photos when they only had a few rolls of film with them. I might have spent more time composing a photo if I had started in that generation. Now I just take hundreds of shots, hoping that one turns out alright. I delete obviously bad ones, but keep the rest. Sometimes I like browsing them and remembering the trip or event, but I probably wouldn't take the time to edit them further.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2010
Shepherdsturd, WV
I'll cull photos at the beginning of an editing session and remove the ones that are OOF or test shots for lighting, but I generally keep everything else on a server I have.


macrumors 65816
Jun 9, 2009
Yeah I will delete obviously unusable photos (OOF/mistakes/etc) but am otherwise pretty hesitant to delete other photos just because they weren't part of the top picks. It may work differently for very high volume shooters, but for me, hard disk space is very cheap and essentially unlimited.

Especially when you shoot in RAW, it's possible to go back later with better software/processing and better skills to make shots out of previously rejected photos. Or, simply by looking at the photos again after a long period of time, your opinion/vision changes and what you may previously have rejected now may have potential. I have had this happen more than once.

I will say one thing I have tried to work on is reducing the number of photos I shoot in the field. I try to ensure all the technical aspects of each shot are executed correctly, and have tried to build confidence that I only need one or 2 shots of a particular composition as opposed to 7 or 8.

Remember, when you permanently erase a photo there is no way to get it back except to go back and shoot it again. So unless you are an extremely high volume/prolific shooter, personally I really don't see the economy in trimming your photo library to keep it small. Properly organized, it is not difficult to have/maintain a photo library of tens or hundreds of thousands of photos.



macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2006
Austin Texas
I keep everything I shoot. But I'm also a pretty careful shooter because I spend most of my time shooting film. I do the same thing as rebby, hide the bad ones from view but keep them around.

The cost to keeping every shot you ever make is pretty low. The most expensive part could actually be the electricity required to power everything (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration).


macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2011
:rolleyes: You youngens.

No one remembers the days of filling the garbage can with slides.
Nahhh, we still have a lot of content from our film days even though we converted most of it. Like others, I delete the obvious unusable stuff but keep everything else.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
Elyria, Ohio
I have a lot of fat on the bone, hence the reason of the thread. I want to be a more technically sound photographer as many have pointed out. I figure the shots 'oof' etc... are no brainers to delete, even though I've keep a few around.

It's funny that people mention one of many advantages to shooting raw+jpeg or raw instead of jpeg, as the fact that one has the opportunity to edit or recreate the photo in the future. I feel the same way, but when I have a terrible photo, I delete both the raw+jpeg. Maybe in the future, I will keep the jpeg at the minimum.

Disk space is cheap at least until lately, but that's another story. Generally, HDDs are cheap, but I'm still figuring out my expansion beyond my internal HDD and time machine backups.

After going through my photo library, I realize that capturing time is very interesting and underrated. Each event I have shot is so precious that words cannot describe my feelings even months after capturing the photos.

Thanks to all who have contributed or will contribute to this thread. It is greatly appreciated, as the spreading of knowledge is neither overrated nor overlooked.
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macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2010
I'm very picky with the shots I keep. While I will get some blurry images from very low shutter speeds, other times I'll ditch sharp, decent photos because I just don't like the look of them. I also get rid of the lighting test shots - but that's obvious.

I did however unintentionally lose one shot however. I only discovered it when I had someone wanting to buy it - and it would have been high exposure too. Man was I cross with myself over that - I was in a permanent grumpy mood for a day or two over that. :(


macrumors regular
Nov 9, 2011
New Jersey
I tend to review and delete pictures on a project-to-project basis. After a day of birdwatching, I import the pictures, play around with them, and then delete what I don't like (which ends up being a LOT, so I can understand the 10% keeper rate).

I also go back at pictures I've taken in the past and if I have a very similar picture of the same bird or animal, I'll judge and keep the better one.


macrumors 68020
Jan 30, 2008
Washington DC
I don't delete any photos. Every several months I do a back up of all my photos and place them neatly in folders. This way if I never need to get the original I have it. This the amount of hard drive space there is on computers these days it's easy to safe everything.
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