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stormfish
recently, i was discussing with a friend who like me takes a lot of pictures, and we touched on the problem that with digital photography, we have increased the problem of sorting out good from bad pictures tremendously.

since taking pictures with digital cams is so easy and cheap, i end up with several thousand pics per year on my hard drive, and it's increasingly difficult to find those which are actually worth looking at. i know about picasa and other cataloging software, but they can only help so much - they don't solve the problem of rating your pictures.

my friend (who also takes thousands of pictures as like me is no professional) said that he only throws away approx. 20% of his pics, 80% he keeps. for me, it's more the other way round - 20% i keep, 80% i throw away... but it's HARD, HARD, HARD work and time consuming, too.

what's your ratio between the good and the bad? and how do you handle it?
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JuliaGotz
the first thing I do when I download from the camera is rate the images and throw away the poor ones - usually at least half. That way, i never have to look at the weak pictures twice.

One thing I think I ought to do as a project one of these days: Go back through the blog, select about 50 favorites, get the full size files of those, and burn a couple of cd copies of them. that would be the true backup.

which makes me think of the best idea yet:
I'm going to create an action in the adobe actions palette called 'favorites' that saves a full size copy to a file called 'favorites' on my desktop, and then I've got the selection right there to burn to disk every now and then.

Thanks for posting this question. It got me thinking.

And the ratio - it is gradually shrinking. Slowly, I'm becoming more conscious, less of a 'snapper'.
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AlexandraPechabaden
Most of my pictures are really good! I don't have that problem.
Maybe you take too many pictures, mate? Quality over quantity, I say.
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gderuiter
I think I end up deleting about 70-80% too -- especially since I'm so often photographing birds. When an interesting subject is in view, I often just shoot until it flies away -- and out of 50 shots I might have 3-6 I'd like to hold on to. A lot end up blurred or out of the frame and the fun part for me is hanging in there until I "get something." Of the 3 bluebirds I posted yesterday, for example, there were at least 30 other shots I dumped as not interesting enough or of poor quality.

I also have a nerdy album of shots (in taxonomic order, of course) of every bird species I've photographed. Among these, I have some pretty crappy photos -- but only if they're the only ones I have of that species. I am continually replacing the junk shots with "upgrades" though, with the hope that one day the album will be of more consistent quality.

I met a guy at the awards brunch at the World Series of Birding last week who told me a story about a bunch of photos he had almost deleted directly from his camera, since the bird he'd been focusing on was not in focus against the tree on which it was perched. For whatever reason, this guy didn't dump them right away, and when he was looking through them on his larger computer monitor later on, he noticed that coming up the same tree trunk was another bird of an even rarer species -- in perfect focus!
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gderuiter
Also, I keep coming back periodically to my files of photos and deleting things after I realize that some are not as worthwhile as I had once thought they were. I know what you mean about the time-consuming aspect of this process. It is.
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ncshutterbug
I take a LOT of duplicate shots, just in case my focus is off, or anything else goes wrong. When taking bird shots, I frequently use burst mode, so I definitely have a lot of extra shots. I only keep what I consider the best, which ends up being maybe 10% of the ones I've taken.

I don't download all of my photos to my computer's hard drive. I have an internal card reader on my computer; I pop the card into the reader, and scroll through the photos in Windows Photo Gallery. This allows me to view the photos quickly and in a large window. When I see ones I want to keep, I right-click the photo and open them in Paintshop Pro Photo X2.

It may sound like a time consuming prospect, but it actually saves time for me. I only open the photos I actually want to keep, and save them to my hard drive. (And those are routinely backed up on our home server for safekeeping.) It's much quicker to scroll through the photos while they're on the card, and only open the ones I want, rather than trying to figure out which ones I want to delete from my hard drive.

When my card is nearly full, I just delete all the photos from the card using my camera.
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stormfish
LOL@alroc! but you leave me confused now... ∞ of lousy or ∞ of good pictures?

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JuliaGotz
Oh, see I was sure Alroc meant infinity of blah blah blah yak yak yak post post post.
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JuliaGotz
well then, we're even!
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stormfish
uhmmm...

*tries to calculate*

hey i get a "divide by zero" error... you're cheating! ;-)
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JuliaGotz
@alroc ??? its as simple as rabbits and radiators. and I don't mean fibulation.
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stormfish
hmmm... my brain hasn't had that IEEE 754 update, i gotta go to the shop and get me tuned...

don't judge me by my posts... it will lead to total confusion including your inability to judge good from bad, left from right, black from white and a fish from a bicycle. but thanks for fighting at the "stirring up the no brainers" front!
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BswPhoto
I use lightroom, i shoot about 1000 shots on average amonth,
i use about 800. whatever percent that is, the bad seeds i keep in a folder called WTFwasiThinking.
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Yuozhoumel
I don't judge my pictures any longer as good or bad for ones that I thought were blurry and bad I've had others tell me how much they like them. I've deleted off photoblog a few pictures that were blurry and had others want to know what I did with them as they liked them. It was like oops they are no more. So I guess it's up to the individual who is looking at them to judge if that is what they want to do.

I tend not to be the judge, I'd rather be the story teller, the one who shares my life through the pictures I take knowing that it brings joy to at least one person in life - me.

So I guess my ratio is 100% picture vs no picture.
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declancorrigan
Its a good question! When I started I was assistant to a good but very miserly photographer. Often we would go on a shoot and get the whole lot on a couple of rolls of 12 up 120. If there was a few frames left the roll would be left in the camera and would start the next job. I used' complain of his meanness however the real point is, it made you LOOK, the shutter was not pressed until what we were photographing was 'right'. I think in some cases the digital era has brought us freedom from the financial concerns of burning through rolls of film but I think it has also brought some level of tardiness and a bit of 'law of averages' photography, that is, if i shoot a hundred frames I should get ten I can use. My old boss used to call it machine gun photography, if you keep your finger on the trigger you are bound to hit something eventually. I do remember on one occasion we were to photograph a platform in a railway station, he was in the horrors because I had forgotten to pack some piece of kit (which we didn't need anyway) I set the tripod up framed up the shot, took the meter readings, set the exposure and he climbed the stepladder looked through the viewfinder made a slight adjustment, focussed, shot one frame and climbed back down the ladder shouted at me to pack the f&%*ing gear. Good photographer shit attitude but I learned a lot (and something about how NOT to treat people)
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