Thursday, May 17, 2007

Don't Delete!

Honestly, ask yourself - how long do you think it would take for you to review assignment images, and delete outtakes? Assume, for a moment, you are shooting RAW, on a Canon 1Ds Mark II, and you are generating 19MB files. That's 53 images. How long would it take for you to do the delete? A few minutes? With 300GB drives costing around $150 or so, that's about $0.50 per GB, or $1 per GB, properly redundant. It's cheaper to not delete the files, and simply give them a ZERO star rating in your archives. The time involved in either paying someone, or the loss of your own time doing so, just is not worth it. Someday, you may be, for whatever reason, wanting those files. If your camera is generating smaller RAW files, then it will take even longer.

Chase Jarvis has an interesting take on this, and he cites Avedon, who's seminal work from the Southwest would have likely never been done had it not been for an outtake that he took in Italy in 1947 that someone else noticed.

Simply put, don't delete your files. Save them. You never know when a piece of a file might be necessary. An overexposed image might give you detail in the shadows of a scene you need for an image that could use a higher dynamic range. Perhaps, an image could be re-tooled into something interesting. That image of the delete key I shot with my point and shoot, and it captured every bit of dust on the keyboard - a total deleter! However, applying some creative filters made it an interesting file, something that shouldn't be deleted!


Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What software are you using that takes TIME to delete? For me, whether an image gets a 0 star or deleted is a matter of which single key I press - so NO time difference to me. I have enough trouble keeping my keepers organized. I can't imaging having thousands of crummy shots cluttering things up.

colin lenton said...

John, great post - I read the same thing on Chase's blog a few days ago and was happy to see another photographer validating the same points I'd been arguing to my friends long before..

Anon, most editing programs automatically assign a 0 rating, so unless you assign another number to it, it will stay that way. The best way to organize is to have searchable metadata and be meticulous about how you name and organize your folders. As long as you have your hero shots tagged or rated, and they're searchable they shouldn't be tough to find.

Olivier said...

I think most people would agree that a single copy of an image on HD isn't a reliable, permanent way of archiving images. Every HD will eventually fail. This means you need to backup your files some other way. I personally make two copies on DVDs. Now, I really can't imagine burning every single image I shoot on DVD, cause THAT would take me forever, much longer than deleting images I don't consider valuable.

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