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Culling photos
#1
There's an insightful article on culling images after a shoot here from Digital Media Thoughts. I think it is interesting that he says:

Quote:It's my belief that keeping five nearly identical photos foster a pack-rat mentality that holds a photographer back from improving. If you keep all your images, you never have to think about why one is better than the other. That means you never have to look critically at your own photography and learn what types of photos you should be striving for when you bring that camera up to your eye and press the shutter release.
I for one admit that I tend to keep almost all except the really bad ones or out of focus ones. I tend to take the "easy way out" - i.e. I delete the ones that are noticably bad, but can't bring myself to critique and eliminate those that are redundant or different ever-so-slightly. I've always convinced myself that photos are precious - you can't go back in time and take the same shot again. Somewhere down the line I may just happen to need a particular image, or even worse I might find a smudge or flaw in the one that I decided to keep...

Another good point he makes:

Quote:I believe that photos tell a story, and in the same way that a good story doesn't repeat the same thing over and over, having near-duplicates of the same image is equally useless. I like to cull my images until I feel the story is as tight and powerful as possible. Great stories have impact, and so should your photos.
Makes sense, methinks. Now... to gather the will to press the delete button... Big Grin

By the way, one pretty cool piece of software to aid in photo comparison / sorting / culling is Pixort, which I've written an article about...

What about you? What are your culling habits?
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#2
I tend to assign to groups in Pixmatic Rawshooter. Then I concentrate my post processing on the best group leaving the others. Best of both worlds I think, I self critique but keep the others around to check back on if need be.

Smile
Muzza

"The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer." -Anonymous
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#3
Rather like that free stuff, It is in my favourites.
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#4
There was a time when I never kept anything that wasn't in my mind a good shot. Now, unless it's terribly out of focus, blurred, uninteresting, or basically just a useless image I keep it. Why? Well, on numerous occasions I've had to use elements of an image to repair another. I might even take an element from one image to use in another that is totally unrelated.
Sit, stay, ok, hold it! Awww, no drooling! :O
My flickr images
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#5
Totally agree with Colin. Even a poor photo can have good elements in it that can be used for something else - you may never know what those elements are unless you go looking for them. I sometimes also find an old photo that I can't believe I never did anything with - would it have been deleted if I was more hasty?

Besides disk space and CDs are cheap.
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#6
An interesting article.

I try to remember two useful pieces of advice when it comes to saving my photos. One is to stop looking at my photographs as children, and start looking at them as teachers. The other is that, when I can't identify the outstanding photo of a series, to be willing to consider that all of them may be trash.

I'm bad. I never delete anything, but just occasionally back up my laptop to an external hard drive. That means that I have reams of trash, and nothing's sorted. Instead, I keep the exposure number in the file name ("griffin-photo-9201.jpg") when I save photos for the web, and use that number to search for the original if I ever want to use it again.
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
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#7
I'm bad, I only delete the really bad ones- just in case I need it for photo shopping as Peto said.
But I've been thinking more about it, thinking maybe I should just back up to CD and only keep the good ones on the computer, why? I heard a professional talking about how you represent yourself in your work and you should only show your very best work, and then my little sister was on the computer, picking photos to print and I had to go through and make sure I felt that they were good enough if she was going to be showing people my work.
The other reason I don't delete as much as I should is because alot of pictures that are off might be of a certain look or pose or moment in my son's life which he will grow out of way too quickly, and I don't want to regret not being able to look back at it...a bit sentimental I know!
Canon 350D with Speedlight 580EX flash
EFS 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 II, EF 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM, EF 50mm f/1.8

http://www.inspired-images.com.au
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#8
matthew Wrote:One is to stop looking at my photographs as children, and start looking at them as teachers. The other is that, when I can't identify the outstanding photo of a series, to be willing to consider that all of them may be trash.
Your teachers were trash? Must have had a hard time at school?? Big Grin Big Grin

Sorry, bad joke - couldn't resist...

I get what you're trying to say...
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#9
I only keep 1 or 2 of each shot.... this usually comes down to about half od everythign I shoot.
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#10
I wonder if "culling" speaks about a person's habits...

If you're confident in culling, you're confident in your abilities as a photographer... and don't need to keep shots for the "just in case" scenario...

On the other hand, if you keep everything, it could mean that you're an experienced and resourceful photographer, knowing that later on down the track you'll be needing those shots for something. Or it could just mean that you're a pessimist. Big Grin
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#11
I only delete the bad ones. On several occasions I've picked out a favorite photo from a set, but sent the whole package to someone who wants to use them, and had them pick a different one So there's no way anyone is going to talk me into deleting anything that isn't an outright bad photo. I suppose if I were only doing snapshots for personal use I could afford to be more selective, but any time I'm shooting for someone else or with the potential to sell my photos I don't think I really have that luxury.

Besides, what am I really wasting? Hard drive space? That's cheap.
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#12
Hey eblack.. welcome to shuttertalk!

I agree with you - the only other downside is the extra time in sifting through the chaff when you want to find a good image, I suppose.

Do you shoot professionally?
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#13
Hey Retouch... thanks for sharing those insights into your workflow... makes a lot of sense. Big Grin
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#14
I've went back to pictures I dismissed first time and seen an area or section that's worth cropping down.
If I had deleted them I would have lost them for ever.
Alastair says "Visit My Blog?"
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#15
shuttertalk Wrote:Hey eblack.. welcome to shuttertalk!
Do you shoot professionally?
Sometimes, by accident. It's not really my job but I get roped into it from time to time Wink
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