Photographers Should Delete Files More Often

Fire ravaged landscape, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Australia

I like deleting files. As well as clearing the decks and making room on your hard drive the exercise helps me reorganize assets in a way that makes more sense. File organization is, after all, an organic process and, over time, we all likely find new ways to organize our files so that they can be more easily accessed.

Surround Yourself With Your Best Images

When it comes to digital images the act of deleting files is particularly important. Adobe Lightroom is the platform from which my image organization and basic processing is conducted. One thing I've found, over the years, is that your photography will improve more quickly when you surround yourself with what you do well. So, unless you have a particular emotional attachment to a technically poor image, which you're hoping to be able to improve with new skills and/or technology down the road aways, I'd strongly recommend that you consider deleting it.

If you surround yourself with your best images you'll begin to absorb the way you approached the making of those images, both technically and compositionally, into your current workflow when making new pictures. This approach should deliver more interesting images, more often. Without wanting to labor the point may I suggest that the best way to make poor images, more often, is to surround yourself with them.

The Solution

So get them out of Lightroom, by which I mean delete them. At the very least, use a star rating system (e.g., 1 or 2 star) to signify that these images have been marked for, though not yet sent to, the Trash can. You can then instruct Lightroom to display only the images you've rated as 3 stars and above. The other images haven't gone, they're just hidden from view. And, of course, you can re-rate any of these images at any time.


Rainy Days and Sundays

I try to reorganize files at least 3 or 4 times per year. It's amazing what I find in the process. The above photo was made, some time ago, on the slopes of Mount Oberon, in Wilsons Promontory National Park in South Eastern Australia. Not long before a fire had run its way through the park with devastating effect to both landscape and the native wildlife.

I didn't have a digital camera back then, but was loaned a Canon 20D for the trip. Yep! it's that long ago.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

By the way if you've been thinking about purchasing Adobe Lightroom 5, the basis of all my image management and processing, you can purchase it via the following links: