Photographers Should Delete Photos More Often

A close up image of a tree stump and leaves on the Lighthouse Walk after a fire at Wilsons Promontory National Park, Australia.

I’m a photographer who likes to delete photos I’m not happy with. Here’s why.

As well as making room on my computer’s hard drive the exercise helps me reorganize files in a way that makes more sense.

File organization is, after all, an organic process and, over time, we should all explore new ways to organize our files so that they can be more easily accessed.

Deleting files is, to my way of thinking, a really important part of the editing process.

Millers Landing, Wilsons Promontory

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Surround Yourself With Your Best Images

When it comes to digital images the act of deleting files is particularly important.

That’s because we have so many of them and tracking down a single image, from amongst many thousands of photos, can be a nightmare.

Why hold onto poor quality images, particularly if there’s no emotional value in those photos?

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.

Unless you have a strong emotional attachment to a technically poor image, and you don’t believe you’ll be able to improve it with new skills and/or technology down the road, it might be best to delete it.

How To Make Better Photos

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 boring images, more often, is to surround yourself with similarly boring images.

New plant growth following a devasting fire at Wilsons Promontory National Park in Australia.

How to Delete Your Photos

Adobe Lightroom is the platform from which my image organization and basic image processing is conducted.

My advice is to get those boring and technically poor images out of my Lightroom Library, 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.

Don’t worry you can change your mind and re-rate any of your images in Lightroom at any time.

That is, of course, until you delete them. Then they’re gone from Lightroom and from your hard drive.

Are you interested in learning how I rate photos in Lightroom?

Rainy Days and Sundays | Time To Delete Your Photos

I try to reorganize large amounts of folders and files on my computer several times a year and I use Lightroom to reorganize my photos.

It's amazing what I find in the process. The photo at the very top of this post was made on the slopes of Mount Oberon, in Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia.

Not long before a fire had run its way through the Prom with devastating effect to both landscape and the native wildlife.

I was still a film-based photographer back then, but was loaned a Canon 20D for the trip. Yep! it's that long ago. Soon after that particular adventure I purchased my first digital camera, a Canon 5D.

Despite the age of this image, I was able to find it and the other photos published in this post in just a few moments in Lightroom. It’s such a fantastic application, which is why I recommend it.

While I have very fond memories of film, darkrooms and analogue cameras I much prefer working with digital images.

I can tell you that managing many thousands of digital images on the computer is so much easier with Adobe Lightroom than the 30 or more 3-ring binders I have full of negatives and slides.

Do you live in or around Melbourne, Australia and are interesting in learning how to use Lightroom to organize and develop your photos?

Then consider contacting me for information about my special, one to one, 3 hour Lightroom training courses. I can conduct these courses at your home or work, whatever works best for you.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru