I’ve been at this for years, and met many photographers in that time. One question comes up often in this digital age: Do I keep all my shot images? My answer is yes I do, and here are 3 reasons why.
- They’re mine! Yes that may be a poor reason to keep a lot of unused images…it’s like telling your kids to do something ‘because I say so’. But I put the time and effort into making those images and by God I’m keeping them!
- Having this large pool of unused images does provide some opportunity to review the ones that didn’t quite make the cut and see what could be improved. Was the image not in focus but had a great feeling to it? Wrong lighting? Maybe there was something distracting in the frame? These factors, and many more, help provide some guidance as to what to adjust in my shooting style, keep me focused on the details (because I didn’t in some of these images) and at the same time reassure me that I get good expressions or have an eye for the setup that provides great feeling images (even if the technicalities are off).
- And the best reason of all is finding the gems that hide in the mass of images sometimes. After a period of time, reviewing my images can give me a fresh perspective on what might have been a culled-out shot when I first reviewed the images. As we grow and see more photos (the world is more inundated with photos now than it has ever been!) the things that trigger the ‘keep’ or ‘use this one’ vibe evolve. Sometimes it’s a cropping of an image that leads to something new, or thinking in black and white, or less/more saturation. A new photo session can jangle the bells in the brain which say ‘go back and look at the photos from ‘x’ photo shoot…there’s more there’. Life experiences can also provide some fresh views of older images. The possibilities are there!
Digital storage is pretty reasonably priced these days…and that gives good reason to keep the non-keepers for a while longer. (For an example of a renewed edit go here)