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Old Aug 21, 2009, 6:25 AM   #1
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Default Culling photos

This thread was inspired by a thread titled 'Loosing interest in photography (anybody else)' on dpreview.

How, in this age of pretty fast fps on SLRs and large amounts of storage, do you cull your photos?

OK, to me some reasons are obvious : blurred when you don't want them to be, eyes closed or stupid expression in a portrait, boring, etc. But say that you have 3 or 4 photos (which is what I do TBH) of the same subject, how do you decide which one to keep?

I'm going to try shooting some surfers this weekend, so your advice will hopefully help when I get back to the Mac on Monday.

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Old Aug 21, 2009, 6:37 AM   #2
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I don't cull any further that using a process similiar to the one you describe. Narrow down the collection based on technical issues, and keep the rest. You never know what the subject might think of an image you might have discarded. I shot over 300 photos of a woman posing with her horse (who wasn't posing.) [ See Kelly & Siri ] Due to some technical problems, plus a lack of interest on the part of the horse, the collection was reduced to about 50. Some of the ones I was particularly pleased with were completely overlooked by the subject (the woman, not the horse), who ended up selecting a photo as a favorite that I'd have skipped over.
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Last edited by TCav; Aug 21, 2009 at 6:40 AM.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 7:48 AM   #3
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After culling, I usualy upload stuff to Smugmug and then send a gallery link to family. The trouble is, there are still quite a lot of photos to go through. I guess that I might just keep more of the kids and family and get rid of the 200 sunsets and 100 pictures of the Houses of Parliament !!! I have also found that people appreciate different photos to me.

Cheers for your reply TCav.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 11:00 AM   #4
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I agree it always amazes me that a person finds a photo interesting that I hate and one of the ones I love they just breeze right by. Different people look for different things. Still, most people don't like VOLUME. For example, the family vacation like you mentioned. 100 photos - that's it. You can keep all you want but I'd cull the on-line gallery down to 100 or less. Otherwise people just start paging throughh and don't even look at the individual photos.

For sports work - what helped me was finally sorting by person. So if I sorted all the photos of #24 together I could really drop off the low quality ones and the ones that were very similar. Where as for say #12 if I only ended up with 3 photos unless they were horrible I'd keep all 3 just to have SOMETHING. It's amazing how many shots you can have of the same athlete that look similar.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 9:53 PM   #5
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Basically I tend to cull photos using picture it (within MS office) and get rid of the bad ones right of the bat. Then I get rid of the duplicated such as same pictures in a row taken as insurance (closed eyes etc) etc. Then I tend to save the rest because like John G said I too am amazed at photos I would have thrown away are liked by others, so I tend to keep all the good photos. That means I may have 350 vacation photos and 1,000 photos from a high school graduation. DVDs these days cost so little that I tend to not worry about the extra cost of saving extra picture...... now space on the other hand is starting to get me wonder where all the discs will be stored in 20 years.

As for sorting by person etc I tend to keep the pictures in Chronological order and then add a tag to those that need it such as 001 - (then tag with caption for image).

Also to help me save time in renumbering etc I use Adobe Photoshop Element and use batch processing option and use 3 digital serial and then .jpg for each image (most of the time using max jpeg as quality option).

Alsmost at 900GB of stored photos and this is the way I have done it for the past two years or so and it seems to work for me.

On loosing interest in photography I think its the editing that we loose interest in but to me I enjoy shooting and get the final product stored to my photo hard drive and back-up DVD.

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Old Aug 21, 2009, 11:57 PM   #6
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I actually remember a time before jet aircraft, watched a man walk on the moon, and shot film forEVER. Image storage was thought of in terms of physical albums and negative/slide sleeves. For the average shooter, a big event was maybe three rolls of film. Our "problem" now is that our image making is limited by the size of our memory card. We can now shoot 500 pics where we used to shoot 72 at the most. We think 10,000 shutter actuations is OK after two years. With film, we would have gone bankrupt buying, shooting, and developing that much film. I think most of us tried for perfection on each shot, but seldom attained it. Our culls went into a shoe box or the trash. Our best shots we showcased in albums where everybody could see them easily, on the coffee table, or on the wall.

I now shoot digital, but my mindset is nearly the same as when I shot film. I simply delete the shots I don't like, or duplicates made by using burst.

After each shoot, I upload my images to my computer, then format my memory card. I then tweak my keepers, saving as copies, then delete the rest and never look back. I do save all my originals BTW.

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Old Aug 22, 2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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I never delete anything of the family.

Those shots are great to look at years later even if they are technically poor.

For the rest - are you really shooting so much that you need to delete them? In times where a 1Tb hard drive is only $150 you must be shooting a LOT if you can't afford the storage.

Backup online only your best shots, and of course don't put in your galleries anything less than your best stuff.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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As I have stated before, I apply Sturgeon's Rule, even to my own work.

If you ever have to go through dozens of old shoeboxes of prints, slides, or negatives after a (grand)parent or other older relative has died, you will have a better feel for what needs culling. If you have ever been bored to tears by someone's vacation slide shows, you will get a good idea of what needs culling. Now, apply it to your own pictures.

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Old Aug 23, 2009, 9:56 AM   #9
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i only delete out of focus or really bad pics, hard drives are quite cheap now so i dont find storage a big issue
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 7:36 AM   #10
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I was away for the weekend - shooting LOADS and LOADS at the beach ) Thanks for the replies.

peripatetic, I don't have a problem with getting another hard drive per se, but the desk is getting a little full with hardware. When we buy a house I will have a mini-data-centre but atm the wife restricts me. Plus like JohnG says, people just page through the Smugmug gallery without really looking. I shall keep originals (after culling the bad shots) but maybe just by date.

I think that we might get loads of photo albums printed as well. We don't seem to look at the photos on the Mac as much as the photos in albums.


P.S. I'll try and upload the surfers tonight.
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