Why You Should Never Delete Images

Photography requires patience and repetition to get the perfect shot. This often means that as a photographer you will take hundreds sometimes thousands of photographs. For instance, photographer Alan McFadyen, famous for his photograph of a diving kingfisher, took 7200 photos before getting the perfect shot. There’s a never ending debate on what should be done with photographs you deem subpar or that you don’t intend to use. Should you delete to free your disc space or should you store them? This article joins in the debate in favor of the idea that you should never delete your images. Keep reading to find out more!

Storage Is Inexpensive

When IBM unveiled the first hard disk drive in 1956, it was in the form a monstrosity that weight a ton, cost a small fortune and was only capable of storing 5mb worth of information. Today you can purchase a terabyte worth of storage for less than fifty dollars! Storage is the most rapidly growing form of semiconductor technology. More so, advancements in technology mean that today, you spend less to get more storage than you would years back. For photographers, storage space is no longer an issue warranting one to delete their footage. If you have a small SD card for your camera, you may choose to buy one with a higher capacity at very little cost. If you want to free up your SD card’s space for fresh photos, deleting is not the best solution. Simply purchasing a backup drive will do. Photos are memories. Don’t delete them!

Images that Appear Bad at First Glance Could be Gems

This has happened to me on numerous occasions. As a photographer, you’re your own worst critic. In fact, most times you are too hard on yourself. After taking so many good shots, you may tend to dismiss many of them for even the most minor of defects. Do not fall for that temptation. Like editing, sometimes, fresh eyes will change your perspective on a photo’s quality. For me, when I go to bed and wake up the next morning, my perspective on many of the photos I take completely changes. I become less harsh and more objective. For this reason, it is never a good idea to delete your footage, for, within the perceived pile of trash, there may be a gem or two.

Beauty is In the Eyes of the Beholder

This point ties in with the former. Because you are your own worst critic, you will always see something you could have done better in your photographs. However, always remember that this may not be the case for your consumers. Of course, you want to sell only the best, but also acknowledge that at the end of the day, as long as someone loves a particular photo of yours, whether good or bad, they will purchase it. To highlight this point, I once decided to absent mindedly edit one of my “bad” photos for the sake of it. In my mind that photo was so bad that it wasn’t even in the class of photos I considered worthy of keeping. You can imagine the shock when that horrible, error-ridden photo (in my eyes) became my highest grossing one that year. The reason is that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Future Technology May Fix Errors

Technology is fast evolving. Photo editing software is not what it used to be. Today it has so many capabilities. It is because technology is fast evolving that we suggest you do not delete your photos. Maybe, just maybe, the software may be created to correct the problem in the photo or photos you want to delete.

May Be Useful for Stacking

In particular photography disciplines such as macro photography and astrophotography, multiple exposures of the same subject matter are taken and then using stacking software, merged to portray more detail and sharpness. In such disciplines, deleting photographs because they are too many, would be the worst mistake. This is because when you want to restack them at a later date they will not be available! In these disciplines, those multiple photos of the same subject matter serve as exposure resources for one photograph. Don’t delete them!

Historical Value for Posterity

Photos have value beyond technical prowess. What seems like a trash may serve as a key insight into how things were during the taking of the photograph for future generations. Think of it as a social obligation that you have for posterity. Instead of deleting photos that you find worthless simply store them in a cheap storage solution. Posterity may thank you for your foresight years later!

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