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Thread: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    My slew of questions continues with yet another noobish thread

    When you initially review photos from a shoot:

    What factors do you consider, what questions do you ask yourself, what criteria do you follow, etc to determine which shots get saved and which get trashed?

    Thanks for any advice!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    1st cut - Is focus correct and is exposure there or thereabouts? If not - dump it.

    2nd cut - Is this capable of giving me the image I saw in my head when I pressed the shutter? Do I like the possibilities it offers? If not - dump it.

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    1st cut - Is focus correct and is exposure there or thereabouts? If not - dump it.

    2nd cut - Is this capable of giving me the image I saw in my head when I pressed the shutter? Do I like the possibilities it offers? If not - dump it.
    This approach shows a degree of self-discipline that has always eluded me. If only I could apply it, the time and cost required for backing up files would be almost negligible!

    Philip

  4. #4

    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    1st cut - Is focus correct and is exposure there or thereabouts? If not - dump it.

    2nd cut - Is this capable of giving me the image I saw in my head when I pressed the shutter? Do I like the possibilities it offers? If not - dump it.
    This plus poses/faces. Someone closed their eyes/sneezed or I got the back of someone's head - bin it.

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    In the 1970's I took by mistake as trying to position myself a single image of a 15 year old derelict gas works from an adjacent tall building. No other similar image exists, and what I have is not an important record. We can never tell when the background become more important than the object we intended to record.

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Similar to the others above.

    If it's obviously out of focus - or (in the case of a model) a blinker / weird expression etc then it's history.

    Basically I ask myself "do I ever want to see this photo again" - if the answer is no - and I know I have the money shots elsewhere in the set, then I'll be a bit more agressive with deletes. Need to be careful when shooting models though, as they may well like something I don't. I probably keep about 2/3 of them, but in the case of landscape, usually only 1 "keeper" is processed per set.

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    90% - 95% of my images are deleted in the first round of culling. About another 1% are deleted when I discover during post-processing that I should have deleted them in the first round.

    I don't keep similar images of the same scene. I keep multiple images of it only if they tell different stories.

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Total 'no hopers' get zapped in the camera shortly after shooting. Initial review on the computer reduces this still further. Basically working on the principle of 'do I have a better shot'.

    The one area where I need to be careful is with wildlife shots where an imperfect shot might have the exact angle required for species identification. Which often isn't possible from a much better image.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel
    What factors do you consider, what questions do you ask yourself, what criteria do you follow, etc to determine which shots get saved and which get trashed?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley
    90% - 95% of my images are deleted in the first round of culling.
    Judging by Mike's reply, nowhere near enough

    I shoot manily wildlife and on the first cull I manage to delete 30-40% of;
    subject not all in frame (or not in frame at all )
    subject out of focus

    On the second cull, I will;
    score the best of what's left
    remove all burst mode duplicates that aren't the sharpest in that burst
    or where the subject is in less good 'poses'

    It takes me so long to cull, I often lose interest and come here instead of completing any PP, so I really MUST tackle this
    My P52 was supposed to get me publishing more, but it got me taking more instead, increasing the problem!

    When I'm not shooting wildlife, it may be architectural/landscape, with these, I will take a shot, review it, keep re-shooting until framing, level, exposure, etc. are all 'perfect', so in theory, all I need do in the cull, is keep the last one of the series, except ....

    I rarely delete in camera, maybe the last shot if I catch it while still on preview and I know it is rubbish, but I saw someone accidentally delete a whole day's event shooting once and I don't want to do that!

    Cheers,

  10. #10

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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Judging by Mike's reply, nowhere near enough
    Nah, Dave. Your capture technique is just better than mine.

  11. #11
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    When it's time to get down to the weeding-party; I switch from emotional attachment to all-business.

    First round... before I ever even import to a program like Lightroom... is to view the series and toss anything that is not focused properly, exposed properly or if I have multiples of the same shot (and I OFTEN do, because I don't quite have the confidence to only make one or two and know it's perfect yet!)... I save only the best of the multiples and toss the rest.

    That first round usually eliminates about 1/4 of the total (and I rarely do a shoot of LESS than 100 shots at a time).

    Then, after importing, I look at the shots with more of an eye towards what speaks to me and displays my vision or the "purpose" for taking the shot best... further process it and save it for further use.

    Yes the whole process takes time and yes, I often toss 2/3 or more of the series I've shot... but I know that what I'm left with was the best of the series and something that has value, at least to me, at the end of it.

    If it was worth the time, effort and experience of shooting in the first place... then it's surely worth developing the discipline to make the most of the photos as soon as humanly possible after the shoot, imo. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can be out shooting again!

    My advice to you, and anyone who asks, is this:
    Ask yourself ONE question.
    Ask yourself "WHY am I taking these photographs... what is my purpose for them?" Go with your gut and let your answers be your guide when deciding how severely you weed through your potential masterpieces.


    Quote Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post
    My slew of questions continues with yet another noobish thread

    When you initially review photos from a shoot:

    What factors do you consider, what questions do you ask yourself, what criteria do you follow, etc to determine which shots get saved and which get trashed?

    Thanks for any advice!

  12. #12
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Great advice from everyone; thank you! I'll try some of these suggested thought processes, steps, questions, etc in my next few "culling" sessions. Although I feel like it's important to be emotionally attached to my subject/work (or else my shots will be garbage), my goal for initial review is to become less emotionally attached and more stringent with my "keeper" standards.

    It was suggested that the editing process get done asap. I can see this might be effective for a pro. Recently I was contemplating trying my own idea, which would be to wait a few days or a week before I review the shots from a trip. I hypothesize that this will separate my initial feelings and sensations of the trip from the shots, thereby allowing me to see the photos for what they are. I have noticed that if I look at the shots the night I get home, or even the next day, I get caught up in the excitement of everything and I think it clouds my judgement. So, personally, I am going to try the delayed review idea and see if that helps. But all of these suggestions will be a part of that review as well.

    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    Depends on the subject really. Holiday shots can be singles, so most of them are kept, even if they don't meet my standards. Same story as Colin had on his model photos: other family members might like shots that I don't care for.

    Insects, flowers, animals, landscapes...most of the time I shoot a lot when I do these subjects, especially on the macro end.
    First selection is on focus, exposure, bad composition (happens a lot with macro, especially if you have some wind and the subject is swinging back and forth).
    Then I look at good duplicates and which one I like most. The rest is binned.

    I might use only 10 out of a 100 photos of insect macros, so the rest isn't kept.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How ruthless are you during initial review/deleting?

    I usually keep the lot; even had to make one good out of two bad recently because I don't have access to a car and I can't go 200 miles to take it again.

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