Preparation and Review
22nd December 2014
Impressions and repairs
1st January 2015

Clearing away the waste

How are you at throwing images away? It’s quite a challenge but worth the effort. I’ve just been going decluttering my catalogue, deleting lots of photos I will never use. The sheer number of images was becoming a space problem for my hard drive and, despite my categorising and sorting of images into collections in Lightroom, it was becoming cumbersome to find individual pictures.

The images below I shot just before Christmas. I was sat on the beach watching these little sanderling scurry past. I took about 90 frames of these birds, most of which were perfectly acceptable. I am never going to need all 90 so lots of them were consigned to the bin.

Olympus E-5, ISO 200, 202mm, f/5.0. 1/500

ISO 200, 202mm, f/5.0. 1/500

I liked better the images where there was reflection from the wet sand  so these survived my first cull.  Then I looked at composition and the positioning of the birds. I then zoomed right in on the remaining shots and checked sharpness and whether or not the birds had sunlight reflected in their eyes.

A lot of photographers may have deleted or cropped this image tightly because of the size of the bird in the frame, but I like the negative space around it. What do you think?

ISO 200, 179mm, f/4.8, 1/640

ISO 200, 179mm, f/4.8, 1/640


Link of the week.

Talking of challenges, a fantastic way of improving your photography is to join in on a yearly challenge. The challenges usually consist of a list of themes published in advance and you take one photo a week or one a day for each of the themes. You then publish the images through a website. Lots of folk use WordPress to do this. Others taking part in the same challenge will publish their images and comment on yours. One of the friendliest challenges online is run at Elements Village.  It doesn’t matter what level of skill you are at to take part. If you are looking for something different to do then this is worth a try.


  1. storki says:

    Ivor, strangely enough, I have just completed my cull of photos. Admittedly, I have only deleted them from LR (I have two rather large external hard drives where they reside), but have gone from around 23,000 to 1,093. That’s not to say the other 22,000 are all rubbish, but I will probably never work on them or use them for anything, so there was no point in keeping them in LR.

    I love the negative space in your last shot; like you, I would not have cropped it.

    • Ivor says:

      Thanks Simone. I have a separate LR catalogue for my external hard drives. I usually only keep the last 12 months’ pictures on my computer and I am being much more strict with myself not only pressing the X in Lightroom, but deciding not to press the shutter in the first place!

  2. Tammy says:

    I would not have cropped the picture either…I like the negative space – it makes it rather dreamy!

    I am really bad! I have not been cleaning out my files although I need to (I think my husband is sick of buying external hard drives for me)! I do have all my photos filed by year and month though so it should not be too bad to go thru when (and if) I find the time!

    • Ivor says:

      I’ve adopted an ‘if in doubt, delete it’ attitude! 😀 Lightroom makes it really quick. Sometimes I have a really good series of shots of a very similar scene and every frame is good. I do keep quite a lot of these as sometimes I want to use a unique version of the shot that I have not used before. These dark, cold winter evenings have been ideal for that.

  3. KarenAnn says:

    I like the negative space in your bird photo also…has a completely different mood than one that would’ve been cropped tightly…says something about “wait for me…” or a solitary, wandering theme. I find it easier to cull/permanently delete photos if I let some time pass. An objective look seems to be more likely then. My laptop is currently in the shop…hope it’s “only” some dust!! Another good excuse for not obsessively cleaning!

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