The last few weeks I have embarked on a major push to edit my photo library down to a more reasonable size. I currently have something over 200,000 images although some of those are from when I shot dual RAW + JPEG and there are a lot of HDR image sets too. But I would guess I have 150,000 unique images! My goal is to get that down to about 15% of the total. So I started at the beginning (2001) and just completed 2004. As I complete a month, I import them into Lightroom and then I tag the very best ones with a “5″. My ultimate desire would be to have a “top 1000″ folder.
I have gotten really good at being ruthless! If it is not wonderful, it gets deleted. It is often said the difference between a pro and an amateur is editing. The pro shows you only the good stuff; the amateur shows you everything, including the junk!
Anyway, the interesting (educational, frustrating, ???) aspect has been seeing how I took photos nearly 10 years ago. I can’t believe all the dumb mistakes I made. And I seemed to make them over and over. Very slow learner!
I think a part of it was coming from film, I had certain rules in mind. For instance, I almost never moved my digital SLR off ISO 100. Even though I was getting blurred photos and the camera was fine at ISO 200 and 400, I stubbornly stuck to 100.
Another disappointing trait was the almost constant underexposure. With slide film, we often did underexpose a bit. And with digital, we were so paranoid of blowing out highlights that we underexposed routinely. Had I not heard of a Histogram? The problem now, of course, is how noisy those images are. If I try to make an enlargement, I often get “banding” artifacts in the sky.
Third was how seldom I shot RAW in those early days. I think the high cost of memory cards was partly to blame but I sure wish I had shot RAW all the time. And PLEASE, don’t ever let me shoot dual RAW + JPEG again. Talk about a mess on my hard drive.
Lastly, my compositions often sucked. I think I was so in love with the new technology that any artistic sense I might have had was Sleepless in Grand Junction.
I am working on 2005 editing now and I am starting to see some improvement.
Better late than never, I guess!