The digital age of photography has some wonderful benefits: no film hassles, low processing costs, and instant gratification. We often hear, “Take as many shots as you want, they’re free!” True, but there is a cost–file overload! Over the past four years I have managed to accumulate about 14,000 images, images that were starting to fill my one-half terabyte external hard drive. What to do? Photographers are encouraged to save almost everything since what does not seem worthwhile today might be worthwhile in another context.
Since I run incremental backups weekly to a second hard drive, I decided to keep only those images on my working hard drive that have been uploaded to my SlickPic website–deleting the rest. My challenge was how to determine which photos to identify for the mass deletion since I never flagged uploaded photos. Although they did appear in SlickPic collections, made possible by a Lightroom plug-in, and I could edit within these collections, these collections were not flaggable. Instead, I had to create several temporary collections to which I could copy the SlickPic collections. I could then delete all previously flagged photos in my library, then flag all the photos in the temporary collections. This done (over a period of four days), I then mass deleted all the unflagged photos. Now I have only 671 high quality photos on my working drive that are (or were) on my SlickPic gallery. Things now happen much more quickly when I’m working with my photos.
The lesson I learned from this experience is to flag only those photos uploaded to SlickPic. This way, I have the future option of knowing what photos I might want to delete to save working disk space. I also learned to delete the worst of the worst photos before importing into my Lightroom library. This is especially important for bird photos, since I often have the shutter set for high-speed or continuous shooting. One outing can produce several hundred photos.
Perhaps you have been through this experience. If so, how do you manage your photos?