Oh Lord, I’m a Photo Hoarder!

I’m about to delve into a topic that is currently all the rage on T.V. but with a spin.  It’s hoarding, and since television has a habit of displaying the definition I think I’ll skip it. However, I think I’m a hoarder.  A digital photographic hoarder.  To be clear here, definitly not a pet hoarder, or a trash hoarder, certainly not a food hoarder, just a photo hoarder.  Oh lord.

Maybe I should start with what I have identified as the root of my problem.  I can’t commit to deletion.  I don’t like to delete anything.  What if I can use it later on for some weird project, what if I look at it in two years and decide that one was really better than this one, what if, what if, what if.  I finally overcame this somewhat by convincing myself to delete anything not identifiable, blurry, extremely over or under exposed, and duplicated.  I was kind of proud of myself there for a while.  Then I realized I still have two external hard drives full of photos that are not useful because I can’t find the good ones.

I need a system for deletion, I need rules, I need help! what do y’all do with all those photos you take?  How do you organize them for later use, how do you decide what to delete… tell me, please.

2 thoughts on “Oh Lord, I’m a Photo Hoarder!

  1. I used to be a hoarder too, Jamie, and used all the same reasons you stated. Recently I’ve realized a couple of things:

    1. I’ve never used a bad photo in any sort of weird project. Never. Ever.
    2. I’ve learned that I only want to show my best work. Period. If it has a significant flaw, it gets tossed. I’ll only keep a semi-decent image if I want to show something interesting or use it as a comparison. Otherwise it’s out of here.
    3. I’m embarrassed to show subpar work. I’ve done it, and I still do it, but I usually justify it by saying that I like the image for some reason. If I like it, I keep it. But I usually only like the really good ones.
    4. If I’ve got more than one image of the same thing/composition, I decide which one I’ll keep right then and there. I don’t put it off because I know I’ll never come back to it and make the decision.

    Like you, I have tens of thousands of images that are completely worthless because I can’t find them. I save my work by date on the hard drive, and I categorize the image by where it was taken when I import and change the file names. So I can find all the images I took at Viera today easily. But to find just the ones with the Great Cormorant, well, that takes tedious keywording, and admittedly, I’m not very disciplined at that. That’s my next photographic hurdle to overcome.

    Trust me when I tell you, you won’t miss the photos you toss. If you haven’t posted it by now, you won’t and that means it isn’t your best work. Keep all the images of your family, but the outdoor stuff should only be your best work. There’s my $.02 worth.

    Hope this helps.


    • Thank You so much for this post! I am doing much better. I have decided that I want to have a collection I can use to make prints and things, rather than just a collection, and have been able to push the delete button much easier. Hopefully, this will allow me to be more creative, and have more space to work with what I have. I’ve decided that before I take on keywording, I will arrange everything in files according to a specific theme. For birds, species, for things, automobiles, and make subfolders for the things I want to further catagorize by. Thanks again! I am also making a folder for bad photos of things I want to remember, like my bird list, where I might have a photo of it, but not a good one, until I can get a better one. ONE photo of each.

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