I admit it. I’m a digital packrat. I have more duplicate photos than anyone needs. Not just duplicates of the exact same file, but those other doubles, the kind where I took several shots that are almost identical. With virtually unlimited drive space, deleting the blurry shots isn’t even a necessity. Just because you can keep everything doesn’t mean you should keep everything.
Occasionally I go through and purge a bunch of the worst shots in an effort to reduce the digital chaos, but that doesn’t eliminate the four almost identical shots I took of a waterfall trying to get decent lighting or the right spray. Jason Dunn over at Digital Media Thoughts thinks it’s high time to take a hard look at digital photos and throw out all but the best images.
I agree with this idea in principal, although I’m among the worst offenders when it comes to dumping dupes. Jason’s reasoning is sound; by making hard choices about picking the best shot, you grow as a photographer because you are forced to pass judgment on your work and identify imperfections. I already tend to do this in situations where I’m using photos for a project, but not for the candid shots.
During a presentation to friends and family those four or five identical shots look even more redundant. Pick your favorite and spare your audience the “…and here’s the south side of Mount Rainer after moving the camera yet another millimeter to the right.” Where do you sit on the digital photo fence? Do you purge to find the best shot or are you hording the duplicates?