Several years ago, hard drives were very expensive. This caused most photographers to free up disk space by deleting unwanted photos. Nowadays, hard drives are much cheaper, sparking a different debate: Should I keep or delete unwanted photos? Here are a few suggestions to help you decide if you should keep or delete a photo.

Create a rule for when to delete or keep a photo

My personal rule is to keep all photos except for the following:

  • Accidental shot of the floor or the inside of my camera bag.
  • Flash misfire where the image is completely black
  • The subject is blinking or making an unflattering face
  • Major motion blur
  • The image portrays the subject badly

This is my general rule based on being an author and an educator. I sometimes need an example of a bad or blurry photo to teach how software or a photography tip can help fix it. You should create your own set of rules as a guideline. Don’t be afraid to break your own rules when you see a bad image you love and wish you had the ability to make it look good. Who knows, maybe someone has an answer to fix it. Think of how many red-eye photos were deleted before software companies created a red-eye reduction feature.

Think twice before deleting a photos

Following my “When to delete a photo” rule, I kept an underexposed image but didn’t think twice about it until the model said it was her favorite image. She asked if there was anything I could do to make the image look better. After a few minutes editing in Luminar, it was fixed. The model is happy and that inspired me to write this article. A win-win for everyone because the image wasn’t deleted.

The next time you find yourself deciding if you should keep or delete an image, keep it. Who knows, it may become one of your favorites.