Is Deleting Work?

Ice, Ice Baby

It’s been a funny old day. I’ve spent quite some time deleting photos, filing others and going through my emails. I’ve taken an awful lot of pictures over the last few weeks and not stopped to sort them out, file them or delete the rubbish (oh, yes, there are plenty)!

I’m not afraid to take ten times more photos than I’m ever likely to use, thanks to the modern DSLR. When cameras had to be loaded with a film and developed, that was impossible cost-wise. Now it just makes sense. Why NOT take a shot if it just might work. Try it, get it into the computer and delete it if it’s no good, adjust in RAW if need be and in fact play to your heart’s content. But it does mean considerable amounts of time to go through them all and deleting, editing, processing one by one. The processing I love once I’m in the mood. But spending time pressing delete having decided which ones to keep always makes me feel as if I haven’t done any real work. I don’t know why. It’s all part of the job. I suppose it’s just one I find really boring. So here I am watching a Fred Dibnah tribute (Fred was a TV presenter whose real job was mending and felling industrial chimneys and was a real northern England  character) and writing my blog at 8pm feeling like I’ve made little progress. Having already managed to distract myself by buying two new rats (best pets in the world) I’m now trying to make up for lost time.

Braving the snow

My partner reckons I should count everything I have to do with my photography as work, and I suppose it is. But its photography that feels like play and admin that feels like work. I haven’t finished the deleting or sorting. That’ll be a job for another day then. Todays photos are some from that sorting process. Happy snapping!


Now tell me, is deleting work? Do you have a photography job you find boring?


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bob Zeller
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 20:23:25

    Well, I stumbled across some FREE software sometime back. It is Fastone Image Viewer. I can put all of a set (folder) of pics on screen. Click, hold down alt, and pick out the pics to delete, then “poof”! Deleting is easy then.

    The job I find boring is: Someone orders maybe 300 note cards. Now printing, trimming, folding them is boring. However, receiving that check is a pleasure.



    • chriscaff
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 12:59:29

      Thanks for the tip Bob. I’ll have a look at that programme. I didn’t realize you did note cards etc. what an enterprising idea. Do you get a lot of call for them? what printer do you have?


    • janechese
      Dec 12, 2010 @ 03:13:29

      Read your comment to chriscalf about boring jobs and i remember that I used to make my Christmas cards by hand for my friends, that wasn’t boring but sure was time-consuming and don’t do that now. I remember cutting each one-that part WAS boring.


      • chriscaff
        Dec 13, 2010 @ 00:15:00

        I can relate to that, Jane. I do handmade patchwork that requires the cutting out of paper templates for each patch…telly on, scissors out.

  2. Francesca
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 00:02:28

    Hi Chris, Thanks for stopping by Maybe Next Week!
    Deleting is definitely work, in my book. I can go for ages without sorting through a massive pile of photos. But then somehow, it’s easier for me to sort them in big batches, rather than after every photography escapade. xo


  3. dfortyex
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 10:39:18

    ♥ the first shot! =D


  4. Enivea
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 10:53:37

    Have you been peering into my head Chris?? I also take many many images, and find them piling up awaiting further orders – to stay or to go. I have taken the advice of one professional, who says he finds it best to allow a couple of days or a week to pass before doing any editing. It has allowed me to make I think, better judgements, but even so, I can dither about a bit and put too many into the too hard basket – you know, the place that you say you’ll come back to but rarely do?
    On the plus side, when I am sorting images, I can find treasures I’d forgotten about:-) Now….where was I up to…?????


    • chriscaff
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 12:15:25

      LOL Eniivea. I do that, too. leave them awhile that is. But that’s half the problem. There always seems to be something more urgent or interesting to do than sorting through. I too find gems and get distracted. Maybe its some sort of affliction that affects photographers! (and my partner says, other creatives) 🙂 He’s a writer and has a WIP file – work in progress. It’s apparently never empty.


  5. Kai Brockbank
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 15:31:36

    I can relate to that! I used to have a special folder where I put all my best photos, and I just let all the “rubbish” lie musty and forgotten in their original folders! Now I just select my photos whenever I need them cause I can’t be bothered to go through the whole lot. I wouldn’t advise that to anyone though since it means my photos are all over the place and I lose track of any chronological order to post them on my blog.
    The other boring job, I find, is selecting, editing, reducing, and watermarking all my photos to go on the blog!
    These are great shots! I like the first in particular, with its amazing level of detail and beautiful bokeh…


  6. chriscaff
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 15:46:38

    Thanks Kai. I’m glad you like that first shot. It took a bit of capturing and a few of those deletes to get the best one. I have fusty images lying around, too. I try to keyword everything to make it easier to find them and now have a folder called ‘blog’ that I will drop any images I’ve used for WordPress into.
    Editing and reducing? Yes! I don’t watermark as I never put up full size images, only lo-res ones, so they can’t be used for anything much except viewing onscreen. I don’t usually use anything I might want to use commercially, anyway.
    Oh, well, it seems we all have those niggly little jobs we just have to grin and bear.


  7. hemlock1981
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 17:23:34

    I find myself in the same boat. Especially since I am beginning to go head long into the photography hobby. I find that doing it in bits is more helpful for me.

    Great shots!


    • chriscaff
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 19:23:22

      I’m not sure, Hemlock which way suits me. It’s a job I never seem to get to the end of, that’s for sure! I hope you’re enjoying your new hobby as much as I do (when not doing admin).


  8. 47whitebuffalo
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 18:46:00

    Okay–considering the focus of your post I ought to write something else–but–I have to know what rats are great pets! Why? Do tell?

    As for photo job–I work with film–so–I go a little batty with scanning photos for computer sharing. It just ‘irks’ the hell out of me for some reason. LOL.


    • chriscaff
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 19:22:16

      Er, I once bought my son two pet rats. He loved them They died after a couple of years. We got two more. My son left home. The rats and I bonded. I loved them. They are intelligent, trainable, playful and when one died after an insect bite the other grieved for a week (wouldn’t play, eat properly etc). I love animals, can’t have a dog because I couldn’t look after it properly and have missed having pets. Yesterday I went out to the pet shop for fish food and walked past the small animal department. They had two dumbo rats (larger ears than normal). They are 12 weeks old and adorable. I couldn’t leave them there. So out came my money and the huge cage we had in store. They’re gorgeous! Really gentle and already getting used to me and coming when they hear my voice. So that’s the story of my new pet rats. I know people are afraid of them but I can’t fathom why. I’ve been bitten by dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, but never by a rat.
      As for the photo thing…me too! Tedious task that I’ve just spent another afternoon doing so if you’ll excuse me…. I’m off to cuddle my rats now! 🙂


      • 47whitebuffalo
        Dec 11, 2010 @ 20:01:31

        Thank you for sharing your experiences with your pet rat companions. They do sound adorable. I’ve never known anyone with them–hence my curiousity. Thank you for expanding my understanding.

      • chriscaff
        Dec 11, 2010 @ 20:07:42

        No problem White Buffalo! And thanks for your helpful reply re the song a few days ago. I will take some photos of the rats when they’re settled in and post one on here.

  9. dfortyex
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 22:54:18


    Show us the rats, they sound adorable!


  10. janechese
    Dec 12, 2010 @ 03:08:04

    I can relate to the part about waiting a few days before editing. Sadly I fall in love with my work , then a few days later see the flaws and delete a lot more. I delete again when I view old work from a previous year. What changes this priority is if I have gone on vacation or visiting loved ones and am recording memories-then I probably keep even the poor ones for sentimental reasons… I think almost any work is a job when it feels like I do not have enough time and am rushed.Some deleting can be avoided by really thinking about what it is I want to portray while taking the photo and checking composition and point of view as well as lighting. I often can’t see that something is out-of-focus until I download onto the computer and see the image enlarged. Thank goodness some turn out, or it would be pretty discouraging.


    • chriscaff
      Dec 12, 2010 @ 13:11:50

      I do know what you mean about sentimental photos, and I tend to keep more of them, too.
      As for focus etc, I agree here also. I find that fine focus is difficult to see in camera (perhaps it’s my age or eyesight) and when I get them onto Photoshop some are not what I thought they would be. Often, I’m trying out ideas that may or may not work once seen on the big screen. And sometimes i can see straight away that an idea hasn’t worked and delete from the camera. it’s all a question of experimentation.


  11. Todd Actual
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 07:06:38

    Deleting? You’ll put Sandisk out of business!

    Reading this I was reminded of high school. We had to load our 35mm cartridges, then later crack em open in a black bag and spool them sight unseen so the film isn’t touching itself (or it’s ruined). And then you agitate until your arm hurts. I would buy film after that but don’t get me started on the enlarger I had in my bathroom in my 20’s (yes, I’m one of those fools who has to do everything). I gave up the hobby until recently. But I still remember that chemical smell, ahh sodium thiosulfite!

    I took 70 identical pictures last night, for free! 60 are garbage, and I don’t care! I love the future.


    • chriscaff
      Dec 22, 2010 @ 11:33:02

      LOL yes I remember those smells. But I didn’t have the darkroom, my dad did. He built his darkroom in our attic which was a proper room. He had a partition at one end and made a cinema by having a projector at the other end and hanging a screen. So I grew up around a photography nut. He’s 82 now, and still takes shots when he can. I’ve inherited his love of phtography and imagery. I love being able to take plenty of shots, like you. This hibby, i think, has been much improved with digital. Not only can we take LOADS of photos, but we can use them in photoshop quite artistcally in a way not possible in the past. Thanks for calling and commenting, Todd.


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