I’ve always heard that a photographer should keep every image they shoot, even if they don’t think it’s very good, or they don’t have a current use for it. The image may be useful later on, or looking at it with fresh eyes may reveal something great in a photo that hadn’t seemed like much at first. The modern-day example of this is the image of Monica Lewinsky and then-president Bill Clinton that hadn’t been much of a keeper until the scandal broke. However, as an amateur photographer who may take 20+ shots of the same subject at different angles and with different settings, I’ve decided to bend this rule a bit. I still keep a handful of shots from each session, but who really needs 24 photos of my uncooked Thanksgiving turkey? I certainly don’t. So at least 20 of these go in to the recycling bin, and the other 3-4 images go into the archives. Will I regret this one day? Honestly, probably not. I doubt I’ll even remember there were more.
Even with this approach, storage has become an issue. Since I’ve been shooting at least a handful of images every day, and since I shoot everything in RAW, I’ve quickly used up most of the remaining space on my laptop hard drive. Enter the LaCie drive. I’ve had a 320GB LaCie mobile disk for a while now that I’ve used to backup my hard drive, but if I want to keep going with my photography and still have a mirror drive I’m going to need quite a bit more space. So I placed an order for a new LaCie hard disk, this time getting a terabyte. Now my 1TB drive, which, while small, isn’t ultra-portable, is my backup drive, while my portable drive is my photo archive. This allows me to easily have all my photos with me if I need to, or to leave them at home if I don’t. And, since both drives are small enough and mobile enough to move around, I can keep them anywhere I want for extra security.
Am I being overly cautious? Maybe. But having had a drive crash and lose all my photos before, I’d rather be safe than sorry. So safe it is.