Culling the Hard Drive (rambling rant)

Discussion in 'Misc. Posting Board' started by RedOctober25, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. RedOctober25

    RedOctober25 Member

    Question… at what point do you just start torching your digital photo files? I was just looking and I have easily a hundred thousand photos over the past 20+ years. A lot of them are from sporting events where I took photos in burst mode (though I typically culled the bursts upon transfer to the hard drive).

    But it got me thinking… most of the photos I take now are to share with family and friends on social media. And the old photos, a lot of them I have looked at since the day I took them. I probably won’t get them printed, I’m not selling them, they’re just sitting on my hard drive.

    So what do you do with your old photos? And what’s the your suggested way to proceed forward? Thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    I keep everything. But not necessarily on my primary computer.

    New photos go on the primary computer.
    Within a few days (or the end of the month if I get lazy), I copy them to a 2-bay NAS for a quick backup. The NAS has two hard drives and is configured as RAID-1, which means both of the drives in the NAS are identical, so I still have a good copy if one of the drives fails.
    Periodically, I back the NAS up to a portable hard drive, which is stored in a fire-resistant file safe.
    Every month, I back up the entire computer using business-grade backup software called Retrospect. The backups are stored on a RAID-5 NAS, which means that if one drive fails, I don't lose anything.
    After several years. I start cleaning the older stuff off of the primary hard drive. Since I have three backups, I know I can get back anything I intentionally deleted.

    That works for me. Let's hear what other people do.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  3. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I cull as I download the first time...with wildlife photos, you shoot similar to sport - lots of burst, so there are multiples of many animals. So as soon as I load my photos from the card, I go through a first-cull and delete the ones that are clearly not as good - blurred, partial cut-offs, or ugly wing positions, eyes closed, or poop streams coming out.
    Then as I go through and process or save the 'keepers', where 9 burst shots may all be good, but one really has everything in the right position, I'll only consider that one the keeper that will go to the gallery. When done, I can go back and delete the ones that were duplicates that didn't make the final cut. Between those two culls, I can dump 40-50% of a day's shooting.
    Then generally once a year, I go through all my photos from that year, and decide if it's likely I'll ever go back and view them again - these are lighter culls, but I can still drop a few GB each year.
    Having digital photos going back to 1997, and some scanned film photos too - I've got a ton of photos, even with all the culls. My computer has multiple drives, so the photos are kept on a separate data drive, backed up to a duplicate drive, backed up quarterly to an external drive, and backed up annually to another external me 4 copies of all my photos.
  4. gary

    gary Member

    culled hard on the first run-through, steam train and birds are both burst shooting frequently, the processing sees more culling, i try to stick to the 10% rule, keep only 1 out of every 10 at most. they go onto the drobo from the cards, and culling from there. so i always have 2 copies of the keepers, most of the keepers are then uploaded to my smug mug site, some of the special family occasions such as weddings and my grandfathers 100th birthday party, are also loaded onto as many as 2 different and separate external drives, kept at 2 separate family members homes. but i don't get rid of any, i do occasionally go back and look at stuff, i was just looking at some cruise photos the other day from 2007
  5. On the next episode of Pixel Hoarders we will profile the external hard drives of the young and the restless in Marlton NJ.


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