When you get back home with your camera after a long day outside, do you rush to your computer and inspect your photos immediately?
I think that’s a healthy obsession, because it simply means you’re passionate about your results and dying to find out if you captured that sight just the way you saw it with your own eyes.
However, this rush to review your photos will often cause you to overlook some of your greatest shots. That’s why it’s important to keep all your photos and look at them again–a few weeks, or even months after you first took them.
For example, when I first shot the photo above of the Providence Mountains in the Mojave Desert over a year ago, I didn’t think much of it. But, a couple weeks ago I was looking through some of my older photos and changed my mind about this image. Now I think it’s a pretty good shot.
It may be tempting to delete all the photos you don’t like at first, but keeping them and going back to look at them again is a good idea for at least two reasons:
1. You’ll be looking at them with fresh eyes, so what didn’t look good a couple months ago might look great today!
2. You may have learned something new since you took the photo, so you’ll know how to post-process it now, or you may even recognize what went wrong in the photo and use it as an inspiration for new composition ideas.
So, keep all your photos (even if you think they’re bad at first), and keep going back to look through them. Sometimes you’ll find a new gem in there!
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.