Strategy for Deleting


Today’s Question: Given the catalog flexibility [in Lightroom Classic], do you do much deleting?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I generally do very little deleting of photos, but I’ll admit that at times I do think about going back and getting rid of some of the photos that I don’t feel I need to keep for any reason.

More Detail: Every photographer will of course capture photos that end up not being favorites and possibly not really being needed at all. These photos are often referred to as “outtakes”, and different photographers deal with outtakes in different ways.

Some photographers are very quick to delete photos they consider outtakes. Others, including myself, are slow to delete outtakes. In fact, I generally haven’t bothered deleting outtakes at all.

There are several reasons for this approach to outtakes in my workflow. The first is a concern that I may later regret deleting a photo. Even a photo that wasn’t of the best quality, for example, may still have sentimental value. In addition, I’ve generally not felt that it was worthwhile to delete outtakes. It is very easy to filter images based on metadata so that you’re only seeing your favorites at any given time, for example.

Over time, however, as my Lightroom Classic catalog has grown to more than 400,000 images, I’ve started to think about deleting outtakes, especially for older photos. This is partially motivated by storage capacity. While storage is relatively cheap, I’ve run into an issue where my photo storage needs exceed the capacity of my preferred hard drives.

My preferred hard drives are LaCie Rugged drives (, which in addition to being ruggedized are bus-powered, meaning a power adapter is not required because the drive gets its power from the data connection. However, the largest capacity for the LaCie Rugged drives is 5 terabytes, and my current photo storage requires about 7 terabytes.

So, I either need to opt for different hard drives to provide higher capacity, store my photos across more than one drive (which is what I’m doing currently), or start deleting outtakes. I’m considering going through the process of deleting outtakes but haven’t started on that project as of yet.