why not to delete blurred photos

Being a total {Aperture} convert, I’ve been amusing (?) myself over the summer trying to get 18,000 or so photos into something like a useable state, but being scattered over 4 hard drives and two computers (with no one drive having enough space for them all, of course) has been an exercise in watching progress bars moving GB of data around.

As part of all this I’m correctly tagging, naming and rating images as I get a logical group together, and many images that look good on camera, and occasionally on screen just don’t hold up in terms of sharpness when examined at 1:1, so they’re being classed as Rejects from within {Aperture}, meaning they effectively vanish from all normal views of my photos. They’re not gone however, and can be viewed in context with the originals or in a group that just contains all the other underachievers, which some have advocated using as an easy target for permanent deletion.

Back when I shot slide film I would indeed chuck away terribly under or over-exposed images (the pack-rat in me refused to let go of all but the most hideously blurred images) but now there is actually a point to having unprintable files lying around: photo books. The more basic books that {iPhoto} offers don’t appear to have this option, but in {Aperture} it’s trivial to assign an image to the background and choose to have it colour washed, or converted to black and white in order to use it as a background for the real images. To work as a background, the image obviously needs to be less attention grabbing than the foreground (hence the ability to apply a wash) but focus is also another useful tool, so rather than deliberately blurring a decent image why not have a look through the Rejects and see if there’s one in there that gives the page a lift ?

Of course, it’s not at all required to use an image from that time or place: sufficiently blurred and colour-muted many other images could be used – if an object in the background is a little too pronounced (say a person in an otherwise empty landscape) then simply place the foreground image over the top of the object. Re-invent the original background in a totally different way, and have the satisfaction of making a terrible photo actually add something to a project.

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  1. is this the reason you gave Nicci for keeping tons of photos? 🙂

  2. Ssshh – she reads this too you know, and I still need an excuse for an external 500GB drive 🙂