Deleting photos of your kids isn’t the same thing as deleting your kids
In addition to being a photo organizer and photographer, I have also been a photo editor for much of my career. Photo editing entails culling down what is usually an enormous number of images to a concise and hopefully cohesive story. Editing is story telling, and an editor must take an objective and sometimes ruthless approach in order to achieve the goal of creating an understandable story with meaning and purpose.
However when it came time to doing that with pictures of my own kid, all my professional training went out the window. Say I have a photo of my son. It is out of focus, he may have an awkward or unappealing expression, he may even be picking his nose or drooling. There is nothing at all endearing about the photo nor does it evoke anything in me other than - wow, that’s a really lousy shot. But when it comes to deleting it, a certain sad twinge goes through me as I reach for the delete button on my keyboard and I ask myself - “but what if I ever need this shot, maybe I should keep it?” I can even imagine him sitting around a group therapy circle years from now telling everyone that his smile went out when daddy deleted it along with all those other photos of him.
And that is why I literally had thousands and thousands of photos cluttering up my phones and hard drives.
We are all experiencing a massive accumulation of digital stuff - documents, files, music and photos. Is it any wonder that we feel anything but overwhelmed when we think of dealing with it let alone sorting it out? Dealing with our photos feels more like cleaning out the garage than enjoying the memories of our lives.
Edit down your photos and videos. I know, we all mean to do it, it’s a best intentions thing. Here’s the most important thing to remember. Many people think that editing is about finding and getting rid of the bad ones. I believe it is way more important to find and identify the good ones and the great ones. As I said, editing is story-telling, so when you look at your photos, you want to find the ones that tell the best story.
It’s OK to first eliminate the out of focus or just really obviously bad photos, these are usually easy and quick to identify. But then you want to focus your attention on selecting the good ones and the great ones - your favorites. It’s simple psychology - you are going to be a lot more enthusiastic about doing something when you are looking for something you like than looking for something you don’t like.
Give them a Heart or 5 stars, whatever the program you are working with allows you to do to identify your favorites. Also type in a keyword like “favorite” or “select”. Even if you don’t normally use keywords, this will allow you to search for and find them in years to come regardless of what app they are in.
Now knowing that you have found and identified your favorites, it becomes a lot easier to delete the not so good photos. Even if they are of your kids!
One last tip. Whenever possible get your family and especially your kids involved. Editing, playing and simply looking at your family photos will start to familiarize your family with their photos. Especially looking at those good and great ones! Repeated viewings of the same photos will create a visual relationship and those pictures will start to become part of your family’s story and history.