Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

blurry camera shot   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]The digital age we’re now living in has changed our ideas of ownership and copyright. For better or worse. It’s also changed the way we do various things. In the field of photography moving to digital formats has made a huge difference. Most of it positive. However, there is one aspect of the switch that may not be so positive, and could in fact come back to haunt many of us in years to come.

As you may have guessed from the title I’m referencing the ease with which we delete photographs now that most of us are shooting images with digital cameras or smartphones. Whether we delete them at the time of shooting, immediately dismissing them because they didn’t quite end up as we imagined, or at the end of the process, while reviewing them on a bigger screen and noticing the blemishes, closed eyes, or idiot in the background, it’s in your best interest to consider keeping every single photo you ever take, no matter how tempted you are to click Delete.

From Prints To Digital

old camera collection   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

Those of us over a certain age will remember a time when taking a photograph required far more work than it does now. For starters there was no such thing as smartphones, obviously, which meant you needed to own a dedicated camera. Secondly, photos were shot on film, so you’d have to load one in to your camera before you even started.

That’s when the fun really began, because films would generally hold between 24 and 36 exposures. This meant you couldn’t click away madly, or you’d soon fill up a film and have to load a new one. Once a film was full of exposures you’d then have to get the photos developed. Then, and only then, would you know how each shot had turned out. Unless you were using a Polaroid.

There was a certain thrill in this whole process that has now been lost thanks to the storage capacity of memory cards and the speed and ease with which we can review the shots that were recently taken. But just because you can delete images without a moment’s hesitation doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Because you never know what hidden gems you may be removing from your personal timeline.

Proof From My Childhood

The following photographs were all taken during my childhood, so we’re talking at least two decades ago. These are just a few examples chosen to demonstrate the point being made, which is that you should never delete dodgy digital photos, however tempting it may be.

My Beloved Cat

kitkat old0001   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

I’m not going to lie by trying to convince you that this is the only photo of my old cat in existence. Far from it. But the point here is that cats, and most other pets too, are with us for such short spaces of time that each and every photograph of them is valuable. And should therefore be treasured rather than trashed.

This photograph is truly terrible. It’s shot from a horrible angle, the cat cannot be seen clearly, and both my feet and the camera strap are in the shot. But I remember that day, when I followed the cat around the house taking pictures galore, annoying her in the process. And every single photo taken that day 25 years ago is precious to me.

A Family Day Out

dave bars old   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

There were several photographs taken on this family day out attended by me, my mum, and various aunts, uncles, and cousins. Some good, some bad. but the ones which I would dismiss as being dull were they being taken now are the ones which I cherish the most looking back.

This photograph is really rather poor. It’s blurry and out of focus, there’s a random person encroaching on the right-hand side of the shot, and I have my tongue sticking out of my mouth as a direct result of demonstrating my obvious athletic prowess. But of the moments from that day captured on film, this is one I remember well. Probably because it’s the last time I did anything remotely physical.

Just Me, Chilling

dave seated old   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

That’s just me, chilling in my parents’ front room. Because that’s how I roll. I have no point of reference for the timing of this photo, but it stands out because of what’s going on all around me. Seeing the pattern of the armchair brings back a wave of nostalgia, the book shoved down by my leg reminds me how early my love of words developed, and I’d almost entirely forgotten that I used to make up my own songs on the small keyboard you can see behind my bulbous head.

I don’t even know what that horrible streak is obscuring one whole corner of this photograph, but it’s enough to have ensured this shot would have been wiped from existence almost immediately had this been taken in 2005 rather than 1985.

You Call That A Computer?!

dave computer old   Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion]

Ryan recently posted about why you never forget your first computer, and this photo shows me with what was my first computer. Technically the Atari 800XL pictured belonged to my father, but it was my brothers and I who could usually be found sat staring goggle-eyed at the screen for hours on end. Which is exactly what I still do now, two decades later. Just not with an Atari 800XL.

There are multiple things wrong with this photo: the strange splodge covering the tape deck, the graininess which suggests the camera wasn’t much cop, and the fact that the back half of my head has been sliced off. Taken in the present day this would have ended up in the trash bin, but I’m glad it didn’t. Mainly because it’s further proof of my geek credentials.

Conclusions

There is an obvious upside of digital photography that risks belittling my overarching point. Which is that we can now take hundreds or even thousands of photos of any animal, person, special occasion, family outing, or moment we please. In that context the odd deleted photo doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) hold so much significance.

However, it’s not likely to be the perfect photograph — with the right lighting, subject matter, and split-second timing — that will set you off on a nostalgic trawl through memories of yesteryear when you look back in a decade or two. Instead it’ll be the shots that didn’t quite work out the way you had planned, through blurring or a misplaced thumb. Believe me. Or at least believe the 10-year-old me grinning back at you from the 1980s.

As always the floor is now yours to do with as you please. Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed above let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. It is just an opinion after all.

Image Credits: Rangga Rr, Jase The Bass

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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68 Comments -

1 votes

haMid MaLa

Nice article. There are pictures, however blurry, hold significant memories. They may not look special on the day they were taken, but later on they will make you remember and smile.

2 votes

Nevzat Akkaya

I’m sorry for not having much photographs from my childhood. However I try to capture thousands of pictures and videos of my little baby :) New generation is luckier than us.

2 votes

Ole Funch

I agree so very much, here in my second/third age, but as you say, the new generation is much luckier :-)

1 votes

Nevzat Akkaya

I wish you many more happy years, sir.

0 votes

Junil Maharjan

yes we all have been in that position and i have most of the pictures of my childhood and have kept them though we have very less dodgy pictures.

1 votes

Anonymous

I always tell people that the best photos are not the ones with the poses, the best outfits or even those taken by professionals but the ones with the best memories and brings back the best memories.

0 votes

Chetan Sood

Time.. it changes the meaning of insignificant looking blurry photos

0 votes

Danial Nasirullah

Those are all very good points indeed. There’s a lot of photos that I have left over from that time and in fact sometimes those mistakes make the pictures and events all that much more memorable.

0 votes

Ebuka Mmaduekwe

new generation is truly luckier than us

1 votes

Tony Karakashian

It drives my wife crazy whenever she looks through the gallery on my phone because of how many “terrible” pictures are in there. But, I keep every picture of my kids, even if you can barely tell it’s them. I took the time to take it, I can certainly spare the 2M to store it!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You keep them and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise! :)

0 votes

endimion

Me I go a step further I just shoot hands free with the phone, the compact cam, at parties, family event, clubs, visits, well everything…. then every hour I check my catches… and only delete when you really can’t tell what it is at all…. I have countless of amazing shitty picture that way.. cause on top of the memories it will bring back for ever, it also creates really artistic looking takes… got great red eyed picture for instance… it also catches funny faces, events, or happenings you wouldn’t have been able to get unless you shoot in salves with a canon D7 or better and the right gear to outfit it…. it also catch glimps of the gathering nobody noticed (and sometime should be kept secret but always nice to have on file for the laughs 20, 30, 40 years down the line it will bring)…
one thing I love about the new tech capabilities is for video…. now you can live a webcam on all night at a party or during a visit with a gopro or when doing outdoors activities and that is even more memories you couldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago….

0 votes

Venkateswara Swamy Swarna

Good article. Will try to keep all digital photos too from now on irrespective of the quality just as we have grainy, underexposed, overexposed and other ‘poor’ photos from the past.

1 votes

martyn jones

I still take photos with film. I process then myself and keep them. You can’t tell what you took until it’s developed – I love that. and….. I hate instagram lol
You can see some of them aren’t perfect – some of them were double exposures and some have vignetting around them which I love when it’s unexpected.
Some of my photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/6696933965/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/6696933173/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4984189097/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4984787734/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4899645356/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4899052087/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4319769516/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27870380@N05/4267743326/

0 votes

Robin

Thank you for giving me permission to keep these ‘duds’! LOL!
I bought an e-package on organising photos and it says to go through and throw out all those that aren’t up to scratch. That was a while ago. I haven’t started yet. Obviously too big of a stumbling block!
Cheers

0 votes

Phúc Ng?c

Thank you.. Oh, sweet memories..

0 votes

Obed Cutaran

Thanks for the tip, now I need a larger storage for my not-so-awesome pictures

1 votes

Joshua Lockhart

The perfectionist in me has ruined way too many memories. That should change. Great post, Dave.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Thanks, Joshua. It’s a hard habit to get out of, but you’ll regret it if you don’t beat the urge!

0 votes

Glenn

But then again you can’t regret what you can’t remember.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

No, that’s true. Perhaps regret is the wrong word. But deleting imperfect pictures mean you won’t ever get the chance to conjure up a long-lost memory from the simple act of looking through a photo album.

1 votes

Alae Hatoum

Very true , things are really done on the fly nowadays and generally the photo taking experience has become such a cumbersome and frustrating chore .. I can’t keep a steady hand while taking photos and everyphoto is such a pain because it just has to be perfect that no one settles for anything less than that … Fun is being sucked out of pretty much everything

0 votes

Marie Burton

Probably one of my favorite articles I’ve read here in awhile =) Thanks for sharing!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

0 votes

David Albee

OK, wait… when I read “dodgy” I thought you were referring to the content not the quality… http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dodgy

1 votes

Dave Parrack

Dodgy can also mean “second rate, poor, inferior, mediocre, shoddy, low-grade, low-quality, substandard” as quoted from your link :)

0 votes

Charlita UrfullName

I was SO hoping after seeing the subject and early text of this article that you were going to grace us with an inspired application that could FIX those blurry shots!! I guess that’d be too perfect, and then I suppose the world wouldn’t need professional photographers. Nice story though, makes me melancholy for the photos of my youth.

1 votes

Dave Parrack

This is just an opinion piece advising you not to delete them. If you explore the photography tag here on MakeUseOf you’ll find programs designed to help you fix old images :)

1 votes

LA

Great article. I am glad that I read it before deleting pictures of Mya who will be one year old on December 31st. She moves fast and there are a lot of blurred pictures showing her activity. They will be a happy memory of her first Christmas spent with her Great Aunt and Uncle. Again, thank you for the perfect timing of your article.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I guarantee it’ll be the blurred ones that conjure up a memory in years to come. Thanks for reading :)

1 votes

what2do

Ok for old photo’s never throw any of them away.Their might be a relative or part of a car or a place that will never be their again. Remember you are capturing part of a Time Machine that will never be the same after your visit.
But in the new age when you take 10 photo’s to get one good one then get rid of the other 8 or 9. They are almost exactly the same thing with nothing changing. I keep the next best one because my Karma says that somehow the best one will get destroyed somehow.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Life, and the things that come and go through it, are only there for a fleeting moment. It’s shameful to delete images that show any of it.

0 votes

Robert Backlund

I agree with your points of view. I do have a question that I am completely in the dark about and that involves our copy right ownership of our personal images. So many of us post pictures that we take on many places like Filcker, Facebook etc. Do we forfeit our rights to these images? Does the act of posting them in areas of the internet that many consider public places place these images in the public domain? The reason I ask these questions has nothing to do with making money with the pictures we take however I sure would not want some idiot out there taking them and altering them in ways that I sure would not want them to be, and I sure do not want any company or individual making money by capturing my images for free without me having any recourse. I am in no way knowledgeable about the legal implications of posting our images online, and I do not know about you but I never really understand the various use agreements where we all have to indicate that we agree with everything that we have just read in order to use the website that interests us. An example that I have is about Facebook, the way I read it and I may be totally wrong is that any pictures or other content that I may post on my face book page is basically there for the use of the site owners to use in any way that they see fit with respect to marketing Facebook from the time I post it and on into the future forever. This is the reason I have never opened a Facebook account and for that matter I have never used any of the so called social networking sites, Twitter is another one that comes to mind. Perhaps I am to paranoid and do not understand fully what it means to me personally if I were to use Facebook. To me I am very wary about agreeing with things that I know large very well paid teams of lawyers (a profession that I place below any other profession when it comes to honesty, you know just plain old fashioned integrity) write on behalf of some large corporation. You can bet you life that they are not looking out for my or your self interest. Is there anyone out there that knows more about this than I do?

0 votes

dragonmouth

“Does the act of posting them in areas of the internet that many consider public places place these images in the public domain?”

Recently Instagram was bought by Facebook. Shortly thereafter they announced that any pictures stored on their servers are THEIR property to do with as THEY saw fit, with no attribution or remuneration to the picture takers. Other sites/companies that allow the posting of pictures have similar policies. If it is on their servers, it is their property to dispose of as they see fit. It is quite conceivable that Instagram or Flickr can sue you for copyright infringement if you post or publish YOUR pictures stored on their servers. So, I would suggest you watermark the pictures you store online, or keep them stored on your hard drive. Remember, POSSESSION is nine tenths of the law!

I hope that answers some of your questions.

0 votes

Elizabeth Sebastian

Hm, strange to see no call for copyright laws to stop Facebook from committing infringement on REGULAR people. No SOPA for you, Mark Suckaborg? Only a call for laws to “protect” major corporations from the “threat” of downloading Photoshop, MP3 files or Windows Whatever-Number-It-Is-By-Now. This whole copyWRONG double standard is such a fscking joke. Corporations are “people” my ascot!

0 votes

dragonmouth

Money talks, and always has.

1 votes

Jonathan Ginsberg

I think Dave’s argument is valid to a point. Given that the cost of storage space for digital photos is basically nil, there is no reason to get rid of blurry or otherwise imperfect photos. However, managing all those photos – blurry or in focus – can become overwhelming. This is especially true if the blurry photo is so imperfect that face recognition software won’t recognize it.
I organize all of my photos by year and month and I try to touch up my photos (I use Photoshop Elements) as soon as possible after uploading to my storage directory. Typically I find that about 25 to 30% of my photos are worthy of sharing – either on a digital photo frame, on Facebook or by email. When it comes to sharing images, less is more, by the way. I save those edited photos with a different file name so I can easily identify which photos are my best ones (i.e., img305.jpg will be saved as img305e.jpg – the “e” stands for edited). I am therefore able to quickly identify my highest quality photos quickly, keep them all organized and save everything. I also back up to an external hard drive and to Mozy online.
So, yes it makes sense to save all photos, blurry or not – but don’t lose sight of the fact that a properly edited and tweaked image will be what you and your family/friends prefer most of the time.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend sharing the imperfect pictures. Especially as the memories they trigger will likely be personal to you. So, sure, only share your best work, but don;t delete those that didn’t come out quite right.

1 votes

dragonmouth

And here I thought you were going to present us with some overwhelming legal argument why we need to keep our pictures.

One point you did not mention is that one should DOCUMENT all pictures that one keeps, whether they are perfect, dodgy or almost unrecognizable. Having said that I must disagree with your basic premise.

Both of my parents were professional photographers so I am inundated with family and personal pictures, as well as negatives. (Remember those? Little bits of acetate) While I recognize some faces and places, most of them are as foreign to me as if I was looking at some stranger’s photo album. Even though most of the pictures in my possession are well documented, they do not evoke mawkish sentimentality to which you seem to be prone.

Maybe instead of keeping all the pictures that you take haphazardly, you should be more methodical in your approach to picture taking. Why keep a picture of somebody doing something silly under the influence of alcohol taken by you while also under the influence? It may have been funny at that particular moment but in the cold light of day it no longer is and you don’t even remember the name of the idiot pulling the stupid stunt.

1 votes

Dave Parrack

What legal argument is there for keeping pictures?

You’re welcome to disagree with my point, and the “mawkish sentimentality” to which I’m prone. I think you’re wrong though. None of the pictures featured are of drunken behavior, but I do have some in my possession that instantly remind me of fun nights out that will never be repeated now my youth has disappeared.

There is something to be said for being methodical and documenting photos, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. A happy medium perhaps?

1 votes

dragonmouth

You misunderstood the gist of my post. Sorry for offering a contrary opinion. I just should have patted you on the back like the rest of the posters. Have fun trying to figure out in a few years who’s who and what’s what in your pictures.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You’re perfectly welcome to offer a contrary opinion. But extolling the virtues of organizing and documenting photos is vastly different from disagreeing with my reminder not to delete digital pictures because they aren’t perfect. That’s surely a different debate for a different day.

0 votes

Brian

I agree heartily – know the where/when/who of your photos. I have many digital pix that I don’t have the exact location of, and many of those would be enhanced by precise locations – possibly to visit the area again or look at by Google Maps or similar in the future.

1 votes

Ed Bouchard

Wonderful article. Who cares what others think about those out of focus, tilted and otherwise not perfect pictures. What matters is their meaning to you, their emotional content. Just think of how fascinating photos of 200 or 300 years ago would be, if photography would have been available to the people then. It took the Kodak Brownie to start the process resulting in shoeboxes full of old photos. What a treasure to someone.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Exactly. As much as I try to take great pictures, I know that an imperfect one taken on the fly is just as (if not more) worthy than the ones with instant appeal.

1 votes

Peter Bryenton

With film you didn’t know yiu had a dodgy shot until it had been processed & printed. With digital you see immediately if you need to re-shoot for any reason. There’s no need to keep dodgy photos when you have the chance see how to fix them so quickly.

1 votes

Dave Parrack

I mentioned that in the article. However, there is no guarantee that particular moment could be replicated, so wouldn’t it be best not to delete any photos at all to ensure you’re not forever erasing a moment in time?

0 votes

Peter Bryenton

So if the photos of a particular moment in time are blurred, overexposed or otherwise technically flawed, why keep those? Unless you’re waiting for some as yet to be invented algorithms to pull these back from beyond the limits, it’s just digital hording/clutter isn’t it?

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Obviously not. If they’re completely unusable then delete at will. I’m referring to photos like the ones featured in the article, which either have some flaw or are so random it would be easy to delete them without thinking.

0 votes

Michael Parido

That is one beautiful cat. I love the calicoes.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Thank you. She kept me company throughout my childhood and is still greatly missed.

0 votes

Kevin Roche

I bought a new DSLR in January and it takes really excellent pictures. Unfortunately the lack of any need to spend money to develop them means I now have more than 17,000 of them and its unlikely I can do anything useful with them apart from buying ever larger hard disks to store them on.

I think I really do have to delete some.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Wow, 17,000 photos taken in a year? That’s a hell of a lot of shots. My advice if you do have to delete any is to target those which show nothing in particular, or at least don’t feature any people or pets. Good luck.

0 votes

Bobby Smith

Dave,

I love the picture of the ATARI with the tape *drive* That was one of my first computers and just brought back some memories. I have been trying to get your article’s point across to my daughter for years. We have plenty of storage space so I try to get her to keep everything. I think she is finally getting it. I made her read your article.

BSmith

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I might have to get the old Atari out of my loft some time lol. I hope the article helps your daughter forge good habits when it comes to digital photos :)

2 votes

Andrew Gordon

Great points — and here are a couple of other excuses for not tossing pictures:

– At the time you take a picture, you think you know what’s the central point (figure) and what’s less relevant (ground). In time, you may change your mind. I’ve found out later that I had the only existing picture of someone in the background, for example, or that the “context” (period furniture, stores which had closed on Main Street, street life during the Cultural Revolution in China, etc) was what was meaningful in the long run.
– Programs for improving photos keep getting better. I’ve used digital programs to tweak very old analog photos substantially. (Keep those old Kodachromes and negatives, too!)
– If thought about from a different point of view, an imprecise photo may be an artistic treasure. (A perceptive friend suggested assessing a photo by turning it upside down).
– In this digital age, how much space does a photo really consume? If you need to toss it out, toss it out later, after you’ve thought about it a second time.

1 votes

Anonymous

I was going to reply to K Rouche, but Andrew brought up a good point. In response to the ideas presented by both dragonmouth and K Rouche, I think Dave’s unwritten disclaimer ‘… if you want to.’ has gone unheeded and possibly, unnoticed. The idea that automation will or won’t be able to keep up with our need to digitize EVERYTHING is, at this point, academic. Improvements in audio quality, both in terms of bitrate and placement effect, seem to be slowing and I don’t sense that anyone is really complaining about lack of space for their music collection. Soon too will our ability to detect visual pixelation be surpassed by technology, and shortly thereafter, the storage algorithms will level out, and things will make sense again.

K, this year you took 46 and a half pictures a day, every day. I can’t imagine anything more exhausting than organizing and generating meta data for 50 pics a day. But regardless of the current limitations on automatic categorization, compression, and archiving, the fact remains that this problem will sooner, rather than later, stop being a problem. It will because megapixels get cheaper every year and there will be a demand for it. Consider the realization of Moore’s Law.

A few things to consider: it’s impossible to predict the artistic or nostalgic value of any but the most worthless snapshots. If you want to be your own worst critic, feel free to censor yourself. But, don’t do it out of fear of storage shortage or octogenarian confusion. Photography is not a standard, it’s a process – a human process. Polaroids, super automatic 35MP shooters and archival laser printing will never take that away. Hobby or profession, it can only get better from here. Shoot away, K ! Next year, get 20,000!

0 votes

CrimsonCrow

I love this article! I keep everything (on back up drives) for all the reasons you stated. It’s all too precious to lose. Thanks.

0 votes

Michael Reese

I have to agree, and thanks for bringing back a memory to an old original Atarian – and my 800XL was all MINE!!!

0 votes

Michael Reese

I agree, and thanks for bringing back warm memories to an old original Atarian – and my 400, then 800 XL was all MINE!!

0 votes

Keith G

I take about 500 pictures a year with my digital camera, transfer them all to my laptop, import all of them into iPhoto, but only choose the best to be uploaded to Walgreen’s and then printed out.

Even when I delete them from my SD card to make room for more photos, they still exist on my laptop and in iPhoto. I do wonder, however, what’ll happen when I finally have too many pictures for even iPhoto to handle.

0 votes

Don

My first PC was also an Atari 800XL, though I was probably two decades older than you were when I got it at a yard sale for $25, including a disk drive and loads of documentation. There were two very good books on Atari Basic, and I learned how to program on that machine.

0 votes

Jim Spencer

Nice little article, Dave, as I am prone to delete quite a number of the photos I take with my phone. I tend to be very critical of the results, but you have given me pause to think!

0 votes

Rachel R.

I agree – and yet I disagree. If a blurry picture is the only picture of a particular event/scenario, it may be worth keeping. If a photo is not the greatest, but it includes environmental clues or other “information” that isn’t present in other pictures, it’s probably worth keeping. But if you have 16 photos of the same thing (no new information, background, etc. – just slightly different backgrounds, different exposures, etc.) and 3 of them are awesome while the rest are terrible, there is no harm done in deleting the terrible ones.

So…I disagree with the statement that one should NEVER delete bad digital pics. But I definitely agree that we should be sparing with the delete button.

1 votes

Shannon Acedo

Another reason not to toss those dodgy pics: in my peripatetic youth I moved quite a bit, and after settling down I realized I had lost one photo album– of course it was the one with my oldest childhood and teen photos. It has never resurfaced, and yet sometime later I did find a treasure trove of all the ‘outtakes’ from those days, the blurry, under-and over-exposed shots with heads half cut off, and I was SO HAPPY to have those reminders of the Shots that Got Away.Through the magic of memory, I can even almost see the original ‘good’ shots while peering at the ones formerly regarded as ‘too dodgy to make it into the album’. Thanks for a great post!

0 votes

Elizabeth Sebastian

Awesome article! It saddens me that the trend has gone almost full-swing towards discarding even the notion of a hard-copy photo now that Kodak and Polaroid are basically defunct. (Paul Simon must be devastated too that Instagram took his Kodachrome away.) What should instead be done is to backup hard-copy photos for safekeeping in digital format so that they can be reprinted in case something happens to them.

One of the most heart-wrenching losses (besides the actual people, of course, and the landscape, the homes — ALL of it in fact), that I saw on TV from the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy, is when people were talking about how they’d lost family photos in the storm. Those can NEVER be replaced, and you’re right, shouldn’t be disposed of just because something newer has come along. (Itt gets even more heartbreaking when people have lost the family members in the photos along with their pictures.)

But if the photos get ruined, there’s still a chance you can reprint them at some point, though at that point you might be afraid that they’d get lost again. At least you’d have the digital files though, in case you ever wanted to. It’s too bad we don’t have a people Xerox of some sort to “reprint” your loved ones if they get lost in a storm. :-(

0 votes

OblongCircles

I agree with preserving imperfect photos but I must admit, I was really hoping to see a suggestion for repairing or improving imperfect photos. I have a box full of old photos (one of a kinds since no negatives or anything) to scan in for my mother. A slow, tedious task filled made even more so by the ruminating that occurs on my part when I hark back to the occasion the picture was taken…

If you have any suggestions for photo repair/retouch/improvements, i am forever in your debt and thank you in advance !

0 votes

Dave Parrack

That wasn’t the aim of this article, but methods for fixing photos after the fact have been discussed here on MakeUseOf in the past. The first page of search results for “Fix Photos” may help — http://www.makeuseof.com/search/?q=fix%20photos