It's a great rule to live by and one I adhere to vehemently. Now I'm not talking about the first pull of the trigger when you realize that your last shoot was at night and now you're working midday, or the one of your beat up/out of focus chucks. Once you get yourself dialed in and begin shooting you really shouldn't delete anything. Digital storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, and unless you are shooting 1000 frames a day with a 60MP Hasselblad I think we can afford to fill up an external hard drive or two, especially when 2TB of WD My Book Studio space will set you back less than $200. Sometimes on the slower days... and don't look at me like you've never had a slow day or two... I really enjoy going back through some of my shoots and just hunting for those hidden gems. A quirky smile from a model that the client didn't like but another may love, sometimes the client doesn't appreciate the pristine landscape that you just happened upon mid shoot. And without a doubt it's those fresh eyes that will let you even notice these tucked away in the rest of the madness.
My best example of this was when I spent 5 months skiing and helicoptering all over the Rocky Mountains. When I came back I had over 14,000 images to sift though... even though I had obviously done some editing in the field, and by field I mean a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. After about 6 months and all of the shots were in their respective magazines I went back through and managed to pull out enough keepers and heroes to support a gallery showing of my work!! Most of the reason I had missed these was because I was so focused on the editorial side of the fence, and being on the phone with art buyers/photo editors who had a specific niche to fill didn't help either. Being able to go back and view the body of work as a whole allowed me to create an incredible collection that really spoke to the culture and stunning beauty that is big mountain skiing.
It's hard to know what you might come up with when you go back and sift through that old work of yours but if you took your time and made some great images the first go round... then they could be even better the second time.
Here's an "outtake" I took exiting a decent of Loveland Pass in Colorado. The shot used in the magazine was one of my pal Ross McDonald dropping a tremendous pillow line, but both he and I agree that skiing under this 30+ year old abandoned ski lift was far more memorable.
And this one below was taken in Utah as part of a series I was doing on the ski patrollers of the Wasatch range... but without a patroller in the frame... the client skipped right over it. Even though I believe it to be a great representation of the lifestyle of those guys.
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