Photo Overload: Both Good And Bad

from the only-if-you're-pushing-them dept

One of the nice things about digital photography is that it’s easy to take multiple shots of something to make sure you really get the right shot. One of the downsides about digital photography is that it’s easy to take multiple shots of something so you end up with what seems like a million photographs of the same thing. It’s pretty common, these days, to receive a ton of photos emailed, or receive a link to an online photo album that is made up of so many photos it’s nearly impossible to look through them all. That’s leading many to pine for the good old days of fewer photos, and begging people to cull their own photographic collections. However, some people embrace the “more” ethos, and think that throwing out any photo is a bad idea. What it really comes down to is a question of how the photos are presented. Pushing too many photos is a pain. There’s nothing wrong with saving every photo, or making all those photos available, but people should also think about presenting an edited down album that just shows the highlights (maybe with links to “additional photos of this nature”). The problem isn’t that people are taking (or even showing) too many photos. They’re just not learning to present them in the appropriate manner for the occasion. In fact, with the rise of cameraphones, and new uses of photos, what people really need is more control over organizing and presenting photos, rather than forcing people to completely cut out photos.

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Comments on “Photo Overload: Both Good And Bad”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Reminds me of this article on

one of the side effects

of having too many photos.

I do have a web site that covers my child’s first five months. I’ve just
counted 200 on the web site and 1800 on my hard drive (yikes!).

Looks like I still have some weeding out to do.

Now what I could really use is a program that makes picking out the good
pictures easy and create a presentation out of those pictures.
Presentation can either be a web page or a slide show on a video CD.
I guess I should check out the album software.


Mike Brown says:

Re: Album Software

I use Imatch from – it creates a database of your pictures, which you can assign to categories (birthdays, beach, etc.). It will create web galleries and slide shows. It will even index pictures from removable media like CDROMs, so you don’t need to keep everything on your hard drive. Pretty slick, actually.

Tim (user link) says:

No Subject Given

What’s needed is a gallery suite that highlights the big bad DELETE button more.

Also let there be public voting systems for whether they like a particular photo a lot.

And in fact, let’s fork the market and have the decency to call snaps `snaps’, complete with semi-perjorative overtones, versus photographs (which aren’t so lazily produced).

I include myself in all the above, of course.

Chomper says:

No Subject Given

Not sure if you gents remember or even heard of this story. However, back in the day when Bill Clinton was President and the Monica Lewinsky affair exploded, a photographer named Dirck Halstead remember seeing a picture of her but couldn’t quite finger where it might be. So he hired a researcher to go through his archives, 3 days later, the researcher found a picture of Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky at an event.

Needless to say, Dirck Halstead made quite a bit of money, but the bigger point is that sometimes deleting all our photos may not be a good idea.

Darren Collins (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

We’re not saying to delete all your photos. By all means keep everything you shot, make backups to DVD, etc so that one day you can go back and find that old Monica money-shot.

What we are saying is don’t make your friends and web site visitors look through a thousand crappy pictures in order to see your 3 good ones. Give some thought to which photos you’re showing to others. Try to tell an interesting story – “here’s everything little thing I saw that day” is not an interesting story!

Matthew Cornell (user link) says:

this 'Memories for Life' problem requires new orga

Thanks for the great post. I think the ever-expanding quantity of digital information in our lives (including photos) requires a new way of organizing our data. Currently the only thing I’ve seen is adding “poor man’s” meta data in the form or file names or textual annotations specified in some non-standard format. (I guess EXIF supports comments, but do people use this feature?) I’ve written ( that one solution may be making our photos and other information “first class” in the sense of *linking* them together. In the above article I suggest we use WikiWords as an initial approach.


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