I have just found a great blog that inspired this post. It is a daily post of images that didn’t make the initial cut by National Geographic, but they held on to the images in their libraries and now are posting a few each day here.
This is just one good example why it is a good idea not to delete images either off your memory card while out shooting or even once you have downloaded the images to your computer. Even though at that moment you might now like a certain image, it might turn out to be a really important image later on or it might just grow on you and if you hold on to it, when you go back through your files later on you might realise that you missed a great shot in your initial edit.
A classic example of this is Ansel Adam’s print “Moon over Hernandez”
He could not get the negative to print to his satisfaction initially, but he held onto it and a few years later he re-processed the negative with a different fixing agent and intensifying agent which enable him to print the image to his standards. It is now one of his most iconic images.
I am not advising to hold onto the really bad images that are way out of focus or totally blown out or pitch black, but those maybes or might have been images should be stored away and might find a life of their own later on down the line. Who knows what technological advances will be made in the future that will help you discover a passed over gem.