Starting in 2013, I created a new iPhoto album that contains all of my RAW images in Adobe’s Digital Negative (DNG) format. My camera is set to shoot in RAW + JPEG. The RAW get converted from Sony’s proprietary RAW to Adobe’s RAW via Adobe’s Digital RAW Converter app. Photos from my iPhone are also in there, but since I have my NEX-6 with me on most occasions I don’t wind up taking pictures with my phone very often. The JPEG images that my camera saves side-by-side with the RAW are necessary since that’s the only way to get full-resolution images into my iPhone via Sony’s PlayMemories WiFi app.
These RAW images take up a lot of space, a lot more than a standard JPEG. Images are from 10MB – 20-MB for my 16Mp camera. So, getting rid of crappy shots, the sad majority for me, is crucial to making sure I don’t chew up valuable hard drive space on sub-par photos.
I use iPhotos star ratings to manage this. All photos that are targeted for long-term savings are rated. Unrated photos are collected in a Smart Album with a simple rule, “Show all unrated photos”. I quickly go through this smart album and use the Apple keys Command-N, where N is 1 through 5. Typically, for a large number of photos, I’ll either mark photos as 2 or 3 stars in this pass. 2 basically means, “probably delete” and 3 means “probably keep.” Since I’m in a smart album, it begins to empty as I rate photos. When I’m done, the album is empty,
In a second pass, I’ll go through the most recent events and create a smart album with all photos with 3 stars and pick the photos I actually like. I’ll rate these with 4 or 5 stars.
I also try and delete bracketed or mulit-shot photos which are simply redundant. That can take more time.
Phone and iPad Synchronization
I have a few standard “Smart Albums” that are used for synchronizing with my phone. These are albums for 4+ star photos, 5-star photos and for last 90 days. I also exported “best” photos from 2010, 2011, and 2012 and include just those photos in my 2013 album. These are synchronized on my phone too. This way, my phone has photos I thought were best from 2010 to now in addition to any photo I haven’t deleted in the past 90 days.
When it comes time to delete photos, iPhoto gets a little finicky. I can’t move photos from the 1-2 star smart album directly to the trash. For some reason, iPhoto thinks that’s not a valid thing to do. I can’t flag all of these photos and delete them from the Flagged folder, either. I can go through each photo individually, reveal it in the event, and delete them one by one this way. That would take too much time.
The only way I found to do this is to search for all photos and sort this view by rating. I can then select all of the 1-2 star photos from the search results view and move them to the trash.