What it has taught me to cull my Lightroom Catalogue…

And what I’ve learnt..

Well the first thing I learnt I have way too many images in my Lightroom Catalogue. I had over 44,500 images…  my god that is a lot of photographs.  Yes I can understand some photographers wanting to keep all their images… especially if they are photographing weddings, portraits etc.

But for us, amateur photographers, we were basically keeping a lot of images on a hard-drive that were either blurred or of bad composition, or they were seriously over-exposed.. some under-exposed.

And all that was doing was lagging Lightroom, taking space up on my hard-drive and showing me a load of clutter in Lightroom of images that I would never ever process.

Being Critical

Now that is the hardest part of culling… criticising your old images.  Nobody likes to hear criticism, especially from yourself.  But unless you are prepared to look at your images with a very critical eye, believe me, you won’t be culling much.

Learning Curve

Sometimes we all feel as if we are getting no further advanced with our photography.  It is just like buying a puppy… you don’t see the changes because you are seeing the puppy every day.  Now if you didn’t see that puppy for a week or two, then you would notice the difference.  It is the same with your photography.  Looking back on old images, shows you how much you’ve learnt.  How much your photography has improved.  As well as giving your self incentive to take your photography now to a whole new level.

Who knows, you might even feel confident enough to branch out and start a small business for yourself, or offer your photography services to other people.   But the most important thing to remember is in your own confidence in knowing that your  photography has improved.  Knowing your improvements gives you the incentive to pursue your photography to the next level.

Taking a break

Yes at times, we all need to take a break from our photography.  We need to recharge our batteries.  Especially if you have a lot of followers or your are constantly blogging.  Trying to keep going out and photographing subjects or landscapes because you have a blog that is followed by a lot of other bloggers; or you’ve just paid out for a new camera, will turn your photography into a chore.  And that is what you don’t need.

So if you feel like taking on a new adventure, or doing DIY, just hang your camera bag up for a while.  If you have a blog, explain you are taking a break.  Believe me if you love photography like I do, it won’t be long before you are yearning to get that bag off of the hook and venture out again or to resume your blogging.

My break was for a few months… on and off… we decided to renovate our home.  But now we can’t wait to get back on the road again with our cameras.  And I am now enjoying blogging as much as I did before it felt like it was becoming a chore.

Image Processing

Looking back on your images is a good thing to see how you’ve improved in processing your images.  I can remember when I first started out .. I was petrified to open Photoshop.  Now I jump between Photoshop, Topaz Studio, Luminar and Aurora HDR, without fear or dread.  Looking back on the last 6 years I have seen how my processing techniques has changed.

Also I have started to find my own style.  I love being creative and I love to take images to a new level.  Whilst culling my Catalogue I have cringed at older images.. and I’ve been given incentive to process the images that I had previously processed in a less cringing manner 😀 😀  I hope.

And I have learnt, it is my image, I process it how I like.  Some people will like it, some won’t.  And that goes for anything in life.  Some people like pink, some people hate it.  We are all different we are not going to like everything… So grow that thick skin, brush off all the negative remarks you may get about your image.  If you are happy with your image and the way you processed it, well that is all that counts.

Finally now the most important one

Forgotten Images

Oh yes, when you go through your catalogue and start culling your images, you will come across images that you have completely forgotten about.  Photos of flowers, landscapes and various other subjects.  Images that you took way, way back that you had forgotten you had photographed and now are processing those images as if you had taken them yesterday.

I am now down to 33,682 images and I am only up to mid 2014.  So I still have a way to go before my culling is finished.  But culling my catalogue has taught me a few things and given me a few more incentives, along with finding forgotten images.

Gallery of Forgotten Images



Written by Bren (Ryan-Photography)

Bren Ryan is a female amateur photographer and blogger who along with her husband, Ashley, have created a photography blog called Ryan Photography which showcases the places they've visited on their photography journey. Bren and Ashley primarily concentrate their photographic skills on landscape, architecture and floral subjects. Based in the South East of England they hope to give their readers an insight into the wonderful and beautiful landscapes, buildings and places that the South of England has to offer.


  1. I think most of your points work for artists of every genre. I know especially the idea of taking a break from the work for a while really resonated with me. I have been feeling a little guilty about my hiatus from any form of real writing. Strangely I have not been able to bring myself to the work for a while.


    1. Thank you for your comment… when the time is right you will get your inspiration back. Something will trigger it.. and before you know you will be in full swing.

      I think what made my inspiration return was the new European GDPR ruling… I was self-hosting and all this privacy policy stuff etc was taking over from blogging. So I decided to return back to WordPress.com without all the worries.


  2. You do need a break sometimes, and working through a good “spring clean” is always good.
    Changes in life over the last couple of years have shown me a whole other side to my photography, that I am still getting to grips with. From the gear I use to the way I process and store images, and use them!
    Sometimes you do need to step back and change direction!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree with you… stepping back and taking stock can be a great enhancement and incentive to try a new direction with your photography.

      In fact my culling has saved me money… I have decreased the amount of used space on my external hard-drive and now when I import images into Lightroom, the first thing I do is cull them. If I don’t think they are worthy of being on my website or they have no potential… then in the bin they go.


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