Beyond the Cutting Room Floor

In Digital, Inspiration
Scroll this

Recently a photography friend of mine experienced a shock within her community. A young man who attended school with her children died under tragic circumstances. He was only 21. As part of the grieving process, she poured through her catalog of old photos and found as many of him as she could to share with his family. One thing she told with me, was that even though many of the photos weren’t technically sound having previously discounted them – she’d taken many of them before she’d jumped into photography with two feet – she was so happy to have found them, that it didn’t matter. She was relieved, that she hadn’t deleted them from her memory card, or off of her computer just because they weren’t perfect.

Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

How many times have I discarded images because they didn’t meet “professional” standards? Time and time again, I’m afraid. I’m terribly cutthroat when it comes to culling. This is all well and good with my client work where “similars” abound, but when it comes to editing photos for personal purposes, I realize that I’d like to be gentler with my standards, go easier on myself to not shoot skillfully all of the time. After all, I’d rather have a technically flawed image of something that I love, that moves me, than no image at all. I have a feeling that you’d agree with me too.

Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval and acceptance. Most perfectionists were raised being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule-following, people-pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, we adopt this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. – Brené Brown

So today, I thought I’d share with you some that never even made it to the cutting room floor,  but at least they also didn’t make it to the trash! Each one a cherished memory. Each one full of love.

Until next time my friends, I leave you perfectly imperfect,
Holly ~ Soupatraveler


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Some of my favorite photos of my kids were taken with an old Palm Pilot before I knew (or cared) much about photography. They are such low quality images, but the subject matter makes them special. My condolences to your friend and her community.

    • Thank you Lisa! I have lots of photos taken on my first ipod with that crappy camera and I LOVE them! xo

  2. I have a friend for whom I take pictures of her daughter at events (sports, band, etc) and while she loves that I choose and edit some photos, she always wants every single photo I take “just for her eyes”. Which I totally get.

    • My sister says the same thing too! She wants every single picture! I get it (even if I don’t want to edit them all 😉 )

  3. Love this post Holly, and there is so much beauty in these “Imperfect” images. I think it’s wonderful that you save them- It reminds me of the boxes of pictures from my childhood- I like the blurry ones just as much as the good ones since they are just wonderful memories.

    • Thank you Audrey! You are so right about the old photos. Sadly I threw out piles and piles of the ones I thought weren’t saving several years ago when my folks downsized into a smaller house. But I still have lots that I love 🙂

  4. A huge AMEN to this!!! Some of my very favorites are ones that I scoffed at at first. Thank goodness for ample storage to hold on to those treasures and have them to enjoy with fresh eyes.

    • Thanks Deb! Isn’t it SO true! Sometimes it takes some distance to uncover those “treasures!”

  5. Holly, what a wonderful post. And oh yes! I had to recently look through all my pictures for ones of Miles at school. I had a wonderful time perusing so many memories.
    Also. Maj is the best!

  6. love love love this post, Holly. multiple times this week, I have thought of you and this post, have paused before deleting. xo

Comments are closed.