This is a perfectly fine (but unexceptional) photo of small pumpkins. Is it good enough to justify keeping a Raw version stored for perpetuity? I don't think so. Do you?
Like many digital photographers these days, I set my camera to Raw+JPEG mode when I shoot. That way, I get the best of both worlds: Raw for the ability to adjust an image post-exposure, JPEG for freedom from having to do so. I opt for the medium resolution, low compression JPEG mode, which allows for high-quality 5x7-inch prints. If I want anything larger, I work with the Raw file.
Shooting Raw+JPEG takes up more space on my flash cards, but Raw accounts for most of it anyway and I'm not a heavy shooter. Even if I were, memory cards are cheap these days. The same is true of hard disk space and removable media such as CDs and DVDs. Nevertheless, I periodically go through my old files and delete the Raw versions of files that I have no interest in adjusting.
I know some of you reading this are aghast and will feel duty bound to advise me of the error of my ways. Go right ahead. In the meantime, I’ll continue deleting the space-hogging versions of images that are good enough to keep on my hard drive but not good enough to merit the tweaking and conversion a Raw file needs before it’s useful to the outside world.
Just keep in mind that I’m referring to test shots, pictures of soccer games and birthday parties, and travel photos that are more documentary than artistic. I’m not referring to someone’s priceless wedding photos, the Raw versions of the greatest photos I’ve ever taken, or the Raw original of Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky.
All I saying is that this works for me. It just might work for you.