Quantity and quality

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Fox Paw, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Fox Paw

    Fox Paw TPF Noob!

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    It was fourteen months ago that I got my first DSLR and decided to learn how to use it. The computer indicates that I have uploaded about 5,700 images since then. That's a bit misleading because I bracket more often than not. Still, that's a lot of photographs.

    Out of all that, my "keeper" file has 20 shots in it, and some of those may not really belong there. There are only about four that I'm completely satisfied with.

    I'm curious: Do others shoot less? Succeed more?
     
  2. Blank

    Blank TPF Noob!

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    That's an interesting question. I have often thought about this myself. My portfolio, which doesn't really exist, has less than 10 photographs. Although I have shot around 9000 frames, it would seem my strike rate of keeper's is very low. I dont bracket much, but I do shoot continuous frequently.

    When it comes to shooting for a job, I would honestly say my strike rate is approximately 5/6:1 (out of every 5 or 6 frames, 1 will be presented to the client). Basically "staged" shots.

    I shoot lots of sports, my ratio here might increase to 9/10:1. (1 out of every 10 edited frames will be up for sale).

    It's a good question, and I would be curious to also see what "working photographer's" have to say on this.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the beginning, my keeper numbers were higher and also my expectations were lower. As one grows, numbers shot go up and keepers rise. Quality also rises. No one keeps 100%, those that do are either really low on the quality scale or expectations or knowledge of what is "good". Even when busy (by busy, I mean working 20 hour days 7 days a week), I still manage to get 100 shots a week in there. They are not usually keepers but they keep me in the mindset.

    On average, if I go to a strobist event, I can shoot about 200 shots an hour and I average 5 hours, so about a thousand shots. Of those thousand, I may keep 600 but only 10-20 are really outstanding.

    Looking at my backups, I have around 46,000 files, so around 23,000 pics shot in 2008 (I shoot in RAW, convert to JPG). These do not include the shots that I took and were deleted.

    For 2009, I am way far behind my "quota" because of my crazy work hours, only 3000 pictures since January 1, 2009.

    That may change, though, as I am doing an assist with a pro-photographer today for an e-session (engagement session) and have several weddings lined up as well as my normal tons of playing and the strobist meets.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Typically I find myself in the area of 10% keepers and 1% "wow", and I'm happy with that.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just one shot can change your life, don't worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

    Besides you might not have kept any of Mr./Ms. Jones' keepers. ;)
     
  6. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    With digitals, film is cheap! Snap away!

    Granted there are many things you can learn by trying to get the best shot out of the camera all the time, but there's nothing wrong with the spaghetti method either.

    Since Nov of 2007 when I picked up my latest camera, I've taken 21,593 photos and have processed out to jpeg 2150 (10%). I have around 2000 that I've flagged as 'keepers' but haven't finished processing yet. I think if I went back now and looked at the ones that I took a year and a half ago, there would be fewer keepers. ;)
     
  7. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    This is one of those topics that I really harp on. Ive seen countless photographers shoot hundreds of pictures, in the hopes that they get that "one" that is good.

    Aside from a complete waste of time, it puts unnecessary wear on your equipment.

    Every single shot that you take should be planned, and executed with the full intentions of getting a good shot. Be cautious that you dont get into the habit of just clicking away. A well planned shot will beat 100 snapshots any day of the week. Sure, you might end up with a good shot out of those 100. But your gambling with your photography. And simply snapping away, without any purpose really hurts your skills. Dont rely on chance...rely on skills.

    As far as how many bad to good shots is ideal, it depends on what kind of photographs your taking. Obviously a sports photographer shooting in continous mode is going to have a higher waste ratio than a landscape photographer. So trying to come up with a specific number isnt going to work.

    You say you shot 5700 frames, but only kept 20 of them. What caused you to trash all but the 20? Whatever was wrong with those other shots, you might want to work on that aspect to improve your skills in that area. Exposure? Composition? Lighting?
     
  8. Marc Kurth

    Marc Kurth TPF Noob!

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    My shooting looks just a classic bell curve. I started in 35mm film, slow and thoughtful composure's. Moved to 35 & MF doing weddings so the shooting increased. Along came digital and I was like kid with a new toy - wow, free film! I was shooting all three formats like crazy and my keeper rate was still high, maybe even climbing.

    Now I'm on the right side of that curve. Not shooting weddings anymore, not actively selling images at all. I've already seen thousands of razor sharp, well lit hawks, eagles, elk, bear and the like. I can't do them any better, so I don't shoot them.

    My keeper rate is WAY up because I've become slow, deliberate and methodical because if I'm going to bother to shoot it, I'm probably going to want print it very large.

    Marc
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suggest grab a small memory card (512mb or 1gb) and go out and shoot an entire weekend in RAW. You'll get about 40-60 frames on those cards, and you will start to think rather to spray and pray with your camera. The number of keepers definitely goes up if you have a reason to do something properly.
     
  10. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    And how I use my equipment that you've no monetary stake in is your business exactly how?

    You know, I do this but I also make full use of the 'shoot as many as possible'. In a session recently, I took one out of a series of thirty shots. They were all in the realm of identical, but one had a better smile, wider eyes, etc. About 28 of the 30 would have been keepers in anyone's book but in light of the one really damned good one, the others became also-rans that I'll never do anything with. Had I not set up the shot and then shot that many, I'd never have gotten that one. If you think that's 'bad', I have numerous pictures of bridges you could gladly jump off.

    What's worse? Throwing away a hundred shots or missing that one-in-a-hundred shot that doesn't come along very often?
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Because you posted in a public forum. That's how.:lol: Besides he wasn't responding directly to your post. His response was a general statement pertinent to the discussion, making your subsequent query a step out of line.

    Shooting digital is not like having free film. The shutter in every camera has a finite life. We won't get into the ancillary equipment and post process costs.

    Entry level DSLR's have a shutter life expectancy of 50,000 clicks. If your DSLR is one of these and it cost you $500 each click is $0.01. Hit the shutter 100 times you just used up $1 worth of your shutter lifetime.
     
  12. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    I was replying in the general, not from me specifically (though obviously I share the sentiment), so no, it's not out of line at all.

    And...
    A whole dollar. Wow.
     

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