% 'Keeper's?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mardon, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA
     
    Mardon, Dec 16, 2005
    #1
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  2. Mardon

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:19:36 GMT, Mardon <> wrote:

    >If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    >to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    >in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    >those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    >that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    >have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    >showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    >I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    Well, consider that National Geographic expects thousands of shots per
    pic published.

    I don't think that comparing your keeper percentage will help your
    composition skills. Maybe, instead, you should be looking at your
    non-keepers, and seeing them as learning tools; WHY is this or that
    one a non-keeper, instead of counting them. This might help you get
    more keepers.

    --
    Bill Funk
    Replace "g" with "a"
    funktionality.blogspot.com
     
    Bill Funk, Dec 16, 2005
    #2
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  3. Mardon

    Annika1980 Guest

    >how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    >those would be keepers?


    The percentage of keepers means nothing. It is the number of keepers
    that is important.
    My percentage of keepers with film is certainly higher than with
    digital since I figure each shutter click with the film camera costs me
    a quarter. But I'll always get more keepers after shooting digital
    since I can try different shots (exposures, angles, lighting, etc.)
    with little regard for cost. Buy a bigger CF card for your digital
    camera and your photography will improve.
     
    Annika1980, Dec 16, 2005
    #3
  4. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    "Annika1980" <> wrote:

    > The percentage of keepers means nothing.

    <*snip*>

    Based on your comments and Bill's, maybe I'll just caulk this off as a
    'silly' statistic then. I've had some of my photos selected as POTD on
    Internet sites and people often complement me about my work. The thing is,
    I generally refuse to show anyone my 'bad' stuff. I was starting to get a
    little paranoid about how many of my images I judge as unworthy to make it
    beyond the Raw converter in Post. Maybe that's a good thing? :)
     
    Mardon, Dec 16, 2005
    #4
  5. Mardon

    ASAAR Guest

    On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 16:53:21 GMT, Mardon wrote:

    >>> I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe I can
    >>> use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability.

    >>
    >> The percentage of keepers means nothing.

    >
    > Based on your comments and Bill's, maybe I'll just caulk this off as a
    > 'silly' statistic then. I've had some of my photos selected as POTD on
    > Internet sites and people often complement me about my work. The
    > thing is, I generally refuse to show anyone my 'bad' stuff. I was starting
    > to get a little paranoid about how many of my images I judge as
    > unworthy to make it beyond the Raw converter in Post.
    > Maybe that's a good thing? :)


    Bill and Annika's advice is good, but you can probably increase
    the percentage of keepers by studying composition, either from an
    artist's or photographer's course or from a book. One such is
    "Photograph -- the art of composition" by Bert Krages. (Allworth
    Press, www.allworth.com). I haven't been to that web site so I
    don't know if it'll have any more information about the book.
     
    ASAAR, Dec 16, 2005
    #5
  6. Mardon

    tomm101 Guest

    One excersize we used to do in college especially with large format
    photography was to go out and shot for a day and choose one pic as THE
    keeper, and be ready to explain why. But with 4x5 you might shoot 10-20
    in a day, sometimes less. This is to give you an idea of editing. It
    was good to have a class ready to jump all over the image.
    But keeper can just be what you like the pic I took of my wife with our
    75lb Lab sitting on her lap in an easy chair. Will I ever show it to
    some one, problably not it is really a crappy pic but I like the
    memory. Just trying to explain there are many reasons for keepers.
    Forget the numbers.

    Tom
     
    tomm101, Dec 16, 2005
    #6
  7. On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:19:36 GMT, Mardon <> wrote:
    > If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    > to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    > in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    > those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    > that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    > have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    > showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    > I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    Some numbers from my last sequence (a park in downtown Chicago after
    last week's heavy snowfall):
    Frames taken: ~65
    Decent enough to stick on the web: ~15 (and I have fairly low
    standards)
    Good enough to consider printing: 2

    I'm an amateur with a decent-quality P&S.

    The 15 photos:
    http://ri22.uchicago.edu/~dmsilev/Millenium_Park/Millenium_Park.html
    Photos #3 and #15 (numbering starts from 0) are the two that I liked
    enough to consider keepers.

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Dec 16, 2005
    #7
  8. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    "tomm101" <> wrote:
    <*snip*>
    > But keeper can just be what you like the pic I took of my wife with our
    > 75lb Lab sitting on her lap in an easy chair. Will I ever show it to
    > some one, problably not it is really a crappy pic but I like the
    > memory. Just trying to explain there are many reasons for keepers.
    > Forget the numbers.
    > Tom


    You really 'hit home' with your example about your 75lb Lab sitting on your
    wife's lap. There's a 'neighbourhood' Chocolate Lab that lives near me and
    I just love this big old fella. I recently reacted exactly as you
    describe. I posted his photo on alt.binaries.pictures.animals on Dec 10th
    (Subject: "Hero"), not because I thought it was a great picture but because
    the dog is so special to me. I wanted to show HIM off; not my less-than-
    great photo! ;-) Have a look at him. He's such a wonderful dog. If all
    Labs are like him, I can understand why they are so popular. :)
     
    Mardon, Dec 16, 2005
    #8
  9. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    Daniel Silevitch <> wrote:

    <*snip*>
    > The 15 photos:
    > http://ri22.uchicago.edu/~dmsilev/Millenium_Park/Millenium_Park.html
    > Photos #3 and #15 (numbering starts from 0) are the two that I liked
    > enough to consider keepers.


    Thanks. I think that other posters have talked me out of paying much
    attention to the 'keepers' stat but it's still interesting to see a
    concrete example of how other people assess their own shots and filter out
    the keepers. Thanks for the response! BTW, I rather like image 4.
     
    Mardon, Dec 16, 2005
    #9
  10. On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 19:21:17 GMT, Mardon <> wrote:
    > Daniel Silevitch <> wrote:
    >
    ><*snip*>
    >> The 15 photos:
    >> http://ri22.uchicago.edu/~dmsilev/Millenium_Park/Millenium_Park.html
    >> Photos #3 and #15 (numbering starts from 0) are the two that I liked
    >> enough to consider keepers.

    >
    > Thanks. I think that other posters have talked me out of paying much
    > attention to the 'keepers' stat but it's still interesting to see a
    > concrete example of how other people assess their own shots and filter out
    > the keepers. Thanks for the response! BTW, I rather like image 4.


    Image4.html, the self-portrait? It came out nicely, but as the caption
    notes, that particular type of photo has become an instant cliche ever
    since the sculpture was installed ~1 year ago.

    The fourth image in the sequence, named Image3.html (why do you do this
    to me, iPhoto? Why?), was one of the two keepers that I mentioned above.
    I liked the way reflections of the sun and the oncoming stormfront
    meshed with the buildings on either side. Seeing that scene really
    explained to me why the artist named his creation 'Cloud Gate' (as
    opposed to the unofficial, but far more prevalent name, of 'The Bean').

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Dec 16, 2005
    #10
  11. "Mardon" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns972E784DFD83Emgb72mgbhotmailcom@140.99.99.130...
    > If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    > to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    > in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    > those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP
    > stage
    > that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me
    > to
    > have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    > showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that
    > maybe
    > I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    I guess I'm in your category. I also walk around my community, looking for
    opportunities (carrying a camera, of course). A typical walk for me yields
    1-100 shots. Some walks are blah and some are stimulating. Viewing them
    later is always a surprise to me ... many times the ones I had high
    expectations for are crappy and vice-versa.

    My percentage varies wildly, so I just give you my best wild guess and that
    is 5%.

    Cheers.
     
    Charles Schuler, Dec 16, 2005
    #11
  12. Mardon

    RobG Guest

    Mardon <> wrote in
    news:Xns972E784DFD83Emgb72mgbhotmailcom@140.99.99.130:

    > If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment
    > were to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no
    > special theme in mind), how many photos would they generally take and
    > what percentage of those would be keepers? I feel like I find too
    > many things at the PP stage that I should have noticed at the
    > shutter-release stage. This causes me to have a very low % of shots
    > that I would consider worthy of printing or showing to anyone else.
    > I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe I can use as a
    > target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    Interesting thread... considering the harsh words that have been thrown
    about on the NG recently re the quality of your equipment dictating the
    quality of your pictures, it's interesting to note that many of us are say
    'study your craft, practise your craft, get feedback from those you respect
    in your craft...' Just what I (and others) have been saying all along.

    Yes, digital imiging makes it easier to stomach the high percentage of dud
    images this process involves, but it doesn't take away the learning curve.

    RobG
     
    RobG, Dec 17, 2005
    #12
  13. Mardon

    Charles Guest

    On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:19:36 GMT, Mardon <> wrote:

    >If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    >to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    >in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    >those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    >that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    >have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    >showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    >I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA



    Years ago I had a Hasselblad publication (but no 'Blad) that said
    about 1 of 100 would be outstanding. Not of just random shots, but
    ones where the photog tried their best.
     
    Charles, Dec 17, 2005
    #13
  14. Mardon

    RobG Guest

    RobG <> wrote
    > Interesting thread... considering the harsh words that have been
    > thrown about on the NG recently re the quality of your equipment
    > dictating the quality of your pictures, it's interesting to note that
    > many of us are say 'study your craft, practise your craft, get
    > feedback from those you respect in your craft...' Just what I (and
    > others) have been saying all along.
    >
    > Yes, digital imiging makes it easier to stomach the high percentage of
    > dud images this process involves, but it doesn't take away the
    > learning curve.
    >
    > RobG
    >


    Gawd... talk about spilling mustaykes...

    RobG
    (giving himself an uppercut)
     
    RobG, Dec 17, 2005
    #14
  15. Mardon

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Mardon wrote:
    > If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    > to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    > in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    > those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    > that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    > have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    > showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    > I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    No matter how experienced you get, you will always notice something in
    PP that you didn't see through the viewfinder. If you concentrate on
    composition, you may not notice undesirable elements, like a beer can on
    the ground. If you concentrate on the details (hard to see in a
    viewfinder), then you might not do the composition well. That's why
    good image editors have facilities to crop, rotate, mask, and layer so
    you can correct these problems.

    The actual percentages of 'keepers' depends on your level of
    discrimination, and the purpose of your pictures. I keep about 99.9% of
    my photos, but after 55 years of taking pictures, I have come to
    understand that some of them are just 'capturing the moment', and they
    aren't going to be artistically meritorious, or 'museum quality'. If
    they record the moment, and they aren't technically flawed (out of
    focus, motion blur, noisy, etc), then I keep them.
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 17, 2005
    #15
  16. Mardon

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Mardon wrote:
    > "Annika1980" <> wrote:
    >
    >> The percentage of keepers means nothing.

    > <*snip*>
    >
    > Based on your comments and Bill's, maybe I'll just caulk this off as a
    > 'silly' statistic then. I've had some of my photos selected as POTD on
    > Internet sites and people often complement me about my work. The thing is,
    > I generally refuse to show anyone my 'bad' stuff. I was starting to get a
    > little paranoid about how many of my images I judge as unworthy to make it
    > beyond the Raw converter in Post. Maybe that's a good thing? :)


    Don't let it inhibit your taking of pictures. Sometimes what you
    thought was a lousy picture turns out to be the prize. That last
    snapshot of dad before he suddenly passed away can be a real treasure....
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 17, 2005
    #16
  17. Mardon

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Daniel Silevitch wrote:
    > On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:19:36 GMT, Mardon <> wrote:
    >> If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    >> to spend a day doing a general shoot of their community (no special theme
    >> in mind), how many photos would they generally take and what percentage of
    >> those would be keepers? I feel like I find too many things at the PP stage
    >> that I should have noticed at the shutter-release stage. This causes me to
    >> have a very low % of shots that I would consider worthy of printing or
    >> showing to anyone else. I'm looking for some comparison numbers that maybe
    >> I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA

    >
    > Some numbers from my last sequence (a park in downtown Chicago after
    > last week's heavy snowfall):
    > Frames taken: ~65
    > Decent enough to stick on the web: ~15 (and I have fairly low
    > standards)
    > Good enough to consider printing: 2
    >
    > I'm an amateur with a decent-quality P&S.
    >
    > The 15 photos:
    > http://ri22.uchicago.edu/~dmsilev/Millenium_Park/Millenium_Park.html
    > Photos #3 and #15 (numbering starts from 0) are the two that I liked
    > enough to consider keepers.
    >
    > -dms


    That poor lion looks SOOOO cold!
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 17, 2005
    #17
  18. Mardon

    Stacey Guest

    Mardon wrote:

    > If a slightly above average semi-pro photographer with good equipment were
    > I'm looking for some comparison numbers that
    > maybe
    > I can use as a target to improve my own on-site composition ability. TIA


    It has a lot to do with how many you CAN take. With digital I do shoot more
    than I did with medium format, which I shot more than I do with 4X5 etc.
    Still even with digital I rarely shoot more than 50-60 in a whole day of
    shooting, many are exposure or focus bracketing of the same shot. I think
    after shooting with 4X5 for several years I've learned to really look
    closely before I fire the shutter to see if it's really worth taking a
    picture of something. Some people like to shoot hundreds a day and we
    probably end up with the same number of keepers so from a digital
    photography standpoint it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to be so
    careful? I does mean I can shoot RAW+jpg for a weekend and only need a
    couple of 1 gig cards.
    --

    Stacey
     
    Stacey, Dec 17, 2005
    #18
  19. Mardon

    Jeremy Guest

    "Ron Hunter" <> wrote in message
    news:ZaqdneaVVO_WSj7eRVn-
    >
    > Don't let it inhibit your taking of pictures. Sometimes what you thought
    > was a lousy picture turns out to be the prize. That last snapshot of dad
    > before he suddenly passed away can be a real treasure....


    You've hit on something.

    Even photos that are far from perfect in terms of composition may have other
    value. Family history and historical documentation are two areas that come
    immediately to mind.

    I cherish a B&W photo of my grandfather, who passed away 5 years prior to my
    birth. I never knew him, although my mother spoke often about him. It
    turns out that the B&W photo of him, shot on an old Kodak consumer box
    camera in 1946, is the only known photograph of him. Had it not been for
    that one image, I'd have never seen an image of my grandfather.

    I have another digital photo of a city street in my hometown--nothing at all
    important, just a shot of the street. A couple of years ago a natural gas
    line ruptured, causing an explosion that completely blew one building away,
    and knocked out windows of just about every structure within 2 blocks of it.
    My photo turned out to be the only known existing photo of the street prior
    to the blast. One of my high school classmates now treasures a copy of it,
    because she used to live in that building that blew up, and this is her only
    photographic memento of it.

    I do a lot of architectural work, strictly as a hobby, and it is amazing how
    change creeps up on places. Places that one thought would never have
    changed suddenly are no more. Amoco gas stations up and down the East Coast
    suddenly becoming BP stations. My old elementary school being sold to a
    private developer and becoming condos. The industrial area along the river,
    with all those abandoned old factory buildings with the smashed windows,
    suddenly being razed and the land used for luxury riverside apartments. The
    old freightyard that was sold by Conrail and is now having a new municipal
    service center complex being built on that land. The list goes on and on.

    I started shooting photos of mundane scenes--places where I lived and were
    familiar with--about 35 years ago. I now have a collection of images of
    places that either do not exist anymore or places that have undergone
    dramatic change. I had no idea when I started taking those photographs that
    I would come to cherish them for their historic and sentimental value. I
    wish that I had taken many more such images. Long after I'm gone the photos
    will take on historical importance.
     
    Jeremy, Dec 19, 2005
    #19
  20. Mardon

    RobG Guest

    "Jeremy" <> wrote
    > I started shooting photos of mundane scenes--places where I lived and
    > were familiar with--about 35 years ago. I now have a collection of
    > images of places that either do not exist anymore or places that have
    > undergone dramatic change. I had no idea when I started taking those
    > photographs that I would come to cherish them for their historic and
    > sentimental value. I wish that I had taken many more such images.
    > Long after I'm gone the photos will take on historical importance.
    >
    >
    >
    >


    Must be a sign of old age - I've had a bit of a bug in my head to do the
    same here. Now, I'll have to.

    RobG
    "Just take the damn photo"
     
    RobG, Dec 19, 2005
    #20
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