Keeper rate?

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
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It almost seems like keepers per hour, vs keepers per shot - 2 hours out with film, 2 (sorta) keepers. 1 hour out with digital, one keeper.

Problem with the small card route is you can always delete, and also preview exactly what your shots look like. I'm not disciplined enough to shoot digital like film and I don't even know if I'd want to. There are things about the digital experience that I don't find as appealing as film, but there are advantages that balance them out.
You gotta be careful deleting from the camera, sometimes they don't look as good on the 3" display, but they are much better once you get them off to a PC. Granted, I'll delete something that is clearly blurred, but otherwise, I leave the culling work to the PC session.
 

Bidkev

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My keeper rate is more than likely to go down from now on as I'm shooting quite a lot from a kayak. I'm concentrating more on keeping the gear dry/clean than getting the shot methinks. The yak gets a bit shitty as I'm pulling cray pots as well as fishing. 74 shots today with 24 keepers. Going to have to reset my birding combo from fixed small middle square to multiples as I missed a few hawk bifs although I managed a few slow lumbering pelicans :)
 
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For some time I shoot primarily landscapes so my "keeper"rate is quite high. Most images are technically correct meaning sharp/well exposed (they should be, I'm never I a hurry and most of the time my subject isn't moving ;) ).. but the number of image I regard as good meaning something I would print is super low.

I tend to agree that it's not the amount of shots which result in a specific keeper rate but rather the amount of time invested (1,5 hour usually results in 1 image I'm fairly happy with). Someday's it's closer to a day of photography resulting in 1 print quality image. As I almost never go out for a full day so succes is definitely not guaranteed.

I do have lost interest in publishing my photos online (after moving away from Instagram, don't like the platform anymore), but am working on a new portfolio website which would be the place where those real keepers could get a better place than on my harddrive and some in print. Which could make me even a bit more critical.

I never delete anything during the shoot. I learn a lot about how to improve composition from my not so great images (although unusable blurred images are deleted after import).

For portraits I usually also have a 1 hour 1 good photo rate. This is mostly in a studio so a few hours of shooting resulting in 4/5 good images (there are definitely more ok and usable). Most of the time is used to set up lights, try different poses and/or get the right facial expressions. After a shoot I like to have many images of the same pose to pick the best one.
Shooting in a studio means that I can shoot tethered so the results are directly visible on a bigger screen. I do not delete anything as this just takes to much time and is not worth the hassle, on import however I directly delete every image where the photo is not flattering to my subject.
 

AlexMachine

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Depends. Landscapes and urban, quite high, maybe 1-2 of 10, because I have time to think and try different things. Started photographing back in 1978 as a 8 year old with family friend who was pro. Learned how expencive film was, how to develope my B&W photos in a dark room and a lot of other technical stuff about photography. That made a huge difference, to be able to think like shooting with film while digital.

But... BIF and wildlife, that’s another thing. Took maybe 2500 pictures during the 2 weeks in Mexico. About 50 or 60 keepers, that are really good. There are a lot which are sharp, good light and so on, but a small part of a flying bird is out of picture or just dull and so on.
From Oly 75-300II to 40-150 pro +1.4, my Bif keepers went up, quite a bit.
 
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Learned how expencive film was, how to develope my B&W photos in a dark room and a lot of other technical stuff about photography. That made a huge difference, to be able to think like shooting with film while digital.

I also started out on B&W film (good memories of Ilford HP5 & Delta 400) and developing myself but I did not shoot landscape and seem to have unlearned the sharp (and frugal 😂) eye you develop if you shoot film (and spend hours in a darkroom).
 

demiro

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It's really tough to answer this because it depends on everything. I'm shooting basketball now and sharing with other parents. If I was just keeping photos for myself, based on my criteria I'd probably be at 1% max. But I'm trying to get at least a few shots of every kid, and most of the parents are comparing my shots to phone photos, so they are very easy judges. My keeper rate is probably around 20%.

If I go to a family gathering with a camera, which I rarely do anymore, I'm probably taking 20 pics max, but probably keeping most of them. When I started out I'd take 3 or 400 shots at an aunt's birthday party, or something, delete the junk, but still have way too many uninteresting photos to deal with.
 

ac12

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I was shooting a soccer game the other week, and a ref asked me how much of what I shoot is good?
I told him I will trash up to 90%
Due to things like: the line ref running in front of me (and I pointed at one of his line refs), player runs in front of my subject, subject turns away, ball not in the pic, missed the focus, a 2 second 12 shot burst where I get ONE good shot, a 12 shot burst where the key action is BETWEEN shots 4 and 5 (IOW, NO good shots), trigger finger not fast enough to get the shot (AKA missed timing), etc. etc.
So I had to shoot a LOT, because I end up trashing a lot.
10% of 100 is 10 keepers, but 10% of 300 is 30 keepers.

My actual keeper rate is higher, but I told him 90% trash, to make a point, of all the things that happen where I have no control over, which makes it difficult to get a good shot.
 
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11GTCS

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I just checked this out of curiosity, since I've only recently switched to MFT and I find that it forces me to slow down more vs my full frame. Probably partially due to the limitations in autofocus etc, but also because the small form factor reminds me of film and makes me shoot in a more "film" sort of way. The last time I went out with the goal of taking pictures (vs just having my camera with me) was family visiting at Christmas. I shot 57 frames and kept 23, of which I pushed maybe 2/3 to my Flickr and just kept the rest because I liked them. So on artsy sorts of occasions maybe as high as 30-40%, but when out and about or for sporty or wildlife shoots etc way lower, and for street photographer also lower. But, like I said, part of why I like this medium is because it forces me to slow down a little and enjoy the deliberate composition etc.
 
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If I go to a family gathering with a camera, which I rarely do anymore, I'm probably taking 20 pics max, but probably keeping most of them. When I started out I'd take 3 or 400 shots at an aunt's birthday party, or something, delete the junk, but still have way too many uninteresting photos to deal with.
I just use my phone for such photos now a days. They don't appreciate all my PP and other efforts anyway.😏
 

bassman

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Hey that is bigger that my first hard drive.

A lot bigger! My first disk was in the original Mac, which I recall only used 3.5” floppies that held 400kb. In other words, one medium quality jpeg. Oops, I forgot the System needed to be on that disk ... . I eventually was able to add a 5mb hard drive and store 12 jpegs but still not a raw file from any current camera.
 

Bidkev

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My keeper rate is more than likely to go down from now on as I'm shooting quite a lot from a kayak. I'm concentrating more on keeping the gear dry/clean than getting the shot methinks. The yak gets a bit shitty as I'm pulling cray pots as well as fishing. 74 shots today with 24 keepers. Going to have to reset my birding combo from fixed small middle square to multiples as I missed a few hawk bifs although I managed a few slow lumbering pelicans :)

Well that was a waste of time. I switched to group squares and never saw one BIF within distance. My keeper rate dropped right down shooting static birds to 6 out of 46 with the rest OOF so I'm back to small square locked in centre.
 

JensM

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I keep everything... :O

One never knows when one has the use of a blurry and out of focus shot of a seagull... Seriously, though, I am not a high volume shooter even though I am working towards getting over the "films cost" mentality, so I tend to keep everything, just scratching the obviously missed shots and so.

Some are for family perusal, where I have lower standards for what is kept, but obviously most of those are not "hand-picked" for any publication or use outside of the family circle. Some are for SOME usage, and some are for here and if everything pans out, some will be for local photo comps.

Different standards all around. Am beginning to feel the "urge" to actually get something printed, both prints as is and photo-books to replace the albums of yesteryear. Havent had anything tangible from the photography side of things since around 2004/5.
 

PeteS

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Since we seem to be getting off into a more general keeper rate topic... A lot depends on what I am shooting and how I approach it. I sometimes I think it would be fun to approach some subjects like I was shooting 8x10 transparency film in a view camera and insist on getting it right the first time.

I do remember asking a very good photographer what the most key secret was to excellence. His answer? "Only show excellent photos. Never let anyone see the failures or even the mediocre ones."
 

ac12

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As Pete said, it depends on the shoot.
I shot a graduation last week, and it was 90/10 the other way. I think I deleted less than 10%.
Single shots, no burst. Just like when I used to shoot film.
 

John King

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Personally, I agree with Ansel Adams and his concept of "pre-visualisation". A photo starts 'life' before one even picks up the camera, IMO.

One should pre-visualise for the day, or the shot/s, what sort of FoV (FL or FLs) one may need. The camera should be almost completely set for the intended purpose - i.e. the right lens, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, metering type, focussing method and the like. In many, if not most, situations, one can predict with considerable accuracy what all these settings should be, and which lens one is likely to need for the subject.

One should try to become 'competent' at these things IMHO. Being competent means that there is a very high chance of any particular image being technically acceptable for any intended purpose. It also greatly increases one's keeper rate.

(This applies to 'ordinary photography', not macro/micro, sports, BiF and similar specialised subjects.)

By this I mean that all shots should be acceptable technically. Particularly, learn how your camera's metering and focusing systems function. The start of any decent photo is having the subject in focus and exposed as intended.

Almost all of the photos I took on this day below appear in this gallery, only one or two were marked as REJECT in Bridge:

https://www.canopuscomputing.com.au/zen2/CarsandSuch/AustralianCarShow/

Of these, only one has had any editing other than a small USM applied by my standard Photoshop macro that saves them as sRGB (I shoot aRGB), adds a frame and copyright and adds "_Ew" to the filename as a suffix. That shot of Jack Brabham's F1 car was straightened and had minor noise reduction applied. I do not recall deleting a single image in camera.

That is to say, almost 100% of the images I took are unedited OoC JPEGs, and all but one or two taken were kept and displayed in this album. Two of the ones uploaded have small technical faults, but were included for completeness. My keeper rate for this event was over 95%.

BTW, I'm not big noting myself here. At my first and only airshow, my keeper rate for planes in flight was no more than about 3-5% ...

This is what I mean by being competent. You must be familiar enough with your equipment and subject that you can lift the camera to eye, and shoot, capturing an image worth having almost every time.

Next comes composition of both form and colour.

This has always been the hardest part of photography for me. I started off lousy, and remained so until I started shooting digital some ~50 years later.

I made a couple of rules for myself:

1) Never crop, except where it is totally unavoidable; and

2) Photograph what I am seeing, not what I am looking at.

According to my wife and her artist friends, my photography has improved dramatically over the ensuing years.

Books such as those by Freeman Patterson "Photography and the Art of Seeing", Michael Freeman "The Photographers Eye", Biver, Fuqua et.al. "Light Science and Magic", among others have informed and inspired me, as have many "picture books" by different photographers.

Bruce Postle said to me when I asked him about how many shots he took to get his "winner" shots, he replied "Just one". He wasn't boasting, and I found that very inspiring.

These are the things that I believe make one a competent photographer.

Creativity is another thing altogether.

While admitting to having little of the latter by nature, I believe that my search for competence in the technical aspects, and concentrating on composition of form and colour have both made me slightly more creative in how I look at things, including the form, light and framing.

Note that I have not mentioned a single item of gear ...
Obviously, using a 7-14 lens for BiF photos is a fool's errand, as is using a long telephoto lens for micro photography. Of course there are always some exceptions, but these are rare, and detract from my main premise.

Some of the best photos I have ever taken were taken with my most humble kit.

Note also, that I have made no reference to post processing. This is because no amount of PP will make a lousy shot into a winner. I have found that careful PP can lift a photo about one 'grade' - i.e. from lousy to acceptable, from acceptable to good, from good to very nice, from very nice to excellent, from excellent to winner. No amount of PP will lift an image more than about one grade, IME.

One rule I have about PP is that if anyone can tell that I have touched a photo (edited it), I have gone too far ...
(This self-evidently does not apply to photography presented as "artistic" rather than as "representational". There is a relatively distinct boundary between these two outcomes. I am mostly a representational photographer.)

A really good book on PP is "Scott Kelby's Seven Point System for Adobe Photoshop". It is the only one of his books that held any attraction to me. Familiarity with one's PP software of choice is pretty important ...

All of this is relatively straightforward. If anyone puts this into practice, one's keeper rate should improve.

However, if photography were simple, why would most of us bother with it? Like golf, the rules are pretty simple, it's getting the little round thing in the hole that's the hard part!

I'm getting tired now, and have a Doctor's appointment. I hope that these ramblings help someone, somewhere, become just a little better.
 

GBarrington

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Apr 4, 2014
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Springfield, Illinois
Personally, I agree with Ansel Adams and his concept of "pre-visualisation". A photo starts 'life' before one even picks up the camera, IMO.

One should pre-visualise for the day, or the shot/s, what sort of FoV (FL or FLs) one may need. The camera should be almost completely set for the intended purpose - i.e. the right lens, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, metering type, focussing method and the like. In many, if not most, situations, one can predict with considerable accuracy what all these settings should be, and which lens one is likely to need for the subject.

One should try to become 'competent' at these things IMHO. Being competent means that there is a very high chance of any particular image being technically acceptable for any intended purpose. It also greatly increases one's keeper rate.

(This applies to 'ordinary photography', not macro/micro, sports, BiF and similar specialised subjects.)

By this I mean that all shots should be acceptable technically. Particularly, learn how your camera's metering and focusing systems function. The start of any decent photo is having the subject in focus and exposed as intended.

Almost all of the photos I took on this day below appear in this gallery, only one or two were marked as REJECT in Bridge:

https://www.canopuscomputing.com.au/zen2/CarsandSuch/AustralianCarShow/

Of these, only one has had any editing other than a small USM applied by my standard Photoshop macro that saves them as sRGB (I shoot aRGB), adds a frame and copyright and adds "_Ew" to the filename as a suffix. That shot of Jack Brabham's F1 car was straightened and had minor noise reduction applied. I do not recall deleting a single image in camera.

That is to say, almost 100% of the images I took are unedited OoC JPEGs, and all but one or two taken were kept and displayed in this album. Two of the ones uploaded have small technical faults, but were included for completeness. My keeper rate for this event was over 95%.

BTW, I'm not big noting myself here. At my first and only airshow, my keeper rate for planes in flight was no more than about 3-5% ...

This is what I mean by being competent. You must be familiar enough with your equipment and subject that you can lift the camera to eye, and shoot, capturing an image worth having almost every time.

Next comes composition of both form and colour.

This has always been the hardest part of photography for me. I started off lousy, and remained so until I started shooting digital some ~50 years later.

I made a couple of rules for myself:

1) Never crop, except where it is totally unavoidable; and

2) Photograph what I am seeing, not what I am looking at.

According to my wife and her artist friends, my photography has improved dramatically over the ensuing years.

Books such as those by Freeman Patterson "Photography and the Art of Seeing", Michael Freeman "The Photographers Eye", Biver, Fuqua et.al. "Light Science and Magic", among others have informed and inspired me, as have many "picture books" by different photographers.

Bruce Postle said to me when I asked him about how many shots he took to get his "winner" shots, he replied "Just one". He wasn't boasting, and I found that very inspiring.

These are the things that I believe make one a competent photographer.

Creativity is another thing altogether.

While admitting to having little of the latter by nature, I believe that my search for competence in the technical aspects, and concentrating on composition of form and colour have both made me slightly more creative in how I look at things, including the form, light and framing.

Note that I have not mentioned a single item of gear ...
Obviously, using a 7-14 lens for BiF photos is a fool's errand, as is using a long telephoto lens for micro photography. Of course there are always some exceptions, but these are rare, and detract from my main premise.

Some of the best photos I have ever taken were taken with my most humble kit.

Note also, that I have made no reference to post processing. This is because no amount of PP will make a lousy shot into a winner. I have found that careful PP can lift a photo about one 'grade' - i.e. from lousy to acceptable, from acceptable to good, from good to very nice, from very nice to excellent, from excellent to winner. No amount of PP will lift an image more than about one grade, IME.

One rule I have about PP is that if anyone can tell that I have touched a photo (edited it), I have gone too far ...
(This self-evidently does not apply to photography presented as "artistic" rather than as "representational". There is a relatively distinct boundary between these two outcomes. I am mostly a representational photographer.)

A really good book on PP is "Scott Kelby's Seven Point System for Adobe Photoshop". It is the only one of his books that held any attraction to me. Familiarity with one's PP software of choice is pretty important ...

All of this is relatively straightforward. If anyone puts this into practice, one's keeper rate should improve.

However, if photography were simple, why would most of us bother with it? Like golf, the rules are pretty simple, it's getting the little round thing in the hole that's the hard part!

I'm getting tired now, and have a Doctor's appointment. I hope that these ramblings help someone, somewhere, become just a little better.
I agree with most of what you say, particularly about the obviousness of Post processing means one has gone too far. Some recent AI type software releases practically stamp "Finished in 'XYZ' software" onto the photo. {Cough, Cough, PureRaw ,Cough, Cough}

As regards to 'seeing'; for me, the seeing never stops even when I am without a camera. Seeing IS an art, it may actually be the ONLY art, and everything else is just the medium the artist uses.
 
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