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View Poll Results: Whats your keep rate?
<1% 1 7.14%
<1.5% 3 21.43%
<3% 1 7.14%
<10% 4 28.57%
10% or more 5 35.71%
I dont keep any, my pictures suck 0 0%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 29, 2006, 10:40 PM   #1
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One of the best ways to improve your photography seems to be to take LOTS of pictures, and throw most of them away. Whats left will show your best abilities. This is where digital has broken down barriers, now anybody can shoot five hundred frames in an afternoon without going home with an empty wallet.

So whats your average keep rate? It looks like I'm right around 1.5%, but if I get really critical it drops furher.
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Old May 30, 2006, 12:35 AM   #2
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I just checked mine, and it looks like out of the 1300 shots I've taken since buying my D50, about 400 are keepers (excluding duplicates of the same pic with different crop or exposure). So that's about 30% keep rate. That's with a very liberal interpretation of "this is good enough to keep".

If you ask me how many of my shots I would print larger than 4x7, and put on the wall, or put on a paid gallery site... well, that number will make me go to eBay and sell my camera, :sad:... since it's more like 20... not 20%, but about 20 pictures. And half of those are of my niece and god daughter, so they don't really count, since they're so cute, their pics are easily wall-worthy. So that puts it to about 10 different pics, or less than 1 percent!

95% of my shots are landscape, so it's easy to get them wrong. Most are composed nicely, but when looking closely, the grass are clearly out of focus, or are not tact sharp. But proper exposure is probably the biggest problem. No amount of photoshop can rescue them.

But most of my throw aways are shots that I shouldn't have taken in the first place. I mean, I get suckered easily by really green, grassy fields, with colorful flowers, but after looking at it in my PC, it's obvious that the pictures have no main subject. It's more like something to remind me that I was there, and I should have taken them with P&S camera, not dSLR.

But looking at my pics, I can definitely see my skills are improving... so I still have hope! I remember reading that Ansel Adams once said that if you can capture one great shot in a year, then it's a good year. I have about 9 months before my first year is up, and my first National Park trip (Yosemite) is not until next month.

Peace.

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Old May 30, 2006, 4:30 AM   #3
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Well I keep all mine on disk. :blah:

But I should really delete about half straight away.

Overall I reckon most people who are trying to be serious about photography probably have the same keep rate as you: 1-2%. I would postulate that this is a psychological issue and has little to do with how good the photographs are.

I have found as my photography improves my keep rate stays the same, but the photographs get better.
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Old May 30, 2006, 8:45 AM   #4
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peripatetic wrote:
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Well I keep all mine on disk. :blah:

But I should really delete about half straight away.
Yeah, I actually 'keep' the majority of what I shoot on disk but it's not worth much of anything. I shoot raw+jpg now and out of 200 pictures from one day I'll separate fifteen or twenty at the most that I want to run through photoshop. I'll go back in a few days and see if anything else catches my attention, then delete all the raw files. This way I'm only keeping the smaller jpg's (I'm a digital packrat!).

So anyway, I guess by keep I mean its something worth printing larger or displaying in your online gallery etc.
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Old May 30, 2006, 9:03 AM   #5
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I feel it very much depends on what you're subject is.
I shoot wildlife, and therefor you can miss it in normal ways (exposure is off, image isn't sharp enough) but you also miss it because the head is turned, a shadow is going across the side of the animal.... Some of those apply to taking kid pictures as well.

But the other problem is *your* standards. As you get better you throw out images you would have kept 6 months ago.

What I believe happens is that as you get better you just don't take images you would have taken before... this increases your "keeper" rate.
But then you have higher standards and therefor throw out more than you would...

and it averages out to a similar keeper rate.

Eric
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Old May 30, 2006, 9:46 AM   #6
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There seem to be two basic schools of thought on photography-- take as many shots as you can, or think about what you're doing and shoot after you've composed the shot. I recently took a two and a half week trip to Greece. On that trip, I took fewer than 500 shots all-told, including the ones I deleted on the spot for being improperly exposed, etc. I have used about 25% of the photos that I took in a slide show that I distributed to friend, family, and other people on the trip.

Also in our group were some Chinese men who lived up to the cultural stereotype. They each took more than 500 shots a day, including shooting from the moving vehicle shots of places that meant nothing to us at all. I have seen some of their photographs, and many of them were wonderful. But it is a very different experience to shoot everything you see and to shoot only those things that youreally "see." For me, one of the reasons that I want to take pictures in the first place is that I tend to get in the habit of composing an image in my mind when I am carrying a camera. I am better able to pay attention to my surroundings when I am in that frame of mind. So, even if I never pressed the shutter, I would be more aware of what I was experiencing just by carrying the camera.

Perhaps other people are less prone to "sleep-walk" through their day, and don't need a crutch to help them focus on ther world. But I would find the value of carrying a camera undermined if I spent my entire time snapping photos -- I can fail to be in the moment pefectly well without lugging any equipment!




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Old May 31, 2006, 7:00 AM   #7
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There seem to be two basic schools of thought on photography-- take as many shots as you can, or think about what you're doing and shoot after you've composed the shot.
Quite so, but I would suggest that this has nothing to do with the percentage of keepers. Just how good your starting set is.

Of your 500 photographs I bet that if you adjusted your standards and had to choose a portfolio of 10 you wouldn't find it hard to do. Or do you really have 100 shots from that trip that are equally good with nothing that stands out as better than the rest?
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Old May 31, 2006, 10:51 AM   #8
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peripatetic wrote:
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There seem to be two basic schools of thought on photography-- take as many shots as you can, or think about what you're doing and shoot after you've composed the shot.
Quite so, but I would suggest that this has nothing to do with the percentage of keepers. Just how good your starting set is.

Of your 500 photographs I bet that if you adjusted your standards and had to choose a portfolio of 10 you wouldn't find it hard to do. Or do you really have 100 shots from that trip that are equally good with nothing that stands out as better than the rest?
Yes, I could reduce the group substantially. But this is irrelevant to the discussion. It is even true that a collection of Picasso paintings can be divided into "better" and "worse." So what? The question was really about whether the way to improve your skills was to take lots of photos, and learn by culling. My response was that there was a real virtue to focusing on composition in the first place, and that much of that virtue accrues (at least for me) to thiings beyond photography. I am not claiming to be a Jedi master of photography, nor am I saying that every shot I take is museum quality. Rather, I am saying that the habit of shoot-first-and-think-later will only get you so far, and has other disadvantages.


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Old May 31, 2006, 11:42 AM   #9
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LOL, hardly irrelevant.

tmoreau

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One of the best ways to improve your photography seems to be to take LOTS of pictures, and throw most of them away.
peripatetic

Quote:
Overall I reckon most people who are trying to be serious about photography probably have the same keep rate as you: 1-2%. I would postulate that this is a psychological issue and has little to do with how good the photographs are.
i.e. We learn from our mistakes, but our standards adjust upwards in line with our ability.

tclune


Quote:
There seem to be two basic schools of thought on photography-- take as many shots as you can, or think about what you're doing and shoot after you've composed the shot.


Which is to say that you believe I am simply wrong, but I fail to see how I have somehow missed the plot.

I believe most serious photographers have a low keep rate, not because they take lots of bad shots, but because there is something psychological in that "keeper percentage" which makes it relatively constant regardless of the quality of the work.


Quote:
It is even true that a collection of Picasso paintings can be divided into "better" and "worse." So what? The question was really about whether the way to improve your skills was to take lots of photos, and learn by culling.
Yes, and my point was that there was a confusion here; the culling would occur (forMOST serious photographers, not all) regardless of the quality of the photography.

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It is even true that a collection of Picasso paintings can be divided into "better" and "worse." So what?
So a keeper percentage depends on where you draw the line.


Quote:
The question was really about whether the way to improve your skills was to take lots of photos, and learn by culling.
Yes, I understood that.

Quote:
My response was that there was a real virtue to focusing on composition in the first place, and that much of that virtue accrues (at least for me) to thiings beyond photography.
True enough, but my point was that this won't affect the number of keepers for most photographers,but undoubtedlythe quality of all their photographs will improve.

So I guess my point was that IMO the percentage of keepers is judged by a relative standard, not an absolute one. Perhaps you differ in this and have a solid feeling for an absolute standard of a good photograph and everything above that is a keeper. My claim is empirical, and the results of the survey above may go some way towards suggesting an answer.
Quote:
Rather, I am saying that the habit of shoot-first-and-think-later will only get you so far, and has other disadvantages.
Which may be true but depends perhaps on how self-aware one is when taking photographs. Some people are analytical and other people improve as if by magic. But that magic does frequently involve taking lots of pictures.
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Old May 31, 2006, 12:17 PM   #10
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peripatetic wrote:
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LOL, hardly irrelevant.
...

I believe most serious photographers have a low keep rate, not because they take lots of bad shots, but because there is something psychological in that "keeper percentage" which makes it relatively constant regardless of the quality of the work.


I understand your point. You may be right.


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