What % of your shots are "keepers"?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cutsman, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. cutsman macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    When you're out shooting and you take a bunch of shots, what % of your shots are ones you actually keep and use (be it for commercial or personal uses like posting on your photo page)?
  2. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    As far as being worth keeping, I'd say probably 2 out of every 3 or maybe 3 out of every 4. I don't take many shots that aren't worth keeping at all.

    As far as having them being worth showing off, maybe 1 out of every 3 or 4 of those I deemed 'keepable'

    It really depends on the situation, though. I like all the ones if they're my friends. But if I'm doing really experimental stuff I may only get one out of 50. Who knows?
  3. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    I archive all my stuff but most photos are not seen by anyone. The photo people actually see are maybe 1 in 10. I am happy with much less than that. I tend to get tired of my photos quick. I joke and say I was there when I took it so I have already seen it. I even went through my stuff that was 10-20 years old and threw out trash bags full of stuff. I kept a representative sample of everything but culled a bunch of stuff. Digital makes it easier to keep everything.
  4. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I prefer to have multiple shots to pick from; at least with portraits. So if I'm looking for a single photo of someone, I'll shoot 6-8 - there's almost always one that stands out as being better than the others. It's not technique; it's a question of the person's expression most of the time.

    So with people, I guess my % is pretty low.

    I'm actually moving this way more with other types of shots as well, simply because there's no significant penalty with shooting digital. So I'll try different angles, apertures, and such quite a bit more than I used to do.
  5. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    I'd say honestly I end up using about 1%-5% of shots... I find exceptional shots maybe one in every hundred.
  6. almightyshoe macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2006
    B-Town, India
  7. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    I shoot in burst mode for events, but have been trying a more "sniper-like" approach as opposed to shooting anything that moves. Lately, I've been shooting 500 photos for school events to get 50 in a slideshow on the school site. I'd usually consider 100-150 "keepers," but the 50 that go up all have different subjects and are a good sampling of the shoot.

    My photojournalism is at about a 2-5:195-198 ratio, because only 2 to 5 of 200 shots can make the school paper in a given issue, and I always want to shoot enough to make sure that whatever runs is really good.

    The bit of nature and landscape that I do (which is just for fun), tends to yield 1 in 3 keepers, because I tend to spend 5-15 minutes previsualizing and setting up for each shot.
  8. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    It Depends

    I'll save nearly everything I shoot because I'm a pack rat - - but most of it will never be seen by anyone but me.

    Generally speaking, I find that my yield varies inversely to its cost. With digital, I'm willing to experiment more, so I'll easily blow a half dozen shots on something trivial, or perhaps 50 shots on a promising wildlife opportunity. I would have never done this with film...especially back when I dabbled in medium format.

    Since I still shoot 35mm film for underwater, and that that environment is generally challenging (exposure settings), I'd say that my expected yield is usually around 1-4 shots per roll of 36...5-10%, but sometimes it is this low because of environmental conditions, but sometimes just because the day didn't have anything particularly or profoundly new/different that made for a significant and noteworthy composition...as such, I could have technically correct exposures with nice compositions, but it was "just another ho-hum day", so I'll relegate these as inferior to my first ever roll of UW film, because that first roll carries special memories whereas this one didn't.

    And it has been said that the difference between the Amateur and the Pro is the size of their trash can. Probably a better question to ask is: "what percentage of your stuff do you feel is good enough to show to others?", for this is really a question that's a combination of both your technical skills as well as how tough you are on yourself.

    Overall, I would say that when I'm not experimenting, over 95% of my stuff is technically proper for exposure, focus, etc. Probably 75% of this has reasonably acceptable composition, so we might say that my yield is around 70%.

    However, I'll always cherry-pick through them and cut at least 50% out and usually more: good isn't good enough: I'm looking for excellent or better, particularly when it comes to subjects I've already tried a few times.

    For my Tanzania trip, from roughly 4,400 images down to somewhere around 600 (15%?), and I was finding that I was increasingly brutal as I went through them. I then culled through these keepers (IIRC) twice more to get it down to around 200 in total, which would be a final yield of around 5%.

    Overall, I would say that if you're cutting down to around 10%, you've been a tough reviewer of your own stuff...and probably have cut 3x-5x more than most casual shooters today.

  9. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I can never seem to delete any, so I keep almost all of them, but I would guess that only about 10% or less are ones that I would want to show other people.
  10. tvguru macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2005
    Kenora, ON Canada
    Mine are probably only touching 10% on ones I'm happy with. Most of the time I'm just trying different settings for the same thing. It's always fun when one of them surprise you and become your new favorite of the bunch.:)
  11. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2003
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
  12. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Only the accidentally good ones!

    Eveything I compose looks like kaka!

    But I still keep them all. Drive space is cheap. Besides, embarassing myself with some of my rather amateurish attempts prods me to improve. What a slow, painful process! ;)
  13. 12991 macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2007
    Im too good to make mistakes, in a word, I'm God...

    I really actually kind of suck right now, none of my pictures are worth it... but i just got my DSLR a week ago, so you cant blame me, by the end of the summer though, ill be showin' off my pictures to everyone. er... atleast hopefully
  14. NickElls macrumors 6502


    May 19, 2005
    :rolleyes: I find that hard to believe.

    Regarding my own percentages...
    Let's do the math.
    Total photos: 7089
    5* photos: 122

    I seem to have very high standards.

    Attached Files:

  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I'd say I'm pretty happy with 10-20% and really happy with about 3-5%. One of the downsides with digital is that there is the temptation to believe that you'll get a good picture eventually, just by taking enough. Of course, the advantage is, that tends to be true.
  16. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    I'm guessing that my hit rate is somewhere near 5%.
  17. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I have about 8000 photos in iphoto. I'd love to cut that down to a couple of hundred keepers, i.e about 3% to keep and show people but I'm finding it really hard.

    I like experimenting, and I'm still learning photography, so I have say 50 photos of a baby asleep in a cot, with the 6am light streaming over her face. Each photo has slightly different settings or different angle. How do I pick out the best shot? How do *you* pick out a keeper from a bunch of similar shots?
  18. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Well, it depends.... This past weekend I was with friends and shooting lots of photos of birds coming to the many feeders in the peoples' yard, as well as shooting lots of photos of my friends who had gathered for the BBQ. Just went through the images this afternoon and processed them. Interestingly enough, but not surprising, I had more keepers of the people photos I'd shot than of the birdie photos. Why is that? Well...I'm more experienced at and more comfortable with shooting pictures of people than I am at shooting photos of birds on branches or at feeders.... Not a problem with my gear, but simply a situation of insufficient experience at a particular type of shooting. Keeper rate was pretty low in this instance.

    Other situations might be different and I would come home with a whole bunch of "keepers." It's something which needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and each shooting event will be different.
  19. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    id say %5-10 every hundred pictures i average prolly 7 keepers
  20. fBaran macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2003
    I keep about 99% of all my photos, whether good or bad. Only utter craps are thrown out. I'm an organized pack rat.
  21. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Can you recommend any books or preferably online resources on picking out keepers from a pile of digital photos? I suppose this would be in the area of being a photo editor.
  22. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    15%, though I keep about 98%. Those 15%, however, are shots that I really love. 4-5% are exquisite.
  23. AlexH macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2006
    I keep virtually every shot I take, but only 10-20% ever see the light of day.

    It's not a big deal though, I'm not a pro. I do it for fun.
  24. bluewire macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Bay Area, California
    That sounds about right!
  25. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    As i advance more and more into photography my keepers rate is taking the downhill, am getting really picky! I remember many years ago i used to keep 100% of shots i took with my trusty P&S.

    But from the 8000 shots i took since getting my new camera i only have about 1500 in my library so that's about 20%. However the rate goes dramatically down when i shoot macro, probably less than 3%.

    Also i just checked and my best, most favorite shots are less than 100.

    So it's 18-20% for keepers and 1% for really good shots. The rest end up in the trash.

Share This Page