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Archive 2012 · What's YOUR success rate?
  
 
ct8282
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p.1 #1 · What's YOUR success rate?


When I go out for shoots I still get down when I don't quite get the shot I was hoping for or pictured in my mind. Sometimes it might be because I didn't set the shot up right, pose the subjects correctly, pick the correct location etc, or sometimes its because I didn't choose the best camera settings or lens to get the best from the shot.

When I start to cull and edit I often find myself trashing quite a few shots and then I start on this heavily self critical cycle and sometimes get really down or cheesed off with myself and wish I could go back and redo the shoot to capture the things I missed or things I could do better. I realise its very good to self critique as it helps the development process, but sometimes it can really get me down.

My question then.... Does this resonate with any of you? Do you find yourself going through the same self critical cycle, and how do you deal with it? It would be interesting to hear what level of photography you do, i.e professional portrait photographer, wedding, sports etc, or maybe just amateur.
What level of success rate from a shoot do you deem acceptable for your experience level? Perhaps this could be expressed as a percentage, so therefore if you took 100 shots during a session how many would you expect to end up as keepers or products worthy of delivering to the client?



Oct 30, 2012 at 09:34 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #2 · What's YOUR success rate?



Chris,

I'm a professional full-time photographer who focuses on weddings, but also shoots e-sessions, family sessions, seniors, and all things dance. When I shoot an e-session, for example, I might shoot 300 or maybe 400 images and deliver 150 or so for the clients to choose their final 15 images from.

I miss shots all the time, but usually there's another shot that takes its place. Maybe the focus was soft, or maybe the lighting wasn't quite right. That's just the way it is. Sometimes, I see shots while I'm culling that I didn't see when I was there. Sometimes, I see it after they've left. Once, I called a couple back and got a really cool shot. Another time, I was in a public place and so just talked another couple walking by to sit in on the shot. Overall, I'm content with my keeper level. If I took 100 shots, I would expect 40 to 50 to be keepers.

So... take it easy on yourself. You beat yourself up too much, you'll forget how much you enjoy photography. Focus on your successes, not on your misses.



Oct 30, 2012 at 10:00 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #3 · What's YOUR success rate?


friscoron wrote:
Chris,

I'm a professional full-time photographer who focuses on weddings, but also shoots e-sessions, family sessions, seniors, and all things dance. When I shoot an e-session, for example, I might shoot 300 or maybe 400 images and deliver 150 or so for the clients to choose their final 15 images from.

I miss shots all the time, but usually there's another shot that takes its place. Maybe the focus was soft, or maybe the lighting wasn't quite right. That's just the way it is. Sometimes, I see shots while I'm culling that I didn't see when I was there. Sometimes, I
...Show more

Thanks Ron. An interesting first response. Good to know the pros miss shots too.



Oct 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Langran
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p.1 #4 · What's YOUR success rate?


If I take 100 shots I would expect far less than 50 to be keepers. It depends very much on what you're shooting and your approach. For events I expect almost every shot to be usable, for live music maybe 1 in 20 I'll be happy with. Portraits/fashion maybe 1 in 30. Depends who where what. If a shot is rubbish then get rid of it but so long as you have a decent shot in the end then the process of getting there is very much personal preference and not something to get down about. Everyone has messed up a shoot but what makes a pro a pro is that even when the shoot doesn't go to plan or doesn't produce the amazing shots they wanted - they still deliver images that will make the client happy.

As for relating hit rate to experience level I don't think that's important. It's down to shooting style and subject. Also you need to remember the difference between you being happy, the client being happy, and whether it an awesome shot that you love or whether it is a good solid shot that will pay the bills. Everyone should strive for the best but often good is good enough



Oct 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM
N.Cost
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p.1 #5 · What's YOUR success rate?


For a family session I may shoot 150 and show them 30. That doesn't mean 30 are keepers, more are, but I narrow it down as I don't want them to look through to many and get stuck on what to choose.



Oct 31, 2012 at 12:33 AM
LARAB
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p.1 #6 · What's YOUR success rate?


As a novice, I have a keeper rate that swings wildly from fantastic to abysmal. It seems (so far) that the good days are okay, and the bad days are horrendous. For the first time ever, I felt like I wanted to throw in the towel yesterday, but...

then I hear I'm not alone. Thanks!

I told myself three years ago that this was going to take some time to learn. I try to think about the pictures I could be taking and craft a plan to make them happen, one step at time. It's time consuming enough that I forget about how badly I screwed up the last one and focus on how to make the next one better. Since this is the people forum, and I NEVER post photos...




Oct 31, 2012 at 12:37 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #7 · What's YOUR success rate?


1st off, Chris...there's a huge difference between in focus shots and 'keepers'
I'm usually at 98% of the former, culled to 10% of the latter. Spec work I'm less
picky, paid commercial/events/portraits it's gotta be great. I may miss moments but
hardly ever shots, after 45 yrs behind a camera...but I'm gettin' better. Scary, huh?!



Oct 31, 2012 at 12:53 AM
bbourizk
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p.1 #8 · What's YOUR success rate?


As others have said you can't have every shot a keeper or in focus.
On a typical shoot i might take 250-350 shots (some of those are test shots as well) and deliver to the client between 50-60 very good shots.

I'm finding it better to plan the shoot and the shots you want to take and concentrate on them. That way you get better quality images and in the end have a better product for your client.

I like yourself wanted everything in focus every shot to be great, but that doesn't happen, but slowing down and planning a little better helps.




Oct 31, 2012 at 03:01 AM
brianclary
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p.1 #9 · What's YOUR success rate?


N.Cost wrote:
For a family session I may shoot 150 and show them 30. That doesn't mean 30 are keepers, more are, but I narrow it down as I don't want them to look through to many and get stuck on what to choose.


+1



Oct 31, 2012 at 03:15 AM
ct8282
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p.1 #10 · What's YOUR success rate?


bbourizk wrote:
As others have said you can't have every shot a keeper or in focus.
On a typical shoot i might take 250-350 shots (some of those are test shots as well) and deliver to the client between 50-60 very good shots.

I'm finding it better to plan the shoot and the shots you want to take and concentrate on them. That way you get better quality images and in the end have a better product for your client.

I like yourself wanted everything in focus every shot to be great, but that doesn't happen, but slowing down and planning a little better helps.



Some superb feedback in this thread so far, thanks peeps.

Like you I spend a lot more time planning shoots these days and always go in to a session with a list of shots I want to aim for. I try to detail in my list the poses, focal lengths and apertures, and locations for each shot (providing I know the area or location if course). This acts as my starting point but I try not to be too rigid as the subjects may not suit a certain pose, for example, of their personalities might not fit what I have in my list so I try to be flexible. This approach has massively improved my success rate but sometimes I still don't feel that I'm doing well enough. It's encouraging to hear the thoughts of you seasoned pro's and amateurs alike.



Oct 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM
 



friscoron
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p.1 #11 · What's YOUR success rate?



Chris, I think it's interesting that you take so much detail to your shoot with you, in terms of what you're planning to do. We all work differently, and we have to find the way that works best for each of us. I go into each engagement session with a blank slate, absolutely no idea what I'm going to do, even if I'm shooting in a location I'm very familiar with. Sometimes, I come up with a new idea for a shot I want to try out, but I still have to meet my couple and see if they're right for that shot/concept. By going in with a blank slate, I have a creative freedom to come up with shots that match with my couple.



Oct 31, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Bruce Sawle
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p.1 #12 · What's YOUR success rate?


Interesting I have more in focus shots when shooting sports than family sessions. My in focus rate for soccer is 90% I usually shoot a few hundred and delete down to the best shots. For families I Amy take 150-200 maybe an 80% in focus as moving kids and lower light can cause misses. I usually send my client 25-40 images. One thing that really makes a difference with family shoots is not rushing and taking your time. I have started using a tripod more and live view.


Oct 31, 2012 at 02:25 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #13 · What's YOUR success rate?


friscoron wrote:
Chris, I think it's interesting that you take so much detail to your shoot with you, in terms of what you're planning to do. We all work differently, and we have to find the way that works best for each of us. I go into each engagement session with a blank slate, absolutely no idea what I'm going to do, even if I'm shooting in a location I'm very familiar with. Sometimes, I come up with a new idea for a shot I want to try out, but I still have to meet my couple and see if they're right
...Show more

Your creative ability is most likley far superior to mine Ron. I'm not as experienced as you so I need to have a clear starting point otherwise things can halt from time to time which doesn't look too professional. I would like to think that as I develop I will be more confident and capable of going in to a shoot with a blank canvas and producing the magic more naturally and easily.



Oct 31, 2012 at 03:13 PM
no_surrender
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p.1 #14 · What's YOUR success rate?


I fall victim to this every time I shoot. My keeper rate is basically zero...never happy with my work and usually end up asking myself why I even try. I love shooting, but most times wind up extremely disappointed. BTW-This is my way of tagging this thread so I can follow it...would LOVE to learn more ways to improve my 'acceptable' rate so that one day I can start having a 'keeper' rate.

Kevin



Nov 01, 2012 at 09:41 AM
derry1
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p.1 #15 · What's YOUR success rate?


seems many of us behind the lens are pretty much the same,, we all miss em and think back if I had that one but just move on,,

discussing with other photographers is certainly a way to gain insight but they also have their preferred methods of selection,, have seen some rave over one that I may have thrown out and I'm sure that situation has been reversed,,

you see that here on the forum daily,, many good photos are posted but only a few that say WOW to many sets of eyes,,

I'm on FM almost daily and look at what others capture and try to keep the special ones in mind for my future times with camera in hand,,

don't become discouraged but in lieu of machine gunning your shots, take some time to give thought to what your wanting to capture and how is the camera set up to support the task,, it is not a tough process but one to learn and become part of your shooting,,

there are times I feel the digital photography age has become the same as the drive through food stores,, fast fast fast,, slow down and think what your doing and why,,

if you were shooting 25 years past and had a dozen rolls of film to develop and then hours in a darkroom to print, I think your time behind the lens would have more meaning,, sure gear cost more now but when you would spend several times the cost of your camera gear in film, chemicals and paper in a year it was certainly different,, YES I do love this digital age but so many never want to take the time to really smell the roses,,

Derry



Nov 01, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #16 · What's YOUR success rate?


Several folks have reminded us that we need to slow down. That's certainly good advice, and something I always have to remind myself to do. Beyond that, I also noted (as did Ron) that you seem to bring a lot of detailed planning (even to camera settings) to your shoots. Rather than devote your energy to that level of detail, I think focusing on three things will help you get a better rate of keepers: 1. Do have an idea of the kind of images you want to create, focusing on poses and expressions in general. 2: Keep in mind the fundamentals of using light to express your vision (or to make your subjects as interesting as possible) - where does the light come from, what is lit and what isn't? And 3: Pay attention to the whole frame, including background and periphery (too often we're lasered-in on the faces of our subjects and not the junk we don't see in the back). Doing those three things will help you pre-visualize the end result before you hit the shutter and enable you to take care of those things to make your shots better, thereby increasing your rate of keepers.


Nov 01, 2012 at 04:13 PM
mattr762
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p.1 #17 · What's YOUR success rate?


For a senior shoot I might shoot around 300, half are trashed (because of eyes closed, hair in face, out of focus, bad expression of her face, etc), then I delete the duplicates then narrow it down to 20-30 favorites. So 15-20%.

When shooting sport portraits I shoot each kid twice and pick the best one. So 50%.



Nov 01, 2012 at 07:18 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #18 · What's YOUR success rate?


Steve Wylie wrote:
Several folks have reminded us that we need to slow down. That's certainly good advice, and something I always have to remind myself to do. Beyond that, I also noted (as did Ron) that you seem to bring a lot of detailed planning (even to camera settings) to your shoots. Rather than devote your energy to that level of detail, I think focusing on three things will help you get a better rate of keepers: 1. Do have an idea of the kind of images you want to create, focusing on poses and expressions in general. 2: Keep in
...Show more

Some great points here, thanks.

I have certainly found that taking a step back (not literally) and allowing more time per shot yields a much higher keeper rate. And lighting, well that speaks for itself. Years ago I would fire off a load of shots and always wonder why they never looked anything like the quality portraits I saw the pro's producing. One of the best things I learned was to think about the light, always. And this really does apply to almost every genre of photography.



Nov 02, 2012 at 09:31 AM
zalmyb
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p.1 #19 · What's YOUR success rate?


For events I shoot way more than I should (though the nicer the venue/lighting the less I find myself doing that). For portraits sessions I have around a 90% keeper rate of which I deliver probably 75%. But that's only since I started shooting film (slowing down, making sure everything is perfect before I shoot). Before that my keeper rate was probably 30% of which I delivered maybe 15%...


Nov 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #20 · What's YOUR success rate?


I'm not a pro, but I do a lot of shooting. My keeper rate varies with what I'm doing and I've learned to be brutal when it comes to deleting.

Sports -- keeper rate ~ 10% Sometimes I get lucky and get a whole series of action that produces 5-10 shots in a row that are good due to burst mode. I pick the best and delete the rest or sometime I keep 3-4 to show the sequence of events.

Self Family Portraits -- keeper rate ~20% but at the end of the day I keep one picture, maybe two if one came out funny.

Other people's families where I'm not in the picture but behind the camera: 20-40%

General candids 10-40% depending on a bunch of factors ... I'm brutal and ditch 90% of the pictures and keep only the best.

I did do a family portrait session for some friends once. Took about 150 shots. I got lucky that day and the keeper rate was in the 60+% range. I kept the best 30 pictures, post processed them a bit, and those are the ones they got.



Nov 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
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