What is your photo-taking "success rate"?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
This question is targeted mainly at amatuer/professional photographer - people who take their photos seriously. Out of 100 photos you take, how many are keepers?



Clearly there are many factors. For example, if it was sports or portraits, where the subject/lighting is dynamic, one can take very many photos with a low "success rate". On the other hand, it it was landscapes or architecture, where the subject/lighting is relatively fixed, the "success rate" would be high.



For "general purpose" amatuer photography, say a trip to the zoo or botanical gardens, a holiday to another city or a drive to the country, what is reasonable success rate to expect?



I'm reasonably new at photography. In theory, I think I know all there is to know about the camera - stuff like depth of field, exposure, film (or sensor) speed, tripod use, etc. To the best of my ability and judgement, my success rate is about 10% - 20%. Is that a reasonable rate?



If it is high, either I'm good or I'm not critical enough about what's good (most definitely the latter, I think). If it is low, either I'm crap or I'm overly critical (probably the former).



So, what is your success rate?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I would say that 10% sounds about right for people with a good amount of experience under their belts. The more pics you take, the more you look through that frame and the more you get to know all aspects of capturing light, the better you get. I know if I put my camera down for a while and come back to it later, it takes a while to start taking good pictures again. You're always kind of re-learning photography; it's not like riding a bike at all, though each time you come back to it, it's a little easier to get back into shape so to speak.



    Let's put this into perspective though: those amazing National Geographic photographers probably take 10,000 photos on their assignments, and they probably get a couple dozen shots worthy of consideration for the magazine out of that.



    When I was studying in Italy, I took about 1800 photos, of which about 6 were outstanding, as good as any pro shot I've seen. Another 200 more or less were good enough to keep the negatives for and make an album out of, and the rest ranged from OK to awful with lots of pictures for sentimental value and documentation in the mix.



    tonton: I love available light photography. My best shots were mostly done this way. Master the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, because everything else is trickery.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Having had an interest in photography for years (and gone digital about a year or so ago) I find that I learn a little more from each shot, good and bad, that I take.

    1/3 success rate is what you should be aiming for. It's all well and good to know all there is to know about camera settings and all that technical stuff but the real learning curve is "composition" of shots.

    Thats what makes all the difference... the framing and the timing of shots, knowing your subject and anticipating what your subject may do next (in the case of a moving object or person). The "rule of thirds" is always good to remember and achieving an "eye" for interesting photos is something that anyone interested in photography will always be learning.

    Good luck with the photos
  • Reply 3 of 17
    drumsticksdrumsticks Posts: 315member
    Totally agree that composition is what matters, but one still has to know the technical bits well enough such that one can focus purely on the composition without thinking about the technical parts. This is where I'm at. I suppose this is where most keen photographers are at - we're always learning to improve the composition. The technical bits can be learnt in a reasonably short time.



    In the beginning, more than half of my shots were technically wrong (let's not talk about composition yet). They were either blur due to various reasons or over/under exposed, etc. Learning from EXIF information is great, and I've reduced my technically wrong shots tremendously. Now, I hardly have to think about the technical settings...



    Working on composition now Thanks for all your feedback. Now I know the ballpark figure on what I should be aiming for.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Keep up the practice and you should get pleasing results.

    I see you're from Australia...beautiful country! I spent a year travelling there and enjoyed every minute Got some first class photos there too. If you're into landscape photography, well, you pretty much have all the beautiful scenery you can shake a lens at right on your doorstep
  • Reply 5 of 17
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    My best shots might be considered technically wrong for not balancing color quite like you're supposed to, or getting slightly blurred images from long exposures. Some of my better shots back in the day were from accidental exposures when advancing a new roll of film in the camera! I wouldn't put convention over expression now that you're concentrating on the content. Ideas warrant their own conventions.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    chris vchris v Posts: 460member
    I bracket just about everything I really want. This is especially important in cave photography, because often, you might not be able to get back into the smae cave for a number of years. I'll do 3 or 4 exposures of the same scene, usually. Inariably, the ones I'm excited about never turn out, and the I'm surprised by something I didn't expect to work. If I shoot 36 exposures, I'm lucky to get 4 or maybe 6 really worthwhile shots. Above ground, the ratio might be just a little higher.



    (I want a 6+ megapixel digital with a bulb setting so bad I can taste it. Sure would be nice to have the LCD to compose on, and I wouldn't have to pay to develop bad slides.)



    CV
  • Reply 7 of 17
    sparhawksparhawk Posts: 134member
    it really depends with what eye you look at it...

    technically, maybe 10 to 15%

    Emotionally thought, i keep around 60%
  • Reply 8 of 17
    drumsticksdrumsticks Posts: 315member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MiMac

    I see you're from Australia...beautiful country! I spent a year travelling there and enjoyed every minute Got some first class photos there too. If you're into landscape photography, well, you pretty much have all the beautiful scenery you can shake a lens at right on your doorstep



    Yes, in fact, am planning a big road trip from Adelaide to Perth, some 3000km in the straightest paths in November/December. About two thirds the width of Australia! Of course, I won't be taking the most direct path, so it could well be some 4000-5000km. Looking forward to some great photo taking opportunities. Trying to get as much practise and advice before then, so I don't "waste" my trip.



    It's always surprising how the ones we want may not turn out, while others surprise us by turning out really well. Experience will reduce this, I guess. Before, when I was a point and shoot photographer, and money was limited, every shot had to count as film costs add up! Now that I've gone digital, and taking a stronger interest, I'm happy to keep my finger on the trigger. Thanks to your feedback, now I don't feel as bad with a low <10% success rate. Somehow, I always thought that pros could get near 100% success rate with "one shot one kill" sniper accuracy
  • Reply 9 of 17
    mac writemac write Posts: 289member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chris v

    I bracket just about everything I really want. This is especially important in cave photography, because often, you might not be able to get back into the smae cave for a number of years. I'll do 3 or 4 exposures of the same scene, usually. Inariably, the ones I'm excited about never turn out, and the I'm surprised by something I didn't expect to work. If I shoot 36 exposures, I'm lucky to get 4 or maybe 6 really worthwhile shots. Above ground, the ratio might be just a little higher.



    (I want a 6+ megapixel digital with a bulb setting so bad I can taste it. Sure would be nice to have the LCD to compose on, and I wouldn't have to pay to develop bad slides.)



    CV




    Ge the D70 my friend. It is well worth it. I love mine. So much control. Beats the crap out of my CoolPix 995. No waiting for anything (well focus sometimes).
  • Reply 10 of 17
    boemaneboemane Posts: 311member
    It depends on what I am photographing. During the periods where I do take a lot of pictures (vacations), I think about 1 in every 10 pictures are good, and about half that as worty to go up on the wall (mind you, I dont have that many photos on the wall, but I feel they are just as good as the ones I have up there )



    On some occations, I do take lots of pictures that I think are really great, and with a high success rate. For instance, on a diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef, I took about 200 pictures with my digital camera, and at least 100 of them were exelent. However, I blame that on the beauty of the Reef rather than on my underwater camera skills



    So I guess about 10%, with 5% being "really good". about 5% gets deleted straight away, especially low light photos, since they tend to be blurry. I look at the picture on the LCD screen and decide wherther or not to take another picture right away if the first didnt turn out too good. I never delete pictures before I get back home, and generally keep enough space to take at least 40-50 pictures on the memory card, so I dont run out of pictures and have to delete off the camera to fit in another one - You only do that mistake once



    .:BoemanE
  • Reply 11 of 17
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    The success rate depends, of what you call a good picture, and what you call bad.



    If you consider that a good picture, is a good exposure, with a sharp image (unless of want blurry effect), most of my pictures with my walkaround lens are correct. Now if I take shots handheld with my sigma 100-300 , the ratio, will be decrease because it's difficult to have sharp images even if you don't have shaking hands.



    Now if you consider a good picutre, a picture with a good compostion worthless to be published somewhere, or to interest others peoples, than the ration drop dramatically
  • Reply 12 of 17
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by drumsticks

    Yes, in fact, am planning a big road trip from Adelaide to Perth, some 3000km in the straightest paths in November/December. About two thirds the width of Australia! Of course, I won't be taking the most direct path, so it could well be some 4000-5000km. Looking forward to some great photo taking opportunities. Trying to get as much practise and advice before then, so I don't "waste" my trip.



    Sounds great Wish I was there again :sigh: Ah well... I have some great memories of my travels

    Dunno if you have tried the Great Ocean Road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide, excellent scenery...breathtaking! I flew Adelaide to Perth so missed out on that bit so I'm hoping to get back sometime and maybe travel on the Ghan!



    BTW I took a digital video camera as well as my trusty Canon SLR so I have at least 80 hours of video of Australia as well! So much that I still haven't looked at it all yet and it's been 4 years!

    Have fun on the trip!
  • Reply 13 of 17
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    I tend to delete as I go, so if it doesn't come out, it's gone on the spot. So I guess that's 100% success rate
  • Reply 14 of 17
    drumsticksdrumsticks Posts: 315member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MiMac

    Dunno if you have tried the Great Ocean Road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide, excellent scenery...breathtaking! I flew Adelaide to Perth so missed out on that bit so I'm hoping to get back sometime and maybe travel on the Ghan!



    No, haven't done the Great Ocean Road yet. Flew once and took the bus once, but not driving. By the way, the Ghan goes from Adelaide to Darwin. The Indian Pacific goes from Sydney to Perth (via Adelaide). (For those who don't know, those are the names of trains).



    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    I tend to delete as I go, so if it doesn't come out, it's gone on the spot. So I guess that's 100% success rate



    Quote:

    Originally posted by BoeManE

    I never delete pictures before I get back home, and generally keep enough space to take at least 40-50 pictures on the memory card, so I dont run out of pictures and have to delete off the camera to fit in another one



    A good compromise I do sometimes is to keep all photos until you need the space. Then review them and delete the *really* bad ones, all in one go. And continue shooting.



    We all have our own standards. Pros might classify success if its sellable. Amatuers perhaps if it is hangable on the wall. Grandma and granddad if it is memorable, etc. Perhaps should rephrase question to "what is the success rate to your own standards and for your own purposes?".



    Seems like we're all about the same at about 10-20% good ones and about 5% or lower for *really* good ones.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    drumsticksdrumsticks Posts: 315member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    Now if you consider a good picutre, a picture with a good compostion worthless to be published somewhere, or to interest others peoples, than the ration drop dramatically



    You mean "worthy to be published"?
  • Reply 16 of 17
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by drumsticks

    No, haven't done the Great Ocean Road yet. Flew once and took the bus once, but not driving. By the way, the Ghan goes from Adelaide to Darwin. The Indian Pacific goes from Sydney to Perth (via Adelaide). (For those who don't know, those are the names of trains).



    Oops, my bad. Yes I meant the Indian pacific, tho I would like to ride the Ghan too ... someday...



    Anyhow, Indeed some of my favourite pics would not win any awards for technical excellence but are of great sentimental value and remind me of good times (glad I kept a lot of stuff I was not sure of). I suppose it's hard to put a price on memories.
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