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Photography Question 
Jason R. Fortenbacher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2006

How many stay?

Just curious, about how many pictures do you keep from a given photo session?

So far I've been as low as 15% when I was more interested in trying different settings than capturing the moment. Other times when I "play it safe" I keep around 50%. Roughly I'd say I keep about 30%. And when I say keep, I mean good enough to actually print and show a potential client.

I just wanted to know if this is normal.

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9/12/2006 2:08:34 AM

Glenn E. Urquhart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/3/2006
  Hi Jason - I think you are doing very well with that percentage. Depending on the day I will shoot 75 to 150 shots. If I can get 1 "outstanding" photo, the day was worth it. Usually I will get around 5 "very good" images. With that said I am very critical of my work and beat myself up on how it could have been done better! Anyway... keep on 'shoting'! Cheers, Glenn.

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9/12/2006 2:43:19 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  When I'm working on an assignment, usually shooting 35mm, I may go through 10-12 rolls of 36 exposures per day. Out of those, if I'm get what I feel are one or two "me pleasing" images per roll, I think that's hot and I had a good day. Still, all my film goes back to my editor(s) with my notes and preferences for which shots on which rolls I feel illustrate something better than others. Ultimately the decisions are up to them. Later, however, when I get to re-cull them, depending on how I'm feeling that day, I may chose more or less than I did originally.

"Normal" is kind of a relative term. In my view, it's a real difficult subjective process being your own best and worst critic. .

Take it light.

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9/12/2006 5:34:13 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Jason,

Id have to say it all depends (what) I'm shooting.

Vacation pics: I usually shoot a ton and "keep" 20 percent. I (save) everything except the obvious blown shot.

Portrait sessions: I try to make sure every shot is a keeper; in the studio this is much easier, unless my subject closes their eyes at the moment of the shot. About 90 percent keepers.

All the best,


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9/12/2006 6:50:34 PM

Jason R. Fortenbacher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2006
  Wow everyone, thanks for your input!

I'm glad to know that my percentages are within your averages.

Pete: With regard to your comments on portrait sessions, I am that way with my static aircraft shots now. After taking countless BAD pictures I am finally able to know what angles only look cool in person, and those that actually look good in print. :)

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9/13/2006 12:02:42 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  The important thing to consider when culling your potential keepers is to imagine your client (or anyone else not familiar with what you've experienced first-hand) seeing that image for the first time.
Sure, technical perfection is a key component but also try to visualize what you've captured through the eyes of someone else.

My personal record per 36 exposure roll is about a half-dozen keepers but I'm constantly working toward improving that ratio.

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9/13/2006 2:48:09 PM

Jerry Frazier   I shoot weddings (90%) and portraits (9%) and other (1%).

Weddings, I shoot about 3,000 and out of that, I can usually pick about 40 to 100 that I think are nice. And, out of those, I can pick about 3 that are worthy of display. And, like Mark said, on any given day, I may pick different ones out of those down selects.

Portraits, on an average shoot, I shoot around 300. I deliver 30. Usually one one or two are outstanding.

For other stuff, it depends.

I don't care about percentages, that's not important. What is important is that you get ONE that is useable. If you get one that you are proud of from a shoot, you are a rockstar, and should be proud.

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9/14/2006 9:05:30 AM

dave    500-800 full day
30-200 half day
50 for 2hrs

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9/14/2006 11:42:48 AM

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