What percentage are your keepers?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Firstlight Veteran Member • Posts: 3,669
Treat every frame as your last frame

As someone said, it depends on the job. If you are shooting events, it is a bigger challenge- especially weddings and the like. I am stunned the average wedding photographer is shooting in the thousands of frames per job. Their keeper and dupe rate must be horrendous (let alone the culling overhead in post).

I grew up on shooting film. Let me tell you, when you have to lug two RB67's around all day and have only 150-200 frames of film to shoot, you get very high yield. Shot selection is everything, and you learn fast how not to waste a single frame. That was 20, 30 years ago for me. When I went digital around 1999-2000 I didn't increase my frame rate much - just slowly over time as I began mixing in a more photo-journalistic style along with my traditional shots. Now maybe I shoot 500-800 for an entire event and deliver several hundred to the client - many others are keepers but dupes. I am glad I grew up with forced-conservative frame limits. Of course I learned a lot more with digital fast than I did using film, but there are things that many digital shooters are not as cognizant of because of lack of such constraints and poor understanding of many fundamentals. Give 'em my Mamiya RB67, or my Toyo 45AII 4x5 camera that I still shoot for the joy of it from time to time, and they'll learn right right quick.

I am a former full time pro. The mark of a pro is being able to deliver the job - every time, with high quality, and never fail. You can't. Shoot a wedding and it's a once in a lifetime thing. Forger the liability issues, you are messing with someone's dreams. Sometimes the limitation isn't the number of frames, the constraint is often time and/or subject opportunity. Shooting spray-and-pray style in those situation won't cover your ---. The mark of a pro or pro-class work is delivering high-quality images on time without fail for the client.

The pressure of taking paid jobs is like taking a shot of strong whisky. Anyone here that has taken on paying jobs knows exactly what I am saying, and it is likely one of the few natural constraints that remain that teach someone how to think in a manner that the frame you are about to burn is every bit as critical as the last frame of film on your last roll of film. Think like that and your keeper rate will skyrocket.


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