What's Your Keeper Rate?

Started Apr 8, 2010 | Discussions
David A. Hamments
David A. Hamments Senior Member • Posts: 1,480
What's Your Keeper Rate?

I've recently reviewed my best photos (out of about 5 thousand), using LR's filters and have noticed I get significantly more "keepers" with my 70-300VR than my other lenses, which include 18-105, 16-85, 12-24, 35 1.8 which are all Nikon, except for the 12-24 which is a Tokina. I'm shooting on a D90 for about a year now. I'd say I have a little over 10% of my photos rated as "keepers". Is this average?

I'm wondering how other D90 users fare with their lenses?

What's your best lens, and what's your keeper rate?

D. Hamments


 David A. Hamments's gear list:David A. Hamments's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D7100 Nikon 1 V3 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +22 more
cdrross Contributing Member • Posts: 877
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I am about 3%.
I am getting a bit better ever so slowly.
Regards Craig - D90

Blaze312 Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I think this depends a lot on the type of photography you are doing.

For instance if you are in controlled conditions like a studio, I would expect a person who shoots those types of shots to have a higher rate of keepers.

On the other hand if you do any free hand macro shooting like me, it can be quite lower. I'm not far off from you though. I keep almost all my images, id say close to 85-90%. However only about 15-20% are good. Then I have about 5% that are really shots that I consider 'very good'.

I was told by a professional photographer that I could consider myself a pro when I shoot about 85%+ good to bad.


Xscream Regular Member • Posts: 452
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I think keeper rate is very hard to compare. Some are very critical of their work, others not. For me it also depends on the memories the photo gives me. Pictures from travelling may have a keeper rate of 30%, but that doesn't mean I think all of these are masterpieces. And when I am around the house the keeper rate may be somewhere like 2% or so? But then again this also depends whether I was at the zoo, went to the beach, just walked into the city to make some pictures, make photos of my newborn nephew (50% keepers or so) etc. etc.

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'The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.' Friedrich Nietzsche

LensCreep Regular Member • Posts: 227
I'm a pack rat!

I save almost everything, but the near-misses I experiment with in photoshop! I have a hard time deleting them unless they are totally poorly exposed or out of focus.
Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200VR, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Sigma 10-20mm

 LensCreep's gear list:LensCreep's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
pixd90 Senior Member • Posts: 1,464
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I have taken 5009 pictures since i got my D90 about 5 months ago and about 15 to 20% are keepers. Defining keepers as the pictures that I would publish (e-mail or prints) to friends and family. Thats 1000 pictures.

Took the grand-kids to the park yesterday and ended up with 105 pictures. 19 keepers. 18%

Went to the everglades this past winter, took 135 pictures, 20 keepers 15%.

Based on my definition of keepers, i would say 15 to 20%.

If you define keepers as pictures that are not blown out, i would say 80 to 85%,
and there is no way i would consider myself anywhere near a professional; just a
different standard.

 pixd90's gear list:pixd90's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
FoolyCooly Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

Composition, exposure, focus= 99%
Expression and poses= 45%

I only shoot people....

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Some of my stuff here...

whoisjohngalt Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I'm in the same boat as you are. I use my 70-300 VRII on my D90 pretty much all the time. I have only had the D90 for a few weeks now and have taken 4840 pictures. Of those 4840 pictures, maybe a quarter have gotten deleted in camera, another 50% were deleted the first time through in irfanview, and the remaining 37.5% I just haven't gotten around to deleting.

Honestly, I may have 3 that I could sell. As a matter of fact, I have already been asked to make prints of 2 of those 3. So, from a selling standpoint, 0.06%. Not very good. Now, as a qualifier, out of those 4840, aproximately 3500 of them have been bird shots with the 70-300. I would say out of the first 2000 attempts, almost none were sharp. The next 1000 had more that were sharp but none that were interesting. These last 500 have had probably 90% sharp and 3 that were interesting, so the odds are getting better.

My secret, I've stopped taking shots that I know I can't get and am shooting a lot less. The first day I took the camera to the lake I came home with 700+ blurry pictures of birds. I just got back from the lake today with around 150 sharp pictures.

For those keeping up with the math, that leaves 1340 that weren't birds. Out of those, about a 1000 of them are my 8 month old daughter and to tell you the truth, birds are easier. I only have a few that I am proud of, maybe 50 or so that are 'facebook' worthy.

The other 340 were of focus charts hoping I could blame something other than myself for my low keeper rate.

Brooks P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,183
Ansel Adams

"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop."
Ansel Adams

Not sure how many frames Mr. Adams shot in a year but I'm thinking his "keeper" rate was rather low, but then his criteria seem to have been quite high. On the other hand one neighbor can't understand why anyone would actually buy a camera because the cheap disposable cameras more than meet his photographic needs.

Photos of my Grandkids have a high keeper rate because the technical aspects are not how the photos are judged, the photos are judged on memories potential. Close-ups and bird photos have to be almost technically perfect because flaws can be rather obvious. I want feather details visible on my birds, no blur – motion or camera shake, proper DOF, proper focus, spot-on exposure, and good lighting. I see bird photos posted all the time where the focus is on the branch the bird is perched on rather than on the bird’s eye.

So for me the keeper rate depends a lot on subject matter and why I’m shooting the photos; a child’s Birthday party photos won’t come under the same scrutiny as a close-up of a dewy-rose shortly after dawn.

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While amateurs change the camera’s settings; many Pro’s prefer to change the light.


Ron007 Regular Member • Posts: 229
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I usually shoot People. But I am into street photography and a bit of architecture as well.

I am the type who will keep the photos unless they are OOF/badly composed. I rarely delete pics because they were badly exposed. I rate myself as an ameteur but my keeper rate is about 70%. May be I should learn to be more critical about my photos because I really find them hard to delete. In last four months I have shot about 1600 pictures. Out of which I have about 950 intact, which is lower than usual for me as this count includes pictures from 3 new cameras, which means a lot of experimental shots. My rather high %age is primarily because I find it hard to delete pictures unless they are bad.

It really depends from person to person and what you shoot.

gedunk1 Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

2 - 3 %

Thank God I'm not using film!

jkjond Veteran Member • Posts: 8,815
rather variable

Hard to calculate without deciding what really is a keeper. Mine have two options, those that go on flickr as a general progress record, then those that make it to my serious site. I had a look over my last three outings where I took just over 100 shots each time.

London 140 taken, about 20 posted on flickr, held one back that will make it to my serious site, another couple which I may also put on there. 3:140 but there will be quite a few of duplicate tripod set ups with bracketed exposure so depends on whether those are counted or not.

Windmills on a moor, about 100 taken, posted 8 on flickr, one that I'm really pleased with. A lot of duplicate compositions to get different positions of sails. A lot of rubbish.

Liverpool docks/Crosby Another Place around 100 taken. Posted 8 on flickr, two held back that I'm pretty pleased with, one of which will make the grade, possibly both. The docks have very limited public viewpoints, so a lot of experimental shots that didn't stand a chance of being shown anywhere, but keep me thinking.

But overall I don't see keeper rate as being an indication of anything, its just a statistic - and one man's keeper is another man's deletion.

Would going out with just 10 shots available lead to better results, or would each exposure be too precious so you'd end up taking non?

ShawnR Regular Member • Posts: 424
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

What's your best lens, and what's your keeper rate?

Not quite sure what you mean by "best lens". Most often I have an 18-200 on a D90 or D300. In terms of sharpness, best lenses are Tokina 11-16, Nikkor 24-70 and 105 micro.

Keeper rate on landscape is about 90% with the 10% rejects due to unacceptable levels of noise. Inanimate objects is around 75%, trashing images that just weren't as interesting as I thought they would be. Fast moving wildlife has a keeper rate of around 25% using a Sigma 150-500. I lose a lot of images due to focus or poor framing. It's hard tracking a fast moving object trying to fill 40-50% of the frame when shooting in the 400-500mm range (600-750mm equivilant on D90).

I suspect everyone has experienced a poor keeper rate entering the world of photography. Many probably get their 1st camera, quickly read basics of what the switches and buttons on the body do, and run out shooting everything under the sun. Digital has made it very easy to do - instant gratification or rejection. Once the novelty of the camera wears off a lot of folks start spending more time understanding elements of exposure and composition. That's when the keeper rate starts to climb. For other folks the camera is always relied upon to provide good images and keeper rates usually remain low.

Review why your not keeping photos. Is it focus, exposure, boring subject, camera shake, composition? Identify the most common reason, and keep it in mind next time your out with a camera.

Jos12 Regular Member • Posts: 240
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I have the 18-105, 35 2.0, tokina 50-135 and the 70-300 VRII and I have noticed the same as you: my keeper rate from the 70-300 is much higher. I love the pictures from this lens,the contrast, colors, sharpness, everything. My keeper rate generally is low, maybe 20%, because I only want to keep the best.

demarren 123 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,616
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

I use the nikon 16-85 Vr II
And for landscape I can say 95 % of the pictures are keepers.
but from my 95 % keepers(meaning the pictures are good)
alot of the pictures say 70% do not have the intrest I think i got in mind.

the other 5 % is movement problems or mis focus,most of the time my fault to.
However when I do take sport or action pictures,then I have 3 or 5 %
Thad are good to exelent,the rest out of focus,movement.

In low light I manage to get around 30%

The better lenses wil give more keepers to.
I have only 3 lenses but only one start at F2.8
I am the guy thad jump around with extra lenses,
I am 52 now,.

have fun

David A. Hamments wrote:

I've recently reviewed my best photos (out of about 5 thousand), using LR's filters and have noticed I get significantly more "keepers" with my 70-300VR than my other lenses, which include 18-105, 16-85, 12-24, 35 1.8 which are all Nikon, except for the 12-24 which is a Tokina. I'm shooting on a D90 for about a year now. I'd say I have a little over 10% of my photos rated as "keepers". Is this average?

I'm wondering how other D90 users fare with their lenses?

What's your best lens, and what's your keeper rate?

D. Hamments


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My english is poor.Try to Understand
Nikon D70s,Nikon D5000,Oly 420,LX3,DP-1 D90
Claus M

 demarren 123's gear list:demarren 123's gear list
Olympus E-10 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V Fujifilm X10 Nikon Coolpix P7700 Panasonic LX100 +10 more
Rajeshb Senior Member • Posts: 1,305
1-2 % maybe

i don't know what is the exact definition of keepers.

In my view I take some pictures which are OK; i.e which can be posted in internet (mainly flickr stream) and may be printed. for those I guess my keeper rate is 1-2 %.

I also very rarely rate my pictures as good. I personally look upto a certain level which I want to achieve in my landscapes. according to that level I probably shoot 3-4 good pictures a year. for example, till now the attached shot is the only good picture for me in 2010


 Rajeshb's gear list:Rajeshb's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 (IF) DX Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD
Ilco Trajkovski Regular Member • Posts: 262
Re: 1-2 % maybe

I totally agree.

In my book I take 2-3 shots that I'm proud of per year. I keep all images, edit maybe 1% and out of those I print 10-12, and from those I select 2-3 for exhibitions.

Family keepers are completely different thing, but I count those as snapshots...

Somebody smart once said 'After they finish burning the books, they'll start burning the people'

sicherheit Contributing Member • Posts: 522
Re: What's Your Keeper Rate?

David A. Hamments wrote:

What's your best lens,

The one that's on the camera at the time

and what's your keeper rate?

100% - I only keep the ones I want

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One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style. Anon

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