Percentage of really good pics

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Ex Barista
Ex Barista Forum Member • Posts: 52
Percentage of really good pics
4

My camera just rolled over from 10K pics so I took a moment to look at the number of my ‘true’ keepers.

Starting at the beginning of this year I had about 3,500 keepers, pics that I thought were pretty good.  About 35% which seemed way too high.

A lot of these were multiple pics of the same subject differing only in things like a few feet to the left or the right, different zoom lengths, etc.

Anyway starting last January I began to ruthlessly cull my keepers.  If I had 3 or 4 good pics of the same subject I kept 1 and deleted the rest.  Some pictures that looked great to me when I first took them didn’t nearly look that good to me now so I deleted them too.  It’s also been interesting to see recurring themes to my work, as well as differences on taking pictures of the same subject on multiple dates.

I set up a good-better-best, as well as vacation and family pics that weren’t that great but I wanted to keep.  Anyway the family pics got 2 stars while good-better-best got 3-4-5 stars.

After completing the culling I now have 850 good pics + family pics. That’s from 10K pics taken so that’s just over 8% true keepers.  That’s down from 3,500 keepe at the beginning of the year.

I remember that back in my film days I’d be pretty happy to get 1 or 2 keepers from a roll of 36 (about 5%) so that seems pretty consistent.  I like to think that I’m a better photographer than then but my standards are higher.  It’s been a fun exercise and now I’ve got a portfolio that I wouldn’t be ashamed to show someone - as if someone else was interested. 
Regards,

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tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 11,999
Re: Percentage of really good pics
4

I am definitely a fly from a different wall. Since the 1960s I have taken well over 800,000 photographs and have every one of them doubly backed up hard drives. For whatever reason every picture I take are Simply fabulous and a definite keeper.

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tony

HRC2016 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,425
Why do math?
3

It seems you are spending more time doing math than photography. But it's your time, so that's your prerogative.

I've never counted my "keepers" and that would make photography less fun for me.

I shoot M a lot, and very seldom use any burst modes. I shoot a lot of action shots, too, but if you know what you're doing you don't need spray and pray. If I have fun on an outing then it's a success - unless it's a paid shoot.

I suggest looking at your poor shots as learning opportunities. Spend more time looking at your discards than you do your keepers. Examine the bad shots to determine what didn't work. Do that and you may have fewer images to review, more success and more enjoyment.

‐----

Satan loves the shadows - and the highlights.

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MrBrightSide
MrBrightSide Contributing Member • Posts: 969
Re: Percentage of really good pics
3

My average is holding steady at 8 to 10 percent.

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 7,961
Re: Percentage of really good pics
1

I somewhat agree with those who say it's not important, but it can be an interesting exercise.

When I was shooting for for newspaper we used to say if you could average one publishable photo per roll you were doing OK. Now remember that's a daily newspaper -- publishable was not a very high standard. At 36 shots per roll that's about 3%, which is how I was thinking when I started digital.

But my standards are a lot higher now, while digital gives me more freedom to experiment. So I will often do a lot more shots of a given subject. And toss a lot more. Aside from the photos I keep for sentimental reasons (family, friends, pets) I'm sure my keeper rate is well under 1%. Keepers being the photos I really want to keep for the rest of my life, photos I might print for gallery exhibition or use in a book or portfolio.

Of course I have far more than 1% on my hard drives -- storage is cheap and my time is too valuable to spend much of it culling photos.

EDIT/UPDATE: Just checked my working drive and I have 1.1 TB of images since January 1. That's after the routine culling I do as I go along, so my 2 T drive may not be enough to last the year.

Gato

tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Percentage of really good pics

I am not sure that any of my photos are "really good" from a professional sense but as far as my personal "bests", I would agree that somewhere in the 5-10% range is about right.

I have been working to cull some stuff as well as deleting marginal photos as well.

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Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,859
Re: Percentage of really good pics

Interesting. I wouldn't even know how to check, since I've got many cameras and since I delete the ones that aren't keepers right away. (I don't really shoot raw) I do keep original JPGs of keepers though, in addition to the doctored-up ones that are the ones I show.

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-Jeremy
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tdbmd Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Percentage of really good pics

I am just giving a rough guess as I also have photos on at least 2 different computers but I do try to periodically go back through them to really separate the wheat from the chaff

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nicodimus22
nicodimus22 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
Re: Percentage of really good pics
1

I am my own harshest critic. I keep less than 1% of them, and show less than half of those to other people.

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Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,859
My estimated percentages

Family photos: 50%

Others: 10%

For family photos, my standards are not too high. Of course I go for good technical quality, but capturing the moment and recording the occasion are the higher priorities.

For others, they have to be pretty good to be worth sharing or keeping.

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-Jeremy
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grsnovi
grsnovi Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: Percentage of really good pics
1

Over the years I think that I've taken some "exhibition quality" shots but as others have said I don't keep many and I don't do the math. I've always felt that I could do better on the percentage but most of the time I shoot what catches my eye without too much regard for being anal about my set up.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 17,691
Re: Percentage of really good pics
2

When I first got a digital camera in 2001, my computer had a tiny hard drive and so I culled ruthlessly, which I later regretted.

Eventually I purchased hard drives like a child buys candy, and I saved most everything. This actually was good especially when I started getting published and sell photos, as stuff I’d previously would delete were liked by the clients.

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