What is your keeper rate?

dhr90

EOS RP
Aug 1, 2013
305
0
As a shooter primarily of motorsports and airshows, and a determination to push shuttter speeds as lower as I possibly can, I'm used to having an average of 10-25% keeper rate. Variations on subject, weather, backgrounds all play a part. I find myself happy if I do get a 25% keeper rate. Sometimes shoot landscapes and the odd portrait, where I might have 75-90% of shots I am happy with.

Just curious as to how other amateur and pro photographers feel about their keeper rate and if they feel it is high or low?

:)
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,262
1,918
Canada
I have a 100 percent keeper rate.... seriously......

I dump EVERYTHING to a hard drive......

Of those 100 percent keepers, only about one in ten is worth looking at, and perhaps one in a hundred worth showing....

I would say that focus and exposure is good on about 80% of shots (on average) but with things like birds in flight and the hyperactive kitten from hell, it drops down to under 10 percent.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,307
496
'keeper rate' is hard to define IMO.
I have moved towards wildlife photography in the last 5 years, and it is mainly birds because that is the easiest wildlife to find and I wonder what I define as a 'keeper' - with birds it is as much about wing position and head angle as it is about lighting and background and that puts my keeper rate much lower. Simply 'pin sharp focus' is not really enough. And even now many photographs I kept 2 years ago I would happily throw in the bin now so obviously my standards have changed.
On a day out, if I shot 1,000 frames I would be pleased if I got 100 I would happily show to friends/family. Really happy if I had 5 that I would consider good enough to print.


PS - shooting at 10fps, if I get 10 very similar is that 10 keepers or one?
 

Ryananthony

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 7, 2015
498
2
I have taken 1000 photos of a tree swallow feeding its youngs waiting for the ''perfect'' shot. I left with one image i was happy with, and the truth is, that one image is not timed as perfectly as it could have been.

Ive also gone out to take a certain landscape shot. I took only 6 images, merged them all into one keeper.
 

rfdesigner

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 12, 2014
876
0
New Forest, UK
sites.google.com
When it comes to astro, completely blank shots can be keepers (dark frames), and most shots are keepers, at least to some extent.

About 18 months ago we had a big storm come through. I fired off 150 shots to get one keeper, which ended up on the BBC.

For me since going FF and having my Eg-S screen (so I can see fairly accurately in the viewfinder what the shot looks like) my keeper rate has certainly improved, and my frames/year has fallen. So images of my kids now are usually 5~10 shots per "moment" and I get a choice as to what to print, where as it was more like 20 shots and sometimes there was nothing.
 

scyrene

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 4, 2013
2,640
599
UK
www.flickr.com
My keeper rate varies depending on the subject. If it's something unusual, a species I've never photographed before, or a unique occasion, I'll keep a lot more. If I get better views of that species, etc. at a future date, I can then return and cull some more. In general I take several images per shot, to account for AF inconsistencies, camera shake, etc. The more challenging the subject, the more I take and the more I expect to cull - for something like swifts in flights, it might be a 95% deletion rate. Otherwise I'll delete all but the best of each batch of images (so maybe I'll take 3-5 of each shot, and end up with the best of that bunch), which would imply 65-80% deletion rate. For other types of work it's different. I keep all sub frames from focus stacks, astro stacking, etc, so for that it might be a 95-99% keeper rate.
 

zim

EOR R
Oct 18, 2011
1,863
53
Don Haines said:
If your standards are low enough, every shot can be a keeper.....
Coffee down nose, not nice. thanks for the laugh!
 

awair

EOS T7i
Jan 3, 2013
93
7
photo.awair.net
It so much depends on the subject and the lighting...

Mainly, I cover swimming events (70%), with other sports being a major part of the remainder (20%). Over a two-day event I will take 5-8,000 shots. For outdoor sports, I expect that about 70% of these will be technically acceptable shots, (both the subject in focus and correctly exposed), but after review only about 10% are acceptable for display/sharing (composition, expression/action etc). This may be due to inevitable duplication, or that someone just looks 'odd', because of their exertion.

When reviewing the typical (indoor) swimming events, that 70% reduces to about 30% (and lots of very sharp, perfectly focussed splash!). I'm very happy if I get 2-300 quality shots of different swimmers. Typically, some of the swimmers are easy to capture, with a very predictable motion, others I just can't quite capture.

Another consideration is the edit/review time: after a day's good shooting I can generally find my 2-300 'real' keepers in just a few hours.

In contrast, I had a very poor and unevenly lit swimming gala - the light varied between lanes, as well as up and down the pool: it took me over a dozen editing/review session (over several weeks) to produce an acceptable collection.

There's no doubt that Don sums it up perfectly...

Don Haines said:
If your standards are low enough, every shot can be a keeper.....
Most of us here on this site are hoping to learn and improve - your 'worst' could be better than my 'best', but I'll never get better without critical review (self or peers).

Anyway, back to the statistics:
This shot was "1 of 900" for that race,
- "1 of 5,000" for the gala
- "1 of 150" for that particular length of the race
- "1 of 20,000" over similar galas
or "1 of the first burst of 8", because the swimmer I wanted was in the first heat after the break...

...I got lucky!
 

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Duckman

EOS T7i
Oct 5, 2013
56
0
37
USA
What is considered a keeper can be quite subjective and varies wildly depending what is being captured....generally speaking for me, ~25% keepers.

That said, I'd say only 5% of all my photos are worth printing and throwing in a frame.
-J
 

scyrene

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 4, 2013
2,640
599
UK
www.flickr.com
Duckman said:
What is considered a keeper can be quite subjective and varies wildly depending what is being captured....generally speaking for me, ~25% keepers.

That said, I'd say only 5% of all my photos are worth printing and throwing in a frame.
-J
5% isn't bad! I wouldn't print and frame more than one in five or ten thousand shots.
 

Duckman

EOS T7i
Oct 5, 2013
56
0
37
USA
scyrene said:
Duckman said:
What is considered a keeper can be quite subjective and varies wildly depending what is being captured....generally speaking for me, ~25% keepers.

That said, I'd say only 5% of all my photos are worth printing and throwing in a frame.
-J
5% isn't bad! I wouldn't print and frame more than one in five or ten thousand shots.
Now that I think about it, I may have been too generous with myself haha ::) it's more realistically ~1% that I'd print.
I also don't really shoot too much sports high action stuff where laying on the shutter is advantageous (and lowers %) to getting the shot.
At the end of the day... The keeper % doesn't mean sh*t. What really matters is getting the shot. :)
-J
 

KeithBreazeal

EOS 6D MK II
Jan 16, 2014
1,282
104
www.kbvp.com
Don Haines said:
If your standards are low enough, every shot can be a keeper.....
HA!
Thanks for making my day. :)

I shoot about every subject known to man because I'm a bit scattered.
If I shoot with prior planning on a controlled subject, it's better than 50%.
No planning, but a controllable subject, maybe 30%.
High speed motor sports drops to the level of metal anguish- maybe 1% if I'm lucky.
For me, airshows are the worst for keepers. I have stopped going to airshows that have poor lighting or acts that I have shot numerous times over the years.

Keepers really depend on the format to be viewed or printed.
Maybe the true definition of "keepers" is how many photos were so stunning that you had it printed larger than 24x30 inches and hung it in the living room.

If I was asked to have a public exhibit, the number of photos might be about 20.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,694
866
To me, there are multiple categories of keepers.

1. First, I toss out all the images with poor focus, messed up lighting, or goofs like shots of the ground when I'm moving the camera. The remain photos all are potentially usable. Thats about 98%.

2. Next, I review images for content such as closed eyes, facial expressions, and the like. This varies a lot, but usually eliminates 10-20% of the images.

3. Finally, I review for similar images, best facial expressions, or if movement is involved, for the right moment. This eliminates another 20-90% depending on the type of subject.

So, for photographing fast moving objects like birds or aircraft, its entirely possible, likely even that only a few percent are selected. I mostly shoot stage productions, and keep about 80%, but only 20% get used.
 

DominoDude

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 7, 2013
960
0
::1
My worst keepers, are far worse than some of the shots that I toss.
With some birds you take what you get, because it is the first and only occurrence, and perhaps the only shot I will ever make of it.
I have a shot of a Lesser scaup, that really sucks, it was in a lake shot through branches in crap light, but I couldn't get closer and the branches were too far away to be moved, and the bird did not cooperate.
Also have a Black-faced bunting, shot from a distance of 140-150meters with a 400mm lens - it sucks so much.... The bird is perhaps 50pixels across. If I tried to get any nearer, I would probably have scared the bird away, and then I would have been beaten to a pulp with tripods by 60 angry birders.
To me those are "documenting shots" - they prove I was there at the same time as the bird. Photographically and technically I'm not proud of them.

Out of roughly 30 000 shots, I could perhaps pull half a dozen to a dozen I'm truly content with.
 

tiggy@mac.com

Pentax K-1000
Jan 20, 2014
531
244
Thetford, VT
www.ForestMetrix.com
This question elicited some really useful responses. We all expected the answers to be diverse, depending on style, equipment and subject matter, but the details given by the various posters provided a breadth of color that I think really answers this question well.

This is easily the best forum.

-tig
PS: I do much intervalometer work for some bird studies. I'll take 250,000 shots in a month. They're all "keepers" because I need to preserve my data. If you ask about my shots of kids: 30 percent is good, 10 percent is bad. They're pretty violent in their movements, and they dwell in low light. My wildlife shots: 20 percent. Deliberate landscape shots: 30-40 percent. Things I'll print: 0.05 percent, according to what I printed last year and non-data shots I took (15/30000).
 

chauncey

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 5, 2011
564
1
IMHO, you should have described your genre as well as what you desire from your images before asking that question.

As an example my BIF images have a much lower keeper rate before they end up in my living room. But, age has forced
me indoors and my keeper rate is 100%, simple because all my shooting is done live-view, tethered using Canon Utility Software.
All my adjustments are done prior to squeezing the shutter.
 

IglooEater

EOS 6D MK II
Nov 15, 2014
904
0
Let's see, out of my last 10,000 shots (roughly) I've printed maybe 30-40 larger than 4x6, shared several hundred online, "picked" a couple thousand in LR, and rejected maybe 3,000 of them So my keeper rate is somewhere between 0.03% and 70%