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01-20-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
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Photography - the art of taking many pictures to get one good one?

In my mind, for some reason, I'm always a bit frustrated when I have to take multiple pictures to get a picture right. Sometimes I take a load of pictures (like 100 or so) before I finally get one that I find is a total gem.

What I'm wondering is this... do good (pro?) photographers take many many pictures to get the right one? Or is that the sign of an amateur photographer?

01-20-2009, 02:35 PM   #2
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Don't be too disappointed, and besides, you're not developing film so fire for effect as they say. Here's an interesting article from National Geographic. The number of 12,000 for a single story is discussed.
01-20-2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
do good (pro?) photographers take many many pictures to get the right one?
In a word....yes.

As an example, those sports photographers parked court-side fire off machine gun blasts of photos for each opportunity in the hopes of getting just one with everything right. This is true of many photographers. While it's true that an experienced photographer may not fire quite as many as an ametuer, they still take many more than a single photo. The difference is they are more experienced on where to be at the right moment and how to use their equipment without thinking much about it. But the more photos you get, the better chance you will take one that is perfect. And as rormeister says, it's digital, so fire for effect.

When I do a sunset, as an example, I'm firing almost constantly...making adjustments here and there to the exposure, bracketing, changing composition slightly, filter adjustments, etc.. You just never know what colors will appear. I always think that "this or that" picture is the perfect one. Then when I get back to the office and look them over, the best one is always one that I thought was a failure in the field.

You can always delete pictures later...you usually can't recapture the moment. Once it's gone, it's gone...and you are left wishing you could get it back. It's kind of like the three things a pilot can never get back when something bad happens....1) the altitude above you, 2) the runway behind you, and 3) the fuel you left back at base.

Make a plan and shoot away! Digital electrons are virtually free!
01-20-2009, 03:18 PM   #4
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Taking many photos to get just one good one is acceptable and it isn't. There are many schools of thought.

Truistically a good photographer knows his equipment and knows his subject so being trigger happy probably isn't really considered "professional" as such.

But in todays modern world where digital images are basically free to take, the old school tyles have been thrown out the window in favour of a snap happy type of mindset which I don't altogether agree with.

Look how many people on this forum and other forums go and buy a DSLR and then all of a sudden pop up as "Joe Bloggs Photography" the next day, without having even studied photography or its history and don;t even know many of the basics and post some amazingly horrid images with dreadful (or no) post processing.

Owning a camera capable of producing professional quality images doesn't automatically mean you are a professional photographer, although some may wish to dream they are.

Sorry but reading some online tutorials and buying a DSLR doesn't turn an enthusiast into a pro.

Ok rant is now over.

01-20-2009, 03:36 PM   #5
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I try to get the good one out of as few as possible. In other words. I try to think before I take the shot and just than press the shutter button. So far it works...
PS: taking 512Mb card for K10D helps a lot...
01-20-2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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I often run up as many as 200 photos per useable photo depending on what im shooting. Especially in difficult conditions such as band photography.

You should try landscape or night time shots which take a long time to set up and take, maybe that will fulfill your needs
01-20-2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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What I have found is that I am getting pickier about what I consider to be good. In the days before digital, I shot quite a bit less and was generally VERY happy with the results I got. I also got a lot of praise from friends and family as well as requests for prints.

Now that I have the dSLR, I make a ton of exposures for every subject. Every picture is subjected to a thorough review and most don't make my personal standards. As for the friends and family...they are not so appreciative anymore either. When I want to show someone my new "best", everyone finds something else they have to do...

Steve
01-20-2009, 07:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
What I'm wondering is this... do good (pro?) photographers take many many pictures to get the right one? Or is that the sign of an amateur photographer?
Yes. National Geography articles are often culled from 20,000 + images.

01-20-2009, 08:54 PM   #9
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I read on a fashion photographer's website that a typical shoot lasts several hours. He takes about 1500 photos, 5 or 6 of which he expects will be keepers.
01-20-2009, 09:07 PM   #10
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When I shoot weddings, usually with both film and digital I'll shoot about 400 on film and at least as many on digital.
01-20-2009, 09:08 PM   #11
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this is quite encouraging to know. Yes, it's true that sometimes taking thousands of shots with no point can be quite pointless... but I took about 1300 shots in a wedding last weekend and came out with 300 keepers (about 50 I'd consider awesome and worthy on posting on a personal website). Just wondering if maybe I was doing something wrong or if this is the norm
01-20-2009, 09:20 PM   #12
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Well with a wedding there are times where it seems like you're shooting almost continuously so you dont miss "the" shot then other times where your barely shooting at all. And of course my film cameras don't have motor drives. I've gotten it down to under 1000 just from experience. When I'm working it hasa purpose. When I am out just shooting, well that's a different story. I will say also that starting with film definitely was better for me. Gave me the "feel".
01-20-2009, 09:39 PM   #13
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Look at pro-journalists taking hundreds of photos of a person speaking behind a podium. Do you really need 400 photos of someone flapping their lips?

It's like doing a shoot of kids while they play - you shoot to capture, hope you got it, and keep going because 2 seconds later they're being characters. At the end of the shoot or day, you sit down and see what you got - some disappointments, some joys, some wows. That's just the way it is!
01-21-2009, 06:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
this is quite encouraging to know. Yes, it's true that sometimes taking thousands of shots with no point can be quite pointless... but I took about 1300 shots in a wedding last weekend and came out with 300 keepers (about 50 I'd consider awesome and worthy on posting on a personal website). Just wondering if maybe I was doing something wrong or if this is the norm
If you are shooting that much at a wedding you have probably crossed the line from photographer to pest. When I shot weddings on film, I would shot 300-400 images. On digital, I still shoot 300-400 images. The last one I shot was ~250, but I didn't shoot the reception.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 01-21-2009 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Completely wrong word.
01-21-2009, 07:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
If you are shooting that much at a wedding you have probably crossed the line from photographer to pest.
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