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Image Processing: Darkroom / Lightroom / Film Discuss Image processing -- traditional darkoom or digital lightroom here. Notice there are subcategories to narrow down subject matter. .

View Poll Results: How many good frames do you need from a 36 frame roll to be happy?
1 125 23.58%
2 65 12.26%
3 81 15.28%
4 62 11.70%
5 43 8.11%
6+ 154 29.06%
Voters: 530. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-28-2008   #51
Pherdinand
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six plus, but then, i am never happy with myself.
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Old 11-10-2008   #52
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When I started taking pictures, 50% were keepers.
But as I grew into photography this number went down.
Currently, I'm happy with 3-4 nice frames in a roll.

I'm sure that as time passes, this number will continue to drop.
(I hope so )
It is a simple equation:
The more pictures you take, the better you know what good pictures are.
The better you know what good pictures are, less pictures are considered by your self as "good ones", hence - less "keepers" on your rolls.
Add to this the fact that you want to keep on improving your photography and you get "progress".
I'm in progress, at the moment.
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Old 11-10-2008   #53
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I guess one or two good shots per roll is what I reasonably expect, although many times all 36 slides are digitally manipulated between my left index and middle fingers with a deft flick of the wrist into the blue Recycling Bin I keep beside the projector.
And I agree that as one gains experience, expertise, and become more discerning, the fewer images are considered to be worth keeping. That has been my experience over the thirty years I've been shooting.
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Old 11-16-2008   #54
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Well for me the activity of scanning, post-processing & hand spotting (which is the killer) makes me think twice about whether or not I want to keep it. Typically I'd maintain 25% - 50% per roll these days...
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Old 11-16-2008   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Borger View Post
Ansel Adams was satisfied with one realy good picture a year.
Winogrand shot several 100.000 frames while the iconic pictures we know from all those years of hard labour is probably less than 0.001% he shot.
How many Kertesz pictures do we know about 200-300 -400 ....... from 50 years photography!
If you really think about it, this sort of success rate suggests you arent a photographer, your just playing statistics. Shoot enough and eventually something great will turn up
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Old 04-25-2009   #56
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when i'm shooting for myself, I usually expect one or two photos that I really like, and five or six that I am happy to upload to flickr. when i'm doing weddings, I expect 20 to 25 shots per roll that I can give to the b&g.
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Old 05-07-2009   #57
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happy? 37 keepers from 36exp roll
one (or couple at best) keepers from roll make me believing I can continue with my hobby. It happens often that whole roll is trash.

I've heard that good metric is 1 keeper per meter of film. So from 36exp roll good photographer has to have about 3 keepers.

Then we have to define keeper. Not ashamed to post online or to take at exhibition?
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Old 05-18-2009   #58
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Generally I work on the basis of 1/3rd of the roll of good/acceptable frames is thumbs up, but from that I do like to have about 5 or 6 real goodies.

Especially at the moment as I am shooting for a book.

If I was shooting for just any old thing (which is usually what I do!) I'm not hard on myself.
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Old 08-14-2009   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
I also find that you have to take pictures all the time - not necessarily with a camera, but in your mind to keep up the "flow"
I'm glad you said that. I don't make a practice of always carrying a camera, but I do try to frame possible images as I go, even if I'm treading back and forth on familiar ground.

To the question: I'm happy with 2-3 I'm willing to show others. I'm annoyed when I botch focus or exposure, and I'm really annoyed when a shot I worked hard at and that I thought would be a winner turns out to be a flop.
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Old 08-14-2009   #60
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If you mean satisfied in terms of technically right and with good composition I would say I get 2-3 per roll. If we are talking about pictures I would print and/or put it on a web-site then it would be ONE for about 5-6 rolls. I am trying to be more "efficient" with a slide film, but in this case my pictures come out to be still and lifeless. It's all about luck anyway, sometimes you're lucky to get 2 exceptional pictures on one roll, and sometimes the whole roll goes to a garbage bin.

Interesting thread, btw! I always wanted to know how other folks do...
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Old 08-18-2009   #61
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It can take me weeks to go through a roll of film (36) as I'm very selective and slow in my shooting, so I hope I get about 10 keeps in a roll of 36. However, If I get one really outstanding shot per roll, I'd consider myself lucky. There's a big difference between Keeper vs. Great. And, technically right my percentage is very high, but that doesn't make it a keeper or great.
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Old 09-07-2009   #62
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Generally, I keep about 1/3 to 2/3 of a roll, with 2-4 standout frames that I am really happy with.

Overall though, I get many many more keepers with film than I did with digital. And my best film shots are, to me, leaps and bounds better than my best digital shots ever were.
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Old 10-23-2009   #63
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Not sure if this has been asked before but any ideas why the majority of people either choose 1 or 6+?
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Old 11-01-2009   #64
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any more than 2 or 3 I consider a bit of a bonus.
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Old 11-01-2009   #65
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Couldn't vote... In my case it's usual that I'm not happy with any of the shots. That's the pure truth... Not always, but many times.

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Old 11-01-2009   #66
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I'm Pathetic....
I consider myself LUCKY if I get 3 to 4....
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Old 11-25-2009   #67
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I'm easy. I'll usually keep and print a quarter of all my film. Of course I get the "Why did you take a picture of that?" thing all the time.
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Old 11-27-2009   #68
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I guess what the roll is... If I'm shooting on the street, me expectations are different then if I'm shooting an assignment or just a night out with friends. But overall, i expect the following per roll: 1 portfolio quality, 3 print worthy shots and a dozen shots I'll share online with friends.
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Old 11-27-2009   #69
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I came across a good Winogrand quote the other day.
(His appetite for shooting a lot of film is well known).

When asked how many pictures he takes to get 1 good one, he replied,
"Art isn't judged in terms of industrial efficiency".

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Old 12-02-2009   #70
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IMHO this is a pointless debate, because 'keepers per roll' has such a number of variables that what will plucking a number tell us? Variable include:

Type of shooting
Quality threshold required
Experience
Whether you are having a good day
What you pick today compared to two years in the future

Once in a blue moon I get half a dozen that I would print for exhibition on one roll. Sometimes I shoot 30 rolls and don't feel any make it past 'quite nice.'

Then there is the question of 'how many is enough.' This also varies and changes over time, it depends on budgets, time constraints, purpose etc. Obviously a two day short holiday needs to have moer keepers than a two year project delivers in two days...
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Old 12-02-2009   #71
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After decades, i expect 75%. Know what it takes to make a good shot and do not push the button if all is not correct. Spray and pray may work with a machine gun, rearely with photography.
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Old 12-02-2009   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
After decades, i expect 75%. Know what it takes to make a good shot and do not push the button if all is not correct. Spray and pray may work with a machine gun, rearely with photography.
Are you serious? Such a percentage is about 100x too optimistic for most forms of RF photography (e.g. documentary/street) at the top end of the quality scale. Sounds like you are playing it waaaaay too safe. Do you no longer experiment or try new things?

When working various styles under certain circumstances, one needs to work in a very intuitive, fluid manner and that means not getting the right shot a lot of the time, but it does mean that you have to keep moving, shooting, engaging, shifting, shooting, re-engaging etc. Its not a question of pray and spray necessarily but accepting that there are so many things to bring together in space and time and your ability to monitor them all, in detail and perfectly, is limited. I know that if i waited for everything to be clearly perfect in the frame I would miss far more than I would gain by being somewhat more relaxed and instinctive. I get a fair few shots by anticipating or simply going with the flow. And this does demand skill of the photographer!

Your exceptionally methodological approach could be considered equally unconducive to the best results as 'spray and pray' and I think we would struggle to find even a BTZS LF worker that could come even close to this sort of success rate. If, however, a person is using a RF to take very safe landscape shots or static objects, such as steam locomotives, the success rate is going to be much higher for the intended goal, but that does not mean the shot is 'any good' only that you produced a correctly exposed shot with the composition as intended and with very easy goals. If I counted all my keepers as 'well exposed and looking sensible' my percentage would be a lot higher, but I am not sure this is what a keeper is to most people. I think they are talking about something you would put in a portfolio that you would show, or perhaps put in front of a critical eye, or consider a shot you feel represents your high standards and best level of achievement.

Last edited by Turtle : 12-02-2009 at 19:17.
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Old 12-02-2009   #73
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When I look over contact sheets from the sixties or seventies it seems that I had a much higher percentage of keepers than I thought at the time. I don't get that high a percentage now with my current work. Perhaps it's just too soon to make that call.
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Old 12-03-2009   #74
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I'm astonished that some are able to get so many quality photographs from each roll of film they put through the camera. If I could get a picture from each roll that I felt was good enough for my portfolio I'd be expecting to either make an awful lot of money or be hailed a 'genius' photographer.


I suppose as Turtle debates above, there are many factors involved including the types of photographs you are making that may affect the 'quality turnover.' Those that make very fast exposures due to trying to capture a specific moment will always have a higher failure rate. Those that are able to consider what is before them and how they wish to capture its image should have a higher success ratio. However I still struggle with the idea that so many people really believe that they have so many top quality images from a 36 exposure roll.


With the exception of my work website this is the only place I post images online and the images I post here are always just pictures of things that I'm attracted to ( not street, just pictures taken on streets.) As such I should be happy to post pretty much anything even if the quality isn't great, yet I haven't posted a picture to the gallery in months - I'm still taking pictures but if I think its crap then it goes nowhere and far too much of what I take is crap. I may know this when I'm shooting but take it anyway to keep a rhythm or because I trust the instinct that made me lift the camera or, indeed as Al said above, I may find that there's more to them after revisiting them some years later. Yet there is a very simple fact that remains, in my case at least; the majority of the frames I shoot with my rangefinders don't work to my satisfaction and this means I can shoot several films before I find an image that genuinely hits the mark in my eyes.

So, I'm unable to vote as I can't honestly say that I get as many as one per film
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Old 02-14-2010   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infrequent View Post
i know that feeling!
I do too, but I wish it was a more frequent occurrence!
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