Have you ever calculated your success rate after a day of shooting in the street? Ya know, after you get home and finish editing up all your “keepers”… I’m sure you’ve looked at the total upload, then your final photo total and though to yourself, “wow… that’s it?”
Don’t fret if its a handful, or ever one or two. I have learned very painfully, that a day of shooting will never bring home a card full of great shots, not even good shots. Hell, I’m generally hoping for a 5-10% return each time I am out snapping away. Thats 5-10 keepers, out of 100. Sometimes I attain that smile inducing +10%, but that has of yet, generally been rare. I must note here, my style might not be on par with the elitist street shooters out there, but my idea of a keeper, is an image that I feel shows a noticeable emotion or an action in motion. I don’t need all my images to be tack sharp or the red bull car to drive by during that one in a million chance. Those come by very rarely.
Now, I am sure others have a much more consistent, more successful rate. But the point is, I think its a viable statistic to keep track of. If for nothing else, than to help yourself be more successful each time you step out of the house. Something that will force you to pay attention to your shots and not just flail about, praying and spraying. Which I have been known to do myself.
Mind you, there is merit to the spray and pray method, but I’d say its more useful in times when a handheld three-shot burst of exposures help make sure you nailed that tight window of opportunity. But in general, do you really want to spend an extra hour swimming through endless blurry shots, missed composures, closed eyes and lost subjects? Okay, some of us would… but, like gear I see a high return percentage a testament to my personal betterment with the camera. The higher my number the more satisfied I feel with my eye and my technical operation. Win/Win
So after a few trips to the street averaging about 5-8%, I didn’t expect much from yesterdays walk. It was overcast, leaving the natural light “blah” at best. Even upon my return home, I remember saying to Jane that the walk was fun, but I didn’t expect much. Well, after a couple hours of looking through my raw files and finishing up everything I found worth keeping, I was pleasantly surprise. Out of 85 total flips of the shutter (I don’t delete), I ended up with 13 keepers and 2 of them really good. Bringing me to a 15% return. The 2 really good ones are not “spectacular,” but then again… your talking 1-3% return a Year, on the epic shots… and thats if your lucky.
Something I did notice in yesterdays 2 hour walk, was how few shots I actually took. Compared to my usual jaunts, 85 is a small amount because I generally break my own rule of no spraying and praying… leaving me with a full card. But that total tells me my street approach is beginning to tighten up, focusing my eye more and anticipating the scene better, rather than just leaving “continuous” on… and thats what I mean by using number crunching to better your approach. It works for me.
Well enough rambling away. I had a blast yesterday on the walk with Justin Hagman and John Cousert in downtown Chicago and I’m looking forward to catching one or two more before I depart this great city. I must say, the 8 mile bike ride there and subsequent 8 mile trip back, carried with it an entirely different feeling… one I am not looking forward to repeating again until I’m in better shape. 😉