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Followup: How many shots?

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#1 CeeDave


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:12 PM


I'd be interested to know how other approach this. My shot count per dive have ranged from 0 (bad viz in a boring place) to 200 (the f*ing crazy whitetips in Cocos on a night dive -- kudos to the charge capacity of the Ike DS125).

For me, there are five levels of culling.
  • As I go in the water and get to the bottom, I test fire a few shots to make sure my imitial assumptions (something like f8 and 1/250 and 1/2 power on the stobes with diffuser with a base ISO of 200) aren't too bad. I trash all of these shots, as I go.
  • As I find the range, I tune the exposure -- mainly flash power and shutter speed. I blow away obvious trash as I go, if I have time.
  • Immersed in a shot (say, of a goby on a coral head), I chimp and try to get the shot right. The action is too fast to bother with deleting photos. I just adjust and keep the misexposed shots.
  • When I surface and review, then a good number of the shots are clearly inferior to others -- just based on different histograms of similar subjects. I blow the crap away.
  • Each day, get rid rid of the obvious junk before backing up to laptop or more compact (in my case, Wolverine) device.
What this means for me: I keep only about half my shutter actuations, and I only bother to PP about 1/10. On a recent trip to the Bay Islands, I posted about 40 shots out of 1000 (1 in 25) -- and was thrilled about my productivity. And think of all the chemicals that were not used, for digital vs film!

My 2 cents,
Chris White
Subal ND70 + 2X DS125 ... mostly 10.5, 16, and 60

#2 MikeVeitch


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:24 PM

I keep everything on the card and download all to the computer.

I then go through it on iView or what have you and give the best shots 5 stars. I then work on those 5 star photos. ANd of course i fully intend to come back and go over the ones that i don't give 5 stars to and cull those off the drive.... but.. that tends to take months and months and months before i ever do.. haha :D

On a trip i just keep everything on laptop and backed up to two small 80gb drives and sort it out when i get home.

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#3 Canuck


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:35 PM

I keep everything as I go.

I then download to the laptop for review, where I cull, cull, cull.

On my recent Bonaire trip I shot about 900 frames in 18 dives, so about 50 frames per dive.

Initial culling got that down to a little over 200 frames, so about 25%.

When (if :D ) I go through them again, I should end up with about 175 photos likely.

40 photos ended up in my web gallery.

A couple ended up as 13x19 prints.

John Davies
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#4 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 12:03 AM

I tend to delete very little underwater (unless for some reason I fill my card!). But I do edit heavily in the field, once I have downloaded.

Straight after a dive I usually delete the obvious no-hopers. Then usually 24 hours later (I find the process much easy having slept on it and done several more dives) I edit my images down considerably. I would say leaving only the best 20%. Often this is keeping only the best images of 5-10 shots of a particular set up.

Then probably a week later - as a shoot starts to come to conclusion - I revisit all the sets of images and cull again. Often this is because I will have shot the same subjects several times during that week. Keeping only the best images of each subject. This leaves me with about 10% of what I shot.

For a long time I used to keep a lot of images. Several versions of great setups, and keeping species just for the sake of it. Then when I actually got picture requests for those subjects I realised I was not prepared to sell those images with my name on. Once I had been through that process it was a lot easier to cull aggressively in the field.

I also rarely keep images that could be rescued in PP. This is not because I could not save them. But just because I know I will never have the time. If I didn't photograph as regularly as I do, I would keep more.

I don't really shoot for stock. So I don't feel I need to keep everything that is publishable. Instead I just keep the images that enhance the portfolio I already have.


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#5 tdpriest


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 04:14 AM

I think that this thread has covered almost the full range of photographer's behaviour!

I don't dive that often (after all, I've got to pay for it somehow), so I keep a lot of shots "on the day". On a productive dive I might have 200 shots of 10-20 subjects, and won't delete in the camera unless there's an obvious problem (usually that the histogram is clearly rubbish), or unless my card is full. I have graduated through 1 and 2 to 4Gb cards!

I'll cull the card back at base, and leave all the good exposures or slightly dodgy exposures of interesting subjects, then copy these 60-100 images onto my hard drives.

I take all that home, then (as it's part of the fun for an amateur) run RAW coversion on about 20 images per dive (ie about 10% of all the shots taken) and keep DVD backups of each step. I'll do full processing, that is apply sharpening and curves and noise reduction on half of these, ending up with 5% of the original shots.

Non-photographers seem to like most of these images, but I guess that I'm happy with 1/5, or 1% of the original shots, and really happy with 1/5-1/10 of those: as little as 0.1-0.2% of what I shot!

I would guess, from what I've seen and read, that a perfectionist pro could use an order of magnitude less, that is 1/10,000 of the images that she shoots, though they will be stunning. I suspect that dive magazines are using shots at the 1/500-1/1,000 level (which could be one reason why books and competitions are so much better than many dive magazines?).