A SIMPLE WAY TO LOOK AT THE LONG TERM IMAGE SUCCESS OF YOUR CAREER.

As photographers our work is subjective, you work of art is my lousy focus.  Yet if you are in the commercial field there is a quantitative measure, your client’s satisfaction, and your satisfaction.

To be successful long-term a photographer must walk off each shoot with as close to a perfect batting average as possible.That being said, on commercial shoots starting in 2001, I have noticed a trend when it comes to this goal of self-satisfaction, an increase through the years as to how many images per shoot I think are, “awesome”.  Not to say I think the image is perfect but I feel it has achieved a high enough level to satisfy my clients need and my need.  During my early shoots, I would notice out of a 10 shot shoot, I would only be really happy with 1 maybe 2 of the images.  (A quick side note, I am a strict architectural photographer who picks 10 angles and shoots those 10 angles, I do not shoot 20 and pick 10.) This would vary but one could say I had a 1:10 success ratio.  As my career has matured as each year passed I noticed that ratio getting tighter, 2:10 3:10 and finally in my more recent work 9:10 or even sometimes 10:10.  To be successful in this field with the prevalence of competition we need to strive for somewhere above 8:10 ratio, with no work, ever falling into the re-shoot category.

If you are a new photographer and struggling to define that perfect look or technical skill, this idea of success ratio will help you put a quantitative measurement on a very subjective field.