Moogs12 wrote in post #9025316
I have just started out taking pictures for more than just my family. So far, I do everything for free just to get practice and experience. The last couple shoots I have done have taken about an hour or so and I have gone home with 125-150 images (not all different poses, I'll take a few pictures in bursts so that I can make sure all eyes are open, etc). Of those 125-150 pictures, I have found in both shoots that I end up with 20-30 that I really like and would present to a client.
What is typical? Do you take more or less than what I am and do you end up with a higher keeper rate? A keeper rate of 20% seems low to me.
For portraits, I would never shoot in "bursts" (I'm presuming you mean being in motor-drive sequence mode rather than one-shot mode). As 11t mentioned, this should be in fairly quick (not too quick for your flash) but not motor-driven sequence.
As I did with film, I will usually set up a pose and then "sketch" in the camera with moderate changes to the pose with two or three shots to avoid blinks. The "sketches" may be differences in expression, slight differences in camera angle, head or hand position. However--very important--I'm not just snapping blindly. I make a change and observe the effect of the change before releasing the shutter.
One new thing since I've gone digital is that with groups (especially with children) I will put the camera on a tripod and shoot a series, concentrating for each shot on each member of the group in turn. I am essentially building a composite, making sure I have at least one great image of each person, then I'll composite everyone's best shot in Photoshop. This is especially valuable when there are squirmy little boys in the group. However, it's often useful for older people as well, because even though they're good at holding position, a shot in which I'm not concentrating on them may capture the best, most relaxed image.
I will only show a couple of images from each pose. Obviously, if I've created a composite I'm going to show the composite, not all of the images that make it up. During a session, I'll probably have one major pose change in 15 minutes, so an hour session will produce only around 10 preview images.
I explain how I work to my clients beforehand: I "sketch" in the camera and will use compositing techniques to create the best final product. Therefore, I will not show them every exposure I made, I will show them only the best artistic results from each pose. I will point out that this is not different from a portrait painter, who will also take many photographs and then create a single painting from the photographs.
Also, people like a variety of poses but you should also have some idea of what the customer/subject wants from the photo shoot. Once you get a couple of poses that you're proud of see if they like them too. You may already be done. I'm not trying to discourage you from taking a lot of photos, just keep you're eye on the prize of a great shot!
This is good advice. In my work, I am consciously seeking what will be the single best image, the "Vanity Fair" cover.