Posted on

How Many Shots Make a Shoot?

If I’m working with a new or first-time nude model, I shoot plenty of frames. I might end up with 800 or 1,200 from the shoot. Why so many? There are a number of reasons:

Better Selection

With more to choose from, it’s easier to pick the cream of the crop. If I choose the best 10 of 100, it’s the best 10%. If I choose the best 10 of 1,000 it’s the best 1%. Which one sounds better? Newer models are more likely to blink, have an odd expression, or insert some other small detail that ruins a shot. Not to worry, since another shot is a few seconds away.

Model Motivation

Popping flashes are like applause to a model. It’s instant gratification and keeps her mood elevated. A model who feels great looks better. Newer models can need more of the approval and will be set at ease by a photographer that keeps shooting. Long pauses can be awkward to the inexperienced model, so you naturally end up with a lot of exposures.

When Less is More

With more experienced models, especially ones that I have worked with before, I am more inclined to try something out of the ordinary. Going on location or preparing for more elaborate shoots lowers the shot count.

Regardless of what you are shooting, its good to add some variety; you don’t need 1,000 nearly identical frames to select from.

First time model : 200 shots per hour

Experienced model : 100-150 shots per hour

Working medium format in studio: 60 shots per hour

DSLR out of studio: 80 shots per hour

Medium format out of studio: 25 shots per hour

So if I’m working with a new model and just getting to know her, I can easily have over a thousand photos to choose from. On the other hand, if I’m shooting medium format and going for something very specific and special, I may only have a hundred carefully planned images after a couple of hours of work.