Why do I show only 20 final photos?

People often ask me why I only show 20 final photos after shooting at 400 to 800 per dance shoot.  The answer is, it takes A LOT of frames to get one good photo.  For every jump, the camera captures perhaps five frames.  Only one of those five can be at the height of the jump.  Only a handful of those will have the right facial expression and even fewer will have perfect hands, hair out of the eyes, and the skirt twirling in a pretty way.  I can easily shoot 50 frames for one jump, and a discriminating dancer will only accept maybe five.  Maybe. That comes with the territory.  I know it's not about me.  It's about precision.  

 

So we start off with this many photos.  

Seriously.  These are the frames from a two hour shoot with a dancer.  There were 694 from this shoot. They look like this.

Dance-Photography-RAWs.jpg
 

She narrowed it down...

Immediately after the shoot, we sat down with the iPad to look at all those shots, and the dancer and mom weighed in on which ones I should edit. They marked them with stars, as you can see below.

I tell my dancers to accept only the ones that they would be proud to show their teachers.  If it's not technically correct, I won't show it.  This dancer narrowed it down to just 113.  That's 16%.  I'd say it's normally around 20%, depending on how long we shoot, the difficulty of the moves, and the pickiness of the dancer.  There's not a weird knee or a sickle foot in the batch of 113, but I guarantee there are a BUNCH in that original 694.  Here are all 113 she found acceptable.

Isabella Choices.jpg
 

Then I did my thing...

I chose my favorite 20 from this group and perfected them.  Every blemish is erased, the lighting corrected, and the backdrop smoothed.  You get the 20 cream of the crop, all ready to be framed, not 694 bad ones with 20 decent ones for you to find in a treasure hunt!  Here's what the final photos looked like.  I'm extremely proud of these, the dancer knows they show her at her absolute best, and her parents are thrilled to have 20 perfect photos.

So why only 20?

In short, that's all I need to show a dancer at her best.  No fluff, no weird facial expressions, no sorting through hundreds of frames of garbage.  Just 20 perfect photos.