A statistical review of the photo year 2020 and beyond

At the end of the year, against my expectations, I still have a small article for you!

I evaluated a few data last weekend for my own purposes and thought to myself: for those who like to read this blog regularly, these data could also be of interest. 

So I'll take a brief look at 2020 with the help of some numerical data facts and link it to something that fits the context. 

I'm asked again and again why I visit certain spots for many times, how many pictures are "left over" from a photo session and what actually happens to the "other" pictures that you shoot but do not include in the final selection.

Let`s start with 2020: From a photographic point of view, it was actually a good year, with many new impressions in nature. Especially this year I appreciated even more that in nature photography you usually forget everything around you and only see, feel, smell and absorb the colours and shapes.

In 2020 I produced 441 images and showed them on this website (at least; some from December I will show in January). I have never been able to produce so many images in one year.

Mass is really not important, but I have to say that my quality standards are getting higher and higher over the years, so the number itself surprised me. This year I was even able to write 29 blog entries. 

Due to travel restrictions, 56% of these shots were taken in areas close to home (mainly in the “Bergisches Land”, the “Ruhr area” and the “Eifel”). This rate was much lower in the last years.

If I divide this into 4 "genres" of nature photography, it looks like this:

Thanks to the fast digital evaluation possibilities, I have prepared the following numbers graphically.

In the following graph you can see - coloured orange - the number of produced images per year since I "fell in love" with nature photography. The number of images corresponds to the number you see here on this website - because I don`t show the images that don't make it over my "personal benchmark" on this website. 

In 2009, for example, I already spent quite a lot of time on nature photography, and of course produced thousands of images, but actually by today's quality standards (as of 12/2020) only one image remained that made it onto the website. 

2016 I started thinking in terms of small "projects", as you can see from my blog. That caused significantly more motivation: from 2016 on, I usually dedicated a longer time to a motif or a landscape and usually went to a place very often - whereupon the success rate and the quality also improved significantly.

“Days of action” of course not always meant a whole day, sometimes it is also only 2-3 hours. This year in particular, the “days of action” were quite high, as I was able to have some photo sessions after work, especially between April and September. Often I don't manage this in terms of time due to the travel distances, this was certainly an exception this year due to the increased home office days.

If you now put the produced images in relation to the days of action, then I was able to improve this rate continuously.

And here are the numbers:

I didn't really expect the development to be so extreme. I have produced more than twice as many images this year as in the first 8 years in total!

Even from 2012, there are not even 0.1 images left per day of action. The remaining images? Are not deleted, of course, but I just don't like them anymore because of certain image elements that I would never create today like that. But of course they have an ideal value, so I won't delete them.

In the meantime, there are on average about 3.5 pictures per day. This number I had assumed lower before the evaluation, because I also regularly return home with 0-1 picture, especially in animal photography. How I could successively increase this rate, I would like to describe next year in a blog report.

For the coming years I assume that the rate will stagnate at least, probably it will reduce a little. This has to do with many things – e.g. this year many new areas opened up to me because we moved here in NRW. Besides I could often target fog conditions and was also lucky. Unlike a "normal" sunrise, good photo conditions then hold for several hours and push the yield of course upwards. I therefore suspect that 2020 rather represents the highest peak 😉

In conclusion, the three questions mentioned at the beginning are easy to answer:

  • Why do I go to certain spots for many times? As you can see well from the numbers, you are constantly pushing your own benchmark a little higher, so "many tours" do not necessarily leave "many pictures". What always remains, however, is a gain in knowledge. A good picture succeeds sometimes only with the 10th time at a certain place.
  • How much of a photo session "remains"? Now you can read that from the above numbers. I think that is very much! But everyone should judge for themselves 😉   
  • What actually happens to the other images? As described they are not deleted and about 1 time a year I check the old archives. Every now and then I discover a small "treasure" again. Otherwise it is also interesting and sometimes funny to look at the own works from past times.

I hope my little insight into the "numbers world" was interesting and entertaining for you 😃

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🎅

Many greetings,
Thomas