What’s your hit rate?

Andrew Beck All Authors, Andrew 7 Comments

Our guests spend a lot of time researching and looking into a destination before deciding to travel with us to various regions throughout Africa.

Often, its all the fantastic images that one sees online,in coffee table books, magazines, brochures that stirs that initial desire to travel and experience a specific area first hand.

These images reflect a destination at its best, showcasing the natural beauty and potential photographic opportunities that are on offer and have more than likely been chosen to make you feel that you simply have to experience and capture images from this destination for yourself. More recently though, hashtag streams on media platforms such as Instagram provide you with a far more accurate representation of what is potentially on offer in various countries, conservancies, or even camps and operators. The scale and resolution you choose to go to is up to you.

Inevitably, these marketing shots end up creating some sort of expectation of what we may encounter on our journey.

However, expectation, whilst an exciting window, opens up a window to potential disappointment.

I remember chatting to well known photographer Hannes Lochner around a fire in the Kgalagadi years back and listening to him say how he went for 2 months without getting a shot he would use in his coffee table book “The dark Side of the Kalahari”.

2 months.

This from a guy who was based permanently in the park with unrestricted access and a host of other benefits.

2 months.

Sure his high standards and specific goals and objectives may influence this but still…

2 months.

For many of us, 10 nights in the Kgalagadi would be a dream come true and would be enough to get us salivating at the thought of coming away with a host of portfolio worthy images. We all wish to return from a trip with a memory card full of cracking images. This is not always the case as there are a host of variables that are simply beyond our control.

That’s part of the challenge though isn’t it?

If you are in a space where you are judging the success of a safari or a trip anywhere in the world based on how many images you have taken, you may want to re-evaluate your stance.

Shift your focus towards thinking about how many of these images you feel are now worthy of being included your “portfolio” or “best of” collection.

Think about whether you really need to point and fire off 20 frames of a kudu next to the road. Does the scene have some sort of x-factor that means you have a new addition to your “best of” collection or is this just another one of those documentary shots that takes up space on a hard drive.

Adding 2 out of 1000 images to your best of collection is not a particularly good hit rate now is it?

As you find yourself progressing in your photographic journey, not only will you end up taking fewer images, you end up having fewer images which you feel are worthy to be included into your “Portfolio” collection.

Taking fewer images, being more selective of the images that you do take and being more critical of your own work is one of the best ways to improve your hit rate.

Andrew Beck Wild Eye

We cant expect to go to the Kgalagadi for 10 nights and walk away with a home-made coffee table book that would rival the dedicated and tireless work of a photographer who has literally lived and breathed the Kalahari for years and years. Nor should we judge the success of our trip based on this alone.

Enjoy the experience, work on improving your hit rate and creativity but please don’t judge the success of your trip based on the number of images you took…


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About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

Comments 7

  1. Carol Bell

    Andrew I am glad you have said this. I have been thinking of all the photos I have taken in Kruger last year up until now (I go in at least twice a week)…. that not one of them are really good. Yes I have got some which are better than others…… but ……I think that I am not and never will be a good photographer…… as I don’t have that “something” or maybe “artistic” gene in me. I know I will never produce an award winning photo at my age……….. but reading this bog has put my mind more at ease.

    1. Post
      Andrew Beck

      Thanks Carol

      Its a tricky thing to wrap your head around but if you start to be more critical of the scene or images before you even take the shot you’ll start to notice a big difference from the get go.

      Hope this helps and thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. Adam Stone

    Thanks for your thoughts here Andrew. I’ve just returned from a 2 week trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. Over 7000+ shots later, many of which are nice “trip covering shots” yet not ‘epic’, there are only a few which I would feel are “worthy”.
    I’m a harsh critic on myself and realise that I can’t force a shot, or “will” an elephant to do a twirl on his trunk just as I am passing by. I’m finding its just a matter of planning where I want to be, honing my techniques and trying new things.
    In future I’ll try to keep in mind to go easy on myself and shoot better as I go to improve the quality while reducing the quantity.

    1. Post
      Andrew Beck

      Hi Adam

      I think many people have the same issue of assessing images after the fact and getting frustrated. Being aware of your surroundings and really thinking before capturing an image can make the world of difference though.

      You hit the nail on the head. Its a bout Quality and not quantity.

      Look forward to seeing some of the pics from what must have been an amazing journey!

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