View Full Version : Thinking about Comp

02-21-2008, 08:22 PM
I've finally decided to go through Mark's thread about posting larger images and figure out how to do it. If this works, you shold find several images below. Here are my questions: I'm thinking about entering comps in the future (not sure exactly when, still a bit fearful), but want to know if any of these images would be considered comp-worthy. Why or why not? REALLY. I want to learn. I know that I would still need to do design work on these, but I want to get a feel for what is comp-worthy before I start spending the money and time getting things ready for comp.






02-21-2008, 08:24 PM
Sigh! This didn't work. Let me figure this out and try again...

02-21-2008, 08:28 PM
Hi Jennifer -- You can get a free account with photobucket (www.photobucket.com), put your images there, then use the tags generated there to post on the forum. I am new here too -- it is pretty user friendly. Looking forward to seeing your images.

02-21-2008, 08:30 PM
However, I know it's been said here a hundred times but for the newbees.....
In the fineprint of Photobucket when you load an image to your page they have te right to use it. So make sure you wantermark all of your images!:D

02-21-2008, 08:46 PM
Yahoo! It works! Here are a few more...





02-21-2008, 08:48 PM
And the last few. Please. What is comp-worthy or not and WHY!




02-21-2008, 10:43 PM
Please watermark your images with a big fat obnoxious logo, someone would love to have these on thier own website I am sure. In addition to that, if you use photobucket, they can use these images in any manner they wish, so why not make it undesirable for them by watermarking them? PS That is a beautiful bw of the baby looking over his shoulder.

02-21-2008, 11:18 PM
I didn't use photobucket. I finally figured out how to ftp from my site. But I did add the watermark. Thanks for the suggestion.

02-21-2008, 11:38 PM
In a lot of these the lighting looks a little harsh - I'm seeing pinpoint flash in the eyes...

I like #s 7 & 8 the best...feel they have the most impact, but would like to see more range in the tones in #7.

02-21-2008, 11:50 PM
These were all shot using available light and hotshoe flash. Would this be held against me in comp? Should I minimize the flash in th eyes?

I really want to know what is considered comp-worthy. And why. Is it only studio shots? Is there room for natural/available light work? How would any of these score?

02-21-2008, 11:58 PM
I'm not a competition judge (or very experienced in competition at all), so take it with a grain of salt, but I hardly ever like to see pinpoint catchlights...on-camera flash in general tends to lead to harsh lighting (the pinpoints are just a signal that can back up the idea of how the lighting was created, so aren't on their own necessarily bad). Does that make any sense?

Like I said, take with a grain of salt - I don't generally produce competition-style work ;)

02-22-2008, 12:41 AM
So what is competition-style work?

02-22-2008, 01:21 AM
Well, I like bright, often flat-lit, lifestyle-type images...stuff like what you see in a lot of contemporary magazines, and PPA competition to me seems more traditional: about "perfect" lighting ratios, favoring low key, etc. I had a hard time finding stuff of mine that I thought would fit the mold - but I did find some stuff in the end that was fairly close...we will see how I do ;)

02-22-2008, 02:51 AM
You may achieve some soft lighting with a hotshoe flash, but only bounced off of a nearby wall, bush or person in light clothing. Gve it a try sometime. Have you been to the strobist blog? Very helpful tips www.strobist.com

02-22-2008, 04:07 AM
Thanks Will! I've bookmaked the site. Time to start studying!

02-22-2008, 02:00 PM
I'd really like some feedback. Please! People with comp experience. Would any of these be considered comp-worthy?

02-22-2008, 02:18 PM
HI Jennifer,

You can check out this thread. It is very specific (Thanks Jim) and then if you have specific questions you can ask again here. Good Luck!


02-22-2008, 02:25 PM
Thanks Nylora! I've read that thread before and I was looking for more specific critique from those with more experience than me. I know my technique and style are client-worthy because my clients have been happy. What about the images I posted would work or not work in comp. It's about taking my personal technique and style and growing and improving--standing up to a judge's critique.

Also, I want to know is if not using a studio set-up would be held against me. Many of the shots I've seen for comp on the forum are obviously studio shots.


02-22-2008, 02:43 PM
Thanks Nylora! I've read that thread before and I was looking for more specific critique from those with more experience than me. I know my technique and style are client-worthy because my clients have been happy. What about the images I posted would work or not work in comp. It's about taking my personal technique and style and growing and improving--standing up to a judge's critique.

Also, I want to know is if not using a studio set-up would be held against me. Many of the shots I've seen for comp on the forum are obviously studio shots.


Hi Jennifer;

There are a lot of competition images that get merits, and even go loan, that were not created in a camera room. With that said, you still need apparent direction to the light, a good ratio and lighting pattern, and good posing. The background and surrounding area has to be addressed & controlled too.

Do you own any of the PPA General Collection or Loan Collection books ? Look through at how many images were not created in a camera room.

02-22-2008, 02:46 PM
To see some awesome competition prints check out...


02-22-2008, 03:02 PM

First, I want to go on record and say that I am not/nor have I ever been a judge. With that being said, Competition images do NOT have to be "studio shots". However, lighting is very important in creating a competition print. So, generally speaking an image taken with on camera flash will not give you a hairlight, backlight, or contouring to a face (if you are entering portraits).

If you have access to anyone that owns a Showcase or Loan Collection Book study it, campare your images to those in the books, attend a competition whether you entered it or not. The information that you will get from sitting through a day in comp is the best thing you can do for yourself. And, I bet you will be overwhelmed with all that you take in throughout the day. Oh, and TAKE NOTES!

I was speaking with someone about this just last night. I found the prints that I had entered in print comp 5 years ago (the first time). At that time I thought they were the best I had ever done (they probably were) and was thrilled with them. They scored 74's and a 75. Looking at them the other night was incredible because I realized WHY they got those scores. The Titles were ok, the subjects were cute, but the presentation (matting needed work), and I had good directional lighting nice lighting on the face but that is where it ended. The hair blended into the background (no hairlight, no seperation light, there was nothing "WOW!" about them.

My point is that each time you enter a print, good or bad, if you listen to what is said about them from the judges you WILL learn and you will grow!

Ok. So now this is what you are asking for I am writing this since no one else has really done so and I know this is what you are looking for. Hopefully, you will get some judges to comment on these as well.

I am sure your clients LOVED all of these images and you had some great sales with them. Fo competition this is what I see...

#1 -I like it.
#2 -might work depending on presentation and a title.
#3 -Her right hand/elbow look awkward, her left arm is cut off and that shoulder looks alittle strange, You can't see what she is looking at other than out of the frame. People read from right to left, so as you do that you are lead right out of the image (following her eyes.) Your goal is to keep the veiwer in the image.
#4 -same as above.
#5 - her eyes are closed and to me that is the focal point of this image.
#6 -Cute couple. On the camera flash, no direction, harsh shadows, her arm cuts across the two of them and again is very distracting.
#7 - On the camera flash~harsh. His hair belnds into the background (no seperation) I like that they are off center but might try flipping the image so that her veil "leads" you to them (the subject of the image) and again, not out of the image.
#10 - The lighting is good on this little boy but you have way more of his body than you need the focus should be on his face so you should crop it to achieve that. His arm is up across his face too (blocking the main part of the image).
#11 - She is flatlit, and on a mount board for competition she would be HUGE, larger than life. Children should be smaller, they are little people, delicate, this would definitly come across as "in your face" no pun intended:D

I hope all of this makes sense and helps. I only mean this as constructive critisism we all start here and competition makes us better~ I am a firm believer in this. I would say pick an image play with it and ENTER you will be so glad that you did!

02-22-2008, 03:13 PM
Thank you Nylora!!! I know there is a lot I need to work on, but need some direction. Sometimes you don't see something until someone else points it out. Clients love what I do, but I'm looking to grow and get better. I have always used on-camera flash because lighting equipment intimidates me and I don't want to start carrying around all kinds of equipment. I know I can learn to use my strobe(s) more effectively (Mike & Cody from TriCoast do a fabulous job!). In art school I did not study photography. I have felt comfortable with my work up until recently. I joined PPA and saw how much I need to learn. Time to get with a mentor...

02-22-2008, 03:29 PM

Have you seen Tri coast Talk in person?
I am sure you have heard but Mike Fulton will be here in NH at our conference in April and you are welcome to come! He will be talking all about light!

Plane tickets aren't too bad now and I think it would take you about an hour to get here?! It is only $120. for the whole weekend (plus a room)!

We would love to have you if you can make it!

02-22-2008, 03:36 PM
There are a lot of very active portrait bulletin boards as well that can offer you feedback regarding your images for competition and beyond.

02-22-2008, 03:39 PM

I'm thinking I should come...Let me look into it.