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Angela_Lawson
05-10-2008, 01:45 AM
I've never actually entered any competitions before, so Nationals probably isn't the place to start, but I'm wondering if a print like this would do well. It's in the style of an old handtinted type photo so I'm not sure if there would be enough punch under the judging lights, but wanted to know anyones thoughts in general. If you think it might do well, what would you title it? I'm thinking something to do with the chubby cheeks and those big round eyes.

Thanks.

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 02:04 PM
Hi Angela;

If you wanted to become a race car driver, would you worry about winning your first race or would you start the race hoping to learn how to do better the next time ? So, my advice is to NOT worry about how any images you enter will do. Concern yourself only with using it as a learning experience. Make sure you sit in on any print competitions you can as well as going to the print critiques and ask to have your images talked about.

The child is cute and is a good image for a studio wall sample. For competition, I see it scoring in the low to mid 70's as you presented it.

When you post images intended for competition, you should have it in proportion to a 20X16 or 16X20. That means a 10" X 8" or an 8" X 6.4" or some other dimensions that are proportional. On yours the height is a bit too high.

Here is how I see this being presented better for a few more points. I hope this helps. I made the subject layer smaller and flipped it.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/Precious-2.jpg

Noelle_Zaleski
05-10-2008, 02:09 PM
I think it is a very sweet image. I cannot say how well it would do at comp because it's all new to me.

As far as nationals being your first, why not, go for it!!

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 02:27 PM
I think it is a very sweet image. I cannot say how well it would do at comp because it's all new to me.

As far as nationals being your first, why not, go for it!!

Hi Noelle;

Given the costs involved in competing at Imaging, I disagree about making that the 1st place to try competing. I feel she should start out lower to gain confidence, experience, and knowledge before moving up to an international level. If she can enter a competition below state level first and then move up to state level she would have the option to watch the judges working. She would also be able to have her entries critiqued as well at those levels.

Cassandra_Sullivan
05-10-2008, 02:34 PM
I would clone out the car or whatever that thing is on his shoulder - my eye keeps going right to it!

Noelle_Zaleski
05-10-2008, 02:43 PM
Craig, believe me I understand the costs, whew.

I also believe that sometimes you need to jump right in the water, I did with my first State comp last month.

I guess it's a personal descision as well as a financial decision.

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 03:06 PM
Craig, believe me I understand the costs, whew.

I also believe that sometimes you need to jump right in the water, I did with my first State comp last month.

I guess it's a personal descision as well as a financial decision.

Hi Noelle;

My point exactly ... your 1st try was at state level. That's a big difference from a regional or international. I would agree totally about her entering a state competition.

Keith_A_Howe
05-10-2008, 03:10 PM
I agree with D. Craig as far as a learning experience goes. But sometimes you are ready to start and there just aren't any state or locals in the near future. If you wait till next year's state comp, maybe you will lose your enthusiasm and momentum. So go ahead and enter national but be sure to spend the extra money for the critique. Not quite as good as being able to watch a whole judging, but certainly worth the investment for the education it will provide.

Keith

Linda_Gregory
05-10-2008, 03:10 PM
I think Nationals can be a GREAT place to begin. Many times, you cannot get any critique at lower levels (some states are way too big to corner anyone later) and for Nationals, you can get the video critique which is geared JUST to your prints.

GO for it! And here is a GREAT first place to start. This year I skipped state and went to the regional. Now on to Nationals with my two merits and my soon to be worked over 79 and a totally new print. (reminds me of last year!)

Linda_Gregory
05-10-2008, 03:11 PM
As for cost, some states charge just about the same as nationals so it all needs to be taken into account.

Angela_Lawson
05-10-2008, 04:33 PM
Thanks for the input everyone. If I can come up with some other possiblities maybe I'll consider it after all. Question regarding the first print though...I have one exactly in that pose except the baby is looking up and to the side at his mom. Would that make a better image for comp? I know why Craig flipped the image, but I like it in the position it's in, that's why I'm wondering if the baby looking up and to the right of the frame might make it a better presentation for comp? Or what about panels, with multiple images in it? Is that allowed in competition as long as the full size is still 16x20?

Linda_Gregory
05-10-2008, 04:49 PM
Angela, how is the quality of light on the baby's face in the other pose? That's a lot of what the judges will be looking for. Is it on the mask of the face? Broad lit, flat light? Mastering the light is what we strive for and the first thing judges look for...it could be great but if it hasn't got the right light, not worth it. As for three on a panel, yes, they're allowed. To do that, each one is judged as an individual. If one is not worthy, down it goes.

Ah! In one post I am encouraging you, this one I don't want to sound like I'm shooting you down! Honestly, enter four, get the video and you will kick *** next year but you gotta start somewhere/sometime!

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 05:18 PM
I know why Craig flipped the image, but I like it in the position it's in, that's why I'm wondering if the baby looking up and to the right of the frame might make it a better presentation for comp? Or what about panels, with multiple images in it? Is that allowed in competition as long as the full size is still 16x20?

Hi Angela;

In my presentation, the child looks to have crawled from the left (where the judges eyes enter) to the right side while the eyes are looking slightly back to the left. That's why I flipped it. You should have subjects on the right side looking left most of the time.

Angela_Lawson
05-10-2008, 05:38 PM
Angela, how is the quality of light on the baby's face in the other pose? That's a lot of what the judges will be looking for. Is it on the mask of the face? Broad lit, flat light? Mastering the light is what we strive for and the first thing judges look for...it could be great but if it hasn't got the right light, not worth it. As for three on a panel, yes, they're allowed. To do that, each one is judged as an individual. If one is not worthy, down it goes.

Ah! In one post I am encouraging you, this one I don't want to sound like I'm shooting you down! Honestly, enter four, get the video and you will kick *** next year but you gotta start somewhere/sometime!

No worries Linda - I'm developing a tough skin.:D I've been putting myself out here on the forums for input for the past 5 months or so, and have learned so much more in those past 5 months than I had in the past 10 years. So I sincerely appreciate the honesty from everyone. As to the other photo I spoke about, here it is unedited (without the handtinting). What do you think? I have so many poses from this particular shoot (mom brought several outfits and we did several types of naked baby pics that I could do a whole series from this child alone. And my lighting is definitely improving. That's why I'm even considering competition. Hopefully it will help more, since I can get critiques from the judges on what I'm doing wrong.

Thanks again.

Angela_Lawson
05-10-2008, 05:41 PM
Hi Angela;

In my presentation, the child looks to have crawled from the left (where the judges eyes enter) to the right side while the eyes are looking slightly back to the left. That's why I flipped it. You should have subjects on the right side looking left most of the time.

Thanks Craig. I need to start watching that more. Does that mean for babies on the floor that I should move my main light to the right hand side? I typically have it on the left most of the time.

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 05:46 PM
Hi Angela;

This is an even better example of an image that screams to be
flipped. Our eyes enter from the left and immediately encounter the
child now. If you flip ... our eyes will enter from the left, travel across,
and get to the child who is looking to the left ... perfect.

You also need to make a white background layer and put the
subject layer much smaller. The child is way too big now. "Kids Need
Room To Grow" in a portrait.

Keith_A_Howe
05-10-2008, 06:21 PM
Does that mean for babies on the floor that I should move my main light to the right hand side? I typically have it on the left most of the time.

Most people have one side of their face that photographs better. This is not as obvious on babies and toddlers but it still can be true. You should have your light on the side that is best for the subject. The only time I really consider the L to R thing (over going with what's most flattering to the subject) is when I am choosing an image for competition. Then I look more at the direction the composition reads, then considering if the light falls from left to right.

In the second image of the baby he is looking away from the light rather then turned into the light. You can flip the image and make it smaller but you can't change the light. The first image of these two would be best. I prefer it not flipped because when it's flipped my eye just keeps on going out the right hand side. I know D. Craig feels differently and that's why there are more than one judge on a panel.

One of the challenges this image would have in print competition is the clothing. It's not awful but it's not great either. You said you have some naked baby images. Perhaps one of them might be a better choice?

Keith

Linda_Gregory
05-10-2008, 06:50 PM
Keith,

The senior you rated so well with this year..all tied up or something...was she not facing the right? So all rules are not in stone.

D._Craig_Flory
05-10-2008, 07:08 PM
The first image of these two would be best. I prefer it not flipped because when it's flipped my eye just keeps on going out the right hand side. I know D. Craig feels differently and that's why there are more than one judge on a panel.

Keith

Keith made a good point. This is something that would be talked about if the image got a challenge. Keith would tell why he felt it should be one way & I could state why I thought it should be the other way. All other judges could then give their feelings too. This is exactly why there are 5 judges so one person's score doesn't count for more than 20%.

Rick_Massarini
05-12-2008, 07:30 AM
I have to agree with Keith. Like the Nike ad says - Just Do It!

There are many different opinions as to the route that you should take to get your feet wet in print competition, but the bottom line is that you can't earn a PPA Exhibition Merit at a local or state competition (the exception, of course, are those states who host the PPA affiliated regional judgings). Even if it's your first time, pick out your best four and who knows, maybe you'll hang one (or two...or more)... And yes, the cost of entering the national competition may be a little higher than the state or local, but at the state or local you're not having internationally recognized image makers (the best-of-the-best) judging your work. The states and locals set their own standards as to who is allowed to judge your work, as opposed to the National where only PPA-PEC Approved Jurors are allowed to judge and critique. It's also one of the only places where you can get one of those same jurors to do a personal 1-on-1 critique of your images for such a minimal extra cost.
I may be a bit biased on this, since I have worked at the PPA National Judging for so many years, but my opinion is that if you can get your work looked at by someone at your state or local guild, by all means, do it. But the PPA National print Competition deadline is only a month away, and that is an opportunity you should not pass up. Pick your best four images and send them in!!! Just be sure to order the critique. What you learn from the critique may be worth much more than your cost to enter the competition. And if you hang a few, so much the better. I have known people who have sent their prints to state and locals repeatedly and never hung a print at National...And I know those who hung four their first time entering...
As I've said many times before - You never know just how good you really are until the judges tell you so...
My opinion... I could be wrong... but in this case... I really don't think so...