View Full Version : A couple of images

12-31-2008, 10:32 PM
I haven't entered any print competitions recently and was looking to see if either of these fits the bill of images that would be worthy of entering. I like them, but, I am too close to the subjects to be objective

01-01-2009, 12:47 AM
I don't know enough about competition to critique these but Oh my gosh that 2nd dog's expression is so funny! Great job capturing that moment.

01-01-2009, 10:55 PM
Here they are larger, maybe that will help to be able to see them better



01-01-2009, 11:19 PM
By "too close to the subjects" I assume you are talking about these images are of your children and dogs. It is hard to do CC on images of the photographers family and it is equally hard to take that CC. We tend to confuse the CC as attacking our kids instead of an analysis of the image. This may be why no one has taken these on, so I guess I'll do it but don't take it personal.
Image of boy and dog. I love the dogs expression! Title would be vital to the image doing well. We have a light colored shirt (high key) on a low key (darker) image, mixed keys rarely is a good thing. The light direction is from camera Right but in this case it is lighting the underside of his nose and broad lighting his face. Next I am seeing a "worked" area around the dog and boy, specifically look at boys hair and dogs ear. These areas will point to tech excellance questions and therefor I feel these will be in the above average catagory.

Dog and Girl - Again title would be vital here because we need a reason for the girl to be hidden behind the dog. As the image is I see the dog looking uncomfortable - choked a bit and lack of attention in the dogs face. Also the girls dress attracts too much attention and why is she there in the first place? The crop is cutting into the dogs body and touching the girls knees. Either crop tighter or leave more room, as it is it feels uncomfortably tight. I see this in the low 70's. JMO though.

01-02-2009, 03:50 PM
Julie - I have to agree with Keith that neither of these images is very strong for competition. However, I think if you search some of you "animal alone" images you will find some that are very worthy. Dogs in action, or a horse. Was it you that had the dogs "playing" and barring their teeth? Let's see some more!


01-03-2009, 12:36 AM
Julie, I know what images you are talking about. I post some more. These two have had such a great response from photographers and regular people alike, I am kinda shocked. Though, I do see the bad edits on the boy and dog one. I edited that one a couple of times and obviously grabbed the wrong one! The one in the studio doesn't have that issue. But, my bad

I am going to list a bunch and tell me what ones would be more competition worthy.

I just thought of this one as more of a snapshot, but, I think this is the one you are talking about

Here is a retired greyhound, though pretty, didnt' think it was terribly strong compositionally


Another I like, but, still seemed snapshotty to me(these all look so much better on canvas!)

Another I personally love, but, figure it would not be compositionally strong enough for competition


01-03-2009, 12:36 AM
I like this one alot and maybe if I cropped it where the dog was sitting a little more to the lower third it would be better


There was a few of these I loved, with a CALF!


01-03-2009, 12:37 AM

This was for a show dog ad

Another that I really like, but, seems to lack some oomph to me


01-03-2009, 01:29 AM
Wow! What beautiful dog portraits!

01-03-2009, 02:23 AM
Love the one with the dog looking up (2nd original image). BUt girl, all your pics ROCK!

01-03-2009, 02:45 AM

I like growling one. I hope it is tack sharp from tip of noses back to ears. that is something looked for in competition portraits of dogs. It needs the right title.

I like the greyhound but i am concerned about the distraction of the pink flowers

The white dog on the red, can you post the original file? There is something there but not in this crop or treatment. I would sure like to see the whole thing as photographed.

Saint Bernard sniffing the flower - real potential. Needs to be cropped off just behind his ear. Tone down the background to seperate him and the flower a bit more. Title is " Ah-ah-ah-cho"

The white puppy - cute but the red flowers are just too distracting. I also think maybe it's not sharp and dogs need to be sharp to do well.

Dog silhoette (sp?) - Make sure that highlight line along his back does not look like an oversharpening line. Make it deeper to make the sky richer and more dramatic.

I know you said you loved the one with the calf and it is cute but not for competition, light direction is all wrong and you won't be able to overcome that.


01-03-2009, 02:50 AM
Julie - I think the last one you posted has potential; it just needs to be processed a little differently to give it that umph! I don't usually play with others' images but I gave it a shot. Hopefully someone else will chime in with some suggestions.

One of the elements of a merit image is storytelling and I think the dogs with the teeth barred definitely has that!

Also, the dog on the blue background. Needs more work and like you said better placement, maybe even flipped.......

The others are very nice but some have distracting backgrounds. For example, in the second one you posted the pink is a bit overbearing. Also, because the ears were so big it moved the dog's eyes down to the middle section of the frame. Ideally they should be higher. I also like the one of the dog smelling the flower but "I think" the background is distracting.

Just my thoughts. Hopefully someone else will offer theirs!


01-03-2009, 01:52 PM
I like your crop and take on that Julie. I couldn't quite get where I wanted to go with it. The white dog on red originally was a white dog on white.

Problem with dog portraits and keeping their eyes in the upper 3rd quadrant is that they do have big ears. Crop off the ears and the photo is ruined. I just don't think you can overcome their ears.

Here are a couple more portraits, but, again, the ears move the eyes down. And yes, the prints are much sharper than the web versions


Another I like, and would be easy enough to move a bit to the right


This puppy was such a good model

01-03-2009, 03:36 PM
Hi Julie;

You have some wonderful pet images. I hope, in some small way I can help you find how to cull through to pick images and how to present them. I worked an image I adore ... that of the dog jumping. We own a 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier so I know all about running and jumping. Here is how I see it being presented. I moved the position of the dog, in the scene as well as making it into a step mount. I hope this helps and inspires you. I titled it "One Big Leap for Dogdom".


01-03-2009, 08:19 PM
Problem with dog portraits and keeping their eyes in the upper 3rd quadrant is that they do have big ears. Crop off the ears and the photo is ruined. I just don't think you can overcome their ears.

Julie - I see what you are saying here, but all you need to do is leave more room when you shoot the image and then you will have the base to support the rest of the head.

I am guilty of this all the time when I shoot children. I want to get so close but then that limits my options for cropping later.

Good luck choosing and processing!


01-04-2009, 01:17 AM
Craig, that is an afghan hound lure coursing. Though they can run fast, they can't fly. That is what I see in that image. It really needs the ground.

With show dogs, it is very very specific. You really have to crop before you see the bottom of the chest or show the entire dog. Though a pet person really wants to have a lovely or just cute portrait, the show/performance people are very particular and believe me, they see things that I am like "OKAAAAAY" and just learn from it and don't shoot like that again.

That first photo was used in an ad because it accentuated his dark eyeliner and proper ears.

I like this photo, but, wouldn't consider it for competition. It was great for advertising her.

I know how to shoot for my clients, but, I am still not sure exactly what would constitute a merit print.


01-04-2009, 06:02 AM

I just had to chime in and say I LOVE your greyhound images. They are a hard dog to photograph, and from a grey fan, you have done a great job!

01-04-2009, 08:31 AM

I just had to chime in and say I LOVE your greyhound images. They are a hard dog to photograph, and from a grey fan, you have done a great job!

Hey - Jacklie, Great to see you posting again - we missed you - I haven't seen a post from you since you did the Louisiana Guild Tour... Hope you enjoyed our South Louisiana hospitality !!! No - I'm not trying to hijack the thread - Jackie - please if you wish to respond, do it by a PM - I've been hijacking way too many threads lately with personal questions...


01-04-2009, 01:31 PM
Thanks Jackie. I specialize in the hound group(I know that sounds funny) but, I show whippets(so a lot of the photos of are whippets, with some rescue greys too) Each breed of dog has its own standard and very very specific way the owners/handlers want them to look.

I try and fundraise for the local greyhound groups, but, they never will call me back. I do fundraise for the NC group. I also have greyhound pet owners call for portraits because of this. I also do a pet portrait fundraiser every year at Christmas time, which, is always a great thing. I get to raise money for local rescues and I get a lot of traffic(almost too much this year)

I may just not have anything that would constitute a good competition print.

01-04-2009, 03:19 PM
I am not a dog photographer and while I love my dog I am also not what you would call a "dog' person, but maybe this will help you a little when picking prints for competition. Judges are not breeders of show dogs, what we look for will vary from that other importat group which is your usual client. Usually I say judges are more demanding then clients but in this case I think maybe the opposite might be true. Breeders I assume are looking to show how perfectly that dog conforms to the standards or features of that breed??? Judges are looking for technical excellance and if the expression or attitude of the dog in the image somehow makes a connection or creates impact with the viewer. So a dog with one ear flooped down or standing not so perfect but with an amazing expression will appeal to a judge but maybe not to a breeder. An image that is flat light or maybe not perfectly sharp at the tip of the nose but shows perfect conformation will probably be great for the breeder but not so good to a print judge. Judges are looking for excellance of the photograph and breeders I assume are looking for excellance of the dog itself. Hope that helps

01-04-2009, 04:49 PM
Hi Julie;

I echo what Kieth said. If you were posting the images for show people, I realize what I posted would appear wrong. But, unless a judge is also an expert in show dogs, he or she would only judge using the Dirty Dozen criteria. As an analogy ... I was a league bowler for over 35 years. If I were on a judging panel and saw an image of a bowler releasing a ball while friends watched and if the technique, and stance, were wrong I would judge the image on the merits of the image and not on the correctness of the actual bowling.

You may have some images which could be dynamite in competition that dog people would find fault with. Look at your images as if you know nothing about dog breeding or dog shows but rather from the standpoint of a print judge.

01-04-2009, 05:01 PM
Which, is why I am thinking I may have nothing that would do well in competition. Though, I do try not to be lax in technicals and do strive for a great expression, but rules do apply and I would say breeders are as picky as a judge, just picky on different things. To feed the family, it is more important for me to please the client than it is for me to shoot for a competition.

Same goes with equine photos. I see things that do well in competition(that have posted online) and am pretty horrified. There as such basic equine photography rules that are broken and rewarded.

The rangefinder Australian illustrative photographer of the year photo (two whippets on a pillow) to me, is an *ok* image. I have plenty very similar to it and well, though a cute photo, just doesn't seem like a huge award winner.

01-04-2009, 05:09 PM
Obvioulsy, I am a dense woman as I am not "getting" what would score well.

Here is a couple I took yesterday. No doubt they are cute, almost unreal looking. I would not consider them competition worthy, but, they do have cute expressions and fit the rule of thirds and are tack sharp(at least at full sized)



I keep posting images in hopes that a lightbulb will come in in my head.

01-04-2009, 05:15 PM
This was from a shelter shoot


A parrot that I didn't know the client was bringing




01-05-2009, 02:14 AM
I started this earlier and then went out of town. Here is one of your images hinting towards competition. I like it better in BW than color as it controls the eye better. I am seeing a common tendancy of the images looking too light and almost (if not) blowing out the whites. Keith


01-05-2009, 03:24 PM

Hi. I can't really comment regarding competition, (and Keith is always very accurate in his opinions, along with the others, so I'll leave the cc to them) but as a bit of encouragement, you have a wonderful eye for animal portraiture. If I could make my living doing pets and babies, I would shoot nothing else. There's just not alot of call for pet portraits where I live.

Anyway, I just had to tell you that I absolutely love the chow puppy pictures - they make me miss my Paddington Bear (whom I had for 14 years, and just lost last year).

And Keep posting! I've enjoyed the photos. (I used to work at an Animal Hospital with someone who bred whippets, and when all the puppies where running thru the halls, it was the funniest thing). Thanks for sharing.


01-06-2009, 01:38 AM
Competition is a different arena than client expectation to some degree. What I found most enlightening was to actually enter my semi-unconventional images, read the comp guidelines, and watch a judging live at my regional (SEPPA) convention. Then, when I entered the nationals, I ordered a DVD critique--some of the most valuable input I have received on my work.

I also love photographing animals. I recommend checking out the work of Rachael Hale, an awesome animal portrait photographer.

Bottom line for me is that competition forces me to focus on the technical aspects my clients can't put their finger on, but somehow seem to recognize--

Love your work by the way--

01-08-2009, 01:32 AM
Funny the difference in opinion people have. I usually get comments that my images are almost underexposed. Occasionally with natural light the a blaze on the face will get overexposed. I do my best to avoid it, but, it does happen. I do tend to take the dogs to the edge as it gives a more vibrant look. Whippets have so little hair, especially on the face that often they don't have near the detail a heavier coated dog does

Having read the replies, I keep trying to meld the portraits to competition rules. Here are a few more.



01-08-2009, 01:57 PM
Hi Julie;

I have a suggestion for you. Rather than cull through files searching for suitable images for competition ... on each session, with a subject you like, create some images for competition. If the client says something explain that you feel their animal has the potential to be a winning face and that rules of competition vary from those for showing animals. Also tell them it is not costing them anything at all but ... if they like any they would be available to order from. Start a hard drive folder named PotentialCompetitionImages. Keep saving those you like, in there, and when time allows narrow down to the best.