View Full Version : A couple to critique

03-18-2009, 07:24 PM
Reading the elements of a merit print, I was trying to see how these would do.




03-18-2009, 08:16 PM
I really like the first one, but I don't shoot animals, so I really don't know how to cc these. (although I do wish I could see more of the dog's face in the second one.)


03-18-2009, 08:33 PM
love #1 & 3. your post production is awsome, care to share your process?

03-18-2009, 08:46 PM
Its really pretty simple, a small curves adjustment, a little unsharp mask sharpening to snap it up and then 1 and 3 have texture overlays. I run through all the blending modes until I find what I like best(usually soft light or overlay) and then mask off some of the texture off of the subject, depending on how much I want on them

03-19-2009, 03:45 PM
#1 I like the pose of the dog, shows strength and still keeps impact with the face turned back into the light. I do not care for the grass of the forground, the courseness, texture and contrast draws my eye away from the dog. The little bits of what appears to be tree branches on both sides of the image are distractions as well. While the texture and overlay techniques work with some images, here I am drawn to the dark crack behind the dog as well as making me very aware of the background instead of holding to or telling a story about the main subject. While there is a lot of impact created by the lighting and pose (which I did not spend time on all the positive elements here) I feel the distractions would hold me out of the merit catagory.

#2 - like Ashley said, I would have liked to see the face of the dog and a bit of light into the face. I realize that for some breeders and dogshow specialist the face may not be as important. What I get from this image, based on the pose, lighting and composition, is that (and possibly a good title) "its whats behind that counts" the most.

#3 - Good lighting, pose etc. Watch out for highlights (dogs head and hip areas) that I am sure are not blown out but may appear that way under the lights. Print it down a bit darker to prevent this problem. I would recomend against metalic for images like this as the highlights quite often will blow out much quicker than on a different paper choice. Again I am bothered by the grunge, my eye keeps going to the spot/stain above and behind his head then around the image. The technique added to the image is giving me (even on this small image) horz. lines through the background. This could be mistaken for "banding" (caused by printer issues) and hurt the image in the print quality area. The background distracts a bit and again the grass is pulling my eye.

I am not saying that a natural setting is not good for dog photographs, just that these things in these images are distracting me from the dogs. On the subject of overlays, textures and techinques, ask yourself add or distract from the story being told by the image. A lot of times grunge on darker backgrounds will add a rustic charm to an image and on lighter areas it will add age and/or distractions to an image.
These are just My Opinions of the things I would be considering if I were judging these images in a competition. Keith

03-19-2009, 04:14 PM
The difficulty with this sort of photography comes from the fact you have to work with what you are given. These were shot in a parking lot full of cars and RV's at 2pm in full sun. Only reason you don't see them is I was shooting from down a hill. Its part of being able to get the shots that will be appropriate for advertising use.

The handler of the whippet was frustrated and impatient with the dogs. She had a 4 month old puppy and a bitch in heat and that dog pictured. The wind was blowing making the dogs ears stand straight up and it was an interesting day to say the least. Since the showdogs I photograph come from all around the eastern states, and I see them at shows, and it is usually in a parking lot.... Well, it adds to the challenge

Not that it changes what is wrong with the photos, it just sorta adds to the story. With my local pet people, I can choose the time of day and the area that I prefer outdoors(or the studio) which really gives a lot more control.

The first and third shots are the first I have ever had *show* clients order large framed canvases of. I have had plenty of magazine covers, plenty of ads in dog show magazines, but, these are the ones that have the dog show community talking.

I do agree with the last one and the highlights and no, on a histogram they are not blown, but, they are at the edge and they draw my eye in also. I would not print any of these on metallic either. They are both being done on canvas which I think really will add to them.

Now the middle one, really is focusing on what is on the horizon, not behind him. I am not very good at naming photos, but, it would have to do with anticipation or something about the focus on what is to come. I liked that photo more for the power and grace it shows with that dog, but, I don't like the face in the shadow(he was faced away from the sun)

The ones I normally use for advertising are fairly boring as far as photos go. The point is making sure that the dogs faults are minimized and the good points maximized.

Anyhow, I hope you don't care I am babbling on here. I was curious to see what others thought about these due to the response I got from the owners, which, was different than I would have expected

03-19-2009, 04:23 PM
I was much stronger on my critique because of the post in the print competition area. I understand all of the challanges and I might add how well handled under the circumstances. I also can see an appeal to clients as I am sure this is a real departure from what they are used to seeing from photography at a show. But in competition, the jurrors don't know about any back story, they have to judge what is in front of them at the time. One last thought, for competition I would caution the choice of canvas. For some images it may work but for most the texture will add a distraction from your image. This may be because of the actual image size on a limit of 16x20.

03-19-2009, 04:35 PM
Critique as strong as you like. Weak critiques are worthless. I don't think I would use canvas as a medium for competition. I just don't understand why I can't get my mind around what will work

03-19-2009, 04:48 PM
I put some of the stuff into your CC like the canvas etc. for those that read but don't post. I think your work is good and that if I were to walk into your place and look at your files I would be able to find competition images. It is always way harder to pick your own work than it is to choose for someone else. The difference is we are emotionally attached, good or bad, to our own work and see things differently because of it. It will get easier in oh say 20 or 30 more years!:D

03-19-2009, 05:23 PM
I'll be to old to care in 20 or 30 years ;)