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heritage
04-13-2009, 04:32 AM
I know I am working on this late...:)

This is my first competition and I am trying to get it all figured out. I went through all my images and came up with the following. I'd love to hear what you all think. Honest opinions VERY welcome.

There are six images here. Do I stand a chance with any of them? What about editing/retouching. Most of these have had a little done to them but not much. Any suggestions? How about cropping?

I will tell you what my thoughts are on each, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong...(Also, I am trying to post large so stay with me if the images don't appear.)

http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/babyandbrother.jpg

I was thinking of this one in black and white cropped much like it is. No idea for title though.

heritage
04-13-2009, 04:48 AM
http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/bikesandballet.jpg

Title Possiblility: Bikes and Ballet
This image was a quick surprise...I wish I had her entire legs in here but alas there was a table blocking them that I cropped out. This young girl was about to perform outdoors when about 10 bikers started up their bikes and drove off. I like the lighting but not sure if it would even come close to a merit.

heritage
04-13-2009, 04:50 AM
These are the same subject so both cannot be entered. No idea for title...
http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/maternity.jpg

http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/maternitycouple.jpg

heritage
04-13-2009, 04:52 AM
I was considering "Goosebumps" as the title for this one since that is why she is huddling with her mother. Any thoughts? This is one of my favorites.
http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/weddingmomandgirl.jpg

I am going to add the uncropped and unedited version...
http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/lfg.jpg

heritage
04-13-2009, 04:53 AM
Last One. I am considering the titles "My New Mom" or "Stepmom". Any thoughts?
http://www.heritagestudioandgallery.com/PicsOnline/flowergirl.jpg

JDpoole29
04-13-2009, 03:13 PM
I loved the bikers & Ballet, that was unique! Also just my taste I prefer the second maternity shot with the father's hands. The first one would look better black and white and a gaussian blur applied but use the history tool brush and bring back detail in the eyes, lips and nose a little. The little girl looking at the bride and groom was adorable. I loved it, no changes! :)

heritage
04-13-2009, 06:54 PM
C'mon people...I am ready with tissues. (totally kidding!) :)

I am quite sure I am not going to merit with all of these...I am hoping for at least one as this is my first competition. I know you all know way more than I do about fixing them up/cropping/titles. Please help!!! I really want to learn to be better. Feel free to tell me the truth.

Leana_Moss
04-13-2009, 07:13 PM
Hi Amy,
Looks like a pretty quiet day on the boards for some reason. I'll give you my 2cents, but please wait for a Keith or D.Craig or someone like that - they'll give you their best thoughts, and they judge, so they ususally hit pretty well.

Some ps work on the first one might work. the biker and ballerina, I love the concept being a mom of a ballerina, but don't think it will merit - looks like a snapshot to me - the missing feet and no foreground will kill it.

I like the first maternity image best.

the goosebumps one will only work if you can see the goosebumps on the child...can't tell from here.

I do like the flower girl image, but the bride's hand between the little girl's chin and shoulder is really distracting - maybe try to ps it out.

And...no matter what anyone tells you - enter a full case and hope for the best! There are many stories on here of folks that didn't think they would merit at all with a full case of merits!

Good Luck!

heritage
04-13-2009, 07:27 PM
"the goosebumps one will only work if you can see the goosebumps on the child...can't tell from here."

Just a clarification...do you mean only use the picture if you can see goosebumps or only go with that title?

"I do like the flower girl image, but the bride's hand between the little girl's chin and shoulder is really distracting - maybe try to ps it out."

That is so helpful! I didn't even see if before and now it is glaring at me.

Thanks bunches.

Not sure how to do the blue boxes with quoted text...sorry!

Ashley_Short
04-13-2009, 07:27 PM
Amy, I'm not the most experienced CC'er, and I usually miss half of what others catch, but I'll give you my honest opinion. Ready for it? Ok.

Oh, Leana was typing while I was.. I'm slow. So, sorry for any repeats! :o

Oh, from what I hear, Keith is really busy and going out of town, so I wouldn't count on him to CC this time around. ;)

This is as harsh as it will get, from me anyway.. a few of them are too snap shot-y for me. Meaning, there are a lot of things that could have been done to improve the images if you had taken more time, control, etc.

The first one (the boy and baby) is out of focus. (the boy's hair and the carpet are in focus.) The baby's head is too far away from the boys, so they seem disconnected. Also, it would have helped greatly if they were wearing the same colors. I'd either cover the diaper or put the boy in white pants. On that same note, they aren't in key w/ the background.

The ballerina and bikes is a great concept, and I wish you could have stopped the girl and posed her with the biker chic in the back. As it is, I don't see it meriting. one of the most important parts of a ballerina is her legs, and you've cut them off. (that would be a big deal even if she weren't a ballerina.) Also, her hands are flat to the camera, taking away all femininity. (that's a word, right?) :) I'd get rid of her black bra straps. The last thing that really tells me it's not a "right" image is that her face is neither profile nor 3/4. (This, as well as the legs, will be the biggest problems.)

The next image is the first maternity shot. I see this as your best chance to merit. It has a beautiful feel to it. I love the color, I love her hair. Make sure you aren't losing any detail in the highlights and shadows. I'd probably tone down her arms along the left side of the image, maybe even tone down a bit more of the shadow area of her belly. If you have a version of the image where her hands aren't cut off, definitely use that. Also, this is mixed keys again. (although this part doesn't stick out as much as it does in the first one to me for some reason.)

I'm not sure what to say about the second maternity shot. The top pair of hands are really close to the edge. I'm not at all crazy about the cropping. When I first looked at it, it looked like the woman's hands were on her belly and the man's hands were around her neck. Again, you have the woman's hand flat (and manly) toward the camera. (and again the mixed keys.)

I'm really sure about the last two images in competition. I know they're very sellable, though! The first one, you've cropped right through the mother's hand. The bouquet and the bow in the background are a bit distracting for me. I think you should re-crop it focusing more on the child, with less distractions. Also, make sure there's detail in the dress. Play with your file, but I'm posting the file more how I'd see the crop.

Not sure about the last one (or titles)

Hope this has helped.

Ashley

heritage
04-13-2009, 07:47 PM
Thanks. I am in full agreement about the ballerina. I wish I hadn't even posted it. I liked it uncropped better but there's too much "junk" in the picture...there was a table blocking her legs unfortunately. Even then, I am sure it is no where near merit quality. I guess the concept of a ballerina with all those bikes just seemed so cool...but it doesn't work in this image.

I will start working on the first maternity. Anybody have title ideas?

I have watched 3 out of the 4 webinars and have so much to learn. The two flower girls and the borther and baby get a lot of positive comments at the studio. Obviously, these aren't pros, but how do you all know what to enter? Very possibly I am just not there yet but I know I have a lot of "sellable" stuff...I am just having trouble on what might merit.

Any other thoughts to improve the others?

Oh...I think the original with the mom and flowergirl has less of the mom cropped...let me look.
O.K.--the original (no edits/cropping) is below the first. Does this improve it enough?

Valerie_Kieselhorst
04-14-2009, 12:35 AM
I am shocked. Are not these disposable diapers a big NO NO on a portrait?

heritage
04-14-2009, 02:26 AM
I guess I never heard that about diapers... I just never thought about it. These are actually my kids and I shot it at my home one day. I only included it because so many people comment on it at the studio when they see it. Obviously, it must not be of merit quality. Sorry to shock you.

DianeDavis
04-14-2009, 06:38 AM
Guess the disposable diaper thing is subjective. Some of us are still professional and don't mind it so much, especially if they are in key. :)

Amy, you need a bunch of Kudos for not only posting, but also being open to critique that might sound a little harsh. That is the way to grow quickly. With your kind of attitude for being open to learning and willing to learn from your work, I can promise you are well on your way. Many of us have taken the journey, and though it doesn't end, it is satisfying.

Please also understand that what is merit worthy and what is green merit worthy (dollars) are not always the same. I agree that the image of you children is definately something that a parent would love to own and clients would really enjoy, the relationship and emotion are wonderful.

Looking forward to seeing more.

heritage
04-15-2009, 02:18 AM
Thank you Diane. I appreciate everything you said.

I know I have a lot to learn. I know my work is not perfect but I am trying to get there. I took photography courses in college in my art major but it wasn't specifically geared toward portraiture. I have since attended seminars, read countless books, asked tons of questions and practiced. I know there is room for improvement though.

I have been involved in another forum for a while and I am so glad to have started reading this one. The difference is amazing. I ran out of growing room on the last one if that makes sense.

I am starting to see the difference between merit worthy and sellable is quite different. If my work were technically correct in every area...how do you all learn what will and will not merit? Is it mostly by looking at lots and lots of images that have merited? For instance, I think I recall reading in the PPA mag that the cover winner image was not necessarily one that would go into the loan collection.

Always learning...
Amy

DianeDavis
04-15-2009, 08:39 AM
Amy-
I'm far from an expert. In fact, I just realized the deadline for entry is about 2 weeks away- and I still have to find images :(

However, this is the article that will help you some:
http://www.ppa.com/articles/120/Elements-of-a-Merit-Image.php

Good luck!

D._Craig_Flory
04-15-2009, 01:14 PM
I am starting to see the difference between merit worthy and sellable is quite different. If my work were technically correct in every area...how do you all learn what will and will not merit? Is it mostly by looking at lots and lots of images that have merited? For instance, I think I recall reading in the PPA mag that the cover winner image was not necessarily one that would go into the loan collection.

Always learning...
Amy

Hi Amy;

What I am going to say will hopefully help you. In images of your kids you have an emotional bond with them. The same goes with clients loving images because they are of their loved ones. Judges do not have that bond so you have to give them more. From the title which will hopefully make them want to see the image that goes with it to incredible impact and a wonderful visual story ... you have to have images that grab them and don't let go.