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Miranda_Welch
05-05-2009, 03:34 AM
Critique appreciated

http://www.mirandawelchphotography.com/images/printcomp.jpg

Ashley_Short
05-05-2009, 04:44 AM
She's super cute! Her little toes are adorable. I wish he didn't have on cargo pants, the pockets are distracting to me.

Miranda_Welch
05-05-2009, 05:09 AM
Thanks Ashley! I can see what you mean about the pocket being right next to her and distracting. Is it bad enough to be a deal breaker for you? I liked that they were a complementing earthy tone to my backdrop, but the pocket is noticeable.

I'm glad you noticed her toes. They are what make this image for me, it looks just like she's trying to dance.

Keith_A_Howe
05-05-2009, 12:27 PM
Miranda
I don't know what your goals are for competition or this image but heres my opinion. I see a cute little girl with great toes in a pose with fairly flat lighting. The pose feels unexciting and there is a problem of mixed keys (low key background with a high key tutu and primary subject). The pants are in key with the background as you said but the texture (wrinkles in the fabric and the pockets) draw my eye because of the lack of texture in the background. I see this image scoring in the average to above average catagory. Now imagine this same little girl with mom in white tights and light leotard and balet slippers on a white background combined with the same lighting as before only cut back on the fill and turn her face into the main light just a bit more. The impact is way stronger because the viewers eye is drawn to the point of the most contrast which will be her face, eyes and toes because they are the darkest areas with in the image. In your image the story is more of mom offering support and in this idea Mom perpetuates the story of dance.
Now an old trick, turn the print upside down and see where your eye goes. It will help you to see problem areas or distractions.
Keith

John_Metcalfe
05-05-2009, 02:43 PM
Miranda,

I saw the others post before forming my own opinion, so took the liberty to make some of the suggested changes. However, I agree and feel that the image needs more umph! By taking Keith's suggestions combined with your style and ideas you will be sure to produce a much more desirable image for comp.

just so you know:
I removed one of the pockets, pushed in the other
removed many of the wrinkles
detailed the skirting
shadow detailed the child
toned down and softened the secondary subject
and 10% blurred the details outside the print

Miranda_Welch
05-05-2009, 05:00 PM
Keith, thank you for taking the time to write that out for me. To answer your question about what my goals are, I simply want to learn. I'm at a point where I need outside eyes to know how to make my images better. It seemed that taking an image that I thought was good and trying to make it competition worthy was a great way to push myself. I've never entered a competition before so it's a completely new area to me. I appreciate your suggestions, especially the wrinkly pants and too bright skirt part. My style is more earthy and organic than high key so I would like to make this image work in that regard instead. The paper in real life is much closer in color and tone to the babies skin, but I lit the image with only one light, so the background became much darker. If this is flat light, I'm in trouble haha because there wasn't any fill.

John - thanks for the play! I went back in and did some things to the image as well. I tried to smooth the pants and fix the right pocket. I also turned the skirt a more natural color. I am posting my reworked image here without the print finish so you can see it better. Regarding the outside print finish, looking around I've seen much more vibrant and patterned borders, can I ask why you blurred the flower detail? I don't know anything about what makes a good print finish with borders so I'd love to know your thoughts.

Ok so here's the image with some fixes, this is much more photoshop than I normally go for.

http://www.mirandawelchphotography.com/images/printcompII.jpg

Betsy_Finn
05-05-2009, 09:46 PM
Miranda, I'm guessing that John toned down the pattern in the mat of your image because it was distracting. There are some times when a textured background or something "special" will work -- but you have to be careful it complements the image -- you want to accent your image, not distract from it :).

By blurring the background, John kept some variation in tone for the background, but took away the distraction of the crisp pattern.

Miranda_Welch
05-05-2009, 10:22 PM
Thank you Betsy :)

Keith_A_Howe
05-08-2009, 05:16 AM
To answer your question about what my goals are, I simply want to learn. I'm at a point where I need outside eyes to know how to make my images better. It seemed that taking an image that I thought was good and trying to make it competition worthy was a great way to push myself. I've never entered a competition before so it's a completely new area to me.

You are, in my mind anyway, approaching this in the best way. Now as for the lighting, It is not flat light but it could have much more pop to it. When working with one light remember to feather the light, it will give you more impact to the lighting.
On another note I believe your image would be in the high above average catagory and in a local guild competition may even come in as a blue (80).
Keith

jenniferfeeney
05-08-2009, 05:05 PM
I haven't done competition, but thought I would comment on the look and vision of this piece because I think it has potential artistically (cant speak for competition)...

I actually like the manly cargo pants and delicate pretty baby ballerina. It's an interesting juxtaposition of two worlds. I think that there are things you can do to help that look along. In some ways, the background pattern is too dominant and elegant - doesn't work with the tension in the image. I think taking down the brightness of the skirt works better and you could definitely tweak the highlights and shadows to get a better overall balance. While I'm really not into adding grunge overlays, I think this image could benefit from it IF IT's NOT OVERDONE. See the link below for the work of Edda Taylor (a fabulous photographer in my area). She has this wonderful series where she places beautifully elegant ballerinas in dilapidated places with pealing paint...maybe it will inspire you...

http://books.google.com/books?id=iAW-da4EF9YC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=edda+taylor+photography+dancers&source=bl&ots=gaxRgtucSk&sig=mnkcTxEf3myX9UO0zrGReH7Av-I&hl=en&ei=slUEStOeHuDcmQeCoeXYBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA90,M1

Rob_Wilson
05-08-2009, 10:26 PM
[QUOTE=jenniferfeeney;202972]I haven't done competition, but thought I would comment on the look and vision of this piece because I think it has potential artistically (cant speak for competition)...


I actually like the manly cargo pants and delicate pretty baby ballerina. It's an interesting juxtaposition of two worlds.


I agree with Jennifer...I think sometimes we tend to over think things. I also like the contrast between the cargo pants and the baby ballerina. I think the contrast is obvious enough to get what Miranda was going for.

Miranda_Welch
05-10-2009, 03:50 PM
You are, in my mind anyway, approaching this in the best way. Now as for the lighting, It is not flat light but it could have much more pop to it. When working with one light remember to feather the light, it will give you more impact to the lighting.
On another note I believe your image would be in the high above average catagory and in a local guild competition may even come in as a blue (80).
Keith

Thank you Keith! I had the light at a 45 degree angle, I will feather it next time instead. I appreciate your help.

Thank you Jennifer and Rob for the encouragement. I love that link Jennifer, she does the ballerina thing well, that's great inspiration, thank you!