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Marie_M
06-03-2009, 11:56 PM
Hello,
What print competition catagory would I enter Pet photos? I'm guessing Portrait..but just wanted to make sure.

Thanks!
Marie

Keith_A_Howe
06-04-2009, 01:37 AM
Marie,
For what competition? I assume it's a local or state? Some states and locals have seperate catergories for pets or animals and some don't. At an affiliate or national judging it's just portrait open, commercial or wedding.

Keith

John_Metcalfe
06-04-2009, 04:30 PM
do you have the image to show?

Marie_M
06-04-2009, 10:25 PM
Hi and thank you. Lets just assume for national PPA (Which I won't be doing anytime soon) so was just curious. Sorry if I'm not making sense, just learning about all this stuff!
John, I'm guessing by your question, that a pet picture could be in multiple catagories?

Thanks,
Marie

John_Metcalfe
06-05-2009, 07:16 AM
John, I'm guessing by your question, that a pet picture could be in multiple categories?

Thanks,
Marie



Yep! Just about everything involved is subjective. Go figure...

Keith_A_Howe
06-06-2009, 03:26 PM
Marie
Pet photographs in PPA's competition would most likely be in the portrait open catagory. But there is always a chance for the commercial area if the image has the technical excellance and composition (to allow for copy and or headline).
Keith

Jack_Reznicki
06-07-2009, 02:44 AM
Marie
Pet photographs in PPA's competition would most likely be in the portrait open catagory. But there is always a chance for the commercial area if the image has the technical excellance and composition (to allow for copy and or headline).
Keith

Hey Keith,

Why commercial category if it's not a commercial photo? Doesn't that undermine the category?

And many commercial photos don't have copy or are not for magazine covers, so no need for blank space. Commercial work shouldn't be judged on composition, thinking that you need to allow for copy or "headlines", if you don't know the usage.

Keith_A_Howe
06-07-2009, 03:58 AM
Why commercial category if it's not a commercial photo? Doesn't that undermine the category?


Because you can if you want to. I have seen people enter wedding, fine art or portrait images as commercial usually because they felt there would be few commercial entries in the competition and having it entered as commercial would give them a better shot at some awards like a Fuji or Kodak. Does that undermine the catergory? In my mind yes but that's a choice the photographer has to make for themselves. PEC is always working hard to simplify the rules. I suppose they could say commercial has to be commercial and you have to prove it by showing how the image was used commercially. I don't think anyone wants that to happen.

As far as composition it does not effect scoring on a commercial print if there is not room for a headline or copy. The reason I mentioned that was because it could be the reason why the image might be better entered commercial instead of portrait open. I have seen images be entered as commercial that seem to have odd composition, but when you consider how they will be used in a layout with a headline or copy, it makes sense. Many commercial entries will include a tearsheet for just such a reason. I didn't mean to imply that commercial entries had to be composed as if they were magazine covers, but what I meant to suggest is that is something that might make a portrait be legitimatly considered a commercial image. If I had told her it should be entered as portrait open, then you know somebody else would have posted behind me saying she could enter it as commercial if she wanted to. So sorry if I wasn't real clear.

Keith

Jack_Reznicki
06-07-2009, 05:06 AM
Keith,

Thanks for the explanation. It helps clarify. But I still have a question.


I suppose they could say commercial has to be commercial and you have to prove it by showing how the image was used commercially. I don't think anyone wants that to happen.


Why wouldn't anyone want that to happen?

Entering a photo into commercial simply because you "have a better shot" does undermine that category.
It's gaming the system, in my opinion.
My feeling is that it isn't a "real" commercial image, it should be entered into the open.
If PEC wants to strengthen the commercial category, it has to have some integrity, otherwise, frankly, commercial photographers wouldn't enter it. If it isn't strong, it should simply be eliminated.

Linda_Gregory
06-07-2009, 05:19 AM
this is the same thing I learned my first year entering when it was suggested I enter an image of a person in the illustrative instead of portrait because it'd never merit in that category, few do.

I think this could be 'one of those things' that no one would be happy changing as there would always be that line in the sand that deserves to be crossed.

Jack_Reznicki
06-07-2009, 01:23 PM
I think this could be 'one of those things' that no one would be happy changing as there would always be that line in the sand that deserves to be crossed.

Linda,

Respectfully, I have to disagree. It's about the integrity of the competition. It's that's the "line in the sand" as you call it, why not call it the "what the heck, give it a shot" category? Or the "maybe I can sneak this over" line.
Sorry, some things don't "deserve" to be crossed. As a "one" myself, you can't make the claim that "no one" would be happy changing.

Glad though, to have this discussion.

Linda_Gregory
06-07-2009, 01:50 PM
First Jack, I agree. Some of the categories are too broad and used incorrectly but as professionals, I believe the majority of entrants wish to earn their merits without subterfuge, others just want merits.

I am imagining the policy making that would have to go on...each entry must meet certain qualifications to be in a category. Any people images would automatically be suspect in any category outside of portraiture. How many more staff/volunteers would it take to do this and how many panels to make a decision on prints where those lines are close?


Would we have to qualify our entries by what use they were photographed for? Many photograph specifically for print comp so what category would that go in?

I see way too many headaches on that one.

Jeff_Dachowski
06-07-2009, 03:08 PM
Jack,
Are you saying that commercial entries should have a tearsheet with them to be considered?

Jeff

Keith_A_Howe
06-07-2009, 04:24 PM
To answer the question "Why wouldn't you want to have to prove how an image was used commercially to be able to enter it in the commercial catagory? and Why I said I don't think anyone wants that to happen."

Please keep in mind these are MY personal thoughts, I am not on PEC.
If you had to prove how it was used commercially, you would take out all those photographers that want to stretch and try to expand their capabilities. For example a portrait/wedding photographer that does very little or no commercial work but wants to do a self assignment and learn to do commercial should have the opportunity to challenge themselves. How about a commercial photographer that wants to do a different style of work than they do on a regular basis? How about the commercial photographer that wants to enter an image that they feel is strong but the client went with a different view so they can not prove how this image was used commercially? If they had to prove how it was used commercially the only images that could be entered would be those images that the client / art director chose and the rest would be out of contention. Also if you had to prove how an image was used commercially to enter the commercial catagory, we should also have to prove all portrait entries were purchased by the client, all wedding images went into the brides album. If commercial photographers have to prove they only enter client purchased images then it's only fair that same rule apply across the board. I understand your point of clarifying and defining the category, but in doing so will it put more restrictions on entrants and their freedom of expression? The majority of comments I hear about PPA print competition is that it's too restrictive. Making entrants prove that a commercial image was actually used for a commercial purpose is narrowing the potential images that any maker can enter. That's why I said I don't think anyone wants that to happen.

"Why commercial category if it's not a commercial photo? Doesn't that undermine the category? If it isn't strong, it should simply be eliminated. "

I feel the system works and if an image isn't strong enough then it is not merited whatever catergory it is entered under. I never meant in that earlier post that an image has a better chance at meriting in commercial then another catergory, just that some people choose to enter it as commercial because with fewer entries there is less competition for those awards. Not a viewpoint I would follow but it's not my place to say what anyone else should feel is ethical or not ethical. ( And by the way we do not know if an image is portrait or illustrative when we are judging, so there is no scoring advantage to choosing one over the other. The only time those distinctions matter is in head to head for awrds and that is strictly a state or regional thing. PEC has no jurisdiction on those awards.) I for one would not want to be the arbitraiter of what is or isn't commercial. For example say a business person comes in for a head shot. The image is used on biz cards, web site and billboards. Is that a commercial image or is it a portrait image? Say a wedding gown store askes you to photograph a model in a wedding gown in a particular setting. Should it be entered as a commercial image (professional model, plenty of time to shoot, created for a commercial client). Or should it be entered as a wedding because it looks like it could be a real bride at a real wedding? The question about the pet photograph at the beginning of this thread. I don't know if it was created for the owner or maybe it was for the breeder to run an ad in a pet magazine. A possible scenario could be that a photographer creates a pet portrait and some pet related business or publication sees the image and wants to use it in a commercial application. My point with this long ramble is sometimes the line between what is a commercial image and what is portrait open is too fuzzy to make a definitive distinction. So I go back to each entrant has to make the choice for themselves. They have to do what allows them to sleep at night.

As for commercial photographers not wanting to enter because it is not a "pure" commercial catagory. I would love to have lots more commercial photographers entering. I feel that if they entered and increased the number of images in the catagory, the commercial catagory would mold itself and become so much stronger because of it. However choosing not to enter because it isn't (in their minds) a pure commercial category is akin to taking their toys and leaving the sandbox rather than playing and showing how much better their games are. When I am at a regional during head to head I would love to have more real commercial type images to select from for those awards. But if people aren't entering them, then I have to choose awards based on the options in front of me. If commercial photographers want commercial images to be rewarded then we have to have more purely commercial images entered to be able to award them. I can't give a trophy to an image that isn't entered.

Jack, What it comes down to is for me, I wouldn't enter an image in commercial that I didn't feel was a COMMERCIAL image. But I also won't be the one to tell someone else they have to have the same code of conduct that I do. And I won't stop entering images because I don't agree with someone else's code either. It's easier to change a system from the inside.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-07-2009, 04:28 PM
First Jack, I agree. Some of the categories are too broad and used incorrectly but as professionals, I believe the majority of entrants wish to earn their merits without subterfuge, others just want merits.


Just to be clear - we do not know the catergory when we are judging at regionals. So illustrative, portrait, wedding - none of that effects the score or whether it gets a seal. Placing an image in one catergory or the other creates NO scoring advantage. The only reason a catergory is important is for any awards given based on catergory. PEC has no say in what those awards are or what the selection criteria is. Those awards are strictly regional or below.

Keith

Peter_Bauer
06-07-2009, 10:41 PM
I suppose they could say commercial has to be commercial and you have to prove it by showing how the image was used commercially. I don't think anyone wants that to happen.

Actually, I think that's a great idea! Not only would it protect the integrity of the category, it would ensure that only successful commercial images are entered into the category, which would, in turn, simplify the judging.

Pete

Rick_Massarini
06-08-2009, 08:46 AM
Originally Posted by Keith_A_Howe View Post
I suppose they could say commercial has to be commercial and you have to prove it by showing how the image was used commercially. I don't think anyone wants that to happen.




Actually, I think that's a great idea! Not only would it protect the integrity of the category, it would ensure that only successful commercial images are entered into the category, which would, in turn, simplify the judging.

So if only "successful" commercial images are entered, then that takes the decision as to what was the best image from a particular shoot away from the photographer and places that decision in the hands of the purchasing client, ad agency, or art director. So if a tear sheet was required, then that would also mean that the decision as to what a commercial photographer could enter into print competition would be made by the client and not by the photographer, since if the client didn't use it in the ad, there would be no proof of commercial use or tear sheet available. I'm sure that a lot of commercial photographers would object to that, since in many cases, a client will choose an image from a shoot for an ad or for a particular purpose which was not the photographers personal favorite image from the shoot (I know that it's happened to me).

So that means that if your client didn't choose the image that you liked best, that you couldn't enter your favorite one it into the competition. Just because it wasn't chosen to be used in an ad doesn't make it any less a commercial image. The commercial category should be about commercial intent and not about actual usage.

John_Metcalfe
06-08-2009, 02:44 PM
Too funny! Marie I'm glad you asked! What's funny for me is that even with some very prominent people voicing their opinions of what should be or shouldn't be commercial... the reality falls back to "everything is subjective". I see it happen all the time. Flowers, is it for a flower shop? Pets, are they selling the collars. Highway 1? Is this for the department of Transportation? The backside of a partially clothed woman, is she promoting the jeans?

Marie, there is more than one reason for choosing a category.
1. What do you feel? Where do you think it should be?
2. Where do you think it will best place? Check out the competition of past.
3. What are your strengths? What do wish to excel in?

Unfortunately, some participants will continue to bend the rules to their advantage. This happens everywhere. Changing the rules to show proof will not thwart this. It will only cause discord and less people will enter.

Marie,
If you enter in the "portrait" category, prepare to be judged in a portrait style. Watch you lighting and the position of your subject/s.

If it is "illustative" you go after, remember you can be a little more free and energetic with your subject/s.

"Commercial" there needs to be a flair of brilliance, a story that hits you in the forehead and a point to the obvious item you are selling.

Cheers!

Jack_Reznicki
06-08-2009, 03:34 PM
I love watching how far Forum discussions get, when they hone in on one part of a discussion.
No where did I suggest that tearsheets or actual used commercial shots be the qualifying factor. I too think that would be horrible.

My concerns stem from a conversation I had with Peter Bauer at the PEC judging class we both attended last year.

The concern was that many people did not understand or appreciate what a commercial images was. We saw students, taking the class to be judges (some will become judges and some will not), view commercial images through "social" photography eyes. Very enlightening. Experienced judges, like Dennis Craft, who was teaching the class, saw and understood commercial images and explained it to the class. But some students in the class just didn't get it. Their comments were interesting. Enough that Peter and I have discussed it several times.

It's a testament to PEC that their approved judges "get it" for the most part.
I do wonder sometimes though at the qualification, visually, of commercial judges. It's a different animal in my opinion.
But photographers who don't understand commercial images, entering such into regionals where the judges may also not really understand commercial work is where I take pause. Hence, suggesting to someone earlier in this thread, without seeing the image, that entering it into commercial category, is what set it off for me.

No, commercial photographers don't enter, not because they want to take their toys and play elsewhere, but because there is no end result for many of them with PPA, as there is in other competitions. I know photographers who budget thousands of dollars each year to enter various competitions, as to them it's part of their advertising budget. Friends of mine like Howard Schatz and Vincent Dixon.
They look at competitions where the results are viewed by the art directors and art buyers that hire them. They look at the judges announced sometimes as that tells them the level of the competition.

That's not to say that there are commercial shooters I know, who in their markets, see winning PPA competitions as important and as part of their marketing plan. And they produce good work. And the competition produces great examples.

But if the commercial competition is deluded because people think they have a better shot at a merit, then there is a problem. And if there is a problem with entries and qualified judges, then it should be looked at.
But I think, from what I've seen first hand, the PEC committee itself is well qualified and well motivated to discuss and make the changes necessary.

John_Metcalfe
06-08-2009, 04:35 PM
Okay...

Gentlemen, ladies, we need another string.

Marie asked, "what print competition category would I enter Pet photos? I'm guessing Portrait..but just wanted to make sure."

I think we should be re-concentrating on Marie.

Marie, do you have an image?

Keith_A_Howe
06-08-2009, 04:52 PM
But if the commercial competition is deluded because people think they have a better shot at a merit, then there is a problem.

For the third time now, NOWHERE IN THIS THREAD IS IT SUGGESTED THAT COMMERCIAL ENTRIES HAVE AN EASIER TIME MERITING. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What I said, and I think very clearly stated, is that some people feel it is easier to win an award in the commercial catergory because there are generally fewer images in contention which mean fewer merit image all competing for the same trophies. This is only an issue at a state, local or regional competition where such awards are given.


But some students in the class just didn't get it.
Students didn't get it - would you be concerned if a high school biology student couldn't diagnosis strep throat? These are students not judges. They aren't expected to understand it yet - that's why they are taking the class and going through the training. Just like you said if they never "get it" they will never be an approved commercial judge.


suggesting to someone earlier in this thread, without seeing the image, that entering it into commercial category, is what set it off for me
But telling someone to enter it as a portrait without seeing the image is ok?
Isn't that a double standard? I told her what she could do, not what she should do. My recommendation was "Pet photographs in PPA's competition would most likely be in the portrait open catagory." If I had insinuated that was her only choice then we both know people would have jumped on me for that. I don't see it as my place to tell anyone what catergory they must enter a print under, I see it as telling them what I feel is the best idea and then giving them their other options to make a choice for themselves. That's what I did for Marie. I wish instead of responding to me you might have chimed in and told Marie why she should not enter it as commercial. That might have been more educational. Instead of defending what I said, then I could have been taking advantage of your knowledge in what makes a great commercial image. That would have been a more helpful thread for everyone.


I also realize that you never mentioned tear sheets. I think that confusion came from my mention that sometimes people do include tear sheets. But here is your earlier post where you quoted me saying I thought proving it was a bad idea. It sounds like you felt proving it "actual used commercial shots " is a good idea.

What you quoted form my post-
I suppose they could say commercial has to be commercial and you have to prove it by showing how the image was used commercially. I don't think anyone wants that to happen.
And your response
Why wouldn't anyone want that to happen? [/I]

I am confused - do you or don't you think it should have to be proven as a used commercial image?

One more time - I DO NOT BELIEVE ANY CATERGORY IS EASIER TO MERIT A PRINT THEN ANOTHER. It is the success of of the image that earns the merit.

Keith

Helen_Yancy
06-08-2009, 06:49 PM
I am fascinated and encouraged to read the posts in this string. While it began as a simple question (Is there such a thing?) it evolved into a discussion on categories, commercial in particular.

First, it should be noted that PO does not stand for Portrait Open - it stands for Photographic Open - quite a difference. PPA Approved Judges are taught to evaluate each image on it's own merits, without making comparisons to other images they have seen, and their training is quite thorough. To be able to be an Approved PPA judge for the commercial category, the applicant must be a PPA Master of Photography and must submit at least 10 images of Master quality, all representing his or her commercial work. That means they will recognize the qualities that make a commercial entry a merit image. When images are entered in state and most Regional competitions, they are entered in the PO category because it's the only choice; there is only one Region that has been designated as eligible for judging in the commercial category. The states do offer awards in different categories, but they are judged as PO entries.

I personally would love to see more true commercial entries in our competition.

John_Metcalfe
06-08-2009, 07:27 PM
Hello Mrs. Yancy!

I am glad you stepped in. And even though I am in the belief that we should be assisting Marie, I cannot resist asking what are anyone's thoughts about getting more commercial work entered?

I view a lot of commercial work for inspiration and I can see why in many cases the elite gather elsewhere. This is not meant as a zinger against our organization, it is just a dose of reality.

I mean where would you go? A place where you can surround yourself with peers of a like mind or better OR a place hoping to get more commercial shooters to participate?

just a thought...

Helen_Yancy
06-08-2009, 07:51 PM
I don't disagree, John. I think that's what Jack was telling us too.
I am wondering what we could do as an organization to bring more of those inspirational images into PPA competition - any ideas?

PLEASE call me Helen, so I don't feel like I'm ancient! (Be careful with your response...;)

John_Metcalfe
06-08-2009, 09:08 PM
PLEASE call me Helen, so I don't feel like I'm ancient! (Be careful with your response...;)


Due to my mother's upbringing I would never think of calling you anything but Mrs. Yancy. (or not without multiple, witnessed invitations to do so...)

So please expect a few more Mrs. Yancy(s) coming your way before you hear a Helen...

Anyway, I think a few people and I'll include myself in the mix needs to spout out and try to promote within the other groups. Who knows? Maybe they just weren't exposed to our organization?

Jack_Reznicki
06-08-2009, 09:43 PM
Keith,

Calm down. This is a good discussion, not a debate. And we agree, not disagree on most of it.
I really don't want to go over point by point, but I see no other way to clarify and have you understand.



For the third time now, NOWHERE IN THIS THREAD IS IT SUGGESTED THAT COMMERCIAL ENTRIES HAVE AN EASIER TIME MERITING. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What I said, and I think very clearly stated, is that some people feel it is easier to win an award in the commercial category because there are generally fewer images in contention which mean fewer merit image all competing for the same trophies.

I never said you said that, but you did state, and I believe correctly, that - and I quote "I have seen people enter wedding, fine art or portrait images as commercial usually because they felt there would be few commercial entries in the competition and having it entered as commercial would give them a better shot at some awards like a Fuji or Kodak."

And you and I both agree that it undermines the category. We're in agreement there.
I don't imply that you feel that way, but that is the general feeling out there.
This isn't bout you or me, it's a discussion about the commercial category in competition.


Students didn't get it - would you be concerned if a high school biology student couldn't diagnosis strep throat? These are students not judges.

Keith, we agree here also, that they are students not judges. But they are not high school students either. They are working pros who have the where with all to invest in taking the class. That is a far cry from high school students.

Yes, some of them will never be judges as PEC is very careful about that. But it is still eye opening to see and understand that many working pros, because they are good in one area are not necessarily good in another.
I don't have to skill set to judge wedding photos. I don't know the ins and outs. But that doesn't stop people from asking me to judge such images in locals. The flip side is true. I see people judging commercial work who use a frame of reference that does not apply.

And that's what I saw in that class. People without the proper visual language in that area understanding what they were looking at.
This is an area I can talk about quiet a bit.





But telling someone to enter it as a portrait without seeing the image is ok?
Isn't that a double standard? I told her what she could do, not what she should do. My recommendation was "Pet photographs in PPA's competition would most likely be in the portrait open catagory." If I had.......

I think you're being a little overly sensitive here. It's not about you. It's a discussion, and I think a good one, about the commercial competition.
I disagree that I should have emailed privately.
This is a good topic, a good discussion, and it's "not about you".


I am confused - do you or don't you think it should have to be proven as a used commercial image?

No, I do not think an image has to be used as a commercial image.

My concerns are two-fold.
One is the diluting of the commercial category because of entries like pet photos. Or by photos that are clearly not taken by commercial photographers. You did say early in this thread- "But there is always a chance for the commercial area if the image has the technical excellance and composition (to allow for copy and or headline)."
Technical excellance and composition are not reasons to have someone enter in the commercial category. Being a commercial photographer and having commercial images is.
I've seen many non-commercial photographers asking me these days about pricing commercial work. It's sometimes like an Uncle Bob saying "Gee, wedding photography doesn't look so hard. How much should I charge?"
It's not about how much to charge. There are a lot of things to know and understand in both the wedding and commercial world other than price. Like we say, it's not about pressing a button. You did imply, even if you didn't intend it that way, to enter her image, if it was "good enough" in the commercial category.

Two, my other concern, is how those images are judged. I have a concern if the judges have the proper understanding of commercial images. Getting qualified and having the proper background are two different issues.

I've seen PEC judges now that frankly have all the qualifications, the merits, the prints, etc. to judge, but then get a image that is beyond their visual knowledge to judge. I've also seen that PEC acts and acts quickly to fix those issues when they come up. And has corrected them before they become a judging issue.
Frankly, I think PEC does as good of a job as possible, and more when it comes to judging photos. They exceed much beyond many other judging procedures I've seen.

But I still feel this is an issue and one PEC should look at more closely. Knowing what I know about the PEC committee, I'd be shocked if they aren't doing that already. But these are not simple issues with simple quick solutions.
And realistically their plate is full right now with many hotter and more important issues. But I think there is no one better to steer that huge ship right now than Helen Yancy.

Keith_A_Howe
06-08-2009, 11:16 PM
I
First, it should be noted that PO does not stand for Portrait Open - it stands for Photographic Open - quite a difference.

Thanks Helen, I knew that but it's one of those things I had gotten sloppy about. Your post has given me a good reminder of how important it is to be precise!

Keith

Peter_Bauer
06-09-2009, 07:50 AM
Your post has given me a good reminder of how important it is to be precise!
Keith

Keith, I like you as a colleague and respect you not only your work as a judge, but also your contributions here on the Forums (particularly this one). But I will publicly state here that it was indeed an imprecision of yours that has triggered this extended discussion. I personally asked Jack (off-line) to weigh in on this thread after seeing you state that -- and this is a quote --

But there is always a chance for the commercial area if the image has the technical excellance and composition (to allow for copy and or headline).

That really bothered me, to think that a judge with your influence would consider an image would need to be composed as if for a magazine cover or full-bleed layout to be "commercial." Jack and I not only attended the Judging Clinic last summer, we watched the actual judging and saw the judges in action. Helen and Dennis did an excellent job of helping the attendees of the Judging Clinic evaluate their own qualifications for judging in the future and at various levels. (Did you know that we had an attendee that was red/green blind in the judging clinic? He saw -- no pun intended -- no reason why he couldn't judge at the PPA international level.)

Keith, I asked Jack to weigh in here -- not knowing whether he would or would not -- because I felt that an inaccurate impression of PPA judging might have been projected by a post that might have been less precise than had been intended.

I am a fine art photographer, Jack is a commercial photographer. Jack and I have differed on my work (not his!) a couple of times. But it's important to note -- for the purposes of this discussion -- that we respect each others' areas of expertise. Being certified to judge PPA competition at the regional and international level is certainly and without qualification an honor and a certification of one's personal accomplishments, but does that not also convey objective qualifications? And with that, certain responsibilities?
Pete

Jeff_Dachowski
06-09-2009, 11:29 AM
Peter,
You might have saved everyone a lot of time on this thread had you chosen to simply contact Keith and ask him for a clarification rather than asking Jack to come into it. When something bothers me, I go to the source, not someone else.
Jeff

Jack_Reznicki
06-09-2009, 01:37 PM
Peter,
You might have saved everyone a lot of time on this thread had you chosen to simply contact Keith and ask him for a clarification rather than asking Jack to come into it. When something bothers me, I go to the source, not someone else.
Jeff

Jeff,

Don't you feel that this has been a good, open discussion of an issue?
What would the benefit of having a conversation behind close doors?

One of the things that makes the PPA Board of Directors such a great group, is the open discussions we have, when people know that a passionate discussion is not a personal attack. Dennis Craft and I have both talked about how we've gone at a subject hammer and tongs on different sides and after go and have a great, fun dinner together. And sometimes during our discussions, opinions are changed because we listen closely. That's how subjects get aired and subjects get a thorough look at.

As I said several times in a post, this isn't about an individual, but rather a subject that got into people's radar. What "bothered" Peter wasn't Keith, but rather the subject itself.
I think one of the problems in Internet communication is people seem to take posts so personally, when it's not and not intended that way.

Talking about the perceptions people have about print competition is a wonderful subject and gives people on the PEC committee a great insight into what people are thinking and saying.

John_Metcalfe
06-09-2009, 02:46 PM
As fine and upstanding as all who have participated on this subject are. (excluding myself of course)
And other than for the delight it has been seeing a few people we normally don't get to have post on a subject stated earlier as a seemingly innocent question, has lengthened my belief of the separatism we have within the organization.

This a point that hopefully will not be over looked.

I'm sure you will have noticed that once the topic strayed only a few have posted. In tow with that, personal opinions from people with inner circle knowledge or positions within the administration (able to make changes) basically have taken over. Now, I may be not wise enough to know when not to comment, but this thread is but one example why it took my 25 years before building up the courage to be a board member. Ladies & Gentlemen, there are a lot more people looking in than looking out. Again... it was extra fun for me to watch to a point, but Jeff got it right.

Go straight to the source.

Not saying all other methods are folly, but this seemingly enticing conversation is only being held by ones carrying a voice within the inner workings of the PPA. Shun or ignore my comment if you want, but I think listening and or promoting the question out into the masses would have been a better option... might be too late on this thread for smaller voices smarter than me may be afraid to give their opinions.

Now that I have battered you all with my ramblings, going to hone my commercial skills. just kidding

Stan_Lawrence
06-09-2009, 03:05 PM
" might be too late on this thread for smaller voices smarter than me may be afraid to give their opinions."

As much as I love being called small, it might be that some of the "smaller voices" really don't care..... I've entered commercial images in local competition, I found it to be a really good learning experience. Whether they required a tear sheet or not, really didn't make a lot of difference. Since I no longer enter, how commercial comps go is really not on my radar.

"Go straight to the source."

Maybe, maybe not.... sometimes it's good to bring other folks into a discussion, especially if they have a unique take on a subject. Folks here tend to take things personally, when it's really just a discussion..... :cool:

John_Metcalfe
06-09-2009, 03:18 PM
" some of the "smaller voices" really don't care.....

Thank you Stan. I was yammering around that one and you hit it on the head.



" sometimes it's good to bring other folks into a discussion, especially if they have a unique take on a subject. Folks here tend to take things personally, when it's really just a discussion..... :cool:

Your opinion stands well on it's own. But, just as shown in this thread, a pot full of opinions and conversations not aimed at the thread starter's question has watered down the soup.

Marie, where are you?

Jack_Reznicki
06-09-2009, 03:28 PM
And other than for the delight it has been seeing a few people we normally don't get to have post on a subject stated earlier as a seemingly innocent question, has lengthened my belief of the separatism we have within the organization.

This a point that hopefully will not be over looked.


John,

Let me understand. What you're saying is that differing opinions show "separatism" and that we should all have the same opinion and go forward in lockstep?
How boring. ;)
How unproductive.
How untrue.

Funny how having what is a very open Forum, where other points of view are more than welcome, is viewed by some as something else.

One of the reasons PPA as an organization has done so well the last 10 years, with membership jumping beyond our expectations, from 14,000 to 24,000, is the fact that the board stopped being a clique and had people willing to have open and very frank discussions.

What you and Jeff are saying is "Shhhh, don't rock the boat, don't argue".
Sorry, but honest debate is what fleshes out dialog, not whispers behind closed doors.


... it was extra fun for me to watch to a point, but Jeff got it right.

Go straight to the source.


Respectfully, I strongly disagree with that statement as it pertains to this thread. The implication is to do it behind closed doors, in the background.
"Go to the source" is code for "do it privately".
I'm sorry, but topics are best discussed in the open, with transparency.

It's a shame that some don't understand that disagreeing on a topic is not a personal attack.

And to think that this is just people with knowledge of the "inner workings" is also wrong. This is an open Forum, open to all. Other voices, other opinions are welcome.

Unfortunately, this thread has wandered away from what was a good topic, the issue and the perception of a category in the print competition.
The only thing I want to discuss at this point, is the print competition.

David_A._Lottes
06-09-2009, 06:23 PM
The small local group that I was active with for years did require a tear sheet for commercial entries and everyone was OK with that. If you wanted to spread your wings creatively you entered the Illustrative category (I've seen this called unclassified in some comps). It was the consensus among us in those days that you would be misrepresenting yourself if you advertised winning an award in commercial, portrait or wedding if that wasn't really your thing. Commercial was the only place we could really back it up by requiring the tear sheet. We did suspect some entered self assignments in the portrait and wedding categories and take home hardware that others could have really used to promote themselves. Now I'm not talking about a portrait photographer doing a self assigned portrait for impact sake, that was OK with us if it really was their specialty and they just wanted to shoot a particular individual in a particular way to use as a sample to try and sell a style. It was discouraging to the real foot soldiers in the portrait world when a wedding shooter would work for seven hours with their nephew to get a good score on a child in the portrait category if they really had no intention of doing children's portraits. If your main gig was seniors you entered in portraits and advertised your award winning portrait skills. You didn't dress up pretty girls in wedding gowns and do self assignments because you knew you could out shine the dopes who used the stuff from the trenches of the real weddings. They needed that award for their street creds and you expected them to respect your specialty in the same manner, whatever it may be. Of course if you did all of the above then you could enter in all of the above without any sideways looks from anyone. We didn't discouraged self assignments in new areas, we just encouraged entering them in illustrative. Some years there were more illustrative entries than any other category. Actually making "best illustrative" the toughest award to win. It was always the most exciting category and you'd see everything from brides to children to coke bottles. Our unwritten code was something like, if you weren't paid by a client to shoot it you don't enter it in anything but illustrative. Unless of course you were really going to use it as a sample of a new product or service in another category. It was a small group with a lot of overlap between markets so we all knew each other pretty well it was hard to get away with "breaking the code". I guess that attitude about client work is more appropriate for CPP submissions on a national level. On that small local level we were competing for press releases. So categories were a big deal. If you got Wedding Photographer of the year that was quite a feather in your cap same for Highest Scoring Portrait or Commercial Photographer of the Year. Of course that was back when people in small towns still read the local newspapers. I guess I'd look at it like that. If it's something I truly intend to offer to clients I'd enter it in that category portrait, commercial, whatever. If it was just a fun thing for me to do for myself, I'd enter it in whatever "open" category there is.

mrbarton
06-09-2009, 10:58 PM
I thought commercial was the category people entered because no one else did. Ha. :D PLEASE don't hate me for that!!!!! Good dialogue here. It does show the human element to all of this. Commercial is a strange category as technically speaking "commerce" means many things. For example, what is to say that a fine art print meant exclusively for a decorative function is not commercial? Models are used in commercial work, but that blends into portraiture. How about a bride and groom used in a commercial application? I have long thought this category is a bit ambiguous. Honestly though, is that a bad thing? I'm not sure. One side of having a system run by humans is that it will have inherent "flaws" or idiosyncrasies. On the other hand, humans are flexible and allow for adaptability. Nothing is perfect, but this one is pretty good. Frankly, many of us do well in competition because we understand the nuances AND the ideology. In short, we play to the weaknesses. . . It's not entirely PC, but it works! Probably not the place to mention that though. . . . . . Might lose a few merits. . . . .

Jeff_Dachowski
06-10-2009, 02:07 AM
[QUOTE=Jack_Reznicki;204971]Jeff,
Don't you feel that this has been a good, open discussion of an issue?
What would the benefit of having a conversation behind close doors?
QUOTE]

Jack, I totally agree that this has been a lively discussion about print competition, and you know me well enough to know that I am all for open discussion of all topics within the guidleines of the forum. What I take exception with is that Peter took the time to contact you to understand what Keith was getting at, when he could have just asked Keith himself, and had the clarification right away without all the arguing back and forth. You can say it is not personal, but Peter certainly expressed his personal distaste in Keiths comment.


[QUOTE=Jack_Reznicki;204977]John,

What you and Jeff are saying is "Shhhh, don't rock the boat, don't argue".
Sorry, but honest debate is what fleshes out dialog, not whispers behind closed doors.

Respectfully, I strongly disagree with that statement as it pertains to this thread. The implication is to do it behind closed doors, in the background.
"Go to the source" is code for "do it privately".
QUOTE]

Never did I say don't discuss, don't agrue. In fact, I asked you point blank your position on the subject and you chose to ignore my question. I have never been one to care if the boat was rocked or not. I just think Peter could have gotten an answer right away by asking Keith whether it be by private message, or by asking him directly within this thread. Some have said that Peter went behnid closed doors to involve you in this thread. I am not saying that as we all have the right to comment here. I welcome your thoughts and value your opinion, but I take great offense to the above implication that I want to stifle conversation. I am not for that at all.

Jeff

Marie_M
06-10-2009, 10:31 AM
Thanks, everyone, for very interesting reading. I'll post 2 of my photos so you can see my style, but I am not planning on using these 2 specific images, as I am still not quite ready for competition.

http://www.thejubileepaw.com/DSC_0011_b.jpg


http://www.thejubileepaw.com/DSC_0129_b.jpg

John_Metcalfe
06-10-2009, 12:38 PM
Thank you Marie. Cute Face!

Jack_Reznicki
06-10-2009, 01:52 PM
What I take exception with is that Peter took the time to contact you to understand what Keith was getting at, when he could have just asked Keith himself, and had the clarification right away without all the arguing back and forth.

Jeff,

I think you missed Peter's point. It has nothing to do with Keith, as I've said over and over and now over again. I know Peter and what he questioned. There was no "clarification" from Keith to answer his concern.

His concern was an overlap from the class we took and the perception and understanding of what makes a commercial image.
And it was not "arguing", it was a good discussion about judging commercial images. It has nothing to do with Keith at this point or with Peter. Or even you or me. Keith opened the door, that's it. The discussion should be long past that point.

It was intended as a good conversation about the general perceptions about commercial images and how they are perceived and handled in the National Print Competition. You guys have to get over this idea that there is something personal here, that seems to muddy any discussion.

Yes, I know you Jeff and I know you're a standup guy. No question there. That doesn't mean that I can't think you are wrong in your assumption about what Peter was doing. I think you're completely wrong which undermines your argument here. Your hammering that Peter should have contacted Keith rather than open a dialog here is acting to stifle dialog here. Maybe that wasn't your intention, but that is how it looks to me. When I see a duck and someone says no, it's a pigeon, I'm sorry, it still looks like a duck. Show me that it's not.

Bringing this discussion back again to Keith is what's known as a red herring. It has nothing to do with having a commercial print competition dialog, but that point takes it into a direction that keeps people from a subject that needs looking at.

You have to start taking the "personal" aspect away and look at the topic discussed. Like I said earlier, if the PPA Board looked at issues like this, nothing would ever get done.
Let's discuss a topic and get away from this Jr High School stuff.

Keith_A_Howe
06-10-2009, 03:02 PM
Marie,

If you are going to enter an image like this, I would recommend PO (Photographic Open). What I suggest you work on is getting more direction to your lighting, which will enhance the texture of the fur and create more mood and emotion in the images.

Keith

Marie_M
06-10-2009, 03:18 PM
Thanks everyone!
Keith, I really wish I knew what you were saying about the direction of lighting, but I don't. I'm still very new to PPA and really, to Photography, although I have enjoyed taking pictures for about the past 10 years. Only recently have I wanted to learn and do more. I'm currently enrolled in a NYIP short course, so hoping that when I am done with that, I'll have more of the jargon down.

Are you saying that the lighting is flat? If so, should there be shadowing? I'm so confused, because I was thinking there should be no shadowing. I really need to attend a lighting class, its going to be the death of me.. or maybe just with less hair! LOL!
Its funny because I have spent hours in my little living room-turned-studio, just practicing, looking at where the lighting is, studying how it casts light over things, and have already burned up one set of bulbs! These pets are my passion, and I would really love to get it right!
Sorry to ramble!

Thanks,
Marie

Stephanie_Millner
06-10-2009, 04:25 PM
Ok, completely avoiding that whole Print Comp. discussion... Perhaps I can help a little on your question regarding shadow and texture etc.

You may or may not know already that light from the front will flatten out the appearance of an object (aka - "flat lighting") and light from the side will emphasize texture. Very very very important when you're photographing pets! One of the main things you need to learn to emphasize with a pet is the texture of the coat. And when you get a little more experience, what types of coats need to be lit using what kind of lighting... (example - you'll want more kicker for downy dogs to show off all the fur... but sleeker dogs might "glow" if lit the same way. It comes with knowing what to emphasize in each breed. I watch way too much "Dog Whisperer"...)

I'm attaching two pullbacks that I often use when I light pets. Notice on the feather lighting one that the face of the owner is pointed toward the main light - this will short-light the owner (that is - light the mask of the face), but still give a nice side-light texture for the dog.

Likewise, I also profile-light animals, which shows off the shape of the animal as well as the texture of the coat.

Since you asked about what directional light is - notice that in both of these pullbacks, the main light is to the side of my subject, and not in front.

Try practicing on a stuffed animal to get the lighting pattern down. Get 2 - a big shaggy coat dog, and a sleek dog.

http://www.stephaniemillner.net/blogimages/feather.jpg

and an example of this would be...

http://www.stephaniemillner.net/blogimages/Burt2.jpg


OR

http://www.stephaniemillner.net/blogimages/strip.jpg

With the example...

http://www.stephaniemillner.net/blogimages/strip_sample.jpg

hope that helps, and I wasn't stepping on any toes in this thread...

Michael_Gan
06-10-2009, 04:25 PM
Also, study for certification. Many of the photographers learned about the quality of light while going through the certification process. It can be up to a two year learning process.

Michael_Gan
06-10-2009, 04:27 PM
LOL, Steph. I love the carefully placed paw:D

Stephanie_Millner
06-10-2009, 04:29 PM
Oh! hahahahaha! I never noticed that. It's ok, Waffles is a girl-dog anyway.

John_Metcalfe
06-10-2009, 07:07 PM
Marie: Are you saying that the lighting is flat? If so, should there be shadowing?

Marie, All light is flat.

It just depends on how you place your subject in it and the angle from which you view it that gives the the direction.

Look at your open hand while you move it around a bit. You will notice that the light pattern keeps changing. The light didn't change, just the placement and the angle.

I am sure this seems to be a crude method, but when trying to understand light and where to place your subject it is the most readily available tool you have. Not to mention, you even offered a spare.


Cheers!

Jack_Reznicki
06-10-2009, 09:12 PM
Keith, I really wish I knew what you were saying about the direction of lighting, but I don't.

Marie,

If you're a PPA member, you should be getting Professional Photographer Magazine. It has wonderful lighting articles. Don Chick has had a wonderful set of lighting articles and I have one currently about light placement.

When photographers are just starting, there is a tendency to over light subjects. Try doing a shot where the shadows tell the story. It's a good learning tool for seeing light. Use black instead of white reflectors, no background light. Use a stand in (a doll, stuffed animal, a ball) rather than a live dog or person and really look at what the light does. Then change the black reflector for white and move it closer and further back. See what that does to your lighting ratio (that's the difference between the light part of your subject and the shadow part.) Then move the light, even to the point where it's slightly behind your subject, but still pointed at your subject.
When you get a light you like, fetch the hounds.

I think Stephanie's lighting diagrams are also great starting points.

Good luck.



Hopefully, you'll have an "aha!" moment.

Marie_M
06-10-2009, 10:20 PM
Hi Stephanie,
Just wanted to say thank you for giving so much detailed info. I certainly will study it and the light effect it has on my subjects. I look forward to the weekend when I have time to work with my lighting!
Thanks!
Marie

Marie_M
06-10-2009, 10:22 PM
Marie: Are you saying that the lighting is flat? If so, should there be shadowing?

Marie, All light is flat.

It just depends on how you place your subject in it and the angle from which you view it that gives the the direction.

Look at your open hand while you move it around a bit. You will notice that the light pattern keeps changing. The light didn't change, just the placement and the angle.

I am sure this seems to be a crude method, but when trying to understand light and where to place your subject it is the most readily available tool you have. Not to mention, you even offered a spare.


Cheers!

Ah, now that makes sense to me. Sounds like I have the study tools at hand! LOL!

Peter_Bauer
06-15-2009, 07:28 PM
What I take exception with is that Peter took the time to contact you to understand what Keith was getting at, when he could have just asked Keith himself, and had the clarification right away without all the arguing back and forth.

Nope. Not what I said, not what I did.

I didn't ask Jack to explain it to me, I asked Jack (quoting my post on the subject) "to weigh in on this thread." I asked Jack, with his incredible credentials and reputation, to clarify for people reading the thread that (quoting Keith) "composition (to allow for copy and or headline)" is not what makes an image "commercial."

No where in my post did I imply in any sense that I personally required clarification of what Keith meant. Why don't you go back and read what I really posted. It's on page 3 of this discussion.

Pete

John_Metcalfe
06-15-2009, 08:15 PM
With ALL due respect Peter, Jack believes this thread has wandered away from what he believed to be a good topic and has requested/suggested that he would like to discuss at this point, print competition. I personally would like it very much if we honored that, (mostly for Marie and her sake).