View Full Version : Critique for Comp, Per Favore

07-25-2009, 05:20 AM

Home alone on a Friday Night while my husband is playing Poker with his buddies. Was bored, and didn't feel like doing any work tonight so I figured I'd start preemptively picking next year's competition prints.

Can I get some input on this one? I'm particularly concerned with the amount of Impact (if any). Also, how do we feel about the front mug? And the specular highlights - too bright?

Thinking about using the title: "Health-code Violation"

BTW - yes, this is a client image. Apparently I'm in the vermin business now! LOL! (Actually, I love this little guy. He made fast friends with my dog, and is the sweetest little rat you could ever meet.)


07-25-2009, 01:42 PM
Haaaa! I am new at print comp so I am not one to give comp print critiques but this one made me laugh, especially after reading the post!

07-25-2009, 02:16 PM
I am definitely not the one for comp critique but the first thing I thought, was it needed to be flipped. I also felt it would be stronger cropping off some of the empty space on either end. So I took the image and did that to see how it felt. I hope you don't mind. Here was my quick result of my thoughts. I really like the concept and the look on this little guy's face. Good job!


07-25-2009, 06:58 PM
Okay so I flipped it again and he came out of the glass. "Hang On!!"


07-25-2009, 07:16 PM
OMG! Ron, you are too funny! Thanks for the laugh!

Ok, back on topic: Steff, I love the concept, love the image, I don't feel qualified really to comment of print comp stuff, having not made that particular jump quite yet, and I am viewing this thread at home, on an ancient monitor that shows everything a bit muddy. But I'm thinking maybe the little guy needs to popped out a bit more? And maybe some clarity applied to the entire image?

But definately, a fun image, I would think very appropriate for print comp, and I also like your title.

07-26-2009, 02:57 AM
HAHAHAHA! Ron too funny.

Yeah, I'm a little concerned about the tail. Already decided to take the tail out completely. I'm not sure about the muddiness - is anyone else seeing that? It will end up getting a Topaz Clarity adjustment just as soon as Photoshop won't crash with that function.

Thanks for the input so far!

07-26-2009, 03:02 AM
I'm not seeing it as too muddy. You might consider using the sponge to bring up the saturation a bit in his colors, e.g. ears, mouth.

07-26-2009, 04:06 PM
The more I look at it, the more concern I have about the clarity of the glass... Does the front mug look weird at all? (I had to remove a giant emblem from it.) Man, I need to buy some more JetDry...

07-26-2009, 09:49 PM
Ok, I looked at it on a different monitor...not muddy.

07-26-2009, 10:20 PM
This photograph made me smile!

07-27-2009, 05:19 AM
Having seen this image in it's raw state gives me an unfair advantage, but this is what I can currently state about the image...

First the glasses on camera right appear to be floating on the table cloth. There is no detail in the cloth after clean up..

Second, there is too much of a burn on the edges, especially camera right. The image doesn't need that much help.

The glass clean up looks good on the mug here. We will need a closer look to be sure though.

I like the placement and crop of the image I just wish to get above it a bit more to see into the subjects eyes. The tail where it is I can live with, but it would have been more dramatic to have the rat positioned to show off the tail.

07-27-2009, 05:47 AM
John, thank you so much. Very glad you know what the "before" looked like as well - definitely makes it easier.

but it would have been more dramatic to have the rat positioned to show off the tail.
You try getting a rat to pose! :-P

Seriously though, do you feel that's a detriment to the image as is (bringing down score-wise).

Yes, I agree the tablecloth is over-retouched. I'll have to redo that.

07-27-2009, 01:23 PM
I am sorry I havn't posted earlier. This is an image that could go either way, as you posted or flipped as Ron posted (Yes Ron I got a laugh from your vert. flip). In this case I feel that using your orginal (unflipped) direction is better. The light direction gives a leading line that is not working in the flipped version. I like your title to. Cropping some of the empty space from each end makes sense to me because of the tight arrangement of the glass but I don't feel that it needs to cut into the glassware just about half of the space from each end. Next the tail, I vote to leave the tail alone, rats have tails and it looks normal to me. It also fits the title "Health-Code Violation" better. My issue is that the rats face is tipped too high. I feel this is a good image as it is but if you could bring the rat back in and get his face tipped chin down for more impact into his eyes, the image would grab you even stronger. I would like to see less of a vingette on the corners and especially on the right side of the image. You ask about the highlights on the glass, I do not see any real problems with it other than on the mug where the logo was (if you do decide to rephotograph this, choose a different piece of glass that does not have a logo). It is really hard to tell about the highlights from this file but you could go in with dodge highlights and brighten them a bit but don't over do it. Where the logo was, it does need to have the highlight brightened up where the vert. highlight goes through the center of the mug and where the bright highlight from the handle of the pitcher goes thought the mug.
I havn't seen the org. image so I do not know about the texture of the table cloth. My instinct is that having texture there would be a distraction as everything about details of this image is smooth and crisp. I orginally thought it was photographed on a white counter. What I do see is 2 areas of uneveness, 1 uneven area around the base and stem of the right 2 glasses (on the back side) and the other in the shadow / reflection from the rats glass and the one just to the right of it. Again if you choose to rephotograph it, set it up on a smooth white surface so you don't get these problems. As it is I feel it is a good image and will merit (assuming print quality is good and doesn't show any problems). Rephotographed to bring his face down (I'm sure he would pose and smile for you Steff) and fix the base of the image, I feel that the image should jump off the turntable at the judges (read - score well above 80).
JMO Keith

07-27-2009, 02:14 PM
Keith - thank you thank you thank you!

I can definitely get this little guy in again. His mom has 13 rats at home, and I can certainly choose which rat I would like her to bring in again. So the question is... Would a gross-looking hairless rat be more effective or should I stick with the cute jumbo rat here? In all honesty, I was just giving JM a hard time earlier. These are trained rats, and they actually WILL pose (within reason)... which is strange that someone took the time to actually train rats, but who am I to judge?

I can reshoot it with the above changes I'm sure. Would you add more glasses of different shapes and sizes, or do exactly what's above?

07-27-2009, 02:27 PM
If you can get the ugly rat, why not bring them both in and shoot them both then decide which is more powerful?

07-27-2009, 02:32 PM
Nah, I wouldn't use a gross hairless rat. As it is, with the title, you get that kinda yuck idea but the rat is cute so you wanna keep looking. Sometimes the revolting thing can work ( strong emotional response = impact) but I just don't feel it's the right choice in this image.

John suggested a higher camera angle. That was my first instinct too but the more I pictured it in my head, the more I felt I like this angle on the glassware better. Right now the horizon line is perfectly placed. I am also concerned with a higher camera angle that horizon line will come up and be an issue. Plus you would lose a little of seeing the rats body through the glass. That's part of the charm of this image for me.

I showed this to Holly to see what she thought. She suggested as another option to try if you are gonna reshoot anyway. Set up a whole tray of matching wineglasses. Use enough that your whole image area is filled with the glasses. Then photograph straight down into the glasses with the rat in one of them. Get the rat to look up at camera - wave a piece of cheese maybe?:D Of course you want to think about composition when deciding which glass to put the rat in.

07-27-2009, 03:16 PM
I too agree with the glass angle. I just kept leaning the image to see more of his face.

Didn't work...

07-27-2009, 08:05 PM
Nah, I wouldn't use a gross hairless rat. As it is, with the title, you get that kinda yuck idea but the rat is cute so you wanna keep looking. Sometimes the revolting thing can work ( strong emotional response = impact) but I just don't feel it's the right choice in this image.

Keith I am sure you are probably right. That is just the commercial shooter in me coming out. Many times I would get an assignment from an art director often with an illustration to use as a guide. However, while I would be set up for the shot, I would often run various other scenariors. Sometimes the alternative shots would work better and be used, other times not. However, it was because we were already set up that we tried the alternatives. By no means am I suggesting this ugly rodent would be a stronger image and most definitely because of the "cuteness" of the original rodent as you mentioned.

Back to the tread. :)

07-27-2009, 08:38 PM
No problems here. I know exactly what you mean.

07-28-2009, 06:33 PM

I can't comment knowledgeably enough on print comp., but I must say that this image really made me laugh. So, I think your impact is there! I look forward to seeing the next ones you do. :)


07-29-2009, 02:22 AM
You will never believe this, but, my 9 year old daughter came down the other night and said she wanted to put her rats in champagne flutes and have their pictures made. I saw this image and deja vu smacked me in the head!!!

I think it is a cute image and I like the original better than the flipped. Part of me wants to see the rat just a little further to the left. Not a ton, just a little.