View Full Version : The Little Mermaid critique please

08-10-2009, 10:49 PM
Alrighty! Here is another one for critique please, please! I really enjoyed working on this but don't know if it would do well in print comp or not. I will attach the 16x20 and close ups of some of the details. I also have a version with her real hair and her wild hair. I haven't run a high pass filter on it yet. I know 'The Little Mermaid' is a cliche title but there you have it. Thanks for any comments! http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/thelittlemermaidhair.jpghttp://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/thelittlemermaidcloser.jpghttp://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/thelittlemermaidsmallhair.jpghttp://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/crab.jpg

08-11-2009, 11:12 PM
cute tracye,
just an observation: the crab has no claws!
that's the tastiest part.

08-12-2009, 12:38 AM
Hee-hee! I know! That is the way it looked when I took the pic! I don't know what the deal was. Think I should try to add some? I have also worked on the hair and tail since this posting.

08-12-2009, 06:53 AM
Tracy, I know nothing of print comp but this is a beautiful image! It's very apparent that you took a lot of time w/ this image to create a beautiful piece of art work. Nice job!

Oh the only thing that looks out of place right now (to me) is the coloration of the furthest arm back. The front arm appears more saturated. I would maybe try and make the skin color more uniform. Other then that, great image. Hopefully others with more experience will speak up too. :)

08-13-2009, 01:52 PM
Overall I like it. I see what Kristi is talking about on her arm but I wouldn't take it too far down as that is the light direction and as such what is closer to the light should be lighter. I like the fantasy here. My concerns are:
The seagulls, this is a heavy painter style image and the gulls are photo realistic, I know you are using them as a leading line but they keep pulling my eye outside the image area.
The big crab is placed to add balance but is so large and cute in a cartoonish way that it could almost steal the attention as well. I am having conflicting emotions as to wheather it is benifiting the image.
Where the tail bends upwards from the rock, the horizon line of the ocean swings dramaticly uphill.

Tracy, this is a silly question but could you make her with closed lips and a little impish or flirty smile?
JMO's Keith

08-13-2009, 02:30 PM
Thanks Kristi!

Keith, I took this to our local print hanging last night (it was digital-no prints so colors were all over the place for everyone's pics) and they hated it (also didn't like 'Bring on the Frogs' AT ALL. Said she was too small, the boa was too big, and if I was giving it a name with frogs, there should be frogs. I don't think they got the idea of the print.). Really didn't get any good avice from anyone there. They are pretty old school. That being said, I think I will still use both of them. Haaaa! (Such a rebel) I was wondering about the seagulls when I used them though. They are all painted too but being so WHITE I was afraid they were distracting. I may try dropping out the three biggest birds to see if it helps. As for the crab, I have since posting added some claws a' la 'Sebastian' (even though he was a hermit crab). I have two other small crabs to try to balance him but I think they are distracting too. I think I will make him smaller, fix the horizon and the arms, take away a few guls and repost to see what everyone thinks.

I'm not sure about the closed lips and flirty smile. I'll see if its do-able but it may be beyond me.

08-13-2009, 10:47 PM
Here is the updated version. Does it help? Should I still get rid of the birds and crab? Should I chunk it altogether as far as comp? http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/mermaid.jpg http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/mermaidclose.jpg

08-17-2009, 02:54 PM
Tracye, it's been pretty quiet around here lately. Sorry for a late reply. I've been pretty busy myself. I think it dies down after the International Print Comp as well, people either like to be excited or get feedback for the big one. Neither is wrong you are just a casualty! Sorry to be part of the problem. . .

Here are my thoughts. I know there is a temptation to play the rebel card. There's not much learning in that. Frankly, people like to be upset at local judges and miss some key things. There is the art of taking our prints to state and seeing them score an 81 and say "SEE!!!". Been there myself! That said I didn't learn a darn thing. Here it is in August and you are already working on your next round of prints. There are not many doing this and it is truly key if you are to do well in comp. That is really great to see.

I want you to take away your feelings for this image and all the work you put into it. Step back. Look at the original image and see what you have. It's not a bad image, but you have fairly flat light with the back of a hand. Not a terrible shot by any means. As an image for comp though it falls a bit short. With respect to the rest of the image her face looks a bit "cut out" compared to the rest. The painting is also appears to have a different direction of light than your subject. There are also competing highlights all over. If you look at the break in the ground, you have created a competing hotspot.

Here's something to think about. Competition is about the image. By now it's an image making competition. That said, it's about photography. It is difficult to sell judges outside of that realm as frankly they have been asked to judge images created by photographers. I know it can be frustrating to try to open them to knew things. SO, here's my thought on that. Make it look harder. If you are taking them to a fantasy world, let them get lost there. This image may very well serve as a rough draft. Basically, it's really tangible and easy to pick apart. I am certain you don't want to hear that. If you want to it to score, take away my ammunition. Take away my anchor points. Give me less to complain about and refine it until all I have left is a pure story.

Although that may seem a bit rough know that I'm posting this with encouragement. I wish more people would start working on images early and often. That's how we learn. I'm ever amazed at how people will put together a case last minute saying "ah, we'll just see how it does" and then it becomes "I can't believe those horrible judges. . ." Ha! Keep working!

08-17-2009, 04:10 PM
Thanks Michael! I appriciate your comments. I had to laugh at your comment about 'give me less to complain about'. I hear that ALL THE TIME from another photog friend of mine! I tend to go over board and he is always telling me less is more. ;) (What can I say, I'm from Texas) Even before your help, I looked at it and decided I need to work on this more, but for EI. I agree the photography is all over the place because the photos were taken...all over the place. Snapshots really. http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv147/TracyeGibson/oliviabefore.jpg This is one where I was looking through my vacation snaps and just thought, "She needs to be a mermaid" and went with it. I guess the hardest part is not hearing 'what' the judges have to say, but when what they say isn't helpful. If you tear apart my work with nothing to add as to 'why' you are tearing it apart, or any advice on what would help it, I tend to ignore it. Heck, I'm all about helpful critisism! I wouldn't have gotten Platinum POY in open or my two EI merits this past year (my first year) if it wasn't for listening to what other photogs 'in the know' had to say, and me following their advice. I guess another hard part is the fact that the mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles all loved the mermaid and after posting it have had several more requests to do actual planned shoots for more mermaids (even a merboy?!?!?). (I posted it as a long thin vert. print without all of the extra '16x20 competition size' blue around it and her name in the upper left corner, and it looked much better- but I digress).

Aaaaaanyway, thanks for you help and I'll keep plugging away! I think I just need to step away from this one for awhile and work on something else. I have a dog and a diva I need to work on. ;)

08-17-2009, 07:34 PM
Ah, guide prints!!!!!!!!!! Makes infinitely more sense for EI. Now refine it and make it something over the top with little to pick on technically. . . .Ha. Seriously though. EI is the ticket. It looks a bit like you put together some random images to make the image. Heck, you did! Keep working on it. Thanks for the clarification on that.

Now, you've left the realm of photo realism. Sell the idea thoroughly and understand you can do whatever you want as it doesn't have to exist anywhere by in the world you create. Right now you are stuck in two worlds! Pick one! Kind of Sci-fi. . .

08-17-2009, 11:54 PM
Now, you've left the realm of photo realism. Sell the idea thoroughly and understand you can do whatever you want as it doesn't have to exist anywhere by in the world you create. Right now you are stuck in two worlds! Pick one! Kind of Sci-fi. . .

Will do! ;) Thanks!
I actually have a maternity shot I want to turn into a moonlit mermaid pic too. One of these days I will actually 'plan' a comp print and photograph accordingly. As it is now I shoot, 'then' become inspired. Makes alot more work for me! The worst is when I find things like this in my files that were just point and shoot 'snapshots' and not portraits, and have to deal with bad lighting, location, etc.

08-18-2009, 03:23 AM
The cool thing about comp is that you can learn a whole lot about process. Everyone will have a different one. It will most likely vary a bit with images. What's cool is learning about photography and all that it has to offer. Remember that a camera is just a box with a hole in the front. It's amazing just how limiting we make things! Keep it up. I can't wait to see what you come up with next. Oh yeah, we need more MEI's out there!