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Jessica_Edwards
09-24-2009, 09:33 PM
Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum and got really happy when I saw the print competition category.

I would like to start thinking about which prints to enter into the MidEast States competition in January. I've only entered once before, meriting 2 out of 4 with a 79 on the other 2.

As I'm sure most of you do too, I struggle with picking out my own images. I attempted to pick a few to post on here to get suggestions, but I even had trouble narrowing them down to do that. I'm afraid that an image I see as not being that great would do well, and vice versa.

If any of you guys who are experienced in print competition would like to take a few minutes to look at my website and make suggestions, I'd really appreciate it.

http://www.jessicaedwardsphotography.net

I shoot mainly seniors, so my senior website has images that I feel are my best.

Thanks in advance!

Jessica

Joe_Galioto
09-25-2009, 01:28 AM
Jessica,
I tried to see your web gallery, but my iPhone won't let me download flash.
I'll have to figure it out.
Joe

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 02:04 AM
Hi Joe,

Thanks so much for trying.

Since my senior site is a flash site, you can't view it on iPhones. If you'd like to look at my blog, there's a lot of the same images on there and you can look at it on iPhones.

www.JessicaEdwardsPhotography.net/blog

Jessica

Angela_Lawson
09-25-2009, 02:28 PM
Jessica,

I can't help you with competition, as you have obviously been competing alot longer than I have. I just wanted to let you know that I liked your website, and really liked your work. Oh, and welcome to the forum!!! You'll get tons of information and advice, and it's a great place to hang out with others of like interests.

Angela

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 03:03 PM
Jessica, this is a pretty broad request. Having people help pick images from a website is not going to do a whole lot for the learning process. If you could be more specific and would like a critique of specific images I am certain people would be happy to oblige. Forgive me if I am coming off blunt as that is not my intention. Every image you enter is a learning opportunity and each has a unique lesson. Without knowing what you want to learn it makes it difficult to help.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 04:35 PM
Jessica, this is a pretty broad request. Having people help pick images from a website is not going to do a whole lot for the learning process. I you could be more specific and would like a critique of specific images I am certain people would be happy to oblige. Forgive me if I am coming off blunt as that is not my intention. Every image you enter is a learning opportunity and each has a unique lesson. Without knowing what you want to learn it makes it difficult to help.

I do understand that it's a broad request. I thought about posting a few pictures to ask which ones might do best in competition, but I didn't want to put any limits on it. I was afraid that my biases would come into play and I would leave out images that might score well.

I'm not necessarily looking for critique on specific topics, i.e. lighting, exposure, color, more as I'm looking for suggestions on which images might score best in competition.

Last year, I had lunch with 2 former PPA judges and they looked at my work (on my iPhone of all places :) ) and suggested which prints I should enter. Since then, I've moved 800 miles and won't have that opportunity again, so I turned to you guys.

I realize that by not posting specific images, I won't get as many responses because it's not as easy to go to my blog/website, but if anyone would like to take a few minutes to do so, I'd appreciate it greatly. :)

Again, the senior website can be found at www.jessicaedwardsphotography.net

and the blog can be found at
www.jessicaedwardsphotography.net/blog

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 05:22 PM
Hi jessica. Let me pose a simple question. What do you want to get out of print competition?

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 05:29 PM
Let me just go out and say that what you are asking may by some be considered an offensive request. You have to understand the hours that many of us have taken to learn our craft. Many of us took years until we got our first merit. Those failures taught us more than many of our victories. This may sound harsh but to simply pick four images that we think will score high doesn't do anything to help you become a better photographer. What it really does is teaches you to ask for help at each turn. I know that it is not your intent to come off this way. You request is innocent enough on that end. If you truly want to learn from the process however, there is a much different way. The fact is you need to learn to see your images from an outside perspective. The truly great photographers can separate themselves from the work and see it for its virtues. That's what you have to learn. I am not saying that we are not here to help. That's not my point at all. In fact, no one can ever get their alone. I have been around a lot of diamond photographers and Photographers of the Year. The goal is not to do any of that once. The goal is to be able to do it at will. I am sorry to be the bad guy. I am honestly on your team and want you to truly succeed!

Joe_Galioto
09-25-2009, 07:45 PM
jessica,
i understand what michael is saying.
maybe if you post 6 or 8 images, you'll get some feedback as to which ones are your strongest for competition.
joe

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 08:09 PM
I'm sorry if I have offended anyone. That was not my intention. I'm not going to take the 4 images that someone on here suggests and run with them just because they say so. I plan on using a combination of my own digression as well as other photographer's suggestions when deciding on what prints to enter. I'm not trying to just take the easy way out by having someone do the work for me.

I've been to classes on print competitions and I hear over and over, have another photographer look at your work and make suggestions. I come here, try to do that and get rejected.

I'm trying not to, because I understand it's easy to misinterpret things typed online, but I'm a bit offended by this:


You have to understand the hours that many of us have taken to learn our craft. Many of us took years until we got our first merit.

It seems like you've already made up your mind that I've not invested the same amount of hours...or years in my case, doing the same thing. This came off very arrogant. Please accept my apology if it was not intended to be this way.

As far as what I want to get out of competition, I want what I think everyone else wants. To enter my best work, see how well or poorly it does and learn from that. If I get some merits to go toward a Master's Degree in the process, great!

I don't ask for things very often. I'm the kind of person that likes to try to figure things out on my own, first. As I'm sure a lot of you also have, I've spent hours and hours helping out those photographers who haven't been doing this as long as I have...without complaint or judgement. It's unfortunate that when I do ask for help, I get such a negative response.

Louise_St_Romain
09-25-2009, 08:51 PM
jessica,
i understand what michael is saying.
maybe if you post 6 or 8 images, you'll get some feedback as to which ones are your strongest for competition.
joe

+1

By asking people to go thru 50+ images saying, pick the best ones for me to enter, leaves the impression that you're not willing to step back and look at what you do objectively (this may not be true but think about how it looks from the other side of the screen) and take the time to pick what you think are your best work. I did a similar thing a year or so ago and was told the same thing that Joe just said.

Joe_Galioto
09-25-2009, 08:56 PM
jessica,
i think you asked us to do a very time consuming task.
if you've been following along on the forum for some time, you know how serious many here are about competition and would not just throw out random critics.
it would take hours to go through your web sight and to compare all the images you have
and consider all the aspects that go into an award winning print.
no one has that type of time to spend analyzing each image to pick your four best options.
hope you understand and have no hard feelings.
joe

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:09 PM
I see that we are going to have to agree to disagree and know that I'm just not going to get the suggestions that I'd like.

I would never ask someone to spend hours on my website. However, it would take maybe 4 or 5 minutes to look at the slideshow of images and say, "this one or that one stands out to me". What I have problems with is knowing which images have the most impact. I know which ones are some of my favorites, but I'm very biased. I don't expect each and every image on there to be critiqued according to the standards of competition. Maybe I should have been more clear, but impact was what I wanted suggestions on.

It seems like for the amount of time that has gone into debating this, I could have gotten some great unbiased suggestions.

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 09:13 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way. That's not the first time I've come off arrogant. Frankly, I'm trying to save you from someone really coming down on you which will inevitably happen if someone doesn't step in.

What makes me think that you haven't put in as many hours? Quote:

"I've only entered once before, meriting 2 out of 4 with a 79 on the other 2."

You seem to think that no one wants to help. If you haven't noticed there haven't been a lot of responses. Heck, I tried to help and now you are getting on my case. I'm trying to tell you why no one is helping! If you use this resource correctly you can get a lot out of being here. This IS my way of helping. Please re-read your post. Please.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:17 PM
I tried to make it as clear as possible in my previous posts, that I wasn't looking for other people to do my work for me. All I was asking for was opinions and suggestions. It's 4 months away from the competition, I just wanted to get a head start in thinking about which ones might be best to enter...not make any drastic decisions based on one thread entry.


take the time to pick what you think are your best work.

I feel like I'm going around in circles. I have my personal favorites. I have thought about it. I've had to choose 5 images to show as sample work for a class that I will be teaching at a photography convention. That was a hard decision and all I had to do was pick 5 that best suit what kind of work I produce. That's much different than picking out images that will do well in competition.

But what I was respectfully asking for was other people's unbiased views of which images have the most impact.

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, I'm really not. I'm just trying to express in words (which I'm not always so good at) what I'm looking to get out of this thread post and that I'm not trying to ask others to hold my hand through the whole process.

I feel like the new kid on the block who needs to get with the in crowd.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:22 PM
makes me think that you haven't put in as many hours? Quote:

"I've only entered once before, meriting 2 out of 4 with a 79 on the other 2."

Just because I've only entered once, doesn't mean that I haven't spent the amount of hours anyone else has into learning my trade. Even when I didn't enter, I sat through judging and seminars on print competition. There were extenuating circumstances as to why I've only entered once...and that wasn't because I didn't want to put time into it.

I do believe you when you say that you are trying to help. And for your attempt, I thank you. However, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one? :)

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 09:25 PM
Okay. Wanna post your favorites and start over?

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 09:27 PM
Worth noting, my second to last post was made while you were responding. I didn't mean to dog pile. I would have refrained had I seen your post first.

It is my firm belief that you need to get over your own personal biases to your work. That can never be completely done, but in truth that's what print comp is all about in many ways. It's a tough process but a good one.

Jeff_Dachowski
09-25-2009, 09:32 PM
Jessica,
Not to add fuel to this fire....I spent some time on your site, and found it hard to peruse a lot of images in a short amount of time which is why I did not respond. I did not notice if you have an online proofing site, but id you do, i would suggest you make an event that we could quickly view a bunch of images without having to work through the flash site.

Most importantly, I agree that you need to pick images that either grab YOU, or give You an emotional response as your heart will not be into what grabs ME nearly as much. What I do when I am getting ready to put together possible prints is to collect all my favorites and get some votes from folks here. Then I start to work up about 6 images and start refining the prints for comp. As Joe said, we are super serious about comp, and we are eager to help.
Jeff

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:39 PM
Okay. Wanna post your favorites and start over?

Here's the reason I didn't want to do that to in the beginning:

Last year, I had lunch with 2 PPA judges at ImagingUSA. They asked to see some of my work...all I had was my iPhone. I had 4 prints picked out in my head that I thought about using at an upcoming regional competition. When they looked at some of my work, they picked out 3 images that I had never considered using. They just saw different things in those images than I did. And 3 out of 4 images that I had considered, didn't have as much impact to them.

So, what I was trying to avoid, was narrowing them down too far (posting only 5 or 6 images), while leaving out images that could possibly do better.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:40 PM
I did not notice if you have an online proofing site, but id you do, i would suggest you make an event that we could quickly view a bunch of images without having to work through the flash site.

That is a great suggestion. Thank you!

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 09:50 PM
Yeah but everyone here hates Jeff.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 09:51 PM
Maybe Jeff and I will soon have something in common? :D

Michael_Gan
09-25-2009, 09:56 PM
Jennifer, why don't you post your images in the gallery section of this forum under "Print Competition"? Resize your images for 600 dpi and put them up. We have a few National judges on here who are lined up to give you feedback on your images.

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 10:18 PM
Jessica, you have to try a WHOLE lot harder to be hated here. Seriously. No worries. Heck, they joke about hating Jeff. They really do hate Metcalfe!

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 10:20 PM
I spent the last little while creating a gallery in the proofing section of my senior website. It is still flash, but you can stop the slideshow, go back and forth and it shows file names. These are in no particular order and haven't been prepped for competition.

Click HERE (http://www.jessicaedwardsphotography.net/seniors) for the website, then click "proofing" and type in ppa as the password.

Feedback on which ones stand out is much appreciated. Since there are several images in this folder, I don't expect an in-depth critique on each image. Once I've narrowed them down further, I will post them and then you guys can critique away if you'd like!

Thanks in advance.

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 10:21 PM
Jessica, you have to try a WHOLE lot harder to be hated here. Seriously. No worries. Heck, they joke about hating Jeff. They really do hate Metcalfe!

I can be an overachiever. Don't challenge me. ;)

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 10:41 PM
Ha! Have you met John Metcalfe????? Ha! You are golden. No worries. For now. . .

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 11:00 PM
59, 54, 48, 41, 34, 27, 19,

Jessica_Edwards
09-25-2009, 11:19 PM
59, 54, 48, 41, 34, 27, 19,

Thank you. Some of those choices surprise me. Very interesting.

Sarah_Johnston
09-25-2009, 11:31 PM
Jessica, They all hate Jeff because he posts, I hate my case, then scores a 100 and goes 4 for 4. So everyone gets that little green monster rearing it's ugly head. We all LOVE Jeff, some even want to BE Jeff!!
Glad to see that this resolved it's self. Michael is a good guy who has come a long way in a very short time. Don't let him get to you. If he is on your side he will walk through fire for you. Trust me, he has nothing but good intentions. He can come off a bit rough some times though.
Now I will go have a look too.
Sarah

mrbarton
09-25-2009, 11:46 PM
No one hates Sarah. I just went with my gut on the numbers. Nothing really sound on that end! Sadly I don't have much of a gut.

Sarah_Johnston
09-25-2009, 11:50 PM
So now to help with your confusion, Michael and I agree on 1. #59. My other choices are based on impact which is what you said. 4-18-20-31-40-49-52. #20 though I like him not the soft boxes. Hope that helps. Good luck!

Sarah_Johnston
09-25-2009, 11:51 PM
Sadly I don't have much of a gut.
That's for SURE you skinny little....... ;)

John_Metcalfe
09-25-2009, 11:56 PM
Umm Hello Jessica...

MB, buddy... I'm on the low pro. People here just stopped sending me hate mail. Great!

BTW, Jeff I have started making "I hate my case" buttons and t-shirts in your honor.

Now back to Jessica...

We used to do something similar with previews spread across the living room floor and have friends/ masters/ anybody that would look pick them out. Today, it's check my site, look at my blog or if your really cool use your "bump app" on your iphone. Yes, you'll get a few to help, but it doesn't really get you any closer to what you are looking for. I'm sure you wonder, "what do I know"? (Not much according to some, too much to others.... HA!)

What you really need to seek out is:

What does it take to make "MY" ultimate competition image,
How do I regiment myself to do this on a consistent basis
And do I get to be in the same category as Jeff Dachowski, builder of pyramids and ruler of his own "I hate my case" thread.

Jessica, if you wish to discuss more I would be happy to oblige. But, before I even click on your sites I wish you to know I shoot with the mindset of making a "100 image", not pick out something already shot and hope it scores. (For me) that leaves too much to chance.

And if you really want an honest critique to find images (for comp) while looking at your current body of work, my only good piece of advice would be to put on your asbestos underwear.

In parting, if you are going to use current work for comp, please attempt to remove any excuses for (your) images when they are being scored. It is your responsibility to convey the message of the image.


Jessica,

Glad you are here.

Jessica_Edwards
09-26-2009, 12:27 AM
Well, sounds like the shirtless guy is a hit! haha

John,

Yes, I plan on using my current work for competition. I'm sure I'll have to go back and refine some post processing, recrop, and do a few other things to get them competition ready. But I don't plan on shooting strictly for competition.

Thanks to you guys for looking and posting your favorites. :)

Jessica

mrbarton
09-26-2009, 01:04 AM
I wouldn't really put it that way. . . . Ha.

Jessica_Edwards
09-26-2009, 01:19 AM
I wouldn't really put it that way. . . . Ha.

What exactly are you referring to? The shirtless guy?

mrbarton
09-26-2009, 02:28 PM
The shirtless guy. I haven't quite figured out how to do the whole quotes thing. That's kind of funny as I've run my own forum for 3 and a half years. . . Ha. Yeah, I felt bad for being "emotionally drawn" to the shirtless guy. . .

Jeff_Dachowski
09-26-2009, 03:54 PM
Jessica,
I would look at 1, 17, 90. I think there is something there, but it will depend greatly how you present it. Remember ....you are trying to please a panel of accomplished photographers with a highly refined eye for the 12 elements. You will not have an emotional connection to the subject like you would if it were a client. You have to wow them, and make them say " I wish I had shot that"

Jeff

Jessica_Edwards
09-26-2009, 05:29 PM
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for looking and posting your suggestions. What image do you mean by "90"? Are you referring to the file name, because there isn't a 90th image? Sorry for the confusion.

Jessica

Jeff_Dachowski
09-26-2009, 06:30 PM
Jessica,
I am referring to the image number that pops up at the bottom of the image when you use the arrow keys. Oops! I just looked at my note, and I meant to tell you 70!! Not 90! Sorry!
Jeff

John_Metcalfe
09-27-2009, 04:40 PM
Jessica,
You have to wow them, and make them say " I wish I had shot that"

Jeff

Looks like I have to make another Dachowski quote button...

Slow down dude!

Jeff_Dachowski
09-27-2009, 05:00 PM
Looks like I have to make another Dachowski quote button...

Slow down dude!


John,
I have said many things...most of which I would not want to see on a button. I am so afraid...so very afraid!
Jeff

John_Metcalfe
09-28-2009, 01:47 PM
John,

Yes, I plan on using my current work for competition. I'm sure I'll have to go back and refine some post processing, recrop, and do a few other things to get them competition ready. But I don't plan on shooting strictly for competition.

Jessica

Many times this has come up in discussion and notably either people are on one side are the other with their opinion. What I do not understand is the mentality of not thinking about it till after the fact. When you are photographing for a client, you are doing exactly that.

You can try to do something for yourself, but inevitably there is always a thing or three you wish you could change.

For years, I only entered images from weddings and portrait sessions for comp. I won my fair share, but never scored in upper stratosphere.

What I do now is utilize my clients as my subjects, but ask them to do a character study for me after their session or on a return visit. Occasionally, I'll walk up to someone and ask them to do a session, but most times they have already been in contact with the studio.

Doing a character study leaves you free.

Free to make the required changes...
Free to work without time restraints...
Free to make mistakes...

Having made that particular change in my approach has taken my portrait image scores from deserving of a merit or a hair better to in the 90s on a regular basis.

I would highly suggest altering you point of view while photographing. You will see something while behind the camera, in a person as you meet them, in your mind's eye as you reflect on a situation.

You have months in which to do work on something for next spring's competition, please do not cast away this thought so easily.

Jessica_Edwards
09-28-2009, 10:51 PM
Hi John,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. While I completely respect your way of going about print competition, for this upcoming competition in January, I will be using images that I have shot for my clients.

I'm not completely opposed to the idea of doing character studies one day, specifically for print competition. I did more than one character study back when I was in photography school, and I really enjoyed them.

John_Metcalfe
09-29-2009, 03:16 AM
January????

Jessica_Edwards
09-29-2009, 04:12 PM
January????

Yes, it's a regional competition. MidEast States.

Betsy_Finn
09-29-2009, 05:28 PM
Yeah.... John, they moved MES up to January (around the 21st?) for 2010. Right after Imaging...

John_Metcalfe
09-29-2009, 07:22 PM
Don't know about you, but it's a bit too cold 'round here about that time...

Actually, it's not a bad idea!

People are still revved up from Nashville and this could bridge you right into the next event... Cool Beans

Jessica_Edwards
09-29-2009, 09:41 PM
For most of last year's MidEast States convention, the weather wasn't too bad. On the last day, however, it started snowing. I got out of there just in time...Mustangs are terrible in the snow!

John_Metcalfe
09-30-2009, 12:49 AM
I have a convertible Mustang. Just throw a couple hundred pounds between the back tires and get some snow tires on the back and you can push through just about anything!

Jeff_Dachowski
09-30-2009, 12:50 AM
John,
could we just get back to you giving her bad advise about her prints, and leave the mechanics out of it?

Jeff wiggidie widdigie Jeff

Jessica_Edwards
09-30-2009, 01:15 AM
Ever since I bought my GT350 a year ago, I can talk Mustangs all day long.

But, some advice on prints would be nice too. :)

John_Metcalfe
09-30-2009, 02:56 AM
I am talking shop on unrelated items to let her know I'm not as harsh as my critiques when I give them. If you really want to know. Thank you very much!

In a word or two Jessica, some consider me brutal or over critical when it comes to critiques.

But I believe the more you bleed in preparation the less it happens in competition.

Now back to your car, GT350? very nice... I have a 35th anniversary edition.

John_Metcalfe
09-30-2009, 03:00 AM
John,
could we just get back to you giving her bad advise about her prints, and leave the mechanics out of it?

Jeff wiggidie widdigie Jeff

Was this a burn Jeff? I just noticed it. Not much of one honestly...

Boy, score one 100...

Jessica_Edwards
09-30-2009, 05:26 AM
Now back to your car, GT350? very nice... I have a 35th anniversary edition.

Yup. My baby...

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/IMG_5344p.jpg
http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/IMG_5350.jpg
http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/PBEZVignette-13.jpg

Now these are just snapshots in my front yard from the day I bought the car. Save the bashing for my competition prints? :o

John_Metcalfe
09-30-2009, 04:26 PM
you probably just get tickets with it sitting still... good thing it isn't red.

okay, now I'll take a look.

Rick_Massarini
09-30-2009, 04:39 PM
Just don't drive it in the rain - the worst color for a car is gray or silver - it just blends into the fog and people don't see it. Believe me, I know, I had two gray/silver cars that no one saw in bad weather and had several accidents due to poor visibility - on the upside, photographically, if you don't have an incident meter, you can always just meter right off your car.

Jessica_Edwards
09-30-2009, 05:43 PM
Just don't drive it in the rain - the worst color for a car is gray or silver - it just blends into the fog and people don't see it.

I always keep my headlights and fog lights on. Hopefully that will help. My lights must be super bright anyway because I'm always getting bright-lighted from other cars. haha

"On the upside, photographically, if you don't have an incident meter, you can always just meter right off your car."

Spoken like a true photographer! ;)