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Blanca
01-29-2010, 07:32 PM
Hi,

I've been a wedding photographer for almost 3 years and now I'm in this stage where I look at every wedding magazine and feel the adrenaline when looking all those images that make me wish my photos were those ones. I look at PPA's magazine and wonder how those featured photographers were found or discovered by you. Do they submit images to competitions?

I'd like one day be one of those photographers in your magazine. Though, I know I need to improve my technique and work harder, that's why I'd like somebody to tell me if I'm going in the right way, if I have found my style yet, and what are my strengths. Do you think I can get all these advice through posting images here and ask for your advice?

I've attached a wedding image that I'd like to be criticized. Please let me know if it might have some good elements for a competition. Also, I've attached three more images I did years ago before doing weddings, but until now, I haven't had any professional criticism about them.

I'll appreciate any comments!
www.blancaduran.com

Keith_A_Howe
02-01-2010, 12:38 PM
Hi,

I've been a wedding photographer for almost 3 years and now I'm in this stage where I look at every wedding magazine and feel the adrenaline when looking all those images that make me wish my photos were those ones. I look at PPA's magazine and wonder how those featured photographers were found or discovered by you. Do they submit images to competitions?
I am glad you get excited by new imagery. This will help you to continue to evolve as a photographer. To answer your question several of the images come from entering the international photographic competition. Some articles come from invitation by the magazine staff and a few come from articles submitted by PPA members.

I'd like one day be one of those photographers in your magazine. Though, I know I need to improve my technique and work harder, that's why I'd like somebody to tell me if I'm going in the right way, if I have found my style yet, and what are my strengths. Do you think I can get all these advice through posting images here and ask for your advice?
This is definately a good place to ask questions and get advice to improve. Image competition in your local, regional / district and the international competitions is in my opinion one of the best ways to improve and define your work.


I've attached a wedding image that I'd like to be criticized. Please let me know if it might have some good elements for a competition. Also, I've attached three more images I did years ago before doing weddings, but until now, I haven't had any professional criticism about them.

I'll appreciate any comments!
www.blancaduran.com

I have to go now so I will come back to your images later.
Keith

Blanca
02-01-2010, 02:05 PM
Thanks Keith! I'll be waiting for your comments!

Keith_A_Howe
02-02-2010, 10:42 AM
Blanca
Here are my thoughts:
Bride - Fairly good potential for competition. You have a dramatic setting and a great model. You have posed her body pretty well. By leaning her onto her elbow you got away from a more static up and down pose. Her dress style helps to give her a nice shape to the lower half of her body which is a bit misleading for my next comment, the pose is flat to the camera which is not helping to sculpt her body, specificly her bustline. The pose could have been improved a bit more by tilting her head toward camera. As it is I get an eletist or superior attitude from her because we are putting the most attention onto her neck and under jaw areas. Because of this, title will be even more important for competition. Watch her arms, anytime something comes toward camera you will forshorten it. In this case the arm she is leaning on looks odd from the elbow down, instead still lean her on the elbow but have her arm come back across her body. Lastly the lighting is very flat. I believe it is an on camera flash with the camera in the vertical position used to balance the sky. This again flattens her body. Think what this could have been if the lighting was a little soft and dramaticly coming across her body from almost 90 degrees off camera left striking the mask of her face and sculpting her body.

The other 3 images. - I like your creative approach to these images. I am not sure what the lighting situation really is from here but combined with the color, it adds a lot of drama. In the first image, Tomoko smile, you have a strong composition with her face in the upper left and the leading line from I assume a branch. I think you could crop some off the right side of the image that is distracting and pulling the viewer out of the image. The lighting is strongest on her chin and jaw while missing from her eyes. Think about the mood a strong up lighting pattern lends to an image. Usually we get a spooky or haunting feeling from this pattern so by having a smile on your model, you are creating a tension in the emotional response of the viewer. Lastly while I like the leading line of the branch and the high contrast of the image. I wish the line was an arm with enough detail to give a base to her head.
On the second image, standing, crop off most of the bottom half of the image. The light draws all of the attention. I like the lighting and expression on this image. Is the branch intersecting her face important to the story you were trying to tell? Without knowing the intended story I am bothered by the shadow from the branch across her nose and eye. I can kind of see a coralation to the shape of her face to the shape of the leaves giving a human element to the plant world.
On the last image you have a nice lighting pattern on the face but by haveing all of the light showing in the image I feel the light becomes the main subject and the face becomes secondary. Again if the viewer knew the story you were trying to tell this may or may not be a distraction. So this demonstrates why titles can be so important, they help guide the viewer to the intended story.


You ask if you had found your style yet and what are your strengths. First this is way too few images to answer these questions. I feel your strengths are a creative eye and a desire to improve. As to finding your style, I feel this is an evolution. You start to build a base of good solid work and continue to experment with your current intrest. Soon you have refined that approach and add it to your "base" and start to experment with something new, so your style continues to evolve.

Hope this helps
Keith

Blanca
02-02-2010, 06:32 PM
Oh, Thank you very much Keith. I really appreciate your time. I see now the difference that these changes would bring to the image. These little things I wasn't aware of.

For the rest, well they do have a name, they are called the Garden Series, which represent the confusion of body and mind and they are a small part of my dissertation, when I did my master(2005). And I actually excluded some images that I'm attaching here. Though, now, that I see them again, I don't know if I did the right selection. Also, I've cropped the others as you suggested and I think they communicate my message stronger than before. Let me attach the writing piece that explains these series.

Garden series

I’ve never been keen on creating fake scenarios and making people pose to photograph them since it needs the right skills and planning to make it look outstanding. Otherwise it can look superficial and ‘cheap’ to me. The Garden series (8) is my latest photographic work and, although I do not use created scenarios, I wanted to challenge this way of making portraits.

In these series I wanted to experiment with streetlights. I thought that it would be a bit claustrophobic working in a studio and thought that working in an open space might provide my photos a natural essence and a clear understanding. I found my scenario in a small garden with green lights settled in the floor to illuminate the small trees at night. The sense of mystery of these lights in a reduced space attracted me. I was interested in creating shadows to make the features of my subject look incomplete. I wanted to destruct the identity of my model and give the viewer the freedom of questioning the meaning of these images.

For me they represent the ambiguity of being in disguise. At some stage in lifetime we try to cover ourselves (or at least, I have done so) from all those things that seem a threat for us. What I think is that it can be easy to confuse that line that divides our nature of pretending to be something else to defend ourselves with that state of being completely out of our person and unreadable for others. The essence of a person can be perceived in different ways as we add layers to our shield. The series of images in the garden enclose this confusion of the body and mind.


What do you think?

Also, I'm sorry for asking too many things, but you said they were few images to tell me if I've found my style. If you could just quick visit my site and see a couple of photos www.blancaduran.com and my blog: www.duran-photo.blogspot.com

I know that many of them are influenced or imitations of what I see in other photographers, that's I think how we all start, copying what we like, but I'd like if you could tell me if there's a pattern you think can be of my own.

Thank you very much!

Blanca

Keith_A_Howe
02-02-2010, 07:50 PM
Blanca,

In PPA print competition, unlike your disertation an image has to stand on it's own. A short title is the ONLY explanation you get to give the panel. You don't get to explain how you created the images or what you were trying to say with the work. And unlike here where you presented several images to tell your story or illustrate your theme, in a PPA competition the images are presented one at a time and would not even follow one another in a sequence. So partly because of that "the criteria" for evaluation is much different. What was maybe extremely successful for your disertation would not work well in a PPA competition. The people evaluating are looking for different things. Doesn't mean either set of criteria are right or wrong. Imagine if I went to a county fair and entered a cake in the pie contest. I could bake the most incrediable cake in the world and I would still come in last in a pie contest.

Keith

Blanca
02-02-2010, 11:46 PM
Oh , I see, I got a little confused. Thanks for the clarification!

Blanca

David_Capano
02-03-2010, 01:31 AM
Blanca,

I'd give you advice here if I thought it would be helpful... but I'm a little late into this thread. Here's the absolute best piece of advice I can give you:

You've read Keith's posts. Now read them again. ;)