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Charity_Reed
02-28-2010, 02:10 PM
I usually enter my states bi-monthly print comp in the wedding album category only. This year I am considering enter prints.

I don't have a name for the following image. Nor have I cropped the orignal image. Before I spend tons of time doing things that won't help I thought I would get some help.

Please let me know if I even stand a chance with the following image.

http://i760.photobucket.com/albums/xx245/reed1206/Rachel-1.jpg

Cindi_Delaney
02-28-2010, 04:36 PM
Okay so I've never even entered a competition before. I've just been reading the posts from the masters fo ra long time.For some reason this made more sense to me. http://delaneystudio.com/ForCC/Rachel-1.jpg

D._Craig_Flory
02-28-2010, 04:47 PM
Hi Charity; I like the image. I would do the following: #1 Flip the image and move the image layer so her head was on the 3rd quadrant. #2 I would use a Curves Adjustment Layer to take down the mid tones a lot - if you looked at it upside down the bright background is screaming for attention (as are other bright areas such as the rails). #3 The accent line is too bright & too wide. I hope this helps.

Charity_Reed
02-28-2010, 04:52 PM
Craig,

The bright background is the first thing I saw also. I agree it is screaming.

These reasons are why I wasn't even sure if it was print comp worthy.

Rick_Massarini
02-28-2010, 04:59 PM
Just be really careful about displaying or publicaly posting images taken on railroad tracks - you can get in a TON of trouble doing that - especially after 9-11. Ask Don Dickson - he got in a lot of trouble from taking photos on railroad tracks - he even wrote an article for Southwest Image magazine about his experience warning others to stay clear of railroad tracks. The railroad tracks belong to the railroad and taking photographs on the tracks is trespassing on railroad property plus the Department of Homeland Security protects railways since they are possible terrorist targets - so you can get hit with trespassing charges plus be jumped on by Homeland Security !!!

As far as the image goes, I agree that the second version is stronger as the lines of the track curving back to the left do not pull your eye out of the image as they do in the first image with the tracks curving to the right. I do not feel that the vertical image on a horizontal presentation helps. I would consider a vertical print offset to the upper right hand corner of the mat. Leave a little blank mat space to the left and below the image and see how that looks to you. Regarding the image itself, you have a good lighting pattern on her face, but there are several bright areas in the background that take my attention away from her face. I would suggest toning down the bright areas in the background and brightening the dancer so that she becomes the brightest point in the image. Good Luck.

Also, I just went back and took a look at your white pinstripe - it looks like you've added a bevel or something to the line since it is heavier on one side and thinner on the other - like a shadow or a bevel has been added. Try to avoid shadowing the accent pinstripe - keep it clean and even all the way around with sharp corners (add the stroke to the inside) as the uneven accent line catches my eye and I start looking at the line and not at the dancers face. It's also a tad too bright...

Joe_Campanellie
02-28-2010, 05:18 PM
Hey Charity...I like the flipped version also. Gives more of a lead in to her. In your original image you come into the ballerina you just stop there and no where to go. Then there's just that space on the right.

The flipped version gives your eye room to travel into the image and you stop at the ballerina...where you should stop. One of my basic tips for client work versus competition is that you have to train yourself...and your eye to think like this. To always have those 12 elemnts in the back of your mind.

Check to see if you have any more room on your image also to give her even more lead in room. Some other little things:

Might get rid of the telephone pole

Very dark spot of blue sky...makes it look like over burning. May not be but it could draw the attention of the judges. Might consider bringing those tress all the way over to give you a smoother background.

Black mat is a little harsh considering you have this very beautiful ballerina. Try picking some colors out of the background. Maybe move more towards a pastel.

Even if you decide to stay with the black I would change the stroke color to something from the background. The white right on the edge of the image is a little bright. Most of the times when I do go with black I put the stroke "outside" the image by just a little. That help because then your stroke is independent and it does not blend or compete with a color that it is right next to.

Sure hope that makes some sense...!

Good Luck...!

Jeff_Dachowski
02-28-2010, 09:11 PM
Charity,
Just giving you an idea here...

When you were shooting this scene, you saw a great scene with an unusual subject. It is the start to an interesting print for the judges. I want to point out something that you could have done at the time of capture to make it even stronger...

If you had placed the ballerina further down the tracks into the sunlight, and you moved with her, and used a scrim to soften the light, you would have a couple of big improvements....
You would have directional shaft of light coming across her face and body to create interest.

You would not be fighting with a light background, you would have a darker background,

And she would pop off the image much quicker.

I am not saying it is not cool, just pointing out something that you can work with next time you are in a scene like this.

Jeff

Keith_A_Howe
03-01-2010, 02:55 AM
Charity
Most of the points have been covered here so I won't repaet them. One thing that I do feel needs to be considered. When you place a subject in an unusal or contradicting setting you need to consider if the contrasting between the center of intrest and the background benifits the story. Here you have an elegant balarina normally seen in an indoor dance or stage setting placed in an unexpected setting. It causes an uneasy feeling when viewing the image. Share the intended story you are trying for. Think of it in a title form, short and to the point. Next question, is she really there? It is really close but something seems off on scale, maybe it is just me. Also there is no dirt or anything on the toe shoes which just in putting them on and getting into position in this situation would probably get some dirt on them. Lastly the lighting is very good on her and seems to basicly match the setting but I am seeing a kicker on her legs that is not on her upper body or on the tracks. Before anyone nails me for being overly picky, I am just pointing out things that grabbed my attention. Part of this may be caused because of the above mentioned contast of subject to setting. Don't get me wrong this juxtaposition can add drama and impact to some images while in others it can bring on all kinds of problems. I feel that while the dancer is well done, the scene is fighting for, and winning, the attention. JMO's
Keith

Charity_Reed
03-01-2010, 02:09 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice.

@Keith - the ballerina didn't put her shoes on until right before I photographed her. The shoes still look clean and nice because the more serious, up scale dance studios forbid you to wear your shoes anywhere but on the dance floor. If they see they your shoes are worn and have been damaged due to wearing them outside the dance studio, they will make you replace your shoes. I know this because the dance studio my daugthers attend is just like this. I spend a ton of money on shoes that my girls can only wear in the dance studio. For this image the dancer put the shoes on for the portrait and took them off right away.

@Jeff- thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try moving down the tracks next time. I think I was so excited that I finally had someone willing to do something like this that I didn't see the entire scene. Just got caught up in the moment.

So should I even bother entering this print? I mean if it is just a 78/79/80 print, it's not worth it to me.


Below is another image for consideration. Thoughts on this one?

http://i760.photobucket.com/albums/xx245/reed1206/Lindsay-1.jpg

Joe_Campanellie
03-01-2010, 03:58 PM
Should you enter it or not depends on your goal. You have to remember that our monthly competitions are not so much about score as it is about points. If you want to chase a photographer of the year award in a category then you have to commit yourself to entering four prints in that category all year.

It's a numbers game. Not like SEPPA or National is which the holy grail is the 80 in order to merit a print a that level.

Charity_Reed
03-01-2010, 04:45 PM
Well, I'm not really a competitve person when it comes to things like this. So my goal is not to chase anyone for photographer of the year.

This probably won't sound like I intend it to. But I don't really care about the awards so much as I care about improving my skills and being able to enter PPA National print comp to earn my Master's. So I say I don't care about the awards, but really I guess what I'm saying is my goal really isn't MDPPA awards/merits but a PPA Master's degree is.

If I get awards/merits and such a long the way, great, fine. But what I really want is my Master's.

Joe_Campanellie
03-01-2010, 05:52 PM
Jut my opinion but they kind of go hand in hand. I didn't enter MDPPA competitions to win awards either...only to gain more skill as a photographer. You get that by putting as much work as possible in front of the judges and learning from the judges comments.

With three MDPPA monthly competitions a year that gives you the chance to put 18 images in front of a judge. Even more if you decide to enter for score only. It's a great opportunity to groom your prints for regional and national for merits towards your Master's degree.

We all want to get 80's and merit prints right from the start but it's a learning process and in my case I was a little bit of a slow learner in the beginning but I think I made up for lost time.

Charity_Reed
03-01-2010, 11:29 PM
@ Joe - I understand you point completely. Don't get me wrong, if I take home some awards/merits locally while I reach for my ultimate goal of a Master's degree I am fine with that.

Guess what I was trying to say, is that my main goal is to improve my photography skills. To learn and grow as a photographer, advance further, get my Master's. The awards/merits are just an added bonus a long the way. I am not the person who is going to earn an award/merit/degree because I have amazing photoshop skills and I can kick butt in the electronic imaging category, but my studio is based on photographing kids/teens. I want my any awards/merits/degrees I earned to be based on the type of work I actually do.

Hope I explain myself better.

Stephanie_Millner
03-02-2010, 05:42 AM
Title perhaps? "Toe the line" (dunno, it popped into my head.)

Keith_A_Howe
03-02-2010, 01:20 PM
Well, I'm not really a competitve person when it comes to things like this. So my goal is not to chase anyone for photographer of the year.

This probably won't sound like I intend it to. But I don't really care about the awards so much as I care about improving my skills and being able to enter PPA National print comp to earn my Master's. So I say I don't care about the awards, but really I guess what I'm saying is my goal really isn't MDPPA awards/merits but a PPA Master's degree is.

If I get awards/merits and such a long the way, great, fine. But what I really want is my Master's.

That's the great thing about PPA print competition. You can use it for whatever goal you want, education, awards, degrees, marketing, creative growth etc. Never feel you have to justify what you choose to use competition for.


I am not the person who is going to earn an award/merit/degree because I have amazing photoshop skills and I can kick butt in the electronic imaging category, but my studio is based on photographing kids/teens. I want my any awards/merits/degrees I earned to be based on the type of work I actually do.


I have a loan prints in 2007 & 2008 both from studio portraits of real client sessions - one a senior and one a teenage brother and sister - without any work other then normal retouching. You DO NOT have to do a lot of razzle dazzle to do well in competition.


Title perhaps? "Toe the line" (dunno, it popped into my head.)

Perfect title.

Keith