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Cindi_K_McDaniel
04-06-2010, 10:39 PM
Ok guys... I really like this image, but wanted to get a few opinions before I put it in comp... I'm sooooo lost on a name so any suggestions for that would be greatly appreciated!

http://www.studioenvogue.com/envogueweb/colorful beauty_low_res.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
04-07-2010, 01:44 PM
Cindi, This is a nice portrait, but there is nothing for me that causes impact. You don't have to have a WOW everytime to get a merit. A nice well done image will have a great chance of meriting. But I always think, do not aim for the merit aim for a 90. If you aim for 80 and fall short you are out of luck. If you aim higher and fall short you are still in the merit catergory.

That being said, I would have a difficult time meriting this image. The lighting pattern is off. The telltale signs are catchlights in the 9:00 position ( should usually be 10:00 or 2:00) and the nose shadow goes upward instead of down. This tells us the light was too low. You do have good short light but the short side of her face has lost dimension. I feel like you are using the center to slightly forward edge of the light and most often using the back edge of the light will better scult the face and keep the feeling of three dimensions. Try making the print overall darker but especially in the shadows. I don't know without seeing the original file but that might bring back the shape of the face. Also it appears that you have run some type of skin smoothing effect. I think maybe it went a little too far.

As far as title - once again I go to my title queen Holly and she said "Serephina" The scarf has a handwoven handcrafted appearence that made her think eastern European or gypsy.

Keith

Cindi_K_McDaniel
04-07-2010, 02:02 PM
Thanks Keith! I had wondered about those catchlights and had a feeling you might point that out... So, my question is, do you think I could move them in photoshop and have a better chance? Is that even an option or do you think the lighting pattern is too obvious?

I suppose it had more impact to me because she was so shy and I had the impression that she really didn't know how beautiful she was... I'm on a mission to have every young women who steps into my studio walk out knowing that she is indeed a rare beauty :-)

Thanks a million for your input!

Keith_A_Howe
04-07-2010, 03:33 PM
Thanks Keith! I had wondered about those catchlights and had a feeling you might point that out... So, my question is, do you think I could move them in photoshop and have a better chance? Is that even an option or do you think the lighting pattern is too obvious?

Well, you can move the catchlights but then they won't match the light direction. So will it improve the chances of this image? Well yes, but the question is will it improve it enough. The judges will notice the catchlight has been moved because it won't match the light direction. That will tell them the maker knew where the light should have been, the shadow pattern will tell them the maker didn't put it there. So I think you can answer your own question.



I suppose it had more impact to me because she was so shy and I had the impression that she really didn't know how beautiful she was... I'm on a mission to have every young women who steps into my studio walk out knowing that she is indeed a rare beauty :-)

Thanks a million for your input!

AHA! Thought maybe that's what was going on. You really like this image because you know the back story. You don't get to stand up in front of the panel and explain that she was a shy girl etc etc. SO the image has to convey that on it's own. In this image you maybe could have conveyed the idea of a shy girl who was unaware of her own beauty if she had her head and chin tipped down and then was looking up sideways to the camera with her eyes and a serious or timid expression. When the chin is tipped up and especially with this crop that makes it seem her head is tipped back, it subliminally suggests confidence or even arrogance. To show this girl an image that portrays her as confident was a good thing to do for her. But if the story you want to tell the judges is a shy girl unaware of her beauty then it doesn't work so well. If it makes you feel any better I have a friend who has been an approved judge for years and years. He never does exceptionally well in competition. He is an exceptional photographer but he always chooses to enter prints that he is emotionally involved with. He forgets that judges don't know the back story. So if an experienced judge falls into that trap of emotional attatchment, then you can see how hard it is for everyone to avoid that pitfall.

Keith

Cindi_K_McDaniel
04-07-2010, 04:01 PM
You hit the nail right on the head Keith. I do get deeply involved in the emotional stories that often come with my work. It's almost impossible to remove myself from those stories and so I worry how far I may actually be able to go in print competition. I'm seriously in need of a teleportation device to get you and Holly in my studio!

Keith_A_Howe
04-07-2010, 04:34 PM
You hit the nail right on the head Keith. I do get deeply involved in the emotional stories that often come with my work. It's almost impossible to remove myself from those stories and so I worry how far I may actually be able to go in print competition.

Being emotionally involved is not a bad thing. It makes you tune into the nuances that others might miss. Those little nuances are what makes the difference between one simple portrait of a person looking at the camera going loan and another similar portrait just being average. You just need to make that emotional back story obvious to the viewer - who is a stranger to you and the subject. If you can make someone, who doesn't know either of you, experience the same emotions you were both feeling when the shutter tripped, that's called impact. There are no simple step by step instructions on how to create an emotional response or how to convey a feeling. The best way to learn how is by looking at literally thousands of images and think about how they make you feel. Then analize what it is about those images that make you feel that way. I know my photography improved by leaps and bounds once I became a judge and had the opportunities to view 1000's of other people's images. I think I have said before on this forum GIGO - good in - good out.

Keith