View Full Version : Frustrated!!

10-20-2010, 09:31 PM
Okay, I'm FRUSTRATED! Very much so!

I've been submitting images for cpp critique, and I really do appreciate the critiques, but after reading a lot of them, most don't advise whether or not it should be submitted. A few advise that "I would not submit this image for certification" and one advised "I would submit this for certification" but nothing else.

Most of the critiques I'm getting [again, I really do appreciate them] seem to be critiquing my images for print competition but I was informed that the prints have to be saleable and just need to score 70 or better during a competition judging.

I'm sorry if this offends those of you that are critiquing, what all of you are offering is great info! I do appreciate it! But sometimes the comments are so vague as to whether or not it should be submitted for my certification completion it has been frustrating & stressing me excessively.

Thank you for your time, one and all. My images are cpp0XX & cppRD0021-cppRD0038.

I hope someone here can help me out. Thank you again.

10-20-2010, 10:54 PM
I too am frustrated with the comments. They provide little to no help in creating a portfolio. Some comments say "Too many detail shots" or "Only one of each subject is allowed" I know that. I'm just trying to submit the best portfolio possible. Therefore, more images were uploaded for critique than I'm going to submit.

What I need is an INDIVIDUAL critique of each image and a Yes or No conclusion.

10-21-2010, 04:26 AM
Thanks for being candid about your experience and for your critique of the critique program.

I think it's probably time to actually have paid qualified reviewers who will work the galleries on a definite schedule.

There's only really a few active people here who are actually qualified to give a critique. Being a CPP does not automatically mean that one is qualified to say what will pass, not pass and why.

Being so few, the "when the volunteer has time" method apparently does not work. People are actually relying on this "service" up to the minute that they submit and I understand the resulting frustration if the critique does not come in a timely manner. At least have a definite idea of the turnaround time (1 week?) so nobody is in limbo.

I agree that the "over promise" of the CPP gallery out there is really hurting the program.

10-21-2010, 04:57 AM
a 70 in print comp is def not the bar for a professional image. A 70 in print comp means that it barely is included in a show of professional photography.


10-21-2010, 06:22 AM
There are various levels of critique requested by those who are attempting to submit their images for (re)certification. The easiest level to describe are those images where there are obvious flaws which would prevent somebody from being certified. Those include out of focus, poor color correction and the like. Most CPPs are able to recognize those images which would fail to pass on those counts.

Another level of critique is assisting the photographer in determining which 20 images to submit. In that case, they have posted more than 20 images and want either yes/no responses. They really don't want to hear about the number of detail shots or other rules for certification. Once again a yes/no response is sufficient.

We've also seen people submit 20 images and want a determination if their portfolio will pass. This requires an active certification judge to review the portfolio and comment. Perhaps one image is a bit weak but overall the 20 images pass. Perhaps the one image is so weak, they'll fail. This is why a judge is required.

Perhaps the biggest problem is when a competition judge uses competition rules to discuss a photo. The submitted images don't need to be 99's or 100's. I think somebody said as a comparison the image needed to be 70 or better. But from a competition judge's comments there is no way to determine how the images would really score. Sure they are not competition worthy but the real question we're trying to answer is "Are they CUSTOMER worthy?"

10-21-2010, 12:39 PM
Sure they are not competition worthy but the real question we're trying to answer is "Are they CUSTOMER worthy?"
Here is the real problem though. There are a whole lot of photographers who are selling imagery to clients, that would not qualify as professional quality as deemed by the CPP judges. You simply cant go by the adage that " Well my client loved it" That does not equal professional quality. Simply put, of course your client loved it. It has someone they love in it. A CPP judge needs to like elements of the image without knowing anything about it. I have not looked around the CPP galleries more than once as I find it super confusing.

A CPP judge could certainly use some of the 12 elements though to discuss the image in front of them. THe 12 elements are could certainly pertain to a painting or sculpture as well. ( minus the references to the particular art)

10-21-2010, 03:18 PM
I think they're trying to accomplish the exact thing you're talking about Jeff. They never said "my client loved them so the reviewers should to", they said "Can you tell me if it's client worthy?". The key word here is worthy. Meaning they are trying to achieve the goal of creating a professional image and want to know what makes their image fall short of this goal.

The frustration most likely stems from the broken system and Marc was very correct in saying it's time we had someone on staff that was knowledgeable and dedicated to providing informative critiques to people seeking to better their work. It's not really that anyone has done anything wrong but rather that no one is assigned to such an important task.

It's true that the organization has survived up until now without this in place but times have changed. Our numbers are growing at a blistering pace which brings in vast amounts of revenue but we can no longer provide the guidance that's needed by depending on a system that purely volunteer with no checks and balances for accountability.

I'm going through the certification process as well and I know the frustration they talk about but I managed to work through it and find a handful of quality mentors to guide me in the right direction. This took me countless ours to achieve though and a small team of dedicated reviewers would help us live up to the claim that we are here to help photographers gain the knowledge they need to become true professionals.

My father always said if all you can do is state a problem then you only did half your job. In keeping in line with his teachings I would like to offer at least one possible solution.

I think it would be great if the PPA sought help from our retired or semi-retired community. Find photographers that have exhibited superb talent over the years but for one reason or another have had to slow down or stop shooting altogether but still have a love for the craft and want to share the knowledge they've gained. Give these people a job in which they can work from their home to provide guidance and critique to people that are looking to raise the standards of their photography to a level that would be considered worthy.

I don't think the people that are frustrated here are looking to just "get by". I think they are looking for a clear answer as to how they can achieve the status of being "worthy" The time has come for us to provide these answers.

10-21-2010, 03:36 PM
As one who did not pass the image review the first time around, and learned an enormous amount about what I was really doing wrong before I passed, I think I can speak fairly openly about the process. As I recently went through and tried to be detailed in giving comments to many of the images in the gallery, I commented on those that I would definitely say yes to or no to with just that. However, with many, I gave details as to what could be fixed. This was done in the hopes that the submitter would look back thru their images and either try to fix the problem, find a better image, or at least learn what to do better next time. Remember too, that we are looking at each individual image, and can't really compare all of them as a portfolio. The galleries aren't set up properly for that. And yes, it's a problem, but one that just has to be worked around till it is fixed. Also, for those comments that reminded you to pick only one subject, since the volunteer reviewers can't really look at your multiple images side by side, it's hard for us to go back and forth to compare. So my recommendation would be to only have two of a certain subject and upload them in succession, and put in the comments that you want to know specifically which image is stronger. It would make it easier for others to comment and help. As to the "detail" photos, it's recommended to only submit 1 in your portfolio, so to upload 5 or 6 for us to pick from isn't the best use of our time. Most photographers can get decent detail shots, but it's the people/animals/living things that the certification board wants to see that you can pose and light properly. And let me tell you - LIGHTING is the biggest factor in my opinion. Many newer photographers are picking up a camera, and starting to shoot, without bothering to learn the proper use of lighting. I admit, I was one of those people. But with the help of fellow PPAer's and much studying and practicing, I learned what I was doing wrong. And my clients were happy with my work before, so you can't always base it on what is acceptable to the general public. The certification board is looking to see that you really know your craft!

Again, I apologize if the current comments made and system don't seem to be working to everyones best advantage, but hopefully there were still enough comments to help everyone decide which images for their final submissions. And hopefully everyone reading this thread will find useful things to do to make it work better in the future.

Finally, try to focus on the journey, not just on the end results. I am a MUCH better photographer for having not passed image review the first time out. If you don't pass the first time, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, grab as many more books as you can to read and study, ask as many questions as you can, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. I guarantee that no matter what, it will make you a better photographer, and you'll be a CPP in no time. :)


10-21-2010, 04:35 PM
I think we all need to back up. I know the galleries were put in place but maybe some guidelines for it should be established such as in our faq at the top of the forums list.

Maybe we should make a list that starts with this being offered on a volunteer basis, you may or may not get reviews in a timely fashion and the critiques could come from any skill level.

We may also wish to visit the mediums that are pushing it as THE place to come for critique and explain how it works and to please not give their readers unrealistic expectations.

Back to the people wanting critique, should they (me soon) be expecting a laundry list of things to guarantee success? Are these to be guidelines or just as good as entering?

I'm saying, if all the images entered here for critique are given the okay from whomever and then the images do NOT pass...what then? Are the posters expecting it to be a sure thing? If so, why go through the process?

Okay, clear as mud. I will quit now and see if I can clean it up later if no one else does that can follow my brain patterns.

10-21-2010, 04:40 PM
Where is Michael Gan? I'm sure he must be absent for a reason but this thread is certainly one that he is personally attached to and would surely have strong insight as to how to refocus the gallery to better work for the posters.

10-21-2010, 08:33 PM

Instructors of various certification classes are touting the OurPPA.com galleries as a place to receive portfolio reviews prior to the actual judging. They are creating expectations which are not being met. In addition, I noticed the reviewers are not really following any set order for reviewing the images. For instance images uploaded on 10/9 were critiqued long before the images submitted on 10/4. Not only that, but, the reviewers pick and choose the images they want to review.

There are a host of problems with the process as it currently exists. We're just looking to make the experience better for the future users.

10-23-2010, 01:57 AM
I'd personally like to see the gallery tossed in favor of a custom gallery software, as well as a section for user input as to features and possible changes or additions. That gallery software is 10 years old with no real changes to it's slow code or outdated navigation. There's so many better ways to not only do the CPP reviews as well as the gallery as a whole, as well as improved ways of integrating it into the forum itself rather than having it be so separated from the forum that (from my outside opinion) it's the most broken part of the system, simply due to it just being such an antiquated for the purpose it's supposed to server.

Just MHO. :)