View Full Version : help w/images

11-04-2010, 02:31 PM
my local affiliate is having their annual print comp in 2 weeks. I'm trying to gather some images to enter. Of course I waited until the last minute and am going thru client folders to find something. I'm still working on the whole "shooting for competition" thing.

So anyway, here are a few images I'm thinking of entering. I'm really struggling w/titles, so a few do not have any..but I'll take suggestions ;)

So tell me the good, the bad and the ugly. I have my own personal critique and doubt for each one, but I need to know whether these will work for comp or not. Even after going thru some of the 12 elements I have no clue, lol!




11-04-2010, 02:38 PM
the next two I submitted to the international comp this year. Not sure I'm going enter them or not.

The first one is the only one I didn't get a critique on. What can I do to improve? (I gotta admit, I'm really tired of looking at this one, lol!)


The next one I got a critique on and made the changes that were suggested.
(sharpened the image and cropped in)

11-04-2010, 06:05 PM
The first one, I like the story telling. There are some technical challenges you need to correct. I can see the halo around the man's back and head which tells me the background was burned down. There is also a dark line around the hood. You need to fix both of these issues as it will kill the image. Because the underside of the hood is lit up, it appears the scene is lit from the mechanic's work light. Good, but then I would like to see a fall off on her leg which is still as bright as her face and so draws my eye down there. Her hand on the hood also seems awkward. She is turning her face away from the man, almost like she is torn by indescion but her hand is just laying there, too relaxed for the rest of the pose and with fingers pointed to the camera so they are shortened. Maybe if her hand had been touching his chest it would have been stronger. I don't think that is enough of an issue to reject this image, just that it could have been stronger. As always I asked Holly for a title. She had one immediately but we both agreed it was inappropiate and too suggestive, so we are instead suggesting "Grease Monkeys".

the girl on the steps - looking at this small low res file I am making an asumption that I might not make if I saw an actual print. But I am guessing that you put in the background at the top behind the steps? What makes me think that is it appears out of scale when compared to the steps. Either way if it makes a judge question it, it's not good. The girl is broad lit which will hurt the image. Couple other small challenges to this image are the sliver of bare arm that draws your eye away from her face and also because the crop cuts into the neckline of her top, the neckline is now creating leading lines drawing you out of the image. I would try this again with the subject in a long sleeve top - maybe a cobalt blue - opposite of orange on the color wheel. And try to get the light to hit her from the other side so she is short lit. I know that will be a challenge depending on the understructure of the stairs. - Title "It All Comes Down to Her"

The tree in the fog - not so much feeling this one. This type of image does well when the subject or tree in this case is crisp and sharp, almost etched looking or the opposite, dreamy and almost like a ghost image. This seems to be falling somewhere in between. Then we have two competing subjects, the tree and the shelter. My eye keeps jumping back and forth. If you want to go ahead with this I would take out the shelter and try adding a little Lucius or similar effect, but sometimes you have to weigh the amount of work something will take against what you hope to gain. I am not sure the end result would be worth the effort.

The other two images, what is your local's rule on entering images that have already been to national? I would check on that. (That being said, you CAN rework these images and resubmit them to IPC if you want) Plus if it were me, I would use the local as a chance to try out something new before it went on to my state or district. The two girls, the edge treatment is overwhelming. I understand it's supposed to look burnt but we don't need that to tell us these are two gilrs dressing up like firemen. My rule is is it doesn't help the image it hurts the image, so I would get rid of the edge treatment. Next what draws your eye most in this image, it's the thing that is the biggest contrst which is the red belt. I don't think that's the most important thing in this story but it has the most visual weight so that's where our eye goes. What will be hard to overcome is the blank looks on the girls. There is serious expressions where you can see thoughts in the eys or there are blank stares. I am just not getting any story out of these girls expressions. You said your self you were tired of looking at it. If the expressions were engaging you wouldn't tire of it. You would enjoy looking at it again and again. I think you answered your own question on this image.

The rusty metal girders. This is a print I'd have to see to appreciate. If it really screams when it spind around it has a shot. On this file there seems to be inconsistency in the sky color. I know sky can have different sahdes but in the center it seems to be going aqua and on the right it's definately blue, so adjust that. I think it needs to go deeper. Make the actual image area larger and definately print it on metallic paper. I don't care for green as an accent stroke because the only green is in the top most girders which is not the center of interest. I would probably try the orange shades.

Hope something here is useful. Just remember I am only one opinion and a panel has 5 or 6 judges.


11-04-2010, 06:57 PM
It's been one of those dissapointing & depressing days around here, so I'm really not in the right mindset. I probably should of waited until I was in a better mood before I posted these...

But anyway, here is my response and personal critique. ( I wanted to wait until I heard from someone else before I gave my opinion).

First one-I knew the hand would be an issue. The image was backlit w/a flash, so I guess maybe that is why it may appear burned down. I'll correct it. I'm wondering if any of the other images from this set up might be better though.

The girl on the steps- nope, I didn't drop the background in. The wall behind the steps is covered in ivy, and that is what we are seeing. I knew she was broad lit, but I wasn't sure if it would be bad in this situation. I don't really know if there is any way to get the light from underneath, I believe we tried and it wasn't possible. I guess this is the issue sometimes w/using client images for comp, and selecting them after the fact. I like the concept but knew the clothing choice wasn't great. Not really sure I can get her back in here to do it again, and I don't think I want to try for a different subject.

Eh, I'll just give up on the tree image. For some reason I really liked the bus stop. I just took this yesterday anyway. I know the tree thing is a little over done, but I figured what the hey.

I feel ya on the image of the girls, although I always felt they had really somber expressions. No need to beat a dead horse so I'll just move on.

really struggling w/the storytelling/impact side of this. I just over analyze it so that my normal stuff looks like crap to me. Like I said, it's been a rough day *sigh*

11-04-2010, 11:07 PM
I, for one, want to hear the inappropriate and suggestive title!

11-05-2010, 12:02 AM
I was thinking "Full Service" or "The Works". I'm thinking Keith's might have had something to do with checking the oil. :D

11-05-2010, 12:55 AM
I, for one, want to hear the inappropriate and suggestive title!

Me too!

Keith, I wanted to thank you for reviewing these for me. I know during comp I don't have the opportunity to explain why you chose to do something, so it is really helpful to have the critique.

I went back to the original raw file of the car and realized that somewhere in my editing is where the burned edges came in. The hand actually angers me that I didn't notice it in the moment! I'll start over on this one.

I struggle w/what t I feel is right for competition. I have images that I like, but we know that really doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm feeling a little inept right now. Maybe I jumped into trying competition before I was really ready for it.

Like I said, I need to come back to this w/a clearer head.

11-05-2010, 01:20 AM
i don't think her hand position is that bad, it looks relaxed and not pointed towards the camera.
it's an awesome image . also love that last one too.

11-05-2010, 03:51 AM
The hand actually angers me that I didn't notice it in the moment! I'll start over on this one.

Like I said before, the hand is not enough to keep you from entering this one. It just could have been even stronger if it was changed a little. I'll Pm you the bad title.


11-05-2010, 04:06 AM
Like I said before, the hand is not enough to keep you from entering this one. It just could have been even stronger if it was changed a little. I'll Pm you the bad title.


thanks :)

I just can't stop looking at the hand and it's driving me nuts, lol ;)

11-05-2010, 04:50 AM
FWIW, I really liked the tree - probably best. :)

11-05-2010, 05:07 AM
Lube job. lol

11-05-2010, 05:07 PM
Lube job. lol

great minds must think alike :)

11-05-2010, 05:49 PM
back to the hand.
why should the hand be stronger? she's in a submissive pose,
she's being taken on the hood of a greasy auto, she has no power.
maybe, it's just the way it see it.

11-05-2010, 06:37 PM
I agree about the submissive pose and stance Joe. I just think her fingers look a little distorted. Maybe if they were just a little softer....

11-05-2010, 07:35 PM
i noticed that the hand is substantially lighter then the arm.
maybe it would draw less attention if the hand was darkened a bit to blend more with the arm. either way i think it's hot & sexy!
can't wait to hear the title you end up with.

11-05-2010, 09:54 PM
okay, so I made the changes suggested, the best to my ability. Joe, I think toning down the hand really helped.

Is this better? Any other suggestions?


11-06-2010, 02:20 AM
yes amy,
i think it helps deemphasizes tyhe hand, good job.
know get out there an get a loan print.

11-06-2010, 03:08 AM
I took it into photoshop and tried to see what it would look like if her dress was over her hand, eliminating that problem. Not sure but you may want to try it and see what you get.

11-06-2010, 02:27 PM
lets have fun with this one.
how many good titles can we come up with.
i'll start: "put the key in , and turn her over"

11-06-2010, 04:51 PM
lol, sooo many possibilities! Not too many that are appropriate for competition though ;)

11-06-2010, 05:42 PM
"Gentlemen, Start Your Engines"

11-06-2010, 06:07 PM
wow, I totally laughed out loud for real Keith!

11-08-2010, 09:14 PM
okay, so I reworked this file. I went back to the original files and started over. I find that easier than trying to correct the mistakes I made during editing :)

Is this better? Do the blues balance?

And, right now it is titles "Broken Promises". Any suggestions for something better?


11-08-2010, 09:38 PM
You have haloing going on where you masked the sky. You'll get dinged for that.

11-08-2010, 09:51 PM
thanks mark. I thought I saw that..... I think it is from when I merged the files to HDR. I'll correct it :)

11-08-2010, 10:16 PM
The title doesn't help me. "Broken Promises" for a bunch of old girders leaves me wondering what did you mean - so I'm trying to figure out the title instead of really appreciating the image.

11-08-2010, 10:20 PM
gotcha! This is a train bridge in town that has been left for dead. To the citizens in our town it kinda stands as a symbol of all the broken promises made to us.

Buuut, that doesn't really matter if no one else can understand it, right, lol!

Any suggestions from anyone?

11-09-2010, 02:57 AM
Well since you don't have a clear center of interest in this image (not that it's neccessarily needed in this kind of image) maybe you can create a center by figuring out a title that works with the C.F.P. graffitti and drawing attention to that. I think that would be cool. Otherwise just call it C.F.P. By the way "Gentlemen start Your Engines" was of course a Holly title. I am never good at titles. Thank goodness I've got her.


11-09-2010, 03:18 AM
C.F.P. stands for Cash Flow Posse, the gang that used to be in my town in the '90's. I've been trying to come up w/a clever title using it, but haven't had any luck. Maybe just CFP will be it :)

Tell Holly 'thank you' for me :) She is amazing w/titles! I am definitely going to use "Gentlemen, start your engines".

And thank you Keith, I know you've been busy so I appreciate your help. More than I can express :)

Funny enough I didn't mask or drop the sky in on the original image. But I think that is what I needed to do to correct the haloing. Does it look natural?


11-17-2010, 04:30 PM
Thank you everyone very much for your help. I enjoy hearing and sharing competition stories, so here is mine from last night.

It went pretty well, for the most part. I got an 81,80,79,79,77. I was surprised at how varied some of the judges could be in their opinions on the images. And I don't mean mine, I just mean in general. Here is how my images did-

"Gentlemen, Start your engines!"-80

This got an 80 & I'm quite proud of the image. The title was read, the image spun around and the entire room gasped and giggled with shock. The judges jumped up instantly. As soon as the score was read the image was challenged. One judge felt like it deserved higher than 80. She felt the impact was great and the title fit the image really well. (thank you again Holly & Keith!). Then, the one judge spoke and said he had scored it a 77. He felt the image was "contrived" and that "weddings are supposed to be sacred. This image disrespects that". He conceded that the lighting was great (hooray, we've worked so hard on that!) but that the vignetting around the top and bottom was too much. The other judge said her skin was soft on her face and that he too scored it a 77.He felt it was contrived also and that "yes, we all reacted but the image just doesn't do it for me". On rebuttal the judge that challenged still felt the image deserved better and she didn't hear one reason it didn't. She fel the bride just had nice skin, and that it wasn't too soft. She said, "this has impact! When it spun around we all reacted. That's what it's about!". But it stayed an 80.

"Corroded Failed Promises"-81

"It all comes down to her"-79
Actually, this was better than expected. I still chose to enter this b/c I wanted to have more than 2 prints and I had no time to reshoot. I figured I would see how this image did and then reshoot for nationals. I liked the concept, but her chunk of arm showing really bothered me. Oh well I wasn't expecting any better than a 77, so I was suprised.

Into the Mystic-79

Lol, what cracks me up about this is I knew it wasn't my best image. 79 was doing good in my mind. Then the judge that scored my wedding image lowe chose to challenge this b/c he scored it an 86 Honestly, I was shocked. He liked the "chi" of the image and loved the blue tones. The other judges pointed out the competing dark tree w/the white background and the muddied ground. The tree wasn't super crisp. So he conceded and agreed w/the other judges(as did I) but it stayed a 79 (I thought it may get lowered). I *may* still try to work this image a little better, but I'm not sure if it will be worth it. I may also wait for another foggy day and just do it better.


11-17-2010, 04:37 PM
The last one was a complete throw in at the very last minute. In fact I didn't make any changes from how it was presented to the client. It's not my best image, but I knew that. Actually, I knew better than to enter it, but I did anyway, lol.
so "how 'bout them cowgirls" got a 77

Honestly, I'm completely okay with my scores, I didn't really expect more. But, I'm a little surprised at the comments. They were totally not what I was expecting to hear.
I wasn't allowed to enter "gentlemen" into illustrative b/c it had a bride in it, although I think that would've better fit the image. I was shocked at how just about anything goes in illustrative, but the only rule is no weddings. Next year I'll be entering everything into illustrative b/c it seemed even the portraits did better there.

So I've got all winter to really think of some images for regionals. I can see where my poor planning hurt some of images last night and I really need to reign in my control during sessions. That is going to be my goal going forward-really plan my vision from beginning to end. The staircase image sorta was a 'lightbulb moment' were I realized I could've saved a lot of time if I had thought about the overall picture and not just the concept and how pretty she was ;)

11-17-2010, 04:41 PM
I am not a plaid and portrait person, but this is perfect.

I bet the 77 is b/c the other eye is covered. Doesn't bother me w/this photo, but it might some.

11-17-2010, 04:50 PM
thank you Missy! I actually loved her plaid dress. It went nicely w/the beautiful sunset. But I'm all for busy prints, lol!

I'm gonna bet this image would've done better under illustrative, esp w/the title.

11-17-2010, 04:55 PM
I would say that's really good scores for a first round with these images.

I just entered 10 in our Fall competition and I'm just hoping they don't laugh me off the board. I would be thrilled to have these results. :)

11-17-2010, 05:45 PM
thanks Greg. Let me add that I'm entirely happy with these scores. I think the images got what they deserved. I wish I would've started early to really prepare some of the files though. That bums me out....knowing what I could've done easily to correct them but chose not to ;)

Good luck to you!!

eta-actually, I see where I said "only got an 80". I don't mean to say I expected more, I think I just keep getting hung up on the comments made, lol!

11-17-2010, 06:31 PM
knowing what I could've done easily to correct them but chose not to ;)

Two years ago when I was lucky enough to go Diamond Cameron Bishop had me write a little How To article for the magazine - how to get 4 images into loan. One of the things I said was never close your case with any unfinished business. Don't leave yourself any room for regrets. Don't send the print in until you know there is nothing you are capable of doing to make it any better.

Amy I sent you a PM and I am not going to repeat it all here but I do want to bring up for everyone else one point. We do not want the judges to always agree about everything. What would that mean? That it's a cookie cutter judging and there would be no reason to have more then one person on a panel. We want a variety of opinions and then an average score so no one opinion gets to outweigh all the rest. A judge that feels an image is contrived gets balanced by a judge who feels the image is believable. Of course we don't want a panel that's constantly at odds over every image either. But don't get dismayed by one judge disagreeing with a choice you made in your work. I would rather have an image that ends up at 80 and gets talked about then an image that gets 5 80's straight across a panel. An image that gets talked about means you inspired judges to have feelings one way or the other.

As far as the cowgirl image, the covered eye has nothing to do with where it scored. If you all go back to the 12 elements and think about how each of them apply to this particular image, I think the score will make sense.


11-17-2010, 06:41 PM
As far as the cowgirl image, the covered eye has nothing to do with where it scored. If you all go back to the 12 elements and think about how each of them apply to this particular image, I think the score will make sense.


I don't really think I even looked at applying the 12 elements in this one, lol. I literally sent it in last minute. I figured it really couldn't hurt to have a 5th image. I just liked it, but truly in my heart knew it wasn't a great competition iimage. I'm good with that :)

11-17-2010, 06:45 PM
Amy - I know you are ok with the score. I just brought up the 12 elements because I thought it might be helpful to some others who are trying to understand why prints score where they do. you do make a great point though about ALWAYS fill your case.


11-17-2010, 06:47 PM
I'm totally open for using this image as an example! Let's pick it apart :)

11-18-2010, 01:44 PM
I think somehow in my detailed description of the night it came across as sounding like I was disagreeing with the results, and I'm not. I absolutely respect and agree w/the opinions and scoring from the judges. I'm a little shocked at the 2 79's b/c I'm not really sure those images were deserving of it. But then, I'm not a judge.

I think it's helpful to point out and share the comments that were made (good and bad), which is why I chose to share them with everyone.

I went back and edited the way I worded my post b/c it really came across the wrong way. I'm feeling a little like a whiner which wasn't my intent. Sorry :o

11-18-2010, 02:06 PM
Amy, I read it as explaining why you did it the way you did...but that you understood it didn't matter and that you agreed with the scores.

11-18-2010, 05:09 PM
I read it the same way Linda did. Don't be so hard on yourself. You just said it like it was which is helpful to others entering competitions. I didn't detect a whine. :)

11-18-2010, 05:12 PM
You should drop one of the images in the T12E-Center of Interest thread to help revive some interest there. Could make for some good discussion.

11-18-2010, 05:12 PM
good! I'm always fearful of sounding like a whiner ;) I tend to over analyze everything though, so that could be it too!

12-17-2010, 02:23 PM
Me too!

I struggle w/what t I feel is right for competition. I have images that I like, but we know that really doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm feeling a little inept right now. Maybe I jumped into trying competition before I was really ready for it.

Like I said, I need to come back to this w/a clearer head.

Amy please don't become frustrated with competition. If you wait until you think you are ready you will NEVER enter print competition. I suggest you don't enter to win awards or merits. You enter to get the education and to become critical and get feedback on your work. When you do that enough you will create more and more prints that will score well and you will be creating better and better images for your clients that will earn you more 'green' merits from your clients... Hang in there.

There will be less frustration if you don't wait until the last minute to select your images. Make it a part of your workflow to create one competition image a month from your work. Then when it comes time to select your images for competition you'll have 10 - 12 images to choose from to make your final selections...