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GregYager
01-26-2011, 05:27 AM
Ok so I did rather well in the fall and then I bombed at State receiving between 77-78 on my images. I've been going through my images and I'm not sure I have anything merit worthy at the moment. Plenty that's close I guess but nothing that's "there". I have 17 images that I've posted to get some opinions as to whether or not I have something to work with or should I be scrambling to re-shoot. My deadline is March 18th so I'm not in a panic at this point. As most of you may know I have very thick skin so no need to play nice. If you see some workable images let me know. If I need to ditch these and start shooting some things with comp in mind please let me know. You can feel free to answer here if you wish so others can learn from the comments.

Thanks in advance.

http://www.mymorganfield.com/District.html

Jeff_Dachowski
01-26-2011, 12:45 PM
Greg,
So...what is your goal in entering? Are you looking for which images are the strongest? Which 4 will merit? I see a couple that stand out here. One is te baby in the bucket. Not sure about the hand placement behind the ear, but a good title could help that image be closer to the category. I think the football image is cool as well, but the logo is going to hurt it as it draws the eye to it. I also like the redheaded mom, but, am not sure about the angles here. I like the V that it makes. Maybe I am caught up in the emotion of it all. It might just be too flat. Also take a look at the brigthness on her arm.

Another thing I see across a lot of your work is a high key subject with a low key background. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with this, but under lights, the contrast is just too much.

Jeff

Stephanie_Millner
01-26-2011, 12:59 PM
Greg, it's worth sending anyway. Last year I entered a pretty strong case at VPPA and my lowest scoring print there sealed at regionals. My highest scoring from VPPA got a 76... and then got in the Showcase Book. Send it anyway, you never know.

Joe_Campanellie
01-26-2011, 01:57 PM
I agree...send it anyway. Different panels and different results hopefully. You just never know. Just jump in and do it. It's a journey and an education process also. My goal when I first started entering was just to become a better photographer. But what you get out of competition can be very different for each one of us on a personal level.

GregYager
01-26-2011, 04:09 PM
Jeff, I like to shoot high so obviously I would like to find 4 that would merit. In that same regard I would also like to see something go Loan. I may have some merit prints in here after some editing work but I just don't see anything that screams loan. The redhead holding the baby is titled Heartbeat Lullaby and it won Best of Show in the Fall. I entered it at State and it received a 78. The bright arm was mentioned and I can fix that.

Steff and Joe, you both have good points about different panels judging differently so I guess it's possible that these could still manage to merit. My favorite out of all these is Missed Kiss(Little boy biting off sister's nose) but it's never scored above a 78. I guess it's one of those "you had to be there" things.

Here's my plan for now. I will try to figure out my strongest 3(starting with Jeff's selections) and work them the best I can. The 4th image will be something I shoot in the next week that will be done with comp standards in mind. I'm gonna stop digging through images I've already shot because quite frankly I'm starting to hate them. This could turn into a good thing though because from this point forward I'll be paying a lot more attention to the details that I should have been getting right in the first place.

Tss1203
01-26-2011, 04:33 PM
Hey Greg, we should make that a challenge.... to shoot something in the next week w/competition in mind :)

I too like the baby in the bucket. Only thing- the dingleballs on her hat make me think "boobies". Don't know if that matters or not ;)

Linda_Gregory
01-26-2011, 04:40 PM
This could turn into a good thing though because from this point forward I'll be paying a lot more attention to the details that I should have been getting right in the first place.


THIS IS THE WHOLE GOAL IN COMPETITION! all of us need to read it and LIVE it. Thanks!

The merits are like good grades on a report card, they state your progress but knowing the stuff should be the true goal.

GregYager
01-26-2011, 04:55 PM
Sounds like a plan to me Amy. The clock starts now. We'll see what we have by day 7 and everyone is invited to join in.

Thanks Linda. I occasionally say things that make sense though not as often as I would like:)

gailcarver
01-26-2011, 05:22 PM
Greg, I am in the same boat! We will go on this journey together! BTW, I loved the baby in bucket! It was my favorite.

moehler
01-26-2011, 05:52 PM
The first thing I thought of when I saw missed kiss was the line from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" where the wild things tell Max, "We'll eat you up, we love you so."

Will you print these all in various sizes?

GregYager
01-26-2011, 05:54 PM
Will you print these all in various sizes?

I will most likely put them on 16x20 and cropped as an image within that surrounded by a stroke of some sort.

moehler
01-26-2011, 06:47 PM
Is there a reason for that instead of just printing the size it is cropped to?

GregYager
01-26-2011, 07:25 PM
Is there a reason for that instead of just printing the size it is cropped to?

Yes. Working on the print display crew at imaging and then working on the print comp crew at my state has led me to appreciate making the hanging, displaying and storing of the prints simple. We hung several prints at Imaging that were 5x20 and to be honest they just didn't look impressive. They were dwarfed by the others and the mounting brackets covered parts of the image. We had several images at our state competition that didn't fit the turntable well because of this so they had to stop everything and a person had to walk around and hold the print for the judges. I don't want my image to be one of those.

Joe_Campanellie
01-26-2011, 09:16 PM
I guess I'll throw my two cents in here for what it's worth. First of all I have been very successful with slime line and pano prints. If you saw the ASP loan collection you will have noticed quite a few of those type of images as part of that collection.

When I an considering a potential competition print I never take into consideration whether the image is "simple" to store, hang, or display. What I'm looking for is first and foremost impact. That can be achieved in a large 20x24 print as well as slim lined 5x20 print also.

Bigger is not necessarily better in trying to achieve impact. Lots of my images have to be walked out to be judged at state. That doesn't really worry me nor do I consider that when prepping a print. And as a judge I've never consider that as a detriment to a print. One of my ASP loan images this year was a fairly small pano print.

You have to remember that in the judging process all images are to be judged on their own merits and never compared to other prints.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth.

GregYager
01-26-2011, 11:01 PM
I understand Joe but it's a personal preference as well. I like my images to be at least 15" on the narrowest end and if it's a pano then it would have to be at least a 15x30 or 15x40 and that's too wide for submission so I put them on a standard format board to avoid the small feel.

Keith_A_Howe
01-26-2011, 11:05 PM
First off I agree with Joe, print the size needed. It's nice of you to think of the crew but this is for your degree. Don't go too small but print what is best for the image.

Now I agree with those that feel you could send images on to a different panel. With that said, the less experienced panels tend to be (but not always) either higher scoring than PPA approved judges or more "safe" scoring (everything in the 77-81 zone) that PPA approved judges. Both of your competitions have been local associations as opposed to a District or International competition and I do not know how many if any of the jurors on those panels were approved judges.

Now for your images:
#3 Red head mom, could be printed to bring out the light direction better but I still see it as a slight chance of merit.
#4 Expressive baby - I would like this image if it was about the baby instead of the flower. As it is I don't see it as a merit either.
#5 missed kiss - I see some issues with this image that I believe are on the file but can't tell on this low res. It looks like there is possibly a mask line or cut out along his back and head. It is also cropped too tight at the top. There is no room for him to stand up, making it physiologically uncomfortable.
Jeff already mentioned the mixed keys. Imagine how much more impact their faces would have if the clothing was light toned or white to go with the background.
#7 This could be a possibility with some changes. I can show you what I have in mind if it is OK with you to copy and play.
#11 Might be close. Needs to be printed much richer and try to enhance the light direction.
Football player has some issues for me. First you would need to define his cheek from the white cheek pad in the helmet (camera Left). It has great light direction. The shoulder pad really distracts and pulls the eye. The "power" brand needs to be controlled as red is dominate and grabs the attention. I am not sure you could take this down enough to bring it over to a merit. Last is why is his helmet on if his jersey is off? Goes to the image making sense in the viewers subconscious.
Keith

Keith_A_Howe
01-26-2011, 11:08 PM
OK I understand what you are saying about the size of the board.
Keith

GregYager
01-26-2011, 11:18 PM
Keith, If you have the time you can play around with any image you wish

Joe_Campanellie
01-27-2011, 02:51 AM
Amen to that about the judges. I see so many of our local members send prints on to district and national just to get very disappointed. They had good scores at the state level but because of various factors most of which are associated with the costs to bring in experienced qualified judges those scores don't hold up at the next level.

It's really frustrating to sit there and have your prints judged by people who haven't even entered a competition for many years. I hate hearing..."when I used to compete" during a critique session by a judge.

Jeff_Dachowski
01-27-2011, 03:25 AM
I hate hearing..."when I used to compete" during a critique session by a judge.

How about hearing..." I am not sure what the judges are looking for" said by a panelist! You mean YOU are not sure what YOU are looking for?
Jeff

GregYager
01-27-2011, 04:23 AM
How about hearing..." I am not sure what the judges are looking for" said by a panelist! You mean YOU are not sure what YOU are looking for?
Jeff

That would make me wanna throw fruit

GregYager
01-27-2011, 05:17 AM
So here's what I have so far...
http://mymorganfield.com/1.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/2.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/3.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/4.jpg

moehler
01-27-2011, 12:31 PM
I'm curious about the football player. The water droplets on his face makes me think of him sweating from playing hard but the those on his shoulder pads and helmet hints at a story having played/practiced in the rain. If it were the rain, it seems like he should be dirty. But they are all lovely photos.

Jeff_Dachowski
01-27-2011, 01:12 PM
Grege,
football player...squint your eyes, and what do you see?

On the baby and mom...the baby's skin looks funky in the face. Do you see what I mean by that?
Jeff

GregYager
01-27-2011, 01:47 PM
Jeff, That's called late night editing. The baby's face looks bruised because of the way I was burning down some highlights. I'd be better off going to the raw file and starting over. The main thing I see on the football player is the cheek pad. Probably just need to find a different image.

Stan_Lawrence
01-27-2011, 05:23 PM
The other issue with the football player is he's wearing a helmet and no uni....kinda doesn't go together. If he has a helmet on, he has a uni on..... just isn't realistic, can't think of a situation when you'd have a helmet with just shoulder pads.... If there aren't any former players on the panel, might not make a difference....:cool:

Ron_Jackson
01-27-2011, 06:40 PM
The other issue with the football player is he's wearing a helmet and no uni....kinda doesn't go together. If he has a helmet on, he has a uni on..... just isn't realistic, can't think of a situation when you'd have a helmet with just shoulder pads.... If there aren't any former players on the panel, might not make a difference....:cool:

I was thinking the same thing. And why are the pads wet? I too agree that the cheek pads are too bright. I would definitely tone them down to a middle gray.

Keith_A_Howe
01-27-2011, 06:52 PM
I have thought about it some more and I don't have a problem with the no uniform on the football player. After all how many babies sit around in a giant soup pot with a winter hat on their heads? This is a portrait. If we were talking about a PJ type illustration then maybe it would be an issue. The water droplets still seem out of place though. What is going to keep the football player out of the merit catagory in my opinion is the awkward way the face guard is cutting through one eye. I don't need to even see that eye but to see half of it like this is going to be a problem - again just my opinion. The next issue with this image is there is something puzzling going on with the focal plane. The edge of his nose seems soft all the way down, yet we have sharp focus on a closer plane and further back plane. And then again it's soft where the cheek meets the cheek pad. So as a judge I would see that as a technical problem in processing. I do think you did a good job of removing the logos.

Here's my suggestions on the other prints
Baby - asked Holly for a title - she said "Potty Training". Maybe I missed something and you already have a title but I think hers is pretty good. Not liking the border so much. The feathering is making it a little too wide and a little too comanding attention IMO. I would just use a stroke. Try the blue from the babies eyes to draw attention there instead of the flesh tone. Maybe, maybe not but experiement and see. You also need to retouch the bags under the baby's eyes. I am seeing an inconstistency of flesh tones in the arm. That would also need to be addressed.

Young boy - the composition on the mat is hurting you. His face is right at the middle of the print. I know you wanted to stay with 16x20 but here is an example where that's hurting you. Crop some off the top so his face falls more at the upper third. Middle composition can work, but in this case it's not adding anything. I like the simpler stroke here but feel it's a little bright. Try a light brown from his hair or his eyes. That will accentuate the contrast of a warm subject against a cool background - and I think in this case that contrast will work for you by emphasizing the subject. He also needs the bags under his eyes softened. I would suggest using the history brush to add some highlights to the back of his head - more seperation and to tone down his hands so they are not brighter then his face. I would also take down the brighter area in the background so it doesn't compete as much with his face. I like how it's almost a leading line to his face, but IMO it needs to be more subtle. Here is the way I would present the image. Placing it as a vertical image on a horizontal board gets you to a traditional thirds composition which works well for this traditional type image. It also gives more space for the boy to be looking into. As it seems like he is looking off into the distance that extra space feels appropiate.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/boyinblack2.jpg

Mom and baby - This image has two challenges. First off it is one of the most common subject matters we see. While we never compare one image to another, when a subject matter becomes so common, it loses some of it's power to create impact. Next while we have soft directional light creating dimension on the mom's face, the baby is pretty much flat light. As far as what I would suggest you do, most times over retouching is the issue, here I think you stopped too soon. This story is about gentleness and softness but the mom's complexion still looks kinda rough and uneven. Go a little farther but not so far she looks vacumn molded plastic. Her arm and shoulder nearest camera are lighter then anything else in the image - so that's where my eye wants to go. The stroke treatment is too much IMO. It's something I would do for a client but probably not for competition. Don't use a gimmicky border treatment unless it adds to the image.

Hope some of this is useful.

Keith

GregYager
01-27-2011, 07:06 PM
Incredible advice. I like the potty training title. I definitely like the edits on the young boy(my grandson). I have many more of the football player so I'll look for another. I'll post updates when I get home to edit some more.

Tss1203
01-27-2011, 07:12 PM
greg, your grandson is handsome!

GregYager
01-27-2011, 07:44 PM
He's 5. Shoots with a Rebel. Yes, I'm proud. :)

Stan_Lawrence
01-27-2011, 07:45 PM
I have thought about it some more and I don't have a problem with the no uniform on the football player. After all how many babies sit around in a giant soup pot with a winter hat on their heads? This is a portrait. If we were talking about a PJ type illustration then maybe it would be an issue.

Keith, I'm sure you're more in touch with print comp than I am, it would just seem to be an issue of being realistic, even in a posed portrait. Bare pads and helmet just seem unnatural, they just don't go together.... then again, maybe I took too many hits to the helmet, as I said, you're probably a better judge of what would go in print comt....:cool:

GregYager
01-27-2011, 07:52 PM
Keith, I'm sure you're more in touch with print comp than I am, it would just seem to be an issue of being realistic, even in a posed portrait. Bare pads and helmet just seem unnatural, they just don't go together.... then again, maybe I took too many hits to the helmet, as I said, you're probably a better judge of what would go in print comt....:cool:

For what it's worth the idea came from a NFL poster.

Stan_Lawrence
01-27-2011, 08:02 PM
For what it's worth the idea came from a NFL poster.

Bo Jackson? Times have changed.... besides, in my day we had leather helmets with no grill.....;)

Keith_A_Howe
01-27-2011, 08:58 PM
Keith, I'm sure you're more in touch with print comp than I am, it would just seem to be an issue of being realistic, even in a posed portrait.

That was my first thought too, but then Holly asked me why a baby in a soup pot with a winter hat on indoors - totally not realistic - was ok but no uniform over pads was not ok. I had to admit she had a point.

Keith

Joe_Campanellie
01-27-2011, 09:01 PM
Stan...you mean they gave you helmets...that must be what's wrong with me!

GregYager
01-28-2011, 03:38 AM
I opted out of the football player....

Brought back Kisses(puckering baby) I cropped tighter to remove some of the flower and added density. The funny part is The top half of the flower had been added because I was told there wasn't enough of it.

Heartbeat Lullaby has been re-worked from scratch to soften mom's skin and even the light.

My prodigy(grandson) has highlights added to the hair, hands darkened, color slightly warmed and re-cropped.

"Potty Training" or "Tot-n-Pot" (still debating) has a smaller key line to match the eyes and bags removed from under the eyes.

http://mymorganfield.com/5.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/6.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/7.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/8.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
01-28-2011, 03:58 AM
Puckering baby has some issues with the background, at least on this monitor. There is a very sharp obvious line where you have extended that background. If that shows on the print it will kill it. Also need to soften the lines under the eyes. Seeing as how I keep telling you to retouch bags under the eyes I am wondering if it's a preference of yours not to do that in general retouching? On this monitor the baby's lower lip looks out of focus. Check that and if there is an issue you will need to fix that.

Keith

GregYager
01-28-2011, 04:07 AM
I forgot about the line in the black. It did show up on a print and I fixed it in a different file.

I was debating the bags under the eyes because it was part of the "full face pucker" but I just realized I can't use the image anyway, it's the same child that's in the white pot just shot on different days. I rarely remove bags under the eyes on regular portraits because it seems to make the eyes appear small. My tastes tend to lean more natural but I probably need to remove them for competition though.

Keith_A_Howe
01-28-2011, 04:12 AM
I rarely remove bags under the eyes on regular portraits because it seems to make the eyes appear small. My tastes tend to lean more natural but I probably need to remove them for competition though.

That's a first, I've never heard that or even experienced it myself. As far as comp, don't remove, just soften. For example if you use the patch tool to remove bags then go up to the tool bar and fade the patch tool to where you still have the lines, they just aren't as noticeable.

Keith

Jeff_Dachowski
01-28-2011, 01:02 PM
Greg,
Have you ever seen bags under the eyes of someone in a normal conversation like you do in portraits? Probably not...why? Because in everyday life, the light comes from above. which does not create a bag shadow. The bag shadow comes when the light is off to the side of the subject. I always clone out th ebag at a low opacity to take th eedge of. No one wants to think that their baby looks like they have been up all night. FWIW, I think th efootball one is not bad at all. I just wanted you to be aware that you had some bright spots on the image, and it can be taken care of in capture....so reshoot it with a gobo on the light to reduce ( in camera) the hot spots. Or try to tone it down. Another issue with the baby is the head size. It might end up being twice life size. That it pretty big!
Jeff

eta I am not sure about the blue spot over the boys shoulder. I keep looking at. Maybe make a dup layer, drop saturation of the bg, and blend it in a bit? Have you tried this as a bw?

GregYager
01-28-2011, 04:49 PM
Here are some image updates. Background saturation dropped in my grandson's portrait(about 60% dropped)

The baby on the nightstand is a new possibility. I have a weekend full of shoots lined up so maybe I can work on something new rather than culling through last years images.

http://mymorganfield.com/9.jpg

http://mymorganfield.com/10.jpg

Angela_Lawson
01-29-2011, 01:45 AM
Just have to say, Awwwww! The baby is cute, Greg! The one thing I notice is that the drawer handle needs to be toned down a bit. If you squint at the image, it really sticks out. Otherwise, I like it...but I'm not a judge, so you'll have to wait for better advice. :)

GregYager
01-29-2011, 01:49 AM
Thanks Angela. The floor also needs re-worked or cropped out as well but I wasn't sold on the image yet so I posted it here for a few opinions before I put too much time into it.