PDA

View Full Version : Looking for some feedback on images



lthompson4
02-07-2011, 05:16 PM
I'd like to enter some images in my local competition that is on the 14th, yes, only a week away, so I need to send them off to the lab tomorrow or tomorrow at the latest...

With the help of another forum, I think I have two for sure I'm going to do some final work on and figure out the presentation and such, but since we are allowed 6 entries, I'd like to find a few more that have some potential that I could possibly work on to make good enough to submit.

And if I don't figure it out in time, I'd still love the input so I can learn more about what works and doesn't work with images, as well as possibly work on any potentials from this group for my state competition, which isn't until March.

I'm pretty new to photography, and I know I have a lot to learn. Just give it to me straight, but not too brutal. LOL

Oh, and these images are pretty much as is from when I showed or ordered for clients - I haven't done any extra work to try to make them competition ready.... so I realize if any have potential, I will need to go over them again to get them ready. Just didn't want to spend too much time on any image only to find out it could never merit because the pose is too wrong or some other thing that can't be fixed after the fact.

THANKS!

lthompson4
02-07-2011, 05:18 PM
more options....

lthompson4
02-07-2011, 05:19 PM
and some more....

anyone seeing any potential anywhere? : )

Robert_M._Wood
02-07-2011, 10:04 PM
I would enter the two babies, the girl on the stool, the two ladies looking at the baby and the sepia of the little girl. I would not enter the b&W of the girl on the chair because the chair clashes with her clothes.

The last, little girl in sepia, I would crop tighter, so there is more space around her head and to reduce the amount of the dress, so that the face becomes the center of interst and not the dress.

Keith_A_Howe
02-08-2011, 10:58 PM
I'd like to enter some images in my local competition that is on the 14th, yes, only a week away, so I need to send them off to the lab tomorrow or tomorrow at the latest...
Probably too late, but I was out of town for a few days. You did say it would be helpful for the future though.



I'd like to find a few more that have some potential that I could possibly work on to make good enough to submit.
What's your definition of good enough? You can submit ANYTHING. There is no minimum level they have to reach in order to be entered. In fact sometimes you learn way more from your lower scoring prints then you ever do from the very successful images


Just give it to me straight, but not too brutal. LOL
Well, people say I am a hard judge. I prefer to think of it as I expect the best out of everyone and I believe in everyone's ability to create awesome images. Just remember anytime anyone tells you anything about your images, it is not about you, it's about the image. It has no reflection on your worth as a photographer or your potential.


Just didn't want to spend too much time on any image only to find out it could never merit because the pose is too wrong or some other thing that can't be fixed after the fact.


I understand this sentiment, but don't let yourself get caught in the trap of only wanting to enter prints if they are sure things. A merit is not easy to achieve. If everybody that entered was guareenteed merits, it would be a pretty worthless achievement. PPA might just as well send out Master's degrees with the new membership packet if it was that easy. The degree only means as much as the effort you put into achieving it.

So here are my thoughts on these images in particular. I would not feel comfortable saying any of these images are sure things. Each has some issues that will make it a challenge to get to a merit score. I STILL believe that you should choose the ones you feel are the strongest and enter them, even knowing they may not score 80 or above. You will learn so much just from the process that you will walk away a winner regardless of your final scores. Plus you said you had two others for sure, we don't know what they look like and never ever enter a case that's not full. Many states and locals give awards based on cummlative scores. If you don't enter as many images as allowed, you are automatically taking yourself out of the running for those cummlative awards.

Pregnant mom - This image is a subject matter and a pose that's been seen so often it's lost it's power to create impact. That's the first challenge to this image. Next the hair appears to have a painter effect, yet the rest of the image just looks like super smooth skin and fabric. As a judge that would make me think you had run some sort of filter to smooth the skin and neglected to erase it off the hair - which is a technical issue. The other challenge to this print is your main light is directional but not quite far enough around to camera left for what you are trying to achieve. It's about at 7:00 or 8:00 so it's kind of flattening out her belly rather then accentuating the roundness like it would if it were positioned at 10:00. The hair hanging down on the backside of her face would also need to be cleaned up for print competition.

Twin boys - great subjects and a good idea. The challenges here are the lighting is pretty flat. Also this is what is crudely called a crouch shot. If you had turned each boys legs slightly out to the side, it would have avoided looking straight into the crouch and seeing up the pant legs to the diapers. Also that turn out of the legs would have created a more triangular shape to the overall subject matter - which is usually more pleasing then a rectangle or square grouping.

Girl on stool - needed a little modification in posing. We are looking straight into her shoulder and side of her hip. So we are seeing the broadest possible view of her upper arn and thigh - making her look heavier. Next, I realize that is her sleeve hanging down on her left side, but visually her waist is that whole width now. Next her shirt is so busy it makes it hard for your eye to get to her face. What this print has going for it is a great subject and nice light direction.

Girl on zebra chair - Just not a good choice, way too many problems. The busyness of both her top and the chair and the conflict between the two patterns. Next the way she is seated her bottom looks big and her tummy is pouched out. Combined with her shoulder popped up so we lose her neck, she looks a lot heavier then she probably really is.

Head & shoulders in the blue dress - There is the same issue here with the hair being blur. On my moniter this image overall looks soft like there is a focus issue but what I really feel it is, is oversoftening in some retouching software. I would like to see this image as the original file before any adjustments were done. Depending on what I see in the original, this might be one of my choices.

Three generation - This is a very difficult situation to light because you have three faces all looking in different directions. That issue combined with grandma's? messy hair and awkward hand and the loss of detail in the shadows below baby make this an image I would gladly show to a client but probably not choose for print competition.

Little boy in sweater - This image has the most potential IMO. The lighting is nice and there are no major challenges to overcome. Make sure the highlight side of his face does not blow out under the competition lighting conditions.

Girl in white dress - The mixed keys would hurt this image even if everything else was perfect. I tried to copy this image to experiment with it in B&W or sepia but it is such a small file I couldn't tell anything.

blonde girl with white ruffle collar - I am not sure what is going on here. It's not a depth of field issue because the bracelets on her arms in the foreground are sharper ( not sharp but sharper) and her eyes which are farther back from camera are sharper but her collar which falls in between those two planes and her back shoulder even father back are softer. There are sharper and softer areas in her hair. So I suspect a retouch issue. The messy hair on her back shoulder and the awkward crop cutting her hand in half are challenges that you probably can't fix in processing. I would skip this one.

asian girl looking down- flat light and busy hat are the issues here. Also, when you have subject look down but the eyes are halfway open and there is no light in them, you get the black holes.

blonde little girl - the headpiece is sharp but everything else seems soft in focus. Also the broadlight and the busy background will be an issue.

sepia tone little girl - Looking down is not necessarily bad, but when we are seeing more of the top of the head then the face it is telling us that's what is most important.

Many times photographers will miss what is their best potential competition images and only think about the ones they personally like the best. So I was going to check out your website to see what else I might suggest but couldn't find one. If you do have an online presence and are willing to share I would be glad to take a look at anything else you might have.

Keith

lthompson4
02-09-2011, 06:33 PM
Wow, Keith. Thank you SO much for taking so much time to reply in such detail to my post and with the photo critiques! I can't adequately express how much it means to me to have someone do that. Looking briefly at your history on this board though, it seems like that's the kind of person you are. :)

I also really appreciated that you took a moment to be encouraging and speak to the insecurities that we all have, before going on to the critiques. I DO know that I have a lot to learn, but still of course hoped that I had at least one gem in all of the photos I took last year. LOL But, your point about how merits SHOULDN'T be easy to get really struck home for me. I have four I am submitting (two of which I didn't post here because I had already decided on them), and I now fully expect to NOT get merits on any of them. : ) BUT, I know they show progress from where i was a year ago and next year my images will show progress again. It just does get discouraging when I feel like I'm not progressing fast enough and therefore that must mean that I don't have enough potential to be good at this. Deep down I probably don't really believe that, but it's just the way the mind works.

For me, I think the biggest struggle is finding good resources for bettering my techniques. I have attended many workshops and classes, and learned a LOT about the business size of photography, but not as much about the actual photography.

Anyway, I've printed out your comments and am going to read them over again and process everything you've said. I know it will all be very helpful as I move forward.

Oh, and my website is a bit outdated, but I do have photos on it, as well as a bit more on my blog. www.portraitartbylisamarie.com and www.portraitartbylisamarie.com/blog
I'll see about adding that to my profile.

Thanks again!
Lisa

Keith_A_Howe
02-09-2011, 06:47 PM
It just does get discouraging when I feel like I'm not progressing fast enough and therefore that must mean that I don't have enough potential to be good at this.

Lisa,
I entered prints for 4 years before I ever earned a single merit. And that year I only got one. I now have over 120 print merits with 26 loan images. If I can do it, you can do it.

Keith

Mark_Levesque
02-09-2011, 06:58 PM
BUT, I know they show progress from where i was a year ago and next year my images will show progress again. It just does get discouraging when I feel like I'm not progressing fast enough and therefore that must mean that I don't have enough potential to be good at this.

Most of us (except the super gifted) go through that. It can be discouraging, at first especially, but the harder you work at it the more you will see that you are making progress even when you don't feel it. It is particularly apparent when looking back at previous work and comparing it to current work. Keep at it. Your work will improve.

Competition really, really elevates your work. They are quite nitpicky most of the time. Once you've been through a competition and heard the judges discuss prints, you become aware of all the little things to be keeping in mind when creating a comp print, and the beauty is that you gradually start carrying all of those things into your daily work. It can be frustrating when you are not getting scores you are happy with, but it sure helps you learn. Stick with it. Growth is not always easy, but it's certainly worthwhile. Realize that it's all achievable. You have it in you. You just have to coax it out.

Keith is truly an amazing resource. Not only is he one of the top PPA photographers, but he excels in critiques, plus he provides such encouragement no matter where you are in your photographic journey.

Angela_Lawson
02-09-2011, 06:58 PM
Lisa - I know that Keith probably won't say anything here on this thread, but since I noticed that you are only a state away, I'm going to go ahead and mention it. I'm hosting a seminar here in Grand Rapids/Kentwood, Michigan, May 23rd of this year. Keith and his wife Holly are coming to share with us on posing and lighting of less than perfect people, but I strongly feel that their expertise will help in all areas. So, please consider joining us. If you want more information, check out the seminar description in the PPA Approved section, or feel free to contact myself or Keith. We'd love to have you!