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davies_creative
10-18-2011, 06:24 PM
I am wondering if I will get feedback on my images from the competition. It was the only reason I entered. This was my first competition full stop. When I entered, I did not see an option to order my critiques separately. Did I miss something on the registration form?

I really didn't expect to merit any of the images. I entered to get feedback to improve for competition in the future.

Thanks,

Matt Davies

Linda_Gregory
10-18-2011, 07:39 PM
Matthew, what competition was it you entered? If it was PPA's national, yes, there was a place to mark for a critique but each local handles things differently.

Rick_Massarini
10-18-2011, 07:40 PM
Critiques are not done on images at the District Level (SWPPA is a District competition). You can order a critique on your entries at the IPC (International Photographic Competition), but not at the District level.
Why don't you post them here - there are a few affiliate jurors who post here from time to time, so maybe they can give you a critique. If you don't want your critique on the open forum, just request that they respond to you via PM.

davies_creative
10-18-2011, 07:44 PM
Thanks Rick. I will do that this evening. I didn't realize I would not get feedback. $100 lesson learned!

Jeff_Dachowski
10-18-2011, 11:56 PM
Matthew,
I know you did not get a full critique, but you did get feedback. You got scores right? I know it would be better to have a recorded critique, but you didnt come back empty handed.

Jeff

davies_creative
10-19-2011, 12:19 AM
Jeff, you are absolutely right. However, just like a test in school, without knowing which answers you got correct, you can't improve your performance the next time. Do I feel a little better knowing that 3 out of 4 images were considered "above average"? Sure.

Don't get me wrong - I don't blame anyone but myself for not understanding fully what I was entering and what I could expect out of it. I just might have saved that $95 to enter a judged competition where the score would have included reasons why. Like did I decrease my score by adding digital mats that were incorrect or distracted from the images. I think I just didn't ask for enough information and advice before entering.

I will definitely take Rick's suggestion and post up what I entered to get some of that feedback.

Rick_Massarini
10-19-2011, 01:20 AM
There is just not enough time at a District Judging for the jurors to critique each image. At a District Judging, the hosting associations usually bring in two panels of judges (12 jurors and two Jury Chairs). They spend two full days judging the images, then most of them leave for home. At the IPC, they bring in about 60 jurors for 5 days with it being planned in advance that some jurors will be used to judge the images, and some will be in the critique rooms critiquing the images. As far as I know, there has never been a big demand for critiques at the District levels. Many of those who enter the District Judgings attend the convention and sit in on the judging - so they get their feedback live when the image is judged. The entry fees paid by the entrants usually don't even cover the total of the expense of bringing in the judges to judge, so it usually costs the association some money just to host the District judging.

Jeff_Dachowski
10-19-2011, 01:22 AM
Jeff, you are absolutely right. However, just like a test in school, without knowing which answers you got correct, you can't improve your performance the next time. Do I feel a little better knowing that 3 out of 4 images were considered "above average"? Sure.

Don't get me wrong - I don't blame anyone but myself for not understanding fully what I was entering and what I could expect out of it. I just might have saved that $95 to enter a judged competition where the score would have included reasons why. Like did I decrease my score by adding digital mats that were incorrect or distracted from the images. I think I just didn't ask for enough information and advice before entering.

I will definitely take Rick's suggestion and post up what I entered to get some of that feedback.
Hey Matt,
I didnt think you were mad. It sounds to me that you are just feeling your way through this process. Would it make you feel any better to tell you that I have been there too? Would it help to tell you that I nearly sent a case to another region other than my own? Shall I go on? I appreciate your positive attitude here. It is far more important that you got started, that you put yourself out there and got going, than it is that you have a complete understanding of a complicated set of competitions that do not retain complete consistency from local to state to district to international.
Jeff

Keith_A_Howe
10-21-2011, 10:55 PM
Matt
Did you attend the judging? Several images are challenged and the judges express feelings pro and con on the image in the scoring process. Some might have been yours or not. . . but you learn a lot by watching and trying to see what the judges see in images. You can also ask any judges that are available after the judging to give you a critique, I know that SWPPA usually has a judges critique the morning after the judging ends that is great to attend. We as judges get to bring in some images into this program to voice opinions on. I was not a judge at this years event but was there last year, they have a great organization. Try to attend it is well worth it.
Keith

davies_creative
10-21-2011, 11:53 PM
Keith - I was not able to attend. It just wasn't in the budget to travel to the convention this year. In 2012/2013 I'm hoping to hit a bit more of the tradeshow circuit.

Keith_A_Howe
10-22-2011, 01:35 AM
Matthew, I am a PPA judge. I didn't judge at SWPPA this year but like I said I have in the past. Email me your images and I'll give you a critique or post them here if you don't mind a public response.

Keith

davies_creative
11-07-2011, 05:44 AM
Sorry for the delay. Here are the images as I submitted them. I look forward to your feedback. Thanks to all of you who offered!

GregYager
11-08-2011, 01:03 AM
Matthew, let me start with this. These are very good images that I'm sure your clients loved.

Competition is a different animal though and requires an acute attention to detail. It took me a while to get that point through my head so don't think you're alone in this. Little details(or so they seem) can have major impact on your results. An example of this is in image #2. The metal background is cool but tilted slightly. Tilting vertical lines like this is a dangerous move. The fact that the tilt is very slight would lead a judge to feel it was just overlooked. Presentation is a major factor as well and the gold frame doesn't really match the silver background. Your presentation should compliment the image and not compete with it.

I'm just chiming in with these tidbits until our guys that are good at this get a chance to look 'em over. I'm not a judge but I enjoy the competitions and have received tons of great advice here. The important thing is that you entered. Stick with it and you'll be amazed at what your work looks like in a year.

Rick_Massarini
11-08-2011, 01:55 AM
Matthew - see my PM ...

davies_creative
11-08-2011, 06:10 AM
Rick - Thanks! I have fixed it.

Greg - Thank you very much for the initial feedback. I greatly appreciate it.

Keith_A_Howe
11-08-2011, 10:37 PM
Matthew, I said I would give you some feedback and I will. I'm in KC getting ready to present another program so maybe later tonight or in a couple days cuz tomorrow I'll be traveling. How thick is your skin? Do you want a private critique, which I will be glad to send? Or a public one, which benefits everyone? Let me know. I will say right off the top, your presentation hurt you tremendously. But more on that later.

Keith

davies_creative
11-08-2011, 10:48 PM
Keith,

No rush at all. It took me a full week to even post them.

I have very thick skin. The whole reason I entered in the first place was to learn where I needed to grow. I'm quite happy to have a public critique so that someone can avoid my mistakes in the future.

Thanks very much for your time, Keith.

Matt

GregYager
11-08-2011, 11:15 PM
Good answer Matt!

Letting others see the critique is a great way to pay it forward. It let's those that are too timid to ask learn from your experience.

Keith_A_Howe
11-09-2011, 05:22 AM
He Is Up There - Hum, so is she worried that he is gonna fall on her? Sorry that's kind of sarcastic but that's what I thought about when I read the title. This image is too light. When judged under the bright lights of competition I am sure she didn't look just pale but probably sickly. Next the direction of light does nothing to create a sense of three dimensions. The subject just looks flat and two dimensional. Think consciously about the composition in this image. Ask yourself how does you eye flow through the image and where does it want to return to or linger. I come into the print at her head and follow the line of her body to her legs and feet and then right out of the print and I don't get pulled back in. Her pose feels stilted. She doesn't seem like she is actually flopped down on a sofa with her feet kicked in the air but rather stiffly posed that way and her expression also suggest this is a contrived uncomfortable position. Unfortunately because the skin tones are so similar to the chaise she is laying on, her face blends right into the upholstery. So then it seems like an image about her dress and shoes and they are just not interesting enough to make me wanna look at them. I know this seems like I am tearing the image apart, but I want you to understand that it's not just one thing that keeps an image from meriting. It's a combination of everything, lighting, composition, print quality, impact etc etc. An image can be weak in a few areas if it is so strong in other ways that they out weigh the weaknesses. There is nothing really bad about this image, but there is nothing really strong either. So nothing lifts it up. Consequently it's just a middle of the road image. I will make a seperate post on each image so they don't get too long.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
11-09-2011, 05:34 AM
Never Giving Up - Again ask yourself what is strong about the image and how does that weigh against what is weak. We have an average subject in an average pose on an average background. Then we have directional light but it's too far around to the side. The brightest area of the image is the side of his face and jaw just in forward of his ear. The eyes are actually falling in shadow. The composition is very static and the presentation does not relate to the actual image and is very distracting from where you want the viewers eyes to go. The rule on presentation is that if it does not improve the image it hurts the image. better a simple 1/4" black border with a 4-6 pixel stroke around the image area then a busy busy mat.. So here we have another image with no great strengths and several weaknesses so when the judges weigh everything the balance comes out below merit quality. I feel this image is better then the first one but not close enough to be deserving of review ( 78-79 score). Assuming it's sharp ( doesn't look sharp in this small low res image) I probably would have scored it around 76. If it is soft in focus I would have fallen lower.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
11-09-2011, 05:45 AM
Melissa - The crop is at an inbetween point, it's uncomfortably tight for a head and shoulders yet not tight enough to make this an image that dramatically focuses on her eyes. Speaking of her eyes, it's just a blank expression. I can't read any emotion into the image. Next she is broad lit. Usually not the best choice and doesn't add any drama ( read as impact) to the image. The retouching is weak as her skin looks blotchy. You are missing the catchlight from the main light in her left ( camera right ) eye. If you had turned her face slightly to camera left it would have gotten her face to fall into a short light pattern, got the catchlight in the far eye and caused her to be looking at the camera slightly to the corner of her eyes, something that creates more expression automatically. The white strokes are just distracting. Use the stroke color to reinforce what you want the judges to look at. In this case I would have chosen a light gray blue selected from her eye color. Never put a stroke on the outside edge of the print. It just draws the eye away from the center of interest. You don't wnat the judges to look at the edges of your print. You want them to look at the subject. I would have been around mid average score.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
11-09-2011, 06:03 AM
Lost in Thought - In my opinion this is your weakest entry. You would not have been happy with the score I would have given this image. It has major technical issues. The background is so over lit you have haliation all around the subject, weakening the skin tones. You are actually losing the legs of the chair from this wrap around flare. Her pose looks stiff, not at all relaxed or lost in thought. The focal length is too short as there is distortion causing her feet to look too big and her face too small in comparison to her body. metimes you can use distortion like this when the story of the image is all about the shoes. But like I said, we have wrap around flare from an over lit background and that is haliating her shoes to the poit where one heel is almost gone so I know they are not the "story" of this image. Plus if they were then the title should tell me that. The crop is too tight for this type of image. She looks trapped. There are pretty bad creases/wrinkles in the legs of her jumpsuit. I know we have no control over whether the client irons their outfits before coming in for a session. But if they bring in wrinkled clothes either do not use that image in competition or fix the wrinkles in Photoshop.

Again, I know I have really torn down this image, but so often I hear people say something like " my print didn't merit just because of this one little thing". That's rarely the case. It's always a combination of what is strong, what is weak, how strong are the good things, just how weak are the problem areas and how does that all balance out for a final score. So I have tried to bring up everything that worked against your images, so you could understand what all goes into the final outcome.
Keith

davies_creative
11-09-2011, 05:42 PM
Keith,

I really appreciate this kind of feedback. This is exactly what I was hoping to get from my first competition. I really had no idea what the expectations were or where to begin.

If anyone else wants to add additional feedback, I will more than welcome it.

Matt

Keith_A_Howe
11-10-2011, 01:36 AM
Matthew,
When I became a judge my work dramatically improved. The reason was I was now looking at thousands of prints a year and analyzing what made each one successful or where it feel short. So the more you can look at great images, the more your work will improve also. I suggest you call Marathon Press and order the Loan Collection and Showcase books. They are the best of the best images from each years International Competition. If you get books from a couple years back, I think they are highly discounted. Then go through those books and study the images. Especially if you can find prints similar in subject matter to your own. Compare those successful images to your prints and see if you can figure out where the differences lie. It truly is a case of GIGO - only instead of garbage in garbage out - the acronym stands for great in - great out. Immerse your mind in amazing images and amazing work will come out.

Keith

GregYager
11-10-2011, 02:27 AM
I second the motion that you invest in the Loan Collection and Showcase books. It's money well spent. I took the investment one step further this year. I took my book with me everywhere I went at Imaging and whenever I met someone that had an image published there I asked them to autograph their image. It makes my book somewhat of a collectible to me but most of all it gave me the chance to chat if only briefly with the artist that created the image. Each one had a tidbit or two of advice on how they got their results and when you add it up that's a lot of tidbits.

davies_creative
11-10-2011, 04:57 AM
Thanks guys. I have a $50 gift card to Marathon. Now I know what I'm spending it on.

Keith_A_Howe
11-10-2011, 04:08 PM
Erie, CO? where is that? I am in Denver a lot. If it's not too far maybe we could meet up sometime.

Keith

davies_creative
11-10-2011, 07:59 PM
Keith. It's only 15 to 25 minutes north of Denver depending upon which part of Denver you're in. I would be honored to share a cup of coffee with you if you ever have the chance.