View Full Version : Critique for a first timer

01-27-2012, 03:29 AM
Two images I am considering submitting to my District Competition


After reading through other critiques I'm worried about my light being flat, I was going for a high key soft cuddly feel.


Squinty Eye?

BTW, I'm a first time submitter, but not new to critiques, I've got my big girl pants on people, don't hold back. Thank you for taking the time help me be a better artist!

01-27-2012, 06:15 AM
Welcome to the forum, Jessica! I'm excited to hear you're ready for competition, and that you're not new to critiques, either. I think competition, when done in the right frame of mind, makes us much better, stronger artists, as it pushes us to achieve and to stretch and to think about things differently.

Is this your first print competition? When I first started in print comp, my mentor asked me a vital question, which was, "what do you want to achieve?" Do you want to score 100, or are you hoping to hit a merit print, or are you hoping to just survive and not embarrass yourself? The answer to that question is really important.

Although I don't know yet how you will answer that question, I think there are a few things to consider with these images. The first challenge you have, you already saw yourself - the images are flat lit. In competition, that is a very difficult challenge to overcome. While the client may not know the difference, you can guarantee that a panel of judges will absolutely know the difference. The second challenge is that these are poses and settings the judges have seen many times. While that's not necessarily a deal-breaker, the issue becomes trying to take what has been done hundreds of times and A) make it technically fabulous and B) make it something the judges will stop and look at, even though they've seen it a hundred times before. First judge how solid the image is technically, and once it passes that inspection, then ask yourself "what impact does this image have?"

For years I have done tons of high key white images... as in pure white background with a simple subject (usually a dog), and it's hard to merit an image like that because the judges see images like that all the time. So it required me to be creative with my titles and to be technically very, very proficient, and to chose subject matter that was fun to look at. Same deal for babies.

One of my favorite mentor quotes was that the judges are given an entire seat to sit in, but make them only want to use the edge of it.

By no means will you be embarrassed by these images in competition, but they're not going to score a 100, either.

Let's break down image #1 really quick. The expression on baby's face feels pained - like he's not happy (as evidenced by the crinkle line in his brow). Additionally, the little foot has no connection point... while we KNOW that the little foot is, in fact, connected to his little leg somewhere, we can't actually see it, so it looks like a floating appendage. The way his left leg gets buried into the fabric and the fact that you can't see his right leg, makes the floating foot have no beginning, and your brain has to work to realize what leg it actually belongs to.

The second image is cute, but it's lacking the lighting depth and colors to really pop, so it feels very one-dimensional. This can be cured with some more precise lighting (not flat!), even something as simple as a kicker light to separate from the background.

Hope that's helpful.

Again, super glad to see you going into competition - we all started somewhere and I think the more we try, the better we get!

01-27-2012, 08:25 PM
heather thanks so much for your thorough critique. My goal is to merit on three, be proud on two, happy with one, and drink on 0 and keep doing it all again every chance I get.