View Full Version : Ok here we go...

02-04-2012, 03:52 AM
After three bottles of Ale tonight and looking back through my notes that I took during several conservations with Greg Yager last year in San Antonio....I thought I would post a couple of images that the client has spent a great deal of money on, but of which I'm not sure if they would be competition grade.

So, good bad or ugly, go for it, I'm tipsy so I won't remember doing this tomorrow so have your fun tonight Greg :) Just kidding....

Both images are equine related and I know on the young gal that the shadows on the horses back are lost, but I did that on purpose.....the attempt was to create a stark image that still had some pop.


Here is another image that I meant to upload but messed it up.....I'm blaming the ale for that :)


02-04-2012, 05:11 AM
I'm in Cincinnati on a cheap laptop which has a really bad screen so I can't give input on the image quality til I get home.

I can tell you this based on the comment that you blocked up the shadows on purpose..... Competition prints are judged on results not intents.

I'm sure others that are using good monitors will stop by and give you some input for now. I am happy to see you putting together images for competition. It can be an ego crusher at first but it's worth it in the end. Rock on dude!

02-04-2012, 05:17 AM
I know that the shadows would be an issue for the judges, so I'm not sure that either of these would be worth pushing out there, and I also know there are huge differences between competition grade images and images that are good enough to sell....and I'm not wanting to get into that whole argument with anyone....

But from you I will always take a whipping Greg :)

02-04-2012, 08:02 AM
Like Greg said - the blocked shadows are going to kill it in competition - and even if there was a way to let the judges know that it was intentional, as Greg said, they score on results, not on intent. Sometimes it's difficult to see that an image that brought in a ton of money because of an emotional attachment by the buyer just won't fly for competition - but there is no emotional attachment going on with the judges - they don't know the girl and they don't know the history that she has had with the horse - all they see are the blown highlights and the blocked shadows. I see these landing in the middle 70's ... 74 or 75.

02-04-2012, 10:43 PM
I was thinking about the same thing....middle of the pack in the 70's. At least you didn't come in and say 60 LOL

Now, here is an important question for me, how much in general separates say a middle of the pack image from an 80 merit score?

Are they close? Far apart? A few minor changes that can take an image from one to the other.....

Rick, I'm very interested in your opinion here, and not just about my sample but in general terms....

02-06-2012, 05:48 AM

In General terms... It’s not really a linear scale. The difference between a 76 and an 80 can be huge. It’s a different way of scoring that is not really related to the grading scales used in schools.

It’s really a subjective judging where the judge decides on where the image falls based on which category best describes the image. The categories are Exceptional, Superior, Excellent, Deserving of a Merit, Above Average, Average and Below Exhibition Standards. Once you decide on which category it falls into, you decide whether it is at the top of the category possibly close to being in the next category above it, or if it falls in the middle or bottom possibly just barely making it into that category. Then a numerical score is assigned based on where the image falls in that category. The categories and the scores for each are:

Exceptional…………………. 100-95
Superior……………………… 94-90
Excellent…………………….. 89-85
Deserving of Merit……..……. 84-80
Above Average…………….… 79-75
Average…………………….… 74-70
Below Exhibition Standards…. 69-65

The difference between a 74 and an 80 is the difference between an image that is at the top of the Average category and a print that is deserving of a Merit and is worthy of being one of the exhibition images required for the Master of Photography Degree. Giving an image an 80 is saying that this is Master quality work and should be applicable towards the degree requirements. There is a big difference between just slightly Above Average and Master quality work - a lot more than the pure numerical scores would lead you to believe - you have to look at the categories - there are two categories difference between a 74 and an 80.

For an image to be called a 75, it would be a slightly above average interpretation of a subject which could most definitely be improved with attention being given to the details of how it was created. A print score of 78-79 would be an image that was at the top of the Above Average Category, but still lacking in a few areas that a careful creator could have controlled and improved upon so that it is just not quite worthy of being one of the images that should go into a Masters candidate’s image portfolio.

For a print to score an 80 or above, it should show good utilization of many of the 12 Elements of a Merit print (Impact, Technical Excellence, Creativity, Style, Composition, Presentation, Color Balance, Center of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, Technique, Story Telling). It should show no major flaws or defects such as blocked up shadows, blown highlights (unless it is an intentional technique), poor color balance, ineffective mounting or matting, poor composition, poor or awkward posing, poor lighting, or ineffective use of techniques such as dropping an action on an image in an effort to make a merit out of an otherwise average image. The subject matter may also be such that a particular subject may not receive much higher than a low 80’s score no matter how well it was done, but the subject was handled, lit, printed, and presented with such technical and aesthetic quality that it was deserving of being one of the exhibition merits required for the Masters Degree (example - an ugly girl or guy exquisitely lit, printed, presented, etc… might score low 80‘s, but would be difficult to get up into the 90‘s.… sometimes it’s difficult to make an ugly person look awesome no matter how skilled you are… the judges will reward the quality of the work that was done, but there is only so high that aesthetics will allow the human mind to go with an ugly subject - that was meant to be a bit sarcastic, but I think you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.

There might also be cases where some of the 12 Elements might not show through, such as a beautiful portrait that, because it’s a portrait, might not tell a story, but it would show Technical Excellence, a sense of style, good use of Lighting, a strong Center of Interest, had excellent Color Balance and was well presented. An image that had extreme impact and told a story would be a good contender since these are the two most important of the 12 Elements.

Jurors and those trained in the judging procedure take the awarding of an 80+ score very seriously. Awarding a print a score of 80 or above means that you are awarding the maker with one of the Exhibition Merits that they need for their Masters degree - and that is a very serious thing, and jurors do not take the action of giving an image the score of 80 or above lightly.

Once it gets above 80, it’s an Exhibition Quality image - it‘s good - so at that point it’s now a matter of just how good it is, and the terms Excellent, Superior and Exceptional come to mind. Those that show truly impressive use of the 12 Elements, and are extremely well executed will be classified as Excellent and receive scores of 85-89. Those that exceed in all or most of the elements will be called Superior (90-94), and those that truly take your breath away when the image spins around deserve to be placed in the Exceptional category (95-100). Those images which demonstrate exceptional use of all or most of the 12 Elements will land at the top of the Exceptional category’s range of scores. (Note: A print that scores a 100 is NOT a “perfect image” - the reality is that there is no such thing as a “perfect image”. It is an image that exemplified all of the 12 Elements and which the jurors could find no faults, so they gave it the highest score in the Exceptional Category - I know that’s a somewhat nebulous concept for those of us coming from a grading system where 100 is a perfect score, but that’s the way it is).

That’s the way the judging works, and those are the criteria I use when I place a number on an image - category first, is it at the top, bottom or middle of that category, give it the corresponding number.

... hope this gives you an idea of how it works... and how I think...

02-06-2012, 02:49 PM

...and those are the criteria I use ...

Rick, how much impact does the title have on you when you are judging?
When I watched judging the title was HUGE to me. But I never heard the judges make any comments about titles. It does have impact though, doesn't it?