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mbalthaser
02-13-2012, 05:35 PM
Hi All!

I entered my district competition / IPC for the first time last year and had two images merit and display (digitally) at Imaging. Would love to see another merit or two this year, and beginning to pull possibles for submission.

I didn't come on here to ask for critique last year (didn't know I could!) but a friend suggested it, so I thought I'd give it a try for this year to see if it could help.

I'd be extremely grateful for any critique on these possible images and / or titles!

Thanks so much in advance!

titles:
#1 Tender Smile
#2 And Then There Were Three
#3 Brotherly Laughter
#4 Lovely Lavendar
#5 New Love

#1

mbalthaser
02-13-2012, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure why these are looking slight crunchy/soft upon upload here... they are resized and sharpened for web and look crisp on my end... please keep that in mind for critique. Thank you! :)


Are they showing that poorly that they are un-reviewable? I can try to upload using photocart/flickr if that is so... thanks!

mbalthaser
02-15-2012, 07:05 PM
Any feedback? Are they that bad I shouldn't submit?

incontro
02-16-2012, 02:01 AM
I give this advice having never entered a competition before. But from what I can tell from talking with others here you go:
#1 I think if may need some contrast? looks a little flat to me. You may need to lighten his eyes (the iris). It looks all the same tone to me, may be the monitor/resolution. Otherwise I like it.
#2 I think this is the weakest of the 5. You can't see all of the baby's face. If you go with it though, I would darken the left side of the print.
#3 LOVE this image. I think it needs some vingette on the edges to draw your eyes towards the boys.
#4 I would darken/vignette the edges. Somehow the yellow in the dress is catching my eye a little. Otherwise, great image
#5 Great image. Again, darken the edges. Make sure your highlights in their white shirts are not blown out (probably just the resolution). The only other thing that may need work is the baby's right eye, so the eye closest to mom - shadow looks a little too dark there and where it spills onto the nose too.

I don't know how valid the comments are, but I hope it helps. Thanks for your post on my thread. It's hard to critically look at the images from a judges point of view. But that's what it's all about! Good luck!

Rick_Massarini
02-16-2012, 02:30 AM
Melissa,
I saw your note that you think your thread might have been ignored - don't know how I missed seeing this thread and your critique request - I'll edit this post and give you feedback a little later on this evening.

edited to add...

OK Melissa, the commercial images that I had to get finished for tomorrow delivery are done, so here is my take on your images... Since they are for competition, the comments might be a bit picky, but that's the competition world...

First Image - Tender Smile - This is an Average looking photo of a young boy. The image appears to be a bit soft. The limited depth of field, although intentional, is adding to that soft look as you lose sharpness in his hair, ear and body. The eyes appear overly dark, and I would suggest brightening the catch light and the exit reflection a bit to add a bit of life to the eyes. I believe that this image will fall in the Average Category with a score around 74.

Second Image - And then there were Three - A nice portrait with nice direction to the lighting and a good center of interest. Clothing coordination is well done. One item that catches my eye is that the couch on the left side is brighter than the faces of the subject, and that brightness draws your eye away from the three faces. I would suggest cropping a bit off the left hand side just a bit to the left of his toe, and tone down the couch so that the brightest area of the image is the faces. The image also looks a bit soft and could be sharpened a bit - the faces look a bit muddy and need to be brightened a bit, maybe a slight levels or curve adjustment on the highlight side. I’d also try reworking the matt placing the image in the upper right hand corner leaving a bit more space to the left and below in order to help direct the dye up and into the faces. Cropped, level adjusted, and toned down, I believe that this image could score in the lower part of the Deserving of merit category - around 81.

Third Image - Brotherly laughter - I love the interaction between the boys in this image. The interaction helps to pull you into the image. You have a subtle yet nice direction of light providing short lighting on the threesome. I like the casual random looking yet coordinated color of the clothing with the blue shirt tying in with the blue pants, the brown shirt and brown pants being on the two boys at the opposite side of the threesome, and the balancing of the khaki shirt and pants leaving the only unbalanced color being the green of the youngest one’s shirt and thus directing the attention towards him. Nicely done. I’m not sure that the matting and the double key lines are helping the image - I’d suggest that you try a lighter tone mat with a different colored keyline. The dark color of the mat is taking the attention away from the colors in the boy’s clothes which is the center of interest. I’m sure that the file is not large enough for me to download and play around with to see which color would be best. I’d also crop a bit off the top in order to place them a little closer to upper right hand rule of thirds intersection. I think that with the proper matting, this image will score in the Deserving of a merit category - around 83.

Fourth Image - Lovely Lavendar - Nice concept, but the lighting on the girl’s face is relatively flat and the minimal depth of field is creating distracting out of focus details in the out of focus background. I believe that this image will fall in the bottom of the Above Average category - somewhere around 75.

Fifth Image - New Love - I don’t believe that the half frame of negative space helps the image since there is no apparent reason for that negative space. With the people facing to the right, the viewer’s eye comes into the back of their heads instead of into the faces. The viewer’s eye has to come into the image, then turn around and go backwards in the opposite direction to get into the faces. You might want to try flipping the image left to right to allow the eye to move directly into the faces. The light is coming from camera right lighting the subjects pretty much full in the face creating a flat face lit image with the subjects just turned to the side. The woman’s face is turned either a bit too far for a 3/4 or not far enough for a profile, the result being that part of the far eyelid is showing, yet it is cut off by the nose giving the eye a strange shape and making the woman’s nose look longer. The thumb sticking up in the air and obscuring her chin is also a distraction. As presented, I believe that this image will fall in the bottom of the Above Average category in the 75-76 range.

Please remember that opinions are just that - opinions - everyone has one. I suggest that you get a few different opinions before making a final decision. Hope this helps.

Jeff_Dachowski
02-16-2012, 02:45 AM
On the boys with their new baby, i would crop it square and remove the legs. It looks like the legs laying out on the couch are connected to the baby. A square crop including the arm of the chair would look better to me.

On the new baby and parent image, consider flipping it to see if it has more impact.
Jeff

mbalthaser
02-16-2012, 12:15 PM
Jaime- thank you so much for returning the cc! It's very helpful and I appreciate it!

Rick - wow!! Thank you thank you! All of this is incredibly helpful - I can imagine it took you quite a bit of time to type all of that up and I sincerely appreciate it!! Much of your scoring thoughts were on par with what I was somewhat expecting based on my experience last year. I'm going to rework some of the images over the next few days and think all of this wonderful feedback can really help me to make these stronger - thank you, thank you again!!

Jeff - thanks so much for looking and your suggestion on my image - ill play with that crop and see what looks stronger. Thank you!

mbalthaser
02-20-2012, 07:32 PM
Ok, I've made some changes based on the suggestions above, and think I have a final four here... I kept the three that seemed would do best, and tossed two (tender smile and new love). Tried recropping 'new love' per suggestion, but it just still looked off to me, so I decided to toss...

Anyway, I think this is what I'm going with.... I'm excited about some of the changes I made to my strongest two images here - thanks so much for the suggestions! Any further CC is welcome... hoping to finalize before the end of this week. Thanks again!

Melissa

titles:
1) Brotherly Laughter
2) And Then There Were Three
3) Lovely Lavendar
4) Seriously Cute

Rick_Massarini
02-21-2012, 01:52 AM
The left side of "And then there were three" is still a bit bright - the brocade pattern in the fabric on the back of the sofa is a bit distracting.

mbalthaser
02-21-2012, 11:30 PM
Thank you for the additional feedback, Rick, much appreciated! I'm going to play with that image some more and see if I can further tone down that side of the couch and maybe brush over the pattern a bit with a low opacity brush or such.... thank you!

Thank you!