View Full Version : Didn't merit IN NE - please teach me why

03-22-2012, 08:17 PM
I didn't score high enough for a merit this competition, but I really want to learn and know why. Last year, I merited with 2 and one was selected for the showcase book (those were digital entries). This year, I sent in prints and thought these were good entries. So I just want to learn how to be better about submitting the right images for competition. I would really appreciate some feedback! Thanks!

Sleep like a baby, 73


Lovely, 75


Squishably Soft, 76


Peaceful Womb, 77


03-22-2012, 08:58 PM
I can't give you a full-fledged critique, but I saw these in person, and I'll have to say the top one was a bit unsettling in that mom's face & nose seemed distorted. What mm lens did you use to shoot this?

03-22-2012, 09:03 PM
Probably the 50 1.4 or the 24-70.

03-22-2012, 09:36 PM
Sleep like a baby- Dad's hand around the baby looks awkward, like a stump being hidden, cut off like that, dad's far eye is cut in half- for print comp profiles, as a general rule, show all the far eye or none of it(yes, I'm old school), Dad is also starting to blend in to the background, 6 eyes shut not so sure I like that, and with that title the image needs a bed or prone position for the subjects & not standing. This is to me one of the few times the title hurts/helps

Lovely - flip it. From there .......?

Squishably soft - You velcro that baby to the wall? (sorry that's what it looks like, may just be the old fart in me) Make it horizontal & see what you think.

Peaceful Womb - bottom left, as you look at it, of the baby is hot. Also the background is to sharp making it busy & slightly distracting.

Sorry if I seem harsh.

03-22-2012, 09:51 PM
Janice - you're going to get some kind of distortion with lenses like that in the studio, especially up close like that. My rule of thumb is to shoot at 120mm or longer.

03-22-2012, 09:57 PM
Thanks Ed! Not harsh at all. I really want to consistently produce images that will merit. Last year was my first year and I was so pleased with my results. But this year, not so much. So I definitely want to know why. This really helps to look at it with a different perspective.

Thanks Christine. I do have some room to back up. I guess I'm so used to being closer up b/c I'm posing a baby alone and don't want to be so far back.

03-23-2012, 05:36 AM
A good portrait lens, indoors and out is the 70-200. In that first one, the wife's head appears noticeably larger than the husbands. That image is also flat. Have you entered your local affiliate's print comps? They really are a great way to learn what judges look for. I am guessing you weren't able to hear your images critiqued?

03-23-2012, 05:48 AM
Thanks! I do have the 70-200. My shooting space isn't that big so I haven't really used it much for indoors, but I'll have to try it out next time. Unfortunately too, with this image, she really is a bigger person than her husband (he's actually standing on a stool). Plus, her head was more forward than his.

I haven't entered locally since I don't think they had competition this year. I entered last year into district for the first time with digital images. I scored an 80 with one image. I sent it to International and another image was selected for General collection and the book.

I entered last minute this year so I didn't have time to post for critique here. I definitely should have done that, so I will need to plan ahead next year and get some input!

I didn't go to the competition so I didn't hear the critique.

04-01-2012, 09:41 PM
Sleep Like a Baby- your light looks low. Not much nose shadow but what there is seems o be heading upward. Should head down to the corner of the mouth. Also a couple of suggestions for the next time you have this situation. Try moving mom back farther. So her head is even with dads. or- bring mom around front. Have her hand on top of dads. that helps loose the awkwardness of his hand. then have her lean her head into dad, but be just behind his. If you use a shallow depth of field it will help the baby pop off the image.
Lovely- Couple of things. The flip would be nice. The eye should either be open more with a touch of light in it or closed all the way. Also the depth of field is a little shallow for this kind of portrait. I would like to see a bit more sharp. One other point is that with a 3/4 face you do not want the tip of the nose to break the plane of the cheek.
Squishable- The baby need some angle. Try rotating it so the baby is laying on it's back a bit.. maybe crop the mat square and have the image corners just touch the sides.
Peaceful- Your light is coming up from the bottom making the face have the least light on it. The first place the eye goes is the brightest part of the image....at the butt.
Hope some of this helps.

04-02-2012, 02:22 PM
Thank you so much Sarah! Your feedback is so helpful! I knew those were probably what it was but I wanted to be sure. I love the suggestion for the family shot. I'll definitely try that in the next session.