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Rick_Massarini
04-20-2013, 03:39 AM
Competition Image Critique Thread

I'm starting this thread as a complementary thread to one of the same name posted on The Loop for those Loop members who have not used the Our PPA Forum before to have a starting reference point here on the Forum. Our veteran Forum members already know how to use the Competition Section of the Foum...

it's being started here to provide a place for those who would like to get critiques on their images with the intention of possibly using them for competition - but may have been hesitant to ask...

For those who are not aware of it, entries are now being accepted for the PPA International Photographic Competition (IPC). Entry opened on April 15, and they will be accepting images for the IPC until the deadline of June 28. The actual judging will take place from July 28- August 1, 2013 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA.

If you have all of your entries finalized and ready to send in - Congratulations and Good Luck ! If you're like most of us, you're still kicking around a few images trying to decide which ones to enter and what changes you can make to them in order to give yourself a better chance of getting them all accepted or to get them to go Loan.

"The Our PPA Forum" and the "The Loop" are two great places where you can post your images and get your fellow members to give you some constructive criticism on how to improve your chances. You can never really judge your own stuff - the maker is always waaaaay to close to an image to be able to objectively critique it yourself - so why not get some additional sets of eyes looking at them.

Post your images here or in the "Print Competition Critique" thread of the "The Loop" and get some feedback and some honest and unbiased opinions from some knowledgeable individuals. So put on your thick skin and post your possible competition images here.

This thread will be a valuable asset for everyone, even those who are not planning to enter. When you start looking critically at images with a "for possible competition" point of view, you start seeing things in the image that were not readily apparent before - and this thread will give the makers the opportunity to possibly correct those issues before sending them to the IPC.

This thread is a place for BRUTAL HONESTY - since that is the only way that you can help your fellow members.
If you see something in a print that you think is bad and may keep it from being accepted at the IPC - SAY IT !
If you see something that you believe will help an image's chances if it is fixed - SAY IT !
If you see something that is great in an image and feel that more emphasis on that aspect will help the image to score better - SAY IT !
If you're totally blown away by an image and think that it is perfect just as it is and wouldn't change a thing - SAY IT !
Your honest observations or comments may help your fellow member to put an image into the International Exhibit instead of having it returned to them with that dreaded "Non-Accepted" mark on it.

REMEMBER - at the IPC, there are no limit to the number or percentage of images that will Merit. We are not competing against each other - we're competing only against a STANDARD of Excellence - and OURSELVES.

So come on everyone - put on your big boy pants and step up! Post your "IPC possibles" here, and let's see if we can help each other to decide if they are definite yes's, definite no's or how to fix your "maybes" - and I"ll guarantee that we'll all learn and grow in the process.

This thread on The Forum - and the same section on the "The Loop" - is a place for those who really want to improve their images with the intention of possible competition use. I know that there are some out there who are adamantly anti-competition, and, in my personal opinion, that is your loss. If you are adamantly opposed to competition, I ask you to PLEASE keep your anti-competition thread hijacks off this thread. This thread is for those who really want to learn and improve - they need a place to get honest feedback from like minded members, and do not need the distraction of being told that they should not participate. Thank You.

NOW - LET THE CRITIQUING BEGIN !!!

OK - I'll start it off by posting an image that I'm considering for this year's IPC. It received a seal of approval at SWPPA, so it's an automatic merit at the IPC, but I feel like this image could be stronger and might have a shot at going Loan - with a few changes - so I'm thinking about busting the seal, making a few changes and resending it in again as an unsealed image? Comments? Critiques? Rip it Apart - Please !!! Help me put this one in the Loan Book !

MWatson
04-20-2013, 02:07 PM
Rick, Your image demonstrates excellent lighting and doesn't deserve being ripped from my point of view In admiring the print, my eyes kept returning to the swirl highlights in the background. I do like that the background has some detail in the blacks and isn't completely black. If this was my print, I would tone down the swirls down just a little bit. That is just a small concern. Mostly importantly, I questioned the title that you might use.

Marie_M
04-20-2013, 08:53 PM
Hi all,
Wanted to get some info on this image. I'm up for brutal honesty, and so if you say trash it, the image will be trashed. My 2 concerns are, 1. The image itself-and 2. The crop-I'm not sure I'm happy with cropping into the hands, but the hands do support the tribute card.
I've got a larger image, that I cropped this from so can open it.

Title of Image-In Loving Tribute
The subject in this image, is the tribute card-so I tried to draw attention to it by cropping in close and placing it into rule of thirds. I'm hoping that next, your eye moves up into the frame and directly into her closed eyes with the tear peaking out to support the overall feel of the image.
http://www.mariemitchellphotography.com/DSC_0074_3web.jpg

rchyphoto
04-20-2013, 09:39 PM
looks great......can you back up a little so the top of her hair isnt slamming into the top of the image?(im an lod school trained shooter
0

rchyphoto
04-20-2013, 09:41 PM
looks great......can you back up a little so the top of her hair isnt slamming into the top of the image?(im an old school trained shooter)

Marie_M
04-21-2013, 12:02 AM
looks great......can you back up a little so the top of her hair isnt slamming into the top of the image?(im an old school trained shooter)

Thanks!
Ok, so I can go and crop above her head, should I also crop to show more of her hands? How much space would you recommend I leave above her head?

Rick_Massarini
04-21-2013, 03:59 AM
Marie,
I'd suggest that you crop off more of the top of her head. Also crop off a bit more of her hands. Darken the booklet that she is holding - it's very bright and takes the attention away from her hands. See the quick example below...

Mark_Turner
04-21-2013, 05:18 PM
Since this is a thread for competition images, can we have an expectation that the critiques are coming from someone qualified to critique those? I'd hate for someone to take advice on a competition image from someone that may not be giving good advice.

What do you think?

Marie_M
04-21-2013, 05:53 PM
Thanks, Rick! Love it much more than my crop. I've worked it up and plan to submit.

Rick_Massarini
04-22-2013, 04:38 AM
Mark,
just as it has always been, any forum member one can post a comment or a critique here - there's no limitation as to who may post comments here, but once we start getting some images posted here, I'll contact some of the people who have told me that they are willing to help and let them know that there are possible IPC images here with "for IPC competition" critiques requested. If they have the time, I'm sure that they will respond and help out. But remember, those people are volunteering their time, so you might not get a response immediately. It will be the makers decision as to whose comments they should seriously listen to. I'm sure you'll be able to easily figure that out. But then again, whomever they are, they are a second set of eyes, with a different perspective from your own - and sometimes, that's all that you need to point something out to you that you never saw before.

Mark_Turner
04-22-2013, 11:48 AM
Here's one I like...(I'm determined to get a merit with this guy)
Possible titles: "Lost in Time", "Pondering", "Where did I go wrong?", "A Time of Loss"

OK, I can't get the image small enough to upload, and it tells me that it is too large at 650px long when I link to it on my hosting site.

Note: Uncheck the reference locally button when you link. Don't know why that would ever be something we want anyway.

http://turnercart.com/Competition/MT1_5614niksilver_small.jpg

Marie_M
04-22-2013, 03:55 PM
Mark, I love the image! Unfortunately I'm not going to be of much help. But, my 2 cents is, "Pondering".

Marie_M
04-22-2013, 04:03 PM
Ok, one more image. This one scored a 77 at District, so was wondering if there is anything I could do to bump it up to merit. The title was "Rylee", and I am thinking about changing it to "Bad Hair Day" or "I double-dog dare you to touch me with that brush". Thanks!Mariehttp://www.mariemitchellphotography.com/Rylee_web.jpg

Rick_Massarini
04-22-2013, 07:35 PM
This looks like a short llit version of the subject that you posted a while back that was broad lit. The image is stronger with the short lighting, but the beard on the camera left side is a bit bright and could benefit from being toned down. I feel like I would have liked it better if he were to be looking into the camera so that the eyes could engage the viewer a bit more. I'll stop hers since I'm sure that others will have other comments.

rchyphoto
04-23-2013, 11:47 PM
position of the hands is good......nice work!

rchyphoto
04-23-2013, 11:51 PM
nice work.......can you reach D max on the exposure?....i know its hard to tell on a pc moniter! great focus!

rchyphoto
04-23-2013, 11:59 PM
"wisdom of life's soujourne"

rchyphoto
04-24-2013, 12:05 AM
it doesn't get much better than this image.....looks "in the camera...bulls eye right"!

Rick_Massarini
05-08-2013, 07:10 PM
BUMP

I jjust wanted to bump this thread back up to the current discussions to remind our members that it's here...

Marie_M
05-14-2013, 09:18 PM
Hi All,
I revisited the image from above and wanted to get some feedback. Not much I can do in the way of there being no eye contact. Do you think that is a deal-breaker, meaning it won't merit because of that?
Please let me know...
http://www.mariemitchellphotography.com/Just-Say-No-to-the-Brush.jpg

VenzPhoto
05-15-2013, 12:25 AM
Marie,

I don't think your dog portrait will merit, not because of the lighting or lack of eye contact, but because your subject needs a proper grooming ! We have a dog very similar to this one and when ours looks like this she's off to the groomer.

I know it's not fair, but good looking subjects tend to score better in competitions.

Marie_M
05-15-2013, 11:45 PM
Marie,

I don't think your dog portrait will merit, not because of the lighting or lack of eye contact, but because your subject needs a proper grooming ! We have a dog very similar to this one and when ours looks like this she's off to the groomer.

I know it's not fair, but good looking subjects tend to score better in competitions.

Ok thank you, appreciate the honesty! I'll keep searching...:)

pphtg123
05-25-2013, 09:57 AM
21037
This man is my brother Joe, he is 90% blind. I tilled this image Seeing Beyond The Blindness. Please critique for IPC submission. Don't hold back on your critiques.

pphtg123
05-25-2013, 10:27 AM
Mark, there is one area on his left that is out of focus and brighter than the rest of his beard. My eye is drawn to it right away each time I look at the image. This is an already strong image but perhaps toning down the bright area near his shoulder will make it a stronger image.

pphtg123
05-25-2013, 11:02 AM
21039 Please critique this image for IPC submission. Titled Soft & Tender

Stan_Lawrence
05-25-2013, 10:21 PM
Paul, you might consider another title.... she looks neither.

pphtg123
05-25-2013, 11:24 PM
Stan, thanks for that, I was thinking it to be a bit tacky myself. What about the image itself?

Stan_Lawrence
05-26-2013, 12:28 PM
Paul, Rick is far better qualified at this.... What I noticed was the arms are pretty bright, which draws the eye away. The shadow on her nose is also an issue. I don't think this would merit.... I'd wait on Rick's critique, it will likely be more helpful.

Larry_J_Foster
06-04-2013, 04:48 AM
Here's one I would like some opinions on

http://www.fosterphotographicarts.com/LJFCompPrint1.jpg

Possible titles:
Don't Drink the Water
Three Crosses
Y.V.

lela_k_photo
06-12-2013, 07:17 PM
"Mi Petite Amour"
I entered this image in our last state competition where it got an 80 and at Southwest it scored a 78. I'm thinking about entering it in IPC, but I am discouraged with the scores it has received. Is there anything I could do improve it for a higher score, or should I just give up on it?

Larry_J_Foster
06-14-2013, 02:13 AM
Hi Lela,

The disclaimer: I am not a qualified judge nor even a master (just 3 merits short!) So take what I say with a grain of salt and feel free to completely toss it out.

Some things jump out at me. 1: the title. It is generally assumed that the use of foreign languages is not a good idea. I know enough French to understand it - however that does not mean the announcer can pronounce it correctly or the judges will even know what you are talking about. Don't start off on the wrong foot with the judges by making them say, "Huh?". 2: The model's left hand has death grip on the glass. 3: When shooting profiles, you want to pull the model's hair back so it does not come out from under the chin. 4: Tone down the left arm. It's too bright and is competing with the face. 5. Placement. The model's face is in a third within the box, but it would also be good if the model's face could appear on a third on the canvas/board.

I experimented with cropping it tight and eliminating the left arm completely keeping only the top of the glass. Not sure that's the answer.

Hope some of those help.

lela_k_photo
06-19-2013, 02:06 AM
Thank you Larry! I may go for a completely different image. I don't think I can do much more to improve it. :)

kelli_Annison
06-22-2013, 02:08 AM
This is my second year entering IPC and I am having such a hard time deciding what images to submit. I would be so grateful for any advice about these images. Any of them worthy of submitting? Or anything I should change? Thank you so much!!
21055
21056
21057
oh and I am the WORST at names, so no titles yet.

Larry_J_Foster
06-22-2013, 04:57 AM
Hi Kelli,

The disclaimer: I am not a qualified judge nor am I a master (just 3 merits short!) So take what I say with a grain of salt and feel free to completely toss it out.

comp1: The mother's hand behind the baby is brighter than the face and needs to be toned down. I find the out-of-focus baby knee in the foreground distracting (crop it out maybe?) It would be nice if the mother had a little more lighting ratio on her face to bring out the shape of her face and make it look like a short or loop lighting. Also, mom's nose exceeds the far cheek, breaking the 2/3 face rule. That one they may let you slide on, depends on the judge. Consider cropping the left side to almost mom's ear.

comp2: they will hammer you on key. Blue head piece, red cupcake and navy baggy pants. Do some color adjustment layers and selectively change the head piece and baggys to match the background if you keep this one. Also, take the kid out of center. Crop off all that left and get the baby in a third. Not the strongest image of the three.

comp3: they will tell you the face should be the brightest part of a portrait - tone down those baby legs. Presentation is good with the head in a third. The right hand looks a little awkward and that might cost you points.

Hope that helps.

kelli_Annison
06-23-2013, 02:39 AM
Larry - Thank you so much, that definitely helps! I do have one question, can you explain about key? Is it because I used a light colored backdrop that I need the rest of the image to be in high key?? I didn't realize an image had to be either high or low, or maybe I'm misunderstanding... I think I'm going to throw that one out of the stack anyway, but I'd like to learn for the future :)

Larry_J_Foster
06-23-2013, 03:43 AM
"Key" may not be the best word to use there. Ideally, you match the clothes and accessories to the background so that the face becomes the greatest area of contrast and then stands out the most. The multiple shades of light and dark would really hinder this in competition. The exception in the image is the cupcake, which could remain red. If you decide to keep this one, fix the white diaper hanging out of the navy baggies.

Hope that helps.

Ron_Jackson
06-25-2013, 05:47 PM
Marie just as was suggested I believe to Rick on his portrait, covert to black and white and I think it will be far stronger.

J_Davidson
06-25-2013, 07:07 PM
Do we have an I Hate My Case thread yet?

Marie_M
06-26-2013, 04:26 PM
Do we have an I Hate My Case thread yet?

Not that I have seen, I'm just trying to keep my mind off of the whole thing. I've vowed not to go back and look at the images I have submitted and regret anything.

Larry_J_Foster
06-27-2013, 03:07 AM
Do we have an I Hate My Case thread yet?

For me, that's usually after it gets judged... :(

J_Davidson
06-28-2013, 08:45 PM
I have a total bubble gum case, so I'm just waiting to see what sticks to the wall. I've done 2 cross country moves, and had major ankle surgery over the last year so cobbling a case together was...tough.

Larry, the case hating is a good luck thing around here. :)

So, with that said, I hate all of your cases for you, please return the favor! :)

J_Davidson
06-28-2013, 08:45 PM
Double post.

KarBar110
09-30-2013, 08:02 PM
21039 Please critique this image for IPC submission. Titled Soft & Tender

Paul - I know you posted this a while ago, but from the title I expected a cherub-looking child or a baby squeezing a dad's finger...then I am presented with a fashionable woman with a strong jaw and a bit of an intimidating look to her. The title and the image seem very incongruous.

Again I know this is long after it might be relevant, but two suggestions:
- soften the line on her nose where the light and shadow meet...at first glance I thought she was a mannequin for the shark angle it made
- I would retouch out the shiny string holding the blinds together in the background.

Cynthia__Wilkerson_
10-26-2013, 05:19 PM
Do we post for critique all year round?

I still need to read up on the rules for images and so forth. New to this site. Would like to put myself out there an see what is said about an image for possible submission though.

Please be kind as far as crop or specs since I am still trying to find my way around still.

(I am not finding a way to upload so am just adding a link. Hope that is ok)

Cultural High School Graduate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjwilkes/8385836416/sizes/o/in/set-72157632530825409/)

Thank you

Jeff_Dachowski
10-28-2013, 01:01 PM
Do we post for critique all year round?

I still need to read up on the rules for images and so forth. New to this site. Would like to put myself out there an see what is said about an image for possible submission though.

Please be kind as far as crop or specs since I am still trying to find my way around still.

(I am not finding a way to upload so am just adding a link. Hope that is ok)

Cultural High School Graduate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjwilkes/8385836416/sizes/o/in/set-72157632530825409/)

Thank you
Hey Cynthia,
This is a very cool image. I like the lines that lead you to the subject and the striking color. I believe it needs to be cropped tighter to remove some of the out of focus boat and make the lines more concise. It also needs a punch to the color and contrast to give it more impact. The tail of her coat also might be considered for removal since it leads your eye out of the frame.

Christine_Walsh-Newton
10-29-2013, 03:55 AM
I love the soft whites and the reds in the image - that gives it some visual interest and nice color. I do however have some issues with the horizon line going through her head and there's some distracting dark spots in the distance that could use cleaned up. I agree with Jeff's points, as well. Where did you capture this?

Good luck in competition, it's a wonderful learning tool!

Cynthia__Wilkerson_
11-04-2013, 11:36 PM
Thank you. All wonderful cc. This was taken in WA on the Quinault Nations beaches.

Larry_J_Foster
02-15-2014, 05:19 PM
Hi Ya'll

Southwest is coming up next month, and I am having problems reading the minds of judges. So give me a thumbs up, thumbs down on these:

http://www.fosterphotographicarts.com/passage of time.jpg

http://www.fosterphotographicarts.com/passage of time 2.jpg

Thanks in advance.

bmgrace
04-01-2014, 01:07 PM
I need some serious critique on these photos for competition use. Help

is there anyone at this forum that can help me?

coolhoosier
07-08-2014, 02:42 PM
This image draws me in. I only have two comments: first, his left hand is significantly brighter than the right and than his face; I think it should be toned down just a bit. Second, above his left shoulder (upper camera right) is a light streak with no obvious cause; perhaps that should go, too.