View Full Version : No judges please. Need pointers.

11-04-2013, 04:45 PM
As lame as it might sound... I've never competed in print comp even though I'm a CPP and have some speaker merits. I took advantage of Christine's invitation to enter the PPO (Professional Photographer's of Ohio) non-member portion of their comp to test the waters. Watching it live and hearing the judging was very illuminating. I submitted the following:

This one was called: Expressive


It scored 81-80-76 = 79 Besides a joke about what would it take to merit: "other judges" There was one comment of a moire pattern on her chest that may be holding it back. Personally I'm not wrapped up in ego on this one. I'm not sure I'm happy with the vignette and wondered if the presentation wasn't off. I am interested in what elements I could improve in general to take this to the next level. I've read the 12 elements but I've never competed and the judging is still a mystery to me. :) Honestly, with how tight they were scoring I expected the baby to score lower.

This one was called: Loneliness


It scored 79-76-75 = 77 There was no discussion. I really thought this one would have scored higher than the baby. So again I'm not sure what I could have done to take this to the next level. I wonder if the image was bigger in the mat would it have made a bigger impact. I added the mat at the last minute. Originally it was not matted but I worried about it looking unfinished.

I would appreciate any opinions from those of you who have competed including opinions that they simply were not good enough to enter in the first place. As I said...I'm ego free on these...Just trying to figure out what it takes.

11-05-2013, 03:06 PM
On the second image, I like the lighting on his face, I'd like to see a little more detail in the shadow area, and the window draws your eye away from the subject. (your eye goes to the point of contrast) Also, cutting off the hands usually isn't a good idea. Your title isn't an exact match either, he almost looks more angry than lonely.... you may have a title mismatch on the baby also, although you'll find that on any given Sunday.... a print can merit or score a 76.....same print. The devil is in the details.... look through one of the loan collection books for ideas, then enter a subject that few others are doing.

12-30-2013, 04:53 AM
Vance I applaud you for stepping out and testing the waters. I will not comment on the images but rather the process. Where you would have learned the most is after the judging. Get one or better yet each judge one at a time and ask them to review your prints and give you direct feedback. They will gladly do so and this is where they will explain in detail why the print scored the way it did. The are more than happy to discuss this with you. This is why print comp is so good. It's getting that judges feedback after the judging.

I would do it no matter if the print scored 77 or 95. I want to know what they saw that held it back from a higher score. Keep doing this. You will see a big improvement in your client work as you progress in print comp. Good luck!

12-31-2013, 07:04 AM
Thanks for the support Stan and Ron. Well I finally got the easy part done. I should have 12 service merits by the end of the year.Now for the hard part earning the other 13. :) I do have 3 speaking merits but I really want to pursue the master's first. We'll see how this years resolution turns out. It's just too easy to bury yourself in studio work and not challenge yourself. I kinda feel that I've slacked off a bit after earning CPP and need to get in gear again. Besides it's definitely easier than making a resolution to exercise more. :)

01-03-2014, 02:32 PM
It really can be a mystery trying figure out why a print merits in competition or not. My first year I entered images I personally liked and I got 4 merits, and thought this print comp thing was a breeze. My second year I entered what I thought the judges would like after studying the prints at IUSA International Print Display. I not only didn't merit anything I had some horrible scores. I didn't enter this year, but hope to get my momentum back in 2014 and produce something competition worthy.

01-06-2014, 04:26 AM
Never entered, but think that on the second one, the blue in the image and on the border caused me issues. Keep the whole thing one tone. Just my opinion.
Curious what others think.

02-04-2014, 01:58 PM
Im not a judge. But for the second one I would flip it horizontally, bring down the brightness of the window and lessen the stroke around the image. (make sure its set on "inside" not "outside" in Pshop). i would also choose a dark color from the image for the background rather than just black. ( it looks black on my monitor.) Good for you for stepping into Comp-it becomes addictive and like others said greatly improves your photography.

02-05-2014, 12:04 AM

Don't fret the 79's. I recieved 79's at two different regional PPA compeitions (back in my PPC days) which became LOAN PRINTS at the following PPA Internationals! They put me on my way to earning my Masters. So, I've learned to take these scores as a sign that I'm on the right track!

Oh, and on that window light portrait, since that is one of my specialties, I'll offer this:

When I do this type of image I rarely show ANY of the window--It's my light source not the subject ( that's why judges can mark you down--you've created a secondary subject that competes with your main subject ).

So, if you place your camera so it's down the window ( co-planar to the window ) you eliminate the window and simplify the composition.

Then instead of having your subject in profile, as you did in your image, I'd have him bring his nose to me so I could see BOTH his eyes thus reducing the ammount of darkness visable on the left side of his face--then you don't need a reflector!

When I do bring in a reflector in this set-up I use a WHITE one for some SOFT FILL.

Good luck on your journey to your Masters. Jerry V.