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Robin_Arkenberg
08-24-2006, 08:58 PM
Hello All,

Could I get some input on a couple of prints I've been thinking to use for competition? If you have suggestions for the print names other than what I've called them, that would be helpful also.

The first print is titled "Easy Listener".


The second print is title "Red Flower" because I don't have a title for it.

Derek_Alvarez
08-24-2006, 09:03 PM
I'm not seeing them!

Mark_Levesque
08-24-2006, 09:27 PM
They show up fine for me.

Auralee_Dallas
08-24-2006, 10:32 PM
Hi Robin,
Both prints are lovely. Presentation is excellent. Where are you entering? Local, state? The girl is great--as far as getting a merit or not, I'm not sure. It might be lacking the wow factor (impact). The flower definitely has impact and could merit. I'm not an expert on print comp, but have entered a lot. State, local, and nationals (twice).

On the girl, her shoulder seems to be too prominent. The image is small so I can't tell if the marks on her ears(lower) are small studs or scars from previous studs. If scars, freckles, or whatever, they should be retouched out.

The flower, I would leave just as it is and think of a great name like "Flame Thrower" or something to generate interest yet still be storytelling.

Lots of folks have looked, but I'm the only one with comments. I would love to see this forum do more critiquing and less just looking. We could all learn a lot before spending money on a competition print. There are lots of people here who have great credentials for this. Sometimes it's only a small detail that needs to be fixed before the print is entered and it could make a big difference.
Auralee

D._Craig_Flory
08-25-2006, 12:13 AM
Hi Robin;

Here is my version of the young lady's portrait which I call "Spellbound". [U] I moved her and reduced the subject layer so it would sit on the 2nd quadrant.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified , Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

D._Craig_Flory
08-25-2006, 12:15 AM
Hi Robin;

Here is my version of your flower image. Once again, I moved and reduced in size the image layer as well as changing the accent line.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified , Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Keith_A_Howe
08-25-2006, 03:40 PM
Robin I am going to give as honest a critique as I can with the files I have.
It is very hard for me to judge the images as I see them - the reason is I can not check details because of the small file size. So I will be makeing several assumptions. The Flower - "Crimson and Gold" or "Flamming .... (drawing a blank at the moment). When I judge flower blooms I need the impact which this image definately has,,,, Composition - You have placed the image very well, it is strong and takes control of the leading line elements. (As a judge we are to judge what is in front of us and not how we would change it. With that said and the fact this is a critique I tried to see if I could find a different placement I would like better and I failed - your placement is very strong. The accent line is personal choice what you did is good especially with a title that explains the coming out of the frame??? Personally I do like D Craig's interpretation a bit better but it is your vision and your choice. Back to the image - Colors are strong, saturated but do not appear to me to be over saturated (one of those things that I can not tell on this file). To merit this type of image needs to be sharp all the way along the stamin (I may have spelled that wrong) and preferably all the petals. Again I can not tell on this file. Assuming that I am correct in that it is sharp and not showing any tech flaws (over sharpening, over saturation, cloning tracks, banding etc.) I would easily be in the merit catagorie and possibly higher depending on what is in the blacks (soft rendered detail of the stem and leaves).

Easy Listener - I have a harder time with this image because of several reasons. First looking at this image as it is, I would be in the above average catagory and with the real print maybe into the deserving of review. First impact, with the easy listener title, I see her face and I am drawn to her ear which is too bright and pulls me out of the composition and out of the print. (Do you have a image of her with her hair covering her ear?). The next thing that impacts me is that it is broad lit making her face rounder and almost looking misshapen again drawing attention to the ear. While broad light controled the hand very well, short lighting would have given detail to the model's right showing hair etc. slenderized the face to a oval and toned the ear way down which I believe would have added impact to the image. Her eyes look a bit over retouched (I can't tell if it is just the file size throwing this off) also the catch light in her right eye appears larger or as large as the left eye and the bridge of the nose would be partially blocking the light so my attention is then questioning the artwork. I can't tell how well the iris are done but it appears to be handled very well. The soft focus that has been used bothers me (though it could be file size again I can't check to see) but it looks to me that her skin tone is very soft and glowing but her ear and hair is sharper than the eyes and cheeks giving the impression of back focus.
Robin I can tell you are a talented photographer and have a good grasp on lighting to create the feeling of depth and composition. I hope I didn't discourage you too much. Seeing these two images leaves no doubt in my mind that you have at least 4 merit images in your files. I am concerned that Easy Listener is not one of them. I would however use this model again! Great face and wonderful expressive eyes. Keep in mind this is just my opinion and had this been a judging I would have been 1 of 5 on the panel. I'll be anxious to hear how you do!
Keith

Robin_Arkenberg
08-25-2006, 05:19 PM
Hello All,

First, thank all of you for the critiques. I appreciate every one of them. After I look at my images over and over, I tend to accept certain aspects of them. With all of your eyes, I can see a great deal more of the details that I may have overlooked.

Auralee, I'm considering entering these and other into the KPPA Kentucky print competition.

Craig, I do like your interpretation of the flower much better than mine and I have already made changes to it. I've attached a redo of the flower with your suggestion.

Keith, everything you said is so true. But, it is so difficult to get my daughter to go out and be photographed again. I personally prefer short lighting to broad. I believe it never hurts a subject to look a bit thinner.

I've attached another print I'll be entering as well.

While I'm thinking about it, how do you attach prints to a post that will show up on the page instead of a link?

Thanks again for your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

Robin

D._Craig_Flory
08-25-2006, 07:08 PM
Hi Robin;

You write your post first. Then scroll down past the message to where it says manage attachments. When you click it you then click on Browse. Then go to the file folder your image is on. Click Upload and if it says it's ok, click to post the message ... below the manage attachments button.

Your image should not appear to be larger than 32KB in Photoshop because the forum will see that as larger.

I'm posting a low-res small version of my composition grid. I just sent you an e-mail and will send it to you if you like.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Keith_A_Howe
08-25-2006, 07:42 PM
Hi Robin - D Craig has the attachment instructions down, I do know that some are useing Photo Bucket and get more than one image at a time to show and they are larger. When I went to their site and read the agreement form, I was in a hurry and so I did not sign up as I think I saw that you are giving PhotoBucket a licence to use all prints as they want. You may want to check it out as like I said I was in a real hurry when I looked at it I could be wrong.

as for Aproching Storm, It appears soft to me - can't tell on the monitor. The lighting on the water looks like a bright day with specular light and the sky is burned way down. Depending on the panel it might go but as I see it here I would be at 78. I would Love to see it larger to see if I am scoring it correctly. Keith

D._Craig_Flory
08-26-2006, 02:50 PM
Hi Robin;

I agree with Keith about your storm image looking soft. It could be soft or it could be just the small size. Keep in mind that when preparing images for the lab, sometimes we have to use the unsharp mask on smaller sizes. So it could just be apparent sharpness.

I'm posting my version and hope it pleases both you and Keith.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Lori_Clapp
08-26-2006, 03:11 PM
Lots of folks have looked, but I'm the only one with comments. I would love to see this forum do more critiquing and less just looking. We could all learn a lot before spending money on a competition print. There are lots of people here who have great credentials for this. Auralee



Auralee,
I am one of the many who have looked but not critiqued. I don't have the credentials to critique. I can say what I like or don't like, but it really doesn't do any good if someone is trying to learn or improve for a competition print.

As far as critiquing anything, this forum is very intimidating (not in a bad way). There are people on this forum who are years ahead of where some of us will ever be. I don't feel qualified to tell anyone how to improve their work. I leave that to people like Dave Junion, Keith and Holly Howe, D. Craig Flory....and lots of others, who are truly helping, and not just offering opinions. When I do comment on images, it is only my opinion, and not a critique.

I'm only writing this to explain why maybe an image has so many views and so few comments. I learn a LOT from looking and reading. I comment once in awhile, but mostly I just learn. I guess some people might think it's a bad thing to be on a forum and not say much, but that's what I do.

Holly_Howe
08-26-2006, 03:34 PM
Lori, sure glad to see your name on a post again. I've missed reading you. Thanks for the nice comment about Keith & I and all the others. If we are years ahead it means we are older, not necessarily smarter. I always try to tell anyone that asks us, don't just take our opinion. Ask as many people as you can. So I would encourage you and everyone else to voice your opinion. Ever listen to a print challenge in competition? That's when you really learn stuff. When every judge agrees it's not nearly so informative. Those judges are supposedly years ahead of you and they don't always know everything or agree on all the time, so every voice is valuable.

Holly

Auralee_Dallas
08-26-2006, 03:38 PM
Hi Lori,
Thanks for the comments. I realize that everyone who looks doesn't have to say something. But, there are a lot of folks who do have the expertise to make a suggestion to improve an image. I'm glad to see some are posting on this thread.

I guess what pains me is when someone posts something for critique and no one ever comments. (usually the image doesn't measure up and I think people don't want to say so, or can't find the right words.

If you've ever watched a print competition, it's interesting. There are five judges and often there are widely differing opinions on the print itself and how to improve.


Keep on looking and learning. that's what I'm trying to do.
Auralee

Holly_Howe
08-26-2006, 03:48 PM
Auralee - sometimes I'm not sure if the make wants a critique or just wants to share. Sometimes I miss seeing a request for critique orI just don't have time at the moment to type a thoughtful response. Then I forget to come back to it when I do have time. And sometimes I worry that people will feel I comment on images too much and should just shut up. I hope nobody ever feels that if there are no critiques that means nobody liked it. It just means life got in our way. I'll try to keep a more careful watch.

Holly

Lori_Clapp
08-26-2006, 10:48 PM
Holly,
I have missed your critiques....as I typed my earlier post mentioning you, I realized you haven't critiqed for awhile. I know you're busy. But don't ever not critique something because you think you do it too much. I always learn from you!! I always look for you and Keith's names when I get on the forum. You guys are both always helpful!!

I learn from everyone on this forum. Just haven't had a lot of time lately! I know you can all relate..

Don_Chick
08-27-2006, 03:49 AM
The image is so small I can't see much detail, but my first impression is to consider "flipping" it.

Don_Chick
08-27-2006, 03:57 AM
The flower, I would leave just as it is and think of a great name like "Flame Thrower" or something to generate interest yet still be storytelling.
Auralee

Remember that the first thing a judge hears is the title. This will paint a picture in their minds for the split second or so until the image is presented. You want the title to complement the print and or fill in any missing pieces (if possible in a couple words).

The best advise I was given regarding titles is that they should capture the emotion of the image. So.... what is the emotion of your image? Beauty, elegance, delicate, color, etc... Write these out and then create your title.

Robin_Arkenberg
08-28-2006, 03:31 AM
Here is a larger view of "Approaching Storm"
http://www.RobinsPhotography.com/Critique/Approaching-Storm.jpg

And the flipped view is:
http://www.RobinsPhotography.com/Critique/ASflipped.jpg

Hope this is an easier viewing.

Robin

Holly_Howe
08-28-2006, 03:47 AM
Hi, We don't like it flipped. Thought we agreed with Don and would - but once we see it, not so much.

This is one of those prints that hard to decide. Something is confusing, maybe the title. Approaching Storm makes us think of a storm off in the distance. This looks like the cloudest stormiest area is right overhead and in the distance it's clear - hence the slanting light skimming the water and making the waves SO specular. Also, if it is storming why are the people still playing in the waves, which makes us suspect the sky is burned way down to get the stormy effect. Don't get me wrong, it's okay to burn down a sky, but not in a way that makes judges question believability, unless you are going for a fantsay effect. Because the lighting doesn't look realistic, the image has to be sold with the title. I don't think Approaching Storm is the right choice. With that title, assuming everything is sharp, we are estimating a 78, unless some judge challenges and explains why the surreal light.

That said - it has impact. Presentation is good. Work on the title.

Holly - with Keith looking over my shoulder.

Robin_Arkenberg
08-28-2006, 04:08 AM
Hi guys,

Here's the thing. The original title was "Moonlight Stroll". It's first go around with judges came up with a "77". Later it was brought back and rediscussed, giving it a "78". Unfortunately, when it was brought back, I was out of the room and didn't here the comments directly. What I was told later was that the judges believed that the people on the beach were scurrying to get away from a storm and they weren't pleased with the title of "Moonlight Stroll".

Titles have been difficult for me to create. I'm so open for suggestions on these and others.

I've titled this "Playtime is Over":
http://www.RobinsPhotography.com/Critique/Playtime-is-Over-Bigger.jpg

Robin

Lori_Clapp
08-28-2006, 04:16 AM
I've never entered competition, and I am not good with titles either, but I would call this one something like "Quiet Moments" or "Little Moments". To me, "playtime is over" makes it kind of a sad image, like it's an end to something. But that's just my opinion (as a mother, I guess!)

Lori_Clapp
08-28-2006, 04:17 AM
Or how about "Celebrate the Temporary"?

D._Craig_Flory
08-28-2006, 01:06 PM
Hi Robin;

I agree with Holly and Keith on NOT flipping the image. As for titles:
"Calm After The Storm" for that one. And for the little girl with her Mommy ... "Going Wading" or "Secret Spot" or "Splish Splash". When I work on titles it can take several weeks. I keep a list ... adding more ideas and deleting ones that don't sound as good anymore. I have a dictionary, a TV Guide, my book of the Billboard Top 40 from 1955 to 1985, PPA General Collection and Loan Collection Books, and anything else I think might give me inspitation.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Keith_A_Howe
08-28-2006, 01:38 PM
Robin - Playtime is over -
I agree with Lori that I feel sad with this title, there have been several titles thrown out but I will add a few more, Our Special Place, Makin Memories, Looking for Tadpoles, Moments to Remember, Moments Like These. I need a bit of time to decide which I like, Lori's Quiet Moments is good as is D Craig's Gone Wading and Secret Spot.
As for the print, scoring as I see it here I would be in the deserving of merit catagory at 82. I have a few questions that might make a difference. Is the little girl sharp? Can you define the splashs around the feet, add more speculars? How about the highlight in the adults hair and sleeve, can it be lessened with adding a bit of hair to the back side so it is more of a backlit rim of hair? I would only recomend doing the this if you can make it look totally natural otherwise leave it alone. If the print is as rich as I hope it is I think it has alot of potential.
Keith

Robin_Arkenberg
08-28-2006, 02:31 PM
You guys are great! The titles are great and I'll look into the specular highlights in their hair.

Robin

Holly_Howe
08-28-2006, 03:12 PM
Robin,

Remember the thing about titles is the judges hear them a split second before they see the print. One of the things a title does is create a pre-concieved notion of what they are about to see. ( I'm sure you are aware of this but maybe a first time person entering won't know) I think a title can be particularly effective if that pre-concieved notion is wrong, but not so far wrong as to be confusing. Something that just gives a little "aha!" not a "what????" That is why for this print I would like the title "Ankle Deep"

I think it's pretty obvious this is a parent & child sharing quality time and I don't feel you need to tell that in your title, you've achieved that story in the image alone.

This is just my personal opinion and I would certainly advise you to get input from several others, whose opinions you trust. Good Luck and let us know how you do.

Holly

Mark_Turner
08-29-2006, 12:17 PM
How about "Our Time", "Daddy's Girl", "Quality Time", "Time Well Spent", "Me & My Dad"?
I would have loved to see the reflections played out, but that may have messed with your composition.

Robin_Arkenberg
08-29-2006, 11:46 PM
Based on some of the feedback for the image of the girl, I've created something a little different.

Here is "Spellbound"


http://www.RobinsPhotography.com/Critique/Spellbound.jpg

What do you think?

Robin

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2006, 12:08 AM
Robin, I suggest you print this out to size, piece it together if you only have a small printer. Tape it up to the wall and shine some lights on it (F16 @ 1 second ISO 100 if you wanna be accurate) Step back 6' ( judging distance) and view the image. I think that will give you your answer, but I feel this presentation totally over powers the image.

Keith

Betsy_Finn
08-30-2006, 12:17 AM
While I'm thinking about it, how do you attach prints to a post that will show up on the page instead of a link?

Thanks again for your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

Robin
You're doing the attachment method correctly, save one thing. If you attach more than one file to a post, it shows up as filenames. When only one image is attached, it shows up like Craig's does

D._Craig_Flory
08-30-2006, 01:07 PM
Hi Robin;

I agree with Keith on the presentation overpowering the girl. However, I also think seniors might love it. Judges would not.

To take what Keith told you one step farther: Set up in your camera room where you can place a 16X20 (maybe propped up on a Tony Posing table). If you don't own a set of Photogenic Mini-Spots, do what I do. I take two of my Photogenic Powerlights with 16" parabolics and take the modeling lights as bright as they will go. I set my light meter at ISO 100, as Keith said. I meter at all 4 corners, as well as the middle, to make sure I'm getting F16, at 1 second, on every part of the image. In print competition, the judges sit 6 feet away so I suggest you review your images sitting at that distance. And I suggest also that you have 18% grey roll paper (or a grey muslin or grey old masters background) behind the print. This will help approximate how judges will view your images. (one more tip ... take any image you want to see where a viewers eyes would go, just turn the print upside down under strong light and squint at it. See where your eyes go.)

If you have never been to a print competition ... run and don't walk to attend one near you. In our state (Pa.) we an open print competition. People can sit (quietly) in the audience and watch what is going on. More important is listening to comments. If a judge challenges a score it is interesting to hear the comments for, and against. And, if a print score has a 10 point (or more) spread there is an automatic challenge in our state. In other words, if a print got a score of 79, when all 5 judges scores were added together, and the highest score for it was at 86 and the lowest at 74 ... the print master will tell them they have to talk about it. The person with the high score will tell why they love the image and the low person will tell what elements were lacking. Then after everyone has had their say, they all rescore. It could still come out the same but if one made their point it could drop OR go up to an 80 merit score. (at PPA it is strictly a thumbs up or a thumbs down ... no number scores)

Also, buying one of the PPA Loan Collection, or General Collection, books would be a big help for you. Never stop trying .....

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr. Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Robin_Arkenberg
08-30-2006, 02:39 PM
Thanks everyone. I wanted to see how my mind would create this girl into "Spellbound" using a different technique. I see your point on overpowering her, and that fact that it is too bright for judging.

Robin

Robin_Arkenberg
10-11-2006, 07:26 PM
Hello everyone,

I want to let you all know that I truly appreciate your opinions and advice. Also, KPPA's (Kentucky) Fall Seminar print competition awarded my print "Crimson and Gold" , the "Best of Show". Thank you Keith Howe for the name.
http://www.robinsphotography.com/Critique/Crimson-and-Gold.jpg