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Roger_Williams
01-25-2007, 02:39 PM
I have a portrait that I would like to enter in competition but I have never entered anything before and I would like your comments. I connected with this picture so I'm not very objective about its quality and if it is really competition worthy. The other thing is that it was taken while shooting the children of a local daycare. This was not setup, the shot just presented itself so I took it. I call it "A Million Miles Away" but if anyone has any other ideas for a title, I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks for looking

http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/2392377#125372803-O-LB

Holly_Howe
01-25-2007, 03:11 PM
Roger - I am sure that you love this image because it probably speaks to you about the personality of the children. You say you are very connected - are these your kids?

As far as competition - this image would have some challenges. The heads are stacked almost one on top of the other and the lower girls ponytail is actually covering the chin of the upper girl. Also notice that the blonde girls head is much larger than the brunette - a sign that you used a wide angle or relatively short lens. The girls are not relating to each other in anyway. In fact this is actually two seperate images. The highkey chair on the lowkey background is a real killer as far as competition is concerned.

BUT!!! AHA! you have nice directional light! And it is short light! Good job! So you have a good foundation to start with. This print is a miss but keep trying and you will get there.
Holly

Holly

Roger_Williams
01-25-2007, 03:34 PM
Thanks Holly. I guess I'm just not close enough for the competition side of this yet as shooting for competition and shooting for the client are two different beasts. I think I'll just sit and watch the print competition again at this year's Illinois convention.

Roger

D._Craig_Flory
01-25-2007, 05:19 PM
Hi Roger;

Try this ... when doing a client session, do a few extras just for you. Use other angles and poses. Create some from much farther away. If the client objects just tell them it is not costing them anything ... just letting your creative side out.

Holly_Howe
01-25-2007, 06:58 PM
Thanks Holly. I guess I'm just not close enough for the competition side of this yet as shooting for competition and shooting for the client are two different beasts. I think I'll just sit and watch the print competition again at this year's Illinois convention.

Roger

Roger - probably not a case that you aren't ready - probably a case of you've not had an opportunity to see what kind of stuff is being entered. You could have the greatest athlete in the world - say Micheal Jordan at the height of his career. Ask him to play water polo and he would probably mess it up - if he had never watched the game or and didn't know the rules. So while I would NEVER tell someone not to enter, it certainly helps if you have watched a judging or even just walked through a print show. Like I said - you got the directional lighting - and from the proper side - that's what most new photographers struggle with so you are already ahead of the game!

Holly

Roger_Williams
01-25-2007, 10:25 PM
Hi Roger;

Try this ... when doing a client session, do a few extras just for you. Use other angles and poses. Create some from much farther away. If the client objects just tell them it is not costing them anything ... just letting your creative side out.

Ok, As I re-read what I am about to post, I'm not sure it comes across very well. I do very much want to learn how to produce a competition quality print, I do appreciate comments and criticism and I do want to get better.:) I mainly lurk on this forum and from what I see, you people truly are there to help us unlike other forums and I thank you for that.

Ok so now I am really confused:confused: . I guess what I was thinking after Holly's comments is that this was going to take a specific shoot, geared only to produce a competition print, and that for the most part a random shot was not going to be good enough ( as evidenced with my shot). It would be something that I have planned ahead of time, set everything up the best that it can be and then shot with the competition print in mind, nothing else. With your comment (which I do appreciate) is sounds more like it should be spontaneous out of a regular client encounter and, oh, could I do a couple of shots for me. It would seam as though the spontaneous shots would be very difficult to get a competition quality print where the planned event would have a much better chance. Do you Masters really have that vision? Do most people that enter competition get their shots at the end or is the session more driven to get the competition print? This has to be more than I got lucky (given that YOU have a lot of skill that I have not developed yet) and got a competition quality shot from a paying client.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I believe what Holly said is exactly dead on the money with this shot. But :eek: with the two children in this shot, I don't think that I could have moved quick enough so the two heads were not stacked or the wisps of hair were not in front of the other child. It was an instant where I saw the look on the girl in the back and shot it. Or do I just write this off to a situation where I almost got it and maybe next time.

I think I'm making this worse so I'm just going to shut up now. thanks both of you for your comments and time.

Roger

Dan_Leary
01-25-2007, 10:41 PM
Roger,
I think the point of print competition is to make you think about this stuff on a daily basis so that your everyday work does get to that point. Three of the best photographers I know in print competition rarely photograph something just for competition. They have the fundamentals so finely tuned that they are producing the best possible images each and every time. Let me put it to you like this... I knew about directional lighting, but the first year I entered prints I got burned on my images being too flatly lit. I won't ever forget that and I make sure that I pay close attention to my lighting on every shot I take now.

That being said, their are photographers out there that enter these things that are alot busier and better than me and you combined. In our state, we can enter 12 prints and some of them agonize over finding just 12 to use for competition. But their is a difference in above average and "Merit Worthy"... Merit Worthy being the cream of the crop. Some of the best photographers our there still get that occasional 79. That being said, hearing this from me is like being told how to play football by the Raiders... I haven't merited yet in two years. But I can promise you I am a better photographer today than I was two years ago because of it.

Holly_Howe
01-25-2007, 10:45 PM
Roger - As Jack asked me once - "Don't you have any easy questions?"

Some people shoot specifically for competition. They get a model - pick a location, choose the outfit etc etc. Some people submit images from client files. Keith got his Master's all on images from clients sessions. Maybe that's why it took him 4 years of entering before he ever got a merit. Whether you "set up" the image strictly for competition or you use an image from a session - it's a learning process all the same. Hopefully the goal is that all your regular everyday work becomes "merit worthy". I understand about the fleeting expression on this little girl, and not having time to move the heads, but even if you could have - this image still has other challenges - like I said highkey prop, low key background, distortion between headsizes from too short focal length, girls with two totally different "feelings' in their expressions and not relating in any way to each other just to name a few issues. So as your skills improve as a photographer - you will correct those things without even thinking about it. Then your regular work becomes nearer and nearer to what will recieve a merit in competition. But if you choose to shoot specifically for competition - the process of thinking and then creating the image will also be a learning process.

You ask if Master's really have that vision. The answer is a qualified yes. remember when you first learned to drive - and you had to concentrate on every little thing. Then after driving for awhile - alot of it was automatic, you don't think - "hey there is a stop sign coming up I need to start put-t-i-n-g o-n t-h-e b r a k e . . . . now!" Maybe we have vision - but more likely we have trained ourselves to look for things - and we've done it so much, we now do it by instinct.

I hope I have answered what you were asking - and not just confused you more!
Holly

Holly_Howe
01-25-2007, 10:47 PM
Dan was posting while I was typing - he said it better than I did.
Holly

Dan_Leary
01-25-2007, 11:08 PM
Dan was posting while I was typing - he said it better than I did.
Holly

I doubt that... who was asking who for advice recently???;)

Holly_Howe
01-25-2007, 11:15 PM
Yeah but you can't take my word for it - after all I wrestle in creamed corn.

Holly

Roger_Williams
01-25-2007, 11:21 PM
Starting this second, every client has me working toward a merit. OK is no longer good enough. I think the light went on and it scares the h out of me. I was hoping that I was closer than I am but tomorrow, actually Saturday, I will be better than I am today. I really appreciate everything and I'll post again, someday, when I'm better.

Roger

David_A._Lottes
01-25-2007, 11:27 PM
I'll post again, someday, when I'm better.

Roger

Hi Roger
I see your in Springfield IL! I'm near Champaign. Welcome to the forum and keep on posting. Shoot I post all the time and I'm BAD:cool:

Dan_Leary
01-25-2007, 11:48 PM
Yeah but you can't take my word for it - after all I wrestle in creamed corn.

Holly

Some of my favorite people wrestle in cremed corn...:eek:

Holly_Howe
01-26-2007, 12:41 AM
Starting this second, every client has me working toward a merit. OK is no longer good enough. I think the light went on and it scares the h out of me. I was hoping that I was closer than I am but tomorrow, actually Saturday, I will be better than I am today. I really appreciate everything and I'll post again, someday, when I'm better.

Roger

With that kind of attitude you are gonna blow us all out of the water!
Good for you!
Holly

Roger_Williams
01-26-2007, 02:58 PM
Hi Roger
I see your in Springfield IL! I'm near Champaign. Welcome to the forum and keep on posting. Shoot I post all the time and I'm BAD:cool:

Hi David,

Based on some of your posts I knew you were in Illinois so several weeks ago I scoped you out. When I found out you were near Champaign so I hoped to come pay you a visit someday when both of our schedules permit it.;)

Roger

Holly_Howe
01-26-2007, 04:11 PM
Hey we have a wedding to photograph in Pontiac IL on Dec 15th. There are so many of you from IL maybe we should all get together on the 16th and have a Christmas party!

Holly

David_A._Lottes
01-26-2007, 04:27 PM
Hi Holly and Roger
I would be thrilled to meet all of you. Pontiac isn't that far from me! I've been trying to meet with the other Illinois gang with mixed results (mostly my fault). I did have a nice visit from the star sunglasses fairy last weekend (thanks for the new avatar) and Kirk Darling but I had to wimp out on visiting with Rory because I didn't clear it with my girlfriend and she made other plans for me. Does that sound familiar to anyone or am I the only whipped puppy in the house? Anyway, Roger Saturday mornings are best for me until spring when the weddings kick in. Holly, I can't tell you what a treat it would be to have you and Kieth over for a visit! Talk about the best Christmas present ever! Man OH Man I'm all giddy.:D

Note to self: Start stocking up on Jello!