PDA

View Full Version : Help with Cert Images



Sheila_Axelson
02-22-2007, 05:50 PM
OK- This is hard for me, but my images did not pass the review for certification.
So far I think I have found 5-6 images that I should not submit next go around. If you have the time and would not mind checking them out, I would love all the help I can get. The images can be viewed on my website
sheilaaxelson.com; go to Client preview and enter PPACert as the password.
Thanks in Advance!!

PS- I passed the written exam in Oct- so I really want to get this right the next time!

Dave_Cisco
02-22-2007, 06:39 PM
I looked at your images....There are four things missing in varying degrees, although they are not all missing in every image. Remember, you are asking to be Certified as a Professional Photographer.
In general, I'm not seeing good posing, composition, lighting, or simple artwork. All you need to correct these issues is a little time to attend seminars, workshops, and conventions to see how these things are put together. Having passed the written exam puts you half way there.:)
Don't give up...I almost failed the written part.:D

Sheila_Axelson
02-22-2007, 07:21 PM
Dave,
Thank you for the time you took to review & reply. I have been attending seminars for about 4 years now, and feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on composition, and posing- lighting is probably my biggest challenge, I am slowly working on this one. As far as artwork- I don't like PS and let my lab do most of my retouching. Could you please pick an example for me so I can see specifically what I am doing wrong? I have already identified some of the posing problems, specifically the family in orange, the senior in the black shirt, the kids in brown on the rocks. Are there any others that are not good for posing?

Thanks! - Sheila

David_A._Lottes
02-22-2007, 08:53 PM
Hi Shelia
I took a look and I agree that you have a good sense of composition. Some of your uses of the horizontal frame are very creative. Posing could use some work. It looks like your trying to make the poses appear natural. Unfortunately once you've told them where to stand, where to look and when to smile, natural is already out the window. If your going to pose people, pose them. Some examples of specifics would be the hands at the sides of the bodies. Thumbs tucked in belt loops or hands slipped into pockets. These things can be pulled off but there are keys to making it look good. Joints need to bend. Elbows, wrists even hips. Hands should not be placed near the groin. I remember not to do this by calling it the "Adam & Eve" pose. It draws attention to the wrong place. If your going to hang thumbs in belt loops bend the subjects elbows and shift the weight to rest on one hip or the other to draw the hands away from the center. Hands slipped into pockets should also be used with bent elbows to draw the arms away from the body and avoid loosing the hand entirely into the pocket. I usually pull the hands back up to where the knuckles can bend along with the elbows. Shifting the weight to one hip or the other is called "Contrapposto".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrapposto.
It allows one leg to come forward and bend at the knee while the other leg hangs back straight to support the body. The forward or free leg is referred to as the "Show" leg in the theatre. This would be the down stage leg for the Rockettes. By bending all these joints the lines of the body become animated. The lines created by the movement carry the eye and create interest. I'm harping on this because I saw allot of straight up and down hands at the side poses in your families. Another thing that would help with (what to do with the hands) would be to create more interaction between the subjects. Instead of Dad standing next to junior with his hands at his side, put one on Juniors shoulder and wrap the other around his wife's waist. etc. I did see some snugly poses in some of your images so I know you know what I'm talking about with those. I'll let Dave get back to you on lighting. He's better at it than me and I'd like to hear what he has to say. Hats off to you for passing the test and having the guts to tell us your submissions were not accepted. I think some people don't understand it isn't as easy as they think. You'll make it! I'd bet you were almost there this time. Good luck - David

David_A._Lottes
02-22-2007, 10:37 PM
Oh what the hey, I'll tell you what I know about lighting. If you want to razzle dazzle other photographers with your lighting here's the Italian word that will get you there.
Chiaroscuro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiaroscuro
Beware that this makes for lovely awe inspiring images that will unfortunately often leave your clients less than thrilled. I used to use this dramatic lighting all the time when I worked in fashion but once I started working for Joe Public I toned it way down. I can't tell you how many people said "why are those shadows so dark on my face" before I learned not to do everyday portraits this way. But it's beautiful stuff, you should learn and understand it. Some of your window light images are already there.

Here's an image with about as heavy a ratio as I can get away with on a day to day basis.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m306/Dlottes/site1002.jpg

Mark_Levesque
02-23-2007, 01:14 AM
Speaking of chiaroscuro, got this great link tonight from strobist.com that does a fantastic job of explaining chiaroscuro visually. Way cool.

http://www.efplighting.com/?The_Chiaroscuro_Principle

Sheila_Axelson
02-23-2007, 10:32 PM
David- Thank you very much for your reply; I have slowly been gaining an understanding of this type of lighting, and have been practicing it on my own subjects. I definately have an appreciation for it! Like you using it strongly for clients doesn't always fly. One thing that limits my images for certification is the fact that no "self assignments" are accepted. I have several images of my own children, that are fairly good examples of the Chiaroscuro principle- but I can't submit them.

I agree with you that I can use a great deal of work on posing- I need to fine tune what I am currently doing- I always try to remember "if it bends- Bend it"

Mark - Thanks for the link, it is very helpful! I knew about this type of lighting- just didn't know what it was called. I know to look for the triangle of light under the eye.

David_A._Lottes
02-23-2007, 10:51 PM
I have several images of my own children, that are fairly good examples of the Chiaroscuro principle- but I can't submit them.

Being honest about that is what makes you a pro!:)


I agree with you that I can use a great deal of work on posing- I need to fine tune what I am currently doing- I always try to remember "if it bends- Bend it"

I wouldn't say a great deal, just more practice. It's hard to remember to do all this stuff when your trying to keep kids and parents from getting fussy. Just keep that bends, bend it mantra you've got and it will start too come to you without thinking.:cool:

Jeff_Dachowski
02-24-2007, 12:37 AM
Sheila,
Most of the images could be impoved by cropping them tighter. The images I would remove would be :
7,10,15,16,17,19,20. By the looks of your site you should have plenty of replacements for these. Please let me know if you need specific suggestions on these.
Jeff

Marc_Benjamin
02-24-2007, 01:01 AM
Hey Sheila,

I like the feel of your site.

I agree with Dave about composition throughout the overall collection. The subjects could use more negative space to their advantage.

Another thing that I noticed throughout the collection is that most of your subjects are facing straight on to the camera. Generally, a persons face photographs better if turned to one direction. Doing this shows that you have made the effort to compliment your subjects by photographing their better side.

Also, I think Dave meant artwork in way that it doesent really mean complicated photoshop or painter work. Rather just common contrast adjustments, dodging and burning.

Good luck...

Sheila_Axelson
02-24-2007, 03:07 AM
Thanks guys for all of the replies-
I know this is a learning process, and that is what I'm doing!

Jeff- I'm curious to know what you don't like about #19? And, I would love suggestions about which you think would be good replacements.

Dave_Cisco
02-24-2007, 06:03 AM
Also, I think Dave meant artwork in way that it doesent really mean complicated photoshop or painter work. Rather just common contrast adjustments, dodging and burning.

Good luck...

...and simple catchlights to keep the eyes from looking dead.:)

Sheila_Axelson
02-24-2007, 10:22 AM
Dave- concerning catchlights, every one of my images has good catchlights, I think the images look rather dark depending on the monitor. Probably not the best way to share the images- but it was the simplest for me.

Anyway after thinking about Marc & Jeff's comments- isn't the cropping part of composition subjective? one of you said to leave more negative space, and one said to crop tighter. :confused: Or are you telling me to be more consistent with the cropping for the submission?

Mark_Levesque
02-24-2007, 12:16 PM
one of you said to leave more negative space, and one said to crop tighter.
I got a laugh out of this. In back to back comments, too. :) Cropping is subjective, without question, but what I think I'm hearing is that you've found an awkward middle ground in some of your cropping decisions, and that either coming in closer or panning out will help the compositions. One of the things that Joe Zeltsman demonstrates is that a properly posed subject can be cropped full length, 3/4 length, all the way to a headshot and still look good.

Here's an example of what they're talking about. Image 1. You've cut off her tootsies. That's not very nice. :) You could solve this issue either by cropping tighter OR cropping looser, to give her toes room to remain in the frame. Image 4 shows the same problem, only with fingers this time. On image 10, I'd definitely come in a bit. There's a lot of grass, etc, that's not adding to the image. Image 17 seems a tiny bit overexposed (but I'm on a cheap, uncalibrated LCD monitor right now, so it may not show this way on my calibrated CRT.)

Dave_Cisco
02-24-2007, 03:38 PM
Dave- concerning catchlights, every one of my images has good catchlights, I think the images look rather dark depending on the monitor. Probably not the best way to share the images- but it was the simplest for me.

Anyway after thinking about Marc & Jeff's comments- isn't the cropping part of composition subjective? one of you said to leave more negative space, and one said to crop tighter. :confused: Or are you telling me to be more consistent with the cropping for the submission?

I guess you are right, Sheila....
I, and the CPP judges that failed your images, apologize for our mistake.:)

Marc_Benjamin
02-24-2007, 04:03 PM
The subjects could use more negative space to their advantage.

Good luck...

Hmmmmmm, I think what I meant to type was "The subjects could use the negative space more to their advantage.

Sorry for the confusion.

Jeff_Dachowski
02-24-2007, 08:56 PM
SHeila,
When viewing your images I found that the subjects needed to more the focus of the image. In some of the cases they were lost in the overall image.
On image 19, I feel it has a snapshot quality to it, and the lighting is very flat. Try squinting your eyes when you view this little girl. You will notice the shape of her face is almost complete. When I am looking for good lighting, I look for a lighting pattern, not even lighting.
Jeff

Sheila_Axelson
02-27-2007, 03:45 AM
Dave: I can feel the love!
I wasn't trying to say you are wrong and I am right- it's just at some point I need to stand up for my images, otherwise I would probably get so discouraged, and not continue on with this process. KWIM?

Jeff- Thanks for looking at my images, although I must say I'm a little confused by the squinting- could you give more explanation? I understand the lighting is too flat, I will work on this!

Art_Wright
02-27-2007, 04:38 AM
Sheila, #5 has been anamorphically stretched in the vertical direction. This can happen if you use the Free Transform tool to resize an image without holding the Shift key...

Art_Wright
02-27-2007, 04:41 AM
And now the image is gone...

Lori_Clapp
02-27-2007, 04:47 AM
Sheila, I think it's great that you are willing to admit that your images didn't pass the first time. It's nice to know that when we do make it - it will be because we deserve it, and not because "everyone just passes".

I'm glad to know that if my images aren't acceptable, I will be told that, and given a chance to try again. Does that make sense? Probably not - I rarely do. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

Andrea_Badot
03-28-2007, 07:40 PM
Sheila,
Thank you for sharing your experience with certification. I haven't even taken the steps to schedule an exam - scares me to death especially since I didn't do well on the practice test posted on the PPA web site. Your web site has a very nice feel to it and I like your work. I'm sure you'll make it soon. Let us know how it goes!

Good luck!

Andrea

D._Craig_Flory
03-28-2007, 08:53 PM
Hi Andrea;

Welcome to the Forum. You will learn a lot on here. Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer about certification. I'm the liaison for Pennsylvania and give the exam four times a year.