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Valerie_Harte
03-11-2007, 05:11 AM
Ok... title just seemed to fit. :D The image still needs to be cleaned up- stupid white lace, oval is not quite where I wanted it... but cc?

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/vharte/79AGAIN.jpg

Betty_Huth
03-11-2007, 01:22 PM
Valerie,

Really cute idea, the expression is really cute, title good. Having been a National print judge here are what I see they would knock you down on. And realize that I have to go by what I can see from your post. There is no separation of the child from the background and the shadow detail is missing particularly on her right side, our left as you look at the image. The lace on the bottom of her dress is fine as it is, it would be distracting if it were white and bright. She seems to be floating - no feet. To make it better, reshoot, use a little light on the background, but be sure to keep her 6-8 feet in front of it so it will go out of focus. Use a fill light if you did not use one, or make it brighter if you did, to give a good over-all base exposure and a hair light to give separation from the background.

How long have you been a photographer? What is your education? How long have you been entering competitions? Where do you enter? The answers to these questions will give me some idea of how to advise you. I have been in business since 1981 - so may have a few ideas for you.

D._Craig_Flory
03-11-2007, 02:40 PM
Hi Valerie;

I'll address the biggest problem first. Till I took it into Photoshop, I had no idea there was a camera and camera bag, in the image ... or that there was a subject layer with an accent line. The contrast was so high, and it was so dark, I couldn't see those things.

I flipped the image, brightened the subject layer and filled in the gap in her hair. I didn't include the end of the camera. I do like three dimensionality where something extends out from the subject layer but not for this one. It takes the viwer's eyes away from her.

If possible, could you post the original image .... fairly bright so we can see the details ?

Here is my version. Now Betty can see more of what you were presenting.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/79AGAINEnhanced.jpg

Betty_Huth
03-11-2007, 03:04 PM
Valerie,

Seeing craig's copy of your image helps, but (I'm sorry for the but) your main issue with the image is your lighting. The floor is too bright in comparison to the other parts of the image and draws your eyes away. The things I said about fill, hair light, etc. are still valid. The oval drop is too tight and I agree with Craig that in this image the camera should be entirely inside the stroke.

Something, in general sbout competition, not necessarily pertinent to your image. Judges look at images and if there is some special crop, effect, filter, etc. they ten look to see why that technique was used. Was it to hide something? to disguise some flaw? Images need to be strong on their own, before you begin the process of putting your finishing touches on them. If they are not, you may get a point or two, but usually all the techniques will not bring it to a merit.

Just a word to the hopefuls.

Don_Chick
03-11-2007, 06:19 PM
When you filp an image you first have to make sure there are no "clues" to the viewers that it's been done.

Flipping an object like a camera (that everyone on this site handles nearly everyday!) is risky. You'll have to remove the manufacturer's logo off the prism area (or it will be backwards) and that will raise questions for someone on the panel. Closer inspection will reveal that the image is flipped.

For the storytelling aspects of this particular image and how the title ties into the presentation, I liked the camera going out of the oval.... But I do agree with Betty on the other issues.

Valerie_Harte
04-02-2007, 05:16 PM
I have been off the boards for a while- I actually had work to do LOL... talk about feast or famine. LOL

Thanks for pointing out the Canon and the camera on the flip. Ooops.... I used never flip images and since reading this thread I try to flip everything and decide from the two... didnt even think about it. It's about learning right?

I was going for a "dark look" but I can see it CLEARLY did not work... and when I look back at the image I agree 100%. Anyway... new version with the background lit. Hairlight probably should have been a bit stronger (I think she moved out of it) She moved to camera left while I was lifting the camera. I was impressed that she would even do it again.

This is one of several I am considering. I have a hard visualizing from computer to print so I am going to print this one to see what else I need to do.

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/vharte/79AgainIMG_4141v2small.jpg

D._Craig_Flory
04-02-2007, 05:48 PM
Hi Valarie;

On your 2nd try, you now have good separation. One glaring problem I see is the outer background. It is drawing attention to itself rather than to her. It should be in a deeper shade of her dress. Then, her face would stand out the most. I'd also tone the floor in front of her more that shade than grey.

If you could also tone down behind her to her left (our right) so it's about the density of the other side it would help. Now, it appears as if there is a fire somewhere out of camera angle.

You are on the right track ... it looks much better than the 1st time.

Valerie_Harte
04-02-2007, 07:30 PM
Now, it appears as if there is a fire somewhere out of camera angle.


Hahahahaha.... there was... The strobe I had to separate the background was actually on camera right and of course because she is 2 and doesn't work like a model she moved. I'll work on it. I ETA I didn't like the mount color but I can't seem to find just thr right one.



You are on the right track ... it looks much better than the 1st time.

Thanks. See... she can be taught. LOL. I am now in play with light mode. I loved to do it with film for personal stuff before I went in business but somehow when I went digital I switched to DOF and porportion playing and forgot light. I am in LOVE again. I actually took my son on a "light and location" hunt recently using all natural light and tried to capture split, broad, renassance, and butterfly lighting all in the same location at the same time of day with him. It was fun and I think definitely reignited something. Now I need to refine it. Competition has definitely been the best thing for me and my work. I wish I had done it years ago.

Valerie_Harte
04-02-2007, 10:30 PM
Ok... I think I put out the fire a bit <GRIN> There is still a spot on the arm I saw from the spill I need to fix by smoothing but wanted thoughts first...

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/vharte/79AgainIMG_4141v4small.jpg

Betty_Huth
04-03-2007, 12:32 AM
Valerie,

Much better on second try especially after you toned down the "fire." A real cutie and amazing she would do it a second time for you. I'm sure you are going to think me really hard, but I think you want our best guess on how it will score, so here goes. Mom will love it and it will be a good display in the studio, but I doubt that it will carry to an 80. From my experience, studio prints are the hardest to merit and they have to be really exceptional. This is a good salable print, but lacks the "hook" to keep the judges in the print long enough to get a thumbs up. I'm sorry:( I wish I could tell you otherwise. The studio prints I have seen do well have had elaborate sets or at least something different than just a background. It gets harder each year to hang the studio work. It's not just you. It is all studio work. It has to be unusual.

I really don't like raining on people's parades. Forgive me.

Betty

D._Craig_Flory
04-03-2007, 12:46 PM
Hi Valarie;

I hope you will enter it in a state competition anyway. In our state, the red ribbons (76 to 79) say Award of Quality. That is very impressive to a client or potential client !!!

Keith_A_Howe
04-03-2007, 01:50 PM
. The studio prints I have seen do well have had elaborate sets or at least something different than just a background. It gets harder each year to hang the studio work. It's not just you. It is all studio work. It has to be unusual.


Betty
This is the reason there is always more than one judge on a panel! Differing opinions! I have hung studio work of simple backgrounds and straight simple head and shoulders - in fact I am just going down stairs here at HOA to pick up my print case that has a seal on a studio portrait with a simple background. I do agree with Betty that it has to be impactful - either because of background and set (though not necessarily) or something else - pose, expression, lighting or subject matter. This image you have posted - while as Betty said is a nice portrait - there is nothing that lifts it above average. I understand what Betty means about an elaborate set or background but I am concerned that it may be interpeted wrong and some people new to competition may try to fill up there images with a bunch of stuff to create that elaborate set - thinking that's whats needed. If the rest of the image does not carry it - all the sets and props and backgrounds in the world will not make a merit image. I have three merits I can think of off the top of my head from studio portraits on plain backgrounds - one was a highkey sweep - went loan last year, one was a black velour paper and the one that got a seal here is a textured wallpaper - off white. All simple - all plain backgrounds - what helped these images merit was the right subject, good lighting, appropiate expressions, good print quality and simple presentations that enhanced but did not detract from the image.

My good friend Jim Freize was awarded HOA Photographer of the Year last night. At least three of his images were in studio portraits on traditional portrait backgrounds - I think the 4th one was also - but I don't remember for sure.

Keith

Don_Chick
04-03-2007, 08:02 PM
The studio prints I have seen do well have had elaborate sets or at least something different than just a background. It gets harder each year to hang the studio work. It's not just you. It is all studio work. It has to be unusual.

I really don't like raining on people's parades. Forgive me.

Betty

Keith,

I am so glad you commented here, I was thinking how to word something similar. Elaborate sets can do well in competition (and cost a gazillion dollars to produce) but very simple images (meaning little/no props) can do just as well. Elaborate sets give the judges more to look at and sometimes more reasons to lower the score if every detail isn't done well.

An example of this is on page 191 of the 2005 loan book. It's an image by Vicki Taufer titled "Spit Happens". It breaks the rules we are all told to follow, but it went "loan" It has 1/2 a baby's face taking up 90% of the image (give children space to grow).

There are always exceptions to the "rules"

Valerie_Harte
04-03-2007, 08:05 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I have 3 images that I really like- this was going to be the 4th... I am going to do one last look though my folders. I probably should have someone else do it for me- the ones that are my favorites seem to be "ok" the ones I am not so entranced with seem to be the ones that have done well. I love all the feedback and thoughts I get on this forum it really helps. Thank you.

Ed_Booth
04-03-2007, 10:19 PM
I would enter it anyway. Print Compitition is a big part of a professionals learning process. I agree with Betty, but you never know the mood of the judges. The print is right on the boarder. Go ahead and enter the print, you may just get lucky. Good luck.
Ed

Valerie_Harte
04-04-2007, 12:15 AM
Thanks Ed- I think I am actually going to use it to fill the case but go in with my eyes open knowing it probably won't merit. This is actually my favorite from the session which I would like to call "Future Canon Girl" LOL- she is my niece and lives an hour away but I borrow her and my nephew to try stuff out on since they are the ages of most of my subjects (my two are 7 and 15) The background light didn't fire but this is her personality so you can see what a trooper she was to give me the face for the reshoot. Again- thanks to all.

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u36/vharte/IMG_4125mygirsmalll.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
04-04-2007, 03:04 AM
[QUOTE=Valerie Harte;69889] I probably should have someone else do it for me- the ones that are my favorites seem to be "ok" the ones I am not so entranced with seem to be the ones that have done well. [QUOTE]


Valerie - I had 5 prints to choose from this year. I felt comfortable with 3 of them and couldn't decide which of the other two to go with. I wasn't sure that either one of them would merit. So I just went with the one I was more emotionally involved with - even though I didn't think it would merit. That print was my best score at 90. It's always hard to pick your own stuff.

Keith

Don_Chick
04-04-2007, 03:36 AM
I agree with Betty,

Ed

Ed, We've never met but I can tell you are a smart man!!!

Dave_Cisco
04-04-2007, 03:41 AM
There are always exceptions to the "rules"

The truly talented are not "rule-followers", they are artists...they have long ago outgrown the need for "rules" to guide them. They understand the mental impact of the elements they have at their disposal and just go their merry way creating something for all of us to enjoy.:D