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Sandy_Hill
08-21-2007, 06:59 PM
Hi,

I haven't ever entered these kind of contests before--just news--and am still catching up on all of the wonderful things you can do with digital and PS, so I'm feeling a little overwhelmed when considering contest. I'd like to enter the regional contest (if there is enough time) and am considering a few images. I'm going to try to attach two and would love some feedback as to what I should do with one--how to present it I guess, name it (maybe The Wings of Love?) and if I should even bother...If I manage to attach this correctly I'll try to do a few more...

Thanks!

Sandy

D._Craig_Flory
08-21-2007, 09:25 PM
Hi Sandy;

These are fun images. I'd like to point out that the horizon line goes through her body. I like the 1st one better. The 2nd is too washed out. On the 1st one, it could be improved, in Photoshop, by toning down the dark parts of the waves and make all of the water more toned down and pastel.

What you referred to as contests are known as print competitions. There are 5 judges and at least one alternate for when someone takes a break. From state organizations on up all are at least a Master of Photography. For Regional and PPA competitions all judges are affiliated jurors. That entails going to judging school and submitting images.

If you've never entered a competition, I suggest that you start out entering state or sub-state association's competitions first so you can learn what scores well.

Sandy_Hill
08-21-2007, 10:13 PM
Hi,

Thanks for you suggestions. I am trying to keep up with the three competitions and there is just so much to think about. I think the deadline for Mass is past, but I suppose I can wait until next year...

Now regarding the horizon line, where should it be? And does that mean I shouldn't enter it?

Also I manipulated the second image, maybe I did too much. Would you put one of those borders around it? Maybe faded ocean?

Thanks again,

Trying to do the catch up curve.

Don_Chick
08-21-2007, 10:45 PM
I think the deadline for Mass is past, but I suppose I can wait until next year...

Sandy,

The Mass competition was back in February, I believe... However; PPANE is in a couple weeks in Sturbridge Mass. That's the regional for New England.
www.ppane.com

Don_Chick
08-21-2007, 10:48 PM
And does that mean I shouldn't enter it?

Sandy,

Of these 2 images I don't think you would merit with either. Merit means to score 80 or higher at a regional affiliate or National. 80 or higher is also the blue ribbon level for State competitions.

With that said, I think that with some manipulation and nice print quality you would still score in the Average Professional Photographer area. With that you would still receive a ribbon (red) and be able to market yourself as an "award winning photographer".

Sandy_Hill
08-21-2007, 11:10 PM
Hi Don,

Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate any/all feedback.

I need to understand why they wouldn't merit. Please be honest as I'm completely green (obvious?) at all of this. And what would you manipulate?

Sandy

D._Craig_Flory
08-21-2007, 11:37 PM
Hi Sandy;

You don't learn to be anything overnight. Once you have entered a few competitions you will start to see for yourself what is good & what is not so good for entering. I agree with Don that neither will get an 80. With work, I also agree you could get a red ribbon. Not only enter. Go and sit in the judgings. Go to any critiques they hold where judges will sit and discuss what was good and bad about images.

Here is the Dirty Dozen of print competition. Not all images have all of these but those that merit always have certain ones:

Sandy_Hill
08-22-2007, 01:48 AM
OK I thank you very much for the time. I have looked at the dirty dozen and other Threads on this site, and will look at the 12 again. It's amazing how different this all is from the world of news photography (20 yrs.) and it's terrific to see everyone's comments and images on this site. I'm going to look over the list more closely once again and get the book recommended and then I'll post some more photos (I hope! :) .

Sandy

Don_Chick
08-22-2007, 01:57 AM
Sandy,

The reason(s) (imho) that the images wouldn't score 80 or higher.....

The image on the right has the brightest spot on her backside and extended leg. I would think you would want the viewer to consider the center of interest to be her face; however, the lighting is strongest on the right and she is facing left. Her eyes are also in shadow. Lighting is one of the 12 elements that jurors take into consideration when scoring an image and the lighting on this image will stop them from bringing it into the 80+ range. Also, because of the time of day and the lighting at that time, the image has a "snapshot" quality to it. Sometimes "snapshot" images will merit but that is working against you in this image.

The image on the left has a very flat quality of light on it. It's not dramatic, it doesn't create strong highlight or shadow areas. I am also wondering why this "bride" is running on the beach? There isn't enough of the story of the image in the actual image. Perhaps a groom off in the distance that she's running to or something. But I am left wondering why she's doing what she's doing. A title might help explain that... I don't mind where the horizon line is, but it appears dropped on the right side. It should be horizontal, unless you are really breaking that rule. Then you must have a good reason for doing so. A little tilt may indicate the lack of attention to details to the judges and you'll be penalized for it with the score.

You might take a peek at the loan images on http://www.asofp-online.com/portfolio.asp
They will give you an idea of what high scoring images look like.

For the "what it's worth dept" I have judged at State level a bunch of times, also I have a PPA Master's degree. I took that out of my signature a couple weeks ago.

Sandy_Hill
08-22-2007, 03:03 AM
Don,

Those are interesting points. It helps me alot to have specifics to think about. I agree the lighting isn't great, I guess I was hoping the bride might overcome that. However I never even thought about the highlight being on her behind. Interesting. Alot of what I've done in the past is about "capturing the moment" in a visually interesting way, more than working with lighting and technical expertise and that is where I'm weakest and am trying to improve. I take it that lighting is one of the dozen that is imperitive to do well.

She was doing a jump of joy I suppose, I found out when she did the first one that she was a dancer and then we did some more later.

I can tell you and many others on this site must have had alot of experience in the competition dept. No questions as to that. And I am going to look at these images you sent me a link to right away.

Thanks a ton.

Sandy_Hill
08-22-2007, 03:17 AM
Don,

One more thing--that link is exactly what I've been looking for. Thank you! Amazing stuff...

Sandy

JohnHeckler
08-22-2007, 05:52 AM
... For the "what it's worth dept" I have judged at State level a bunch of times, also I have a PPA Master's degree. I took that out of my signature a couple weeks ago.

Don, may I ask why you took it out of your sig?

D._Craig_Flory
08-22-2007, 01:08 PM
[QUOTE=Sandy Hill;96243]Don,

She was doing a jump of joy I suppose, I found out when she did the first one that she was a dancer and then we did some more later.

I have a friend who is a Master Craftsman. He won some merits and Loan Collections with images of dancers on the beach. Ask her to pose for you again in dancers outfits. I don't know if you are on the east coast or the west coast, He used the beach in New Jersey and created images at dawn.

If you do this, try a bunch of angles including having your camera low photographing up at her. Try to have the horizon line end up 1/3 down from the top or 1/3rd of the way up from the bottom. A right angle attachment to your camera would allow you to put the camera on a very low tripod or on something like a sandbag or beanbag.

Besides leaping, which is difficult to capture in low light, try some calm introspective poses. One could be her doing basic dancers positions. Another could be the end of a workout ... sitting with a towel around her neck and a bottle of water against her forehead trying to cool off. Look at a lot of dancers images for inspiration.

Don_Chick
08-22-2007, 02:57 PM
Don, may I ask why you took it out of your sig?

John,

I added the info at the end of the post for Sandy to qualify my comments. So that she would know that I have experience judging competition images as well as having achieved a certain level of success in actual competitions.

The reason I took it out of the signature was just for a change.... I want people to know that the accolades that I've achieved are not what make me who I am but are simply what I've accomplished with the talent given me.

I've added them back into the signature!!! Maybe I'll just change my avatar!

Don_Chick
08-22-2007, 03:08 PM
There! I've changed to a portrait taken by Dennis Craft. We had him in NH a couple weeks ago and he photographed me as NH President for use in our newsletter.

Don_Chick
08-22-2007, 03:25 PM
I take it that lighting is one of the dozen that is imperitive to do well.

Sandy,

Lighting is a major factor in the success of a print. Proper use of lighting shows that you are in control of your images or the capturing of them. I word it that way because of... Studio lighting images are held to a very high standard in print competition because you have everything under your control. Environmental images should show that you are able to place a subject within an environment and be in control of how the lighting falls on your subject as well.

Also, remember that an image that merits (at a regional or National competition) is considered (by that panel that judged it) to be beyond "above average professional".

JohnHeckler
08-22-2007, 03:28 PM
Ah, cool ... now I will pay more attention to your posts again :D

kidding of course ...

Nice avatar, btw :)

D._Craig_Flory
08-22-2007, 04:32 PM
Sandy,
Also, remember that an image that merits (at a regional or National competition) is considered (by that panel that judged it) to be beyond "above average professional".

Hi Sandy;

To add to what Don said about images that merit being beyond above average professional images ... here is a list for you of scoring ranges and what they are called. Any image with a acore of 80 or above gets a merit at PPA level judging. This scoring range is from Regional Competition.

Exceptional: 100 - 95
Superior: 94 - 90
Excellent: 89 - 85
Deserving of a Merit: 84 - 80
Above Average: 79 - 76
Average: 75 - 74
Acceptable: 73 - 70
Unacceptable: 69 - 0