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Debra_Warner
09-05-2007, 04:07 AM
Are any of these good enough for competition this fall? Suggestions on how to improve them? This is only my second full year shooting so I know I have a lot to learn.
Thanks!!!

Should I keep the flower, or lose it?
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/ladibovert/IMG_3184-1.jpg
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/ladibovert/IMG_3192.jpg
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/ladibovert/IMG_2501copy.jpg

DiannaAllen
09-05-2007, 04:16 AM
Love the 3rd one

Ron_Jackson
09-05-2007, 04:50 AM
Debra I am not a comp guy but I have some personal insights to these images.

First one. Love it! Except the flower. I say loose the flower and let the beauty of the image stand alone. There is one little bright spot on the top of her head I would like for you to zoom in on and see what it is and maybe fix it. Personally I think it's a stunning image and the girl must just absolutely love it. As far as a comp image, I can 't say but I'm sure others will help.

Image two. Don't care for it. Sorry. She is cute but don't like the background at all. I also don't like her legs pointed straight at the camera. Bottom line is there are several issues so I just don't care much for it except she is cute.

Image three. Beautiful and soft. Nice. I am bothered by her being pst center and pushing towards the left of the frame. Always leave more room in front of your subject when they are facing one direction. If there is more room on the RAW image, just re-crop. Also, the one support beam immediately behind her that runs diagonally has a bright highlight running along the top and it is a bit distracting. Try to tone that down a bit as well. I really like this image and it's almost angelic.

Overall, you do very nice work and your lighting is really well done. I hope you understand this is just my opinion and it is sent with kindness. Good job!

John_Throneburg
09-05-2007, 05:44 AM
This was my favorite. Hope you don't mind me messing with it; if so I will delete. I positioned her so that the eyes would be closer to the 1/3 grid lines, and toned down her hair and dress a little. I think it's a winner whether it goes to competition or not.

http://throneburgphoto.homestead.com/ForumPost.html

I'm not sure how to make this show up without a link, maybe someone will advise.

Debra_Warner
09-05-2007, 03:51 PM
Debra I am not a comp guy but I have some personal insights to these images.

First one. Love it! Except the flower. I say loose the flower and let the beauty of the image stand alone. There is one little bright spot on the top of her head I would like for you to zoom in on and see what it is and maybe fix it. Personally I think it's a stunning image and the girl must just absolutely love it. As far as a comp image, I can 't say but I'm sure others will help.

Image two. Don't care for it. Sorry. She is cute but don't like the background at all. I also don't like her legs pointed straight at the camera. Bottom line is there are several issues so I just don't care much for it except she is cute.

Image three. Beautiful and soft. Nice. I am bothered by her being pst center and pushing towards the left of the frame. Always leave more room in front of your subject when they are facing one direction. If there is more room on the RAW image, just re-crop. Also, the one support beam immediately behind her that runs diagonally has a bright highlight running along the top and it is a bit distracting. Try to tone that down a bit as well. I really like this image and it's almost angelic.

Overall, you do very nice work and your lighting is really well done. I hope you understand this is just my opinion and it is sent with kindness. Good job!

Great input, THANK YOU!! I thought I should lose the flower too, but I wasn't sure. It's funny about the second image, it was modified from an image that Larry Peters had in a senior book (although his background is better than mine, I used a church).
I need to double check the third image, how did you know I shoot raw? It could be a jpg.. Anyway, I should be able to crop it a little different. I may trash the middle image and just try the other two images at comp, just to see how I do.

My lighting has come a LONG WAY thanks to Don Chick. You should have seen me last year at this time..agh... Don is awesome at lighting if anyone didn't know that already.

Thanks again Ron, it's greatly appreciated!

Debra_Warner
09-05-2007, 03:52 PM
This was my favorite. Hope you don't mind me messing with it; if so I will delete. I positioned her so that the eyes would be closer to the 1/3 grid lines, and toned down her hair and dress a little. I think it's a winner whether it goes to competition or not.

http://throneburgphoto.homestead.com/ForumPost.html

I'm not sure how to make this show up without a link, maybe someone will advise.

John,
I like what you did, can you tell me how you toned her hair down without distorting the color? The only way I know how, is to use the multiply on another layer, but that is hit or miss with the color tones and I am not good at adjusting hues just yet.

Thanks,
Debi

Mark_Levesque
09-05-2007, 04:17 PM
Try using a curves adjustment layer, with the blending mode set to luminosity.

Ron_Jackson
09-05-2007, 05:37 PM
Debi I knew you shot RAW because you are a pro. :) This is not a wedding and I do understand some wedding photographers shoot JPEG but portraits and about everything else, I don't see any excuses to shoot anything but RAW. Nice going.

John_Throneburg
09-05-2007, 05:38 PM
Debi,

I really like this image - pretty girl, nice lighting and background. You did a great job. Glad you liked the changes I made. I wasn't sure how to crop it and position her. I like to have more room in front but with her looking back, I think what I did works - along with the placement on the canvas. Maybe some of the print judges can advise.

Mark is right about the curves adjustment layer. I'll give a little more detail for the benefit of anyone who needs it. Here's what I did: Make a curves adjustment layer with Normal in the Layers box, pull down the upper right end of the diagonal about mid-way, use a soft brush (vary opacity to suit - 100% on areas that you want to keep like the original and much less for areas you want to leave darker, maybe try 10% or less to feather it in nicely). Paint with black to lighten and white to darken until you are happy with the results. You can also lower the opacity of the layer. This is a nice way to darken the edges of an image or make a vignette. Hope this is helpful.

Stan_Lawrence
09-05-2007, 05:57 PM
#1, very nice image, I'd lose the flower and take it easy on the eyes....they look really overdone. As for comp, I think with a better crop and a good presentation, it would be a fence sitter.....:cool:

Debra_Warner
09-05-2007, 05:59 PM
#1, very nice image, I'd lose the flower and take it easy on the eyes....they look really overdone. As for comp, I think with a better crop and a good presentation, it would be a fence sitter.....:cool:

Thanks Stan, can you guide me on how you would crop this?

D._Craig_Flory
09-05-2007, 08:15 PM
Hi Deb;

I re-worked your 1st image. The only thing I would have changed, otherwise, is to remove the flower. I hope this helps. (I'll be back ... I'm post processing a wedding)

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/IMG_3184-1Enhanced.jpg

D._Craig_Flory
09-05-2007, 09:14 PM
Hi Deb;

Ok, I'm back. Here is how I see the white dress with a dark sash. I didn't totally complete what I was trying to convey. I rarely like hi-key clothes on a low-key background. I would change the white to a darker color and shade. I only changed the area above the sash. I hope this helps.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/IMG_2501Enhanced.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
09-05-2007, 09:25 PM
Debra,

First off, these are great portraits that I am sure the clients will love. However what is a client favorite is not always a high scoring print. I would feel comfortable telling you to enter any of the three and feel it would be a good learning experience. That's what competition is about, learning and improving. However I do not feel they will merit.

In the first split second that an image spins around on the turntable, before any judge can regiter technical skill, print quality, presentation etc, the print creates an impact. It's the same as if you showed up at a wedding in a jeans and a t-shirt. No matter what you do the rest of the day, that first impression is still there. When the subject matter or treatment is fairly common, it is more challenging to create that impact. These particular images, while good portraits, are not out of the ordinary. The way to create impact with a relatively simple portrait is through an amazing subject, an expression that holds you glued to the face, an unusual presentation or technical perfection ( think Charis or Tim Kelly).

So to adress you images in particular - #1 The flower would have to go. This is a good start, but even with improved cropping and presentation (D. Craig did a good job) it still has a few challenges. You have an S curve to her pose, but it needs to be even more dramatic so her torso is not so straight up and down. Lean her to camera left to exagerate the S curve you have started. Next, we need to see at least a sliver of the sides of her hands. Don't let them bury in the dress, Rest them on top of her skirt and keep them graceful. Think wrist and figertips touching down, palm lifted up slightly - that will give a nice curve to the hand. A slight more bend in the elbow will keep the arms from looking stiff. You have a nice light across her face, right up until you get to her right cheek, where the kicker light is too strong. That kicker light is also hitting into her chest and right shoulder, making them as bright as her face. I agree with the comments about the eyes being overworked.

#2 - This image as far as pose and location probably has the most potential, but the lack of light direction and pocketing of the eyes will keep it from scoring a merit. originally I was bothered by the straight up and down legs - it is mostly a photograph of her legs, they are the brightest thing and closest to the camera and largest area of flesh tone. So if you were entering this, you need to make that look like a deliberate choice. This can be accomplished with cropping shown below, which will also give this imact from unusal composition.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Debra2.jpg
With this crop to vertical slimline it mimics the straight up and down leg position and the straight up and down body and head position and makes it a deliberate choice to pose her that way and not the usuallyl more graceful S curve. Another thing to watch out for is anytime you cross the legs, do not let them rest one leg against the other so you get that bulge in the calf. I noticed you had her up on tip toe, which was a great choice - it elongates the legs and prevents her from slumping and keeps the foot looking nice rather than pointed straight out to camera.
to be continued . . .

D._Craig_Flory
09-05-2007, 09:42 PM
Hi Deb;

Ok, here is the last one. I liked it the least of them. Her eyes lack light ... I did lighten them up. Also, the hardware behind her is bothersome. I treated it like a painting effect and removed that from the presentation.

Also, on all the images, my final presentation is a smaller in proportion size from 8x10. Keep in mind that non-masters must make presentations of an overall 20X16 or 16x20. It's best to think in that proportion even in these smaller images.

Here is how I see the last one.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/IMG_3192Enhanced.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
09-05-2007, 09:52 PM
Image # 3 - this is a great subject and a great location. The challenges here are the dress and the light. The dress is a mix of keys - light to dark, which is draws your eye away from the subject. Then - we have this formal gown in a rustic location. That can work, if you really play up on the contrast with her pose or expression. I am not seeing anything to make that work. You again have an issue with a natural kicker light that is hitting her chest and interfering with the nice directional light coming across her face from camera right. You could have solved that by a gobo or maybe stepping her one direction or the other so that light isn't hitting her. Her hair is also blocking the main light from hitting her face so the brightest spot is the highlight on her hair.
Next her pose -she is very straight up and down. Give her body a twist or lean to get away from a straight line or static pose and create a curve. I did a super quick job of PSing - would NOT reccomend this as a solution but just to show an idea for the future on how to make her pose more visually exciting.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Debra3.jpg

Now look how the diagonals in the background frame her. You can use these diagonals even more effectively by posing her in such a way to create even more diagonals. Repeating a line or element in an image is almost always effective. Perhaps she could be picking up her dress ( arms making diagonals repeating angles in beams in background) and spinning over her shoulder (body, head and neck making diagonal) towards camera. Maybe sitting on the ground leaning to the side, with a diagonal beam leading right too her. Here is an example from one of my merit prints this year of using diagonal lines in the environment to lead your eye to the subject. If this girl was in this same pose - but without the environment and the leading lines - I doubt it would have hung.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Itallcomesdowntoher.jpg
Once again - I want to repeat - I like these images. I would have no problem having them hang in my studio. they are great images to enter and get you feet wet in competition. You should ask other judges what they think. If more than one judge says the same things - you can probably take that as good information. Don't listen to just me. And by the way - the first two images are of the same girl - so you can only enter one of those.

Sorry this is so long - but you did PM me and ask me to comment Debra - bet you NEVER EVER do that again huh?

Keith