View Full Version : Print Comp Newbie needs HELP!

09-20-2007, 01:30 AM
Hello again and thanks for the feedback on my last image. I have another that I'm considering for our state meeting in less than a month.

If I'm on the right track here, I'll put some more time into it. If not, I'll move on, quickly!

The title I'm thinking of going with is "Toxic Attitude."


Any and all comments welcome and appreciated. Be as brutal as possible. I wanna hit the next level sooner than later ;)


Steve R.

09-20-2007, 02:08 AM
Nice idea, good title, but the main issue for me is that all the lighting is coming from straight above, giving her a textbook case of raccoon eyes. Get the light coming in more from a side, and short light her.

09-20-2007, 02:28 AM
Thanks Mark.

The eyes are dark, true, true. With a little retouching and the title/story, would it be worth it? Does this image have enough going for it?

I know that 90% of the reason for entering comp is to take the risk, listen to the critiques, and grow as an artist, but I'm trying to be pragmatic about it. :)

Anyone else have a take on this one? Even if it's "cram it in a bag and set it on fire?" I'd like to get as much feedback as I can!

09-20-2007, 02:56 AM
Mark told you straight....it will not hang. The judges are savvy enough to pick PS lighting from "real" lighting in a heartbeat...they've seen it all.

09-20-2007, 03:21 AM
would it be worth it?

It's always worth it. If people only entered when they knew they would "win" then they are only entereing for accolades and not to improve their work. You always learn something from every competition, but you learn more from failures than you do from successes.

That said, I do not believe this image will merit, even with a lot of retouching. As Mark mentioned the lighting is a major problem. There is some direction of light as her left side is lighter than her right. This is especially noticable on her legs. Perhaps a reflector positioned correctly could have eliminated the pocketed eyes. The next big challenge is her pose. Her left foot is turned awkwardly in, creating an almost pidgeon toed effect. Point that left toe straight to the camera. Next have her put all her weight on her back leg and swing the hips away from camera. Then have her turn part way back to camera with her shoulders. You will create a much more curvy feminine shape and get away from the chunky masculine look to her body. Squint your eyes and she looks like a straight up and down tower. The only diagonal is her back leg and it is very subtle. By creating some angles in her body, you make a much more visually exciting image. Another way to create those angles is to photograph along the alley instead of straight into the wall. Then the bricks will create a feeling of depth as the lines of mortar come together as they get farther away. Experiment with tipping her head away from the camera to create a more stand offish look - in keeping with the title. The next point I will mention is trivial but can add points. Look at her clothing. It's a peasant top - girly feminine - almost like a little girl might wear. I know it is current fashion but it does not perpetuate the story of "Toxic Attitude" I would prefer to not even notice what she is wearing because it fits in with the image rather than stands out. Perhaps a black tank top or a leather jacket. It looks like you choose the top to coordinate with the barrel top or more likely, added color to the barrel and the walls to create color harmony with her clothing. Good idea if the top was in keeping with the attitude of the image but the style of the shirt still is an issue. It alone would not keep this image from meriting if everything else were right. But it could make a difference of several points or even a catergory.

Because I often see it wrongly used I wanted to point out that this is an image that could handle grunge effects because it would add to the story.

09-20-2007, 12:37 PM
Dave> Speak the truth brother.

Keith> Thanks for the detailed response. This was actually an image from a senior session and started out here:


I stumbled on the spot and fell in love with the i d e a of making this image work because of the serendipity, the original color harmony, etc. But I couldn't see past the flaws.

It's still one of my favorites from this season and I'll probably submit it this fall and take my lashings all the same.

Thanks again everyone for giving it to me straight...much appreciated.


09-20-2007, 01:25 PM
Hi Steve;

I like your original better. In your finished presentation you made her clothing the main focal point by darkening so much around her. I'm going to study it for a different approach.

I agree totally with Keith ... don't hold back from competing simply because you don't think it will get an 80 score. #1 - you learn from all entries #2 - if you get a red ribbon it's still an "award" which will endear you to your clients.

09-20-2007, 02:07 PM
Hi Steve;

Here is how I see it getting a decent score ... probably still not an 80 but in the high 70's for a red ribbon.


09-20-2007, 02:33 PM
Hi Steve,

Welcome on board! Did you bring this to the Foxes meeting on Monday? Gary and I had to get back and couldn't stay around for print competition so I don't know what was entered.

What's the rest of her session like? If you have 7 other good ones, why not consider entering this girl in folio competition? I actually like the first version better. Something about the yellow just doesn't do it for me.

09-20-2007, 04:25 PM
We've been so swamped with underclass school photos that I really haven't had time to work on comp images yet, but am looking forward to entering for the first time this year.

I'm definitely using this girl for folio competition...eight different outfits, studio and location shots, so I should fare well (fingers crossed).

Guess it's time to suck it up and put in the extra hours and get this d o n e!

09-20-2007, 04:45 PM
I know, it's coming up fast. Gary informed me his folio entrys are in my work file to be retouched. (I don't let him retouch his own, he doesn't have the patience to do a good job.) :rolleyes: Guess I'll have to find time to get those done in the next week or so.

09-22-2007, 02:25 PM
Good Luck Steve! Be sure to attend the judging if at all possible. Also ask the judges and masters in attendance (one at a time, you will get more out of it) why images (yours and others) scored as they did. What you could do to improve them, etc. This is one of the best ways to improve your work.
Be sure to share any other images and your results with us. We are all pulling for you.

09-23-2007, 03:56 PM
Thanks Kieth and everyone else for your genuine interest.

I've been involved in photography professionally since around 1999...on again, off again, took a break to earn a design degree, etc. But this has been my first full season of actually being THE shooter.

I've been to conventions in the past and sat in on competitions and have a basic understanding of what to expect...I've had numerous critiques in college classes and been humbled by the experience. But this is sooooo different. It's still such a huge step to take emotionally and intellectually to put yourself out there and potentially take a public beating.

But I'm very excited to do it...and I can't say enough nice things about the folks here who take the time to offer up wisdom and encouragement so that we might ALL elevate ourselves as a profession.

Thanks one and all. I'm very much looking forward to growing and contributing back to this forum and the PPA.


09-23-2007, 04:20 PM
Steve, I'm looking forward to seeing your contributions here. From being at meetings and classes with you in the past, I know you'll be an asset on here. You've worked with and studied with some really good photographers so I'm sure that you have the knowledge to produce some prints that will score well once you get the hang of it.

Even better than sitting in on the judging is being on print crew if you have the time to do it. The support you get from the other print crew members is amazing. The level of excitment in the back goes up several notches when a print by one of the crew members is being judged. We have to remember to react quietly to the score. It's also a great chance to get to know people in the organization.