View Full Version : Critiques Please

11-29-2007, 12:04 AM
I am updating some wall displays & am adding bridal portraits to the mix. I also want to consider one for print compeitition. Thoughts out there. I have a few I would like as input.

11-29-2007, 03:07 AM
I know nothing about competition, but I LOVE the window light one. I just have to keep looking at it. I think it would make a great display.

On the engagement one - I like it too, but I'd like to see more of the groom to be. Also on here it looks like her eyes are glowing.

Good work - I like them all. Now maybe someone with real knowledge will chime in.....

11-29-2007, 03:51 AM
I can only say what I like, I'm too new to give cc. I love #2. I like the way the light is as well as the posing and her expression. To me it is beautiful. I'll bet her groom and mother adore it!

I am not sure what, but there is something that bothers me a bit about #1. Perhaps I shouldn't say anything at all since I can't pinpoint it or suggest anything. I am only offering an opinion about the over-all impression I get. For some reason it just seems a bit awkward.

11-29-2007, 04:21 AM
Okay, these are two silly comments, but thought I'd share what I saw.

I agree with the other ladies - I really like image #2. I would guess that the Masters out here will say "been there, done that" though. I think it's a beautiful image, but for competition, I don't know if it's enough. That's terrible to say, because I think it's beautiful, but I don't know if it tells enough of a story to pull high scores. But, I'm my no means a Master, so you might want to wait for them to chime in :-) Now, my silly comment about that image - one thing that caught my eye is the joint in her hand - at her wrist. The way the light bounces off of it, I saw her face, then I saw the joint in her hand.

On image #4, I don't know if you can or would want to make the adjustment, but her left eye (our right) looks like it's almost crossed or close to a lazy eye. Easy fix in PS if you wanted too, but given how prominent her eyes are in the image, it was something I noticed right off. Beautiful girl, though!

I struggle with image #3... maybe because she's so fair skinned with light hair and everything is so light in the image.

11-29-2007, 03:00 PM
Hi Mary;

On the 1st image I see a few things. I see an incomplete profile ... I can see some of her far eye and you should never see even an eyelash on the far eye. The wall on the left side of the presentation appears to be sharp while focus on her is soft. Her right hand isn't bad but her left hand looks like a claw. Posing hands is very important. Lighting is very broad and detail in her gown is lacking.

The 2nd image I like. It's my favorite of the four. The only thing I would have liked to see different is showing her hand. That is called amputation in portraits. If her wrist was cocked a bit with an index finger tenderly touching the flowers.

The 3rd image is tilted which I rarely like unless it adds to the concept & I don't think it adds to this one. It appears like only available light was used and it did give a nice rembrandt light pattern. It is a bit too harsh though for a woman and especially a bride. Maybe a soft white reflector could have helped tone it down just a touch. And her eye sockets are too dark. Her bouquet is way too high. I always tell my brides that they paid for detail in their gowns and to not cover it up. I then ask them to lower the flowers so the top of the bouquet is no higher than where a waistband would be. Her hand, and wrist, are not posed in a feminine way. I recommend hghly a book by the late Don (Big Daddy) Blair titled "Body Parts". He shows how to pose every part of a person.

The 4th image doesn't work well at all for me. The whites of her eyes are way too bright. His head just doesn't seem to be in a good position. On almost all couple portraits I capture the images in a horizontal. That would have allowed to capture him a lot better. This is a portrait of two people but, as portrayed, it is all about her. You got a loop light pattern on her but a broad lighting on him with the mask of his face in shadow.

I hope my comments help you grow.

11-29-2007, 03:05 PM
You have to see the first one larger to appreciate it. I can't get it to accept anything larger than the little image on the screen. If anyone is interested in looking at it, send me an email.

11-29-2007, 03:14 PM
Mary I am not a comp judge nor have I ever entered competition with PPA or any affiliate however, the comments D. Craig made regarding image #1 would still hold true no matter what size you view it in. Claw hand and partial eye in profile don't change because of size of image. I think D. Craig's comments were well founded. If you wish to defend your images, then I would say enter them in competition and listen to what the judges have to say.
Good luck. Nice work overall.

11-29-2007, 05:23 PM
I can't comment on the competition side of things, but I really like them all.

And, to address the columns image, I wonder if you gave it a really modern look, if it would still look good. I'd love to see it rotated to straight, but not re-cropped, and placed on a solid background with a keyline. I'd also love to see a color wash over it (maybe pull the pink from her flowers.)

Again, that might be terrible for competition, but it would be fun for playing with the image.

11-29-2007, 05:45 PM
Hi Mary;

You removed your images before a number of the other photographers who have judged print competitions could take a look. I've only been a print judge twice and we have members who not only have lots of judging experience but some are even affiliate level judges.

I know I gave you a lot to think about but I hope you didn't pull them for that. The only way we grow as photo artists is to hear critiques and to enter print competitions. I hope you will re-post the images so more can add their thoughts.

11-29-2007, 10:59 PM
I looked yesterday and was thinking about the images and planning to comment but today they don't seem be there..... Is it just me?

11-30-2007, 02:52 AM
She might have pulled the images due to my comment about listening to D. Craig. I would hope not and I would hope that she really wanted to learn. Some people have a very difficult time with critique and get defensive. I think they want to hear how great things are but are not prepared for a true critical review that may include some negatives. That's too bad because critique is such a powerful learning tool if you just accept it as part of your education to learn and grow. And just because someone makes a negative remark doesn't mean that is the final word, it's just an opinion of the person commenting. I am sorry Mary if you were offeded and hope that you will reconsider.

11-30-2007, 03:03 AM
I always tell my brides that they paid for detail in their gowns and to not cover it up. I then ask them to lower the flowers so the top of the bouquet is no higher than where a waistband would be. Her hand, and wrist, are not posed in a feminine way.

Another thing that works is to tell them ( and it is the truth) holding the bouquets at waist level causes an optical illusion that the waist line is wider than it really is and that resting the arms on the hipbones lowers the bouquet to see the waist and make it look smaller...and watch those bouquets drop!

12-04-2007, 02:04 PM
It looks like Mary isn't going to re-post her images. That's a shame ... she would have received a wealth of information and knowledge. She did say she was thinking of entering one in competition. Suggestions and comments here would help her make corrections before entering as well as helping make a decision of which to enter. Judges would be looking at every little thing and sometimes will even walk right up and look very close at an image. So any help in here is a blessing.

So I do hope she comes back and posts them again or posts other images. We could post only ooohs, ahhhs, and accolades but that does nothing to help and further someone's knowledge and improve their imagery.

12-04-2007, 06:15 PM
You have to have a "thick skin" to enter print competition. Too many times people get discouraged because they are too close to their own work to put it up for judging. It could be that she is a newbie, was discouraged by a couple of suggestions for improvements, and decided to pull the images before anyone else would see them - that's understandable. My personal preferences for a critiquer is one who just rip your work to shreds right there in front of you, because, after all, the things people like about your images are nice, but it's the things that they DON"T like that keeps the image from meriting and out of the International Exhibition (just my opinion). If a critiquer can point out something that can improve the image and help put it into the Loan Collection, then I want to hear that comment before I print that 16x20.
One other possibility - she may have been seriously considering entering the images into print competion; had already gotten as many comments as she wanted; and may have been advised to pull the images before any more jurors could see them and comment on them. It's protocol that if a juror knows the maker or anything about the creation of the image then he or she will voluntarily recuse themselves from scoring it. If a juror has seen the image here on the forum and loves it, he or she will step aside when it comes to scoring it and leave the image's fate to the other judges. Believe me, in the many years that I have worked at the National Judging I've seen it happen many MANY times - the jurors are very serious about what they are doing.....

12-05-2007, 04:00 AM
Critique is one of the greatest learning tools one can have. I have said it often on here, "If I want to hear nice things about my work, I will ask my mama."

12-05-2007, 05:22 AM
Judges would be looking at every little thing and sometimes will even walk right up and look very close at an image. So any help in here is a blessing.

It's a whole lot less expensive to get critiqued here than after preparing competition prints and paying the entry fee and shipping. It's a lot different now, but I've had a print case cost $850 come back that had 4 prints at or below 78...that is truly sobering.:D

12-05-2007, 02:14 PM
It's possible, with all the good critisism here that led toward 'not comp worthy' that Mary decided they definitely weren't and didn't need to hear it anymore so she pulled them.

Maybe not, just an idea.

I agree with all the ideas that critique must be allowed to be open and truthful, maybe she was afraid she would just get beat over the head with it and wanted to avoid that. Don't know, but I certainly wouldn't leave! Mary, come back!

12-05-2007, 04:19 PM
I don't see any photos....

12-05-2007, 05:22 PM
Hi John;

If you read all of the posts you will see that she pulled them off and a bunch of us are trying to get her to re-post them. It's out of context if you only read a few.

12-06-2007, 03:13 AM
Hi Everyone! If you are really looking for some images to critique, you could visit my post "Open for Critique!" I didn't pull my image. It is still there.... hint, hint. Wink, wink. I would love some more opinions!

Also, someone brought up the thought about if a potential juror sees an image online before competition they would have to remove themselves from judging. Is this really a concern on this particular site? Are there a lot of jurors who frequent here?


12-06-2007, 03:47 AM
Are there a lot of jurors who frequent here?

Keith Howe is the only PPA Affiliate juror that I am aware of.... That means that he could judge a PPA Regional or National level comp or a state level if asked too.... I am not an affiliate juror, so I only judge at state level...

12-06-2007, 04:01 AM
Is this really a concern on this particular site? Are there a lot of jurors who frequent here?

Not really..:) Actually, not at all.

12-06-2007, 04:41 AM
Also, someone brought up the thought about if a potential juror sees an image online before competition they would have to remove themselves from judging. Is this really a concern on this particular site? Thanks,

The system is set up so that in the cases where a juror knows or thinks they know a maker they can DQ them selves from judging the image. This way the makers get the best possible judging. We always have an alternate juror on the panel just for this situation. Also the Jury chairman can act as an alternate as well. Besides that you have the long shot that one of us would actually be sitting on the panel.
So it should not discourage you from posting and getting CC from any of us.


12-06-2007, 04:49 AM
p.s. and even if someone is not an approved affliate juror and the competition is a non-affliate judging, it is still assumed that the judge will recuse themselves if they know the maker.

12-06-2007, 02:52 PM
I agree. I have judged ... but only here in Pennsylvania. As stated, juries have alternate jurors. In the off chance that the alternate also recognizes the makers work ... the print master, or the print committee chairperson, can fill in for that image. So I too say don't worry about it.

There is only one case where I will not post an image on here. Our highest and most prized award and trophy in the PPApofPa is called the Shreiver Trophy. Five images, receiving at least a score of 80, are selected for a Court of Honor. All must have it marked on the entry that no one has seen them, at all. I can tell you from experience it is extremely difficult to not show off an image you are really proud of. But when you see your image up there in the Court of Honor it's worth biting your lip and keeping it secret. So if you have a category / award with a stipulation like that don't post any you want to enter for it.