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Todd_Reichman
12-20-2007, 10:21 PM
Hello all,

Just trying to take the pulse and learn a little more about competition. As far as the senior girl, I'm concerned about poor lighting, and her shoulder looks like it might be a problem - what else is wrong/detrimental for comp?

As far as the bride - someone else said that they didn't like her foot. also, I'm concerned about poor lighting and composition. Any thoughts?

Thanks

- trr

David_A._Lottes
12-20-2007, 11:22 PM
Hopefully I'll get the ball rolling here. I agree that the senior girls shoulder is a problem. But your placement of the subject is good. I like the bride better (wedding photog that I am) The foot is clumpy looking so just remove it. Again your subject placement is good. The first thing your going to want to learn to do is "Step Mounting" D.Craig has a great PDF tutorial posted on here somewhere. Do a search for Step Mounts (or mounting) with style.

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 02:09 AM
Todd
Is it ok if I copy and play with your images?
Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 02:13 AM
Keith - absolutely, as long as you sign a few papers...

Knock yourself out actually, but don't waste your time unless you feel that there's some actual potential.

thanks

- trr

Dave_Cisco
12-21-2007, 02:54 AM
Todd,
You're a diamond in the rough......:) just need some polish, and time to see what really plays well in competition.
Two things that concern me with the senior...first, the left half of the image really does not contain ANY information that adds to it's interest, and if it doesn't add to the image, it subtracts from it by default. Second, even looking at the right half, with that marvelously lit beautiful face, I'm distracted by brightly colored clutter ...it intrudes too much into the main subject. The thing that comes to mind is that the image is to "complicated"....follow more closely to the KISS principle.:D
The bride is much simpler....I'll let those who do brides comment......

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 03:27 AM
Todd
Here is my interpretation. Note there are a lot of ifs ... if the file is good, if the final print quality is good, if the artwork is good... but I think this image has real potential.
I think the lighting is very good. it is just way too light. I lowered levals mid point to 80 then selected all but her and her hair feathered the selection a little and burned the highlights down quite a bit. I didn't like the attention the wall under the leaves still drew away from the girl so I changed the color bal (using the same selection) by adding 25Y to the shadows, midtones and the highlights. I softened the edge / feather of the selection and used lens blur to add to the narrow depth of field. I cropped off a bit of her shoulder and streched the background to camera right some. My orginal instinct was to place her in the upper right corner but Holly came by and gave me the perfect title, "Grapes of Wrath". With this in mind I choose the lower right corner and crowded the corner a bit more than I would normally. I used the background (cloned out the girl) and distorted it to build in a diagonal kinda leafy (kinda flamey) backgound that is only a 15% opacity layer over black. I normally do not like patterned or distracting backgrounds but in this case, with this title, I feel it works as it leads the eye from upper left to the subject and adding to the feeling of wrath. I just read Dave C's reply and I would usually agree but in this case I feel that the vines do add to the story especially with Holly's title.


Grapes of Wrath
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Grapes.jpg

Now for the bride.
Here I feel is a strong image to learn from. I do not think it will score more than an average. I agree the foot is a distraction but just eliminating it doesn't feel right to me, maybe it is because I had seen it as it was?? I feel the lighting here does not work. The light is coming from camera right and casting a shadow on to the door behind her. Her pose is less than curvacious and makes her look like she is squating and angular. The bouquet is plopped in her lap and hiding bodice of the dress (pricey part of the gown as well as the bust line). Finally I want to ask myself why would a bride be on a loading dock (which is usually dirty) in the first place so I would need a title to explain it or to tell a story. I can see doorways working if it were more elegant or fitting the situation with a more graceful pose. JMO

Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 03:31 AM
Thanks for the kind words, Dave.

Not a diamond, long on want-to, very short on polish. Let post another two, both of which I think are not appropriate. Let me know if I am correct.

On the first, while I like and the bride liked, this wouldn't work because of the slightly hidden left eye of the bride. Also, does the lighting on the groom's face ruin it? How about his nose and the plane of the face? The bride's bright right shoulder? Are these a series (or a collection) of deal-breakers as I assume?

Second, there's alot that both I enjoyed and the couple loved about this image, but is it just too complicated and without focus as Dave previously suggested? I like the lines and I hope that in some ways they lead to the point of focus (which is dead cneter, tsk,tsk - can that be fixed in step-mounting)? Does the fact that you can't see their faces take away?

comments?

- trr

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 03:37 AM
By the way, thanks for the work you put in, Keith. Most of our bridal work is done in very urban (oftn grungy) environments. Its something that we are mildly known for, and trying to build a market for. Is that something that is going to cause more questions than benefits in comp (if so, that pretty much knocks out my whole portfolio!)?

thanks again

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 03:47 AM
Todd
The first image of the bride and groom is not that far off. Yes if the light on the grooms face is blown out it is a problem if not then I would say it is near to perfect. Years ago Monte Zucker and Donald Jack were doing images with a similar pose and lighting. I think - done well this would definately be merit worthy today. The brides half eye, Yes this is a bit of a problem, slide her in behind him a bit more so you see half of her face. What I feel would be the deal breaker here is the white dress against the black void below thier faces, both look like the detail is lost. I also feel like the detail is lost in the back of his hair. It feels tooo contrasty, if this is a raw file you may be able to bring back the details. It also needs to be printed down quite a ways.

The fisheye kiss, I love the angle of view. You would need to really darken the cealing and all that pattern with out loosing the groom. I think for competition in this case it would be a long way to go BUT I would keep on doing this kind of thing for the couples and when you get one that has that natural hair rim light seperating them from the background and that has a simple background, you will have an image with impact ready for competition. You have a good eye, you just need a bit of polish.
Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 03:50 AM
I'm curious, Keith - when you say "slide her in behind,etc." does that mean that this image can be salvaged or make sure to do that the next time I try this shot? I am assuming that this image is a lost cause, is that not the case? And with the size of the image you can't tell, but there is plenty of detail everywhere but possibly behind his head as you pointed out.

many more thanks

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 03:53 AM
Most of our bridal work is done in very urban (oftn grungy) environments. Its something that we are mildly known for, and trying to build a market for. Is that something that is going to cause more questions than benefits in comp (if so, that pretty much knocks out my whole portfolio!)?- trr

No I do not think it will knock your portfolio out of competition, You just need to choose an image that has a much stronger dramatic lighting situation along with a strong dominate type of pose to go with the story of the locations. The urban grundgy environments don't feel right with soft romantic lighting and the more typical posing. Posing needs to still have thought to the angle of the body to the camera and accenting a womans body shape but with a very in your face kinda attitude.
JMO Keith

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 03:56 AM
I'm curious, Keith - when you say "slide her in behind,etc." does that mean that this image can be salvaged or make sure to do that the next time I try this shot? I am assuming that this image is a lost cause, is that not the case? And with the size of the image you can't tell, but there is plenty of detail everywhere but possibly behind his head as you pointed out.

many more thanks

- trr

Todd if there is detail that will hold when printed down for competition lighting then no it is not a lost cause, I would change the cropping some though. When I said slide her in behind him I was refering to when you photograph this type of image again.
Keith

Keith_A_Howe
12-21-2007, 04:08 AM
Here is what I was suggesting. Detail is a must but it can be faint in the shadows. I could not burn down the faces and dress with out it going grey like this but I wanted to show what I ment. Hope this helps.
Keith

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/couple-1.jpg

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 03:35 PM
Once again thanks for all the help, Keith.

Let me post another pair. As far as the engagement image, I'm assuming that the lighting is weak, and that her elbow being cut off and her hand wil be a problem. True?

How about this senior? I'm assuming that the lighting is again poor, and is the pose detrimental? Is there too much negative space, or does that help?

thanks

- trr

Todd_Reichman
12-21-2007, 03:39 PM
Ok, with the first senior, I'm concerned about the pole behind him, and the overall darkness for comp. Bad pose also?

With this second senior, I'm assuming that the pose is again bad. Also, i would assume that the lighting is too flat.

comments?

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
12-22-2007, 03:37 AM
#1 - ok image, nothing to get excited about. The guy is the main center of interest and he does not engage me to look at him. Background is distracting with changes from to light to dark

#2 Why do you feel it's poor light and too much negative space, those are the positives about this image. the challenge is his body position and tilt to his head. You have made him as narrow as possible and then given his head a feminine tilt to his head.

#3 - I just can't tell - too low res of file. I don't think the pole is an issue that can't be addressed if the other problems I am seeing are just from the small file. I would like to see a higher res image. But my first suggestion would be to flip the image.

#4 - You are right. The straight into the crotch shot is a pose that can't be overcome. The other issue will be the bright contrasty background. I understand and agreee with that choice for a senior portrait, but I would use that location at a different time of day. Even if you could overcome the crotch shot and PS the lighting to make it directional, her clothing would be an issue.

So if the question is "worth entering?", I would say #1 & #2 yes but your other stuff is better. #3 can't tell on this file but I think it's maybe a good choice. #4 you would not be happy with the score.

Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 03:51 AM
Thanks, Keith,

Are you willing to expand on #3, as far as what flipping the image would accomplish and what you are looking for in a higher res image?

Thanks, the ability to enter comp seems to hinge on being able to pick out the many flaws - I appreciate you assistance in that.

- trr

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 04:02 AM
By the way, its thoroughly horrifying having these images up in public. Anyone else want to take a few shots at them before I panic and delete them all in embarrassment?

thanks

- trr

Mark_Levesque
12-22-2007, 12:10 PM
Take a breath, Todd. You are getting critiques from the best, and not only are they not telling you to find another artistic outlet, they are not even charging for their expertise. The least you can do is leave them up so others can benefit from their largesse. N'est-ce pas?

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 01:41 PM
Not to worry Mark, comments were made in jest.

I was just trying to be honest about the fact that it wasn't necessarily easy to have your work critiqued in public even though its totally worth it. Hopefully, if someone else feels like I do, they'll be wiling to post anyway.

thanks

-trr

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 02:05 PM
Now that I think about it, maybe they should be charging for the critique, or at least telling me to find another outlet. I'm curious, is there forum etiquette with regards to overstaying your welcome when it comes to requesting critiques?

thanks

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
12-22-2007, 02:21 PM
Now that I think about it, maybe they should be charging for the critique, or at least telling me to find another outlet.
Nobody ever charged me when I was starting out and asked advice. That's how it works, in a few years when you are taking home all the hardware (trophies from competition) then people will be asking you and you will not charge them for your help.


I'm curious, is there forum etiquette with regards to overstaying your welcome when it comes to requesting critiques?


When people start ignoring your posts repeatedly, it might be a sign. But usually it's just because they are busy. The more help you ask for the more help you will get. It shows a true desire to improve.

#3 - on my moniter it looks soft and like there is some pixalation in the face. It also appears that there is a loss of detail in the shadows. I think those are all just low res issues. Our eyes are trained to read from upper left to lower right across a page of text, so it is natural that we read into an image the same way. ( When I judge at national and there are images from Korea where they read from right to left, the majority of the images are composed that way - looking backwards to us) So reading into your image the first thing we come to is the dark back side of his head, a visual stopper from getting to his face. If we could read into his face first, then the darker back side of his head would again stop our eye from moving across the print and hold it into his face. That's why I would flip it.

None of these images are horrifying. In fact you should be proud that you had the guts to put yourself out there. A lot of people can't bring themselves to do so.

Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 02:28 PM
Thanks, Keith!

The intent with the image was definetly to have it fade into black, but I think there is a fair amount of detail going out to the edge. Your argument for flipping the imae makes alot of sense - thanks for clarifying.

Thanks again for your help. I think its easier to post your shots if you are looking for something in particular. I've been on the board for a pretty long time, checking every day - but I haven't posted til recently. There never seemed to be a reason until I started getting serious about learning about competition. Really, at this point I'm more concerned about understanding the critique points that being told that I'm good. I know that the images are lacking, I'm just trying to understand all the reasons why. So, thanks for providing some detail!

- trr

- TRR

Dave_Cisco
12-22-2007, 03:07 PM
By the way, its thoroughly horrifying having these images up in public. Anyone else want to take a few shots at them before I panic and delete them all in embarrassment?

thanks

- trr

You shouldn't be embarrassed...15-20 years ago, I spent several thousand dollars over 2-3 years getting as much info as you have in the last 2 days.........That's embarrassing.:D

Mark_Levesque
12-22-2007, 03:50 PM
Gee, Todd. On rereading, I guess I came across as taciturn. I'd blame it on a lack of coffee, except I don't drink coffee. :D But I see you got the point, despite the form of the message, and I should be grateful for that. Cheers.

Todd_Reichman
12-22-2007, 04:43 PM
No worries, mark.

Todd_Reichman
12-28-2007, 04:59 PM
Hey, just wanted to thank everyone for their help - I've been out of town shooting a wedding and doing the holidaything, with only and Iphone to reach the 'net.

How about this image for comp? Weak lighting? Poor comp? No impact?

Thanks, this is really helping me understand what's appropriate to submit.

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
12-28-2007, 05:31 PM
Hi Todd;

It is a dramatic image. What I first saw was how crooked the top of the window looks ... you should rotate it straight. Next ... your image is not proportional to a 16X20 so I'll assume that this is the entire image from the raw file. Also ... she is in the center. Normally you want the main subject to be on one of the quadrants ...especially #3 or #4. In this case you do have some leading lines to take the viewers eyes to her but not exactly crash point symetry. I will wait to see what Dave and Keith say about her position in the presentation. Finally, I think a bit more detail would make it better ... not quite as dark.

Todd_Reichman
12-28-2007, 05:42 PM
Thanks, DCF (what do you go by, D, Craig?)

I haven't spent the time to step mount anything at this stage, I'm more concerned with the images and whether they are worth bothering with. Sorry if that makes the process more difficult. I still don't really get the step-mounting thing honestly. Isn't the idea to compose the image itself properly - and not to "fix" it in the mounting? Not to be judgmental or harping on the convention - just not something that I "get", and getting it is really the point of this thread.

I've assumed that the actual photographing of the image is where we should be judged. Am I wrong in assuming that many (most, few?) images can be saved by mouting, adjusting, cropping, etc.? Again, just trying to understand.

As far as this image goes, there wasn't really a right angle in the whole place, as itwas an older historic building. I wasn't sure how to deal with the top of the window, which clearly slopes. Frankly, I totally understand that you really shouldn't ever put the subject in the center of the image, but in this case I felt like it was the best way to take this image. Is the fact that I've cast the rule of thirds to the wind a deal-breaker for comp?

Thanks again

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
12-28-2007, 05:48 PM
Hi Todd;

You can merit with images not presented in a step-mount. If you look through a General or Loan Collection book you will see a lot of step-mounts. i will answer you by saying that the more you learn, and know, the more confidence you will gain in how you approach your final presentations.

Here is how I see your image presentation. I hope it helps you see some possibilities for this image as well as for future images. I rotated it slightly, moved her to the 3rd quadrant, and made it lighter.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/04_-Sutter-BandG-023Enhanced.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
12-28-2007, 07:41 PM
I've assumed that the actual photographing of the image is where we should be judged. Am I wrong in assuming that many (most, few?) images can be saved by mouting, adjusting, cropping, etc.? Again, just trying to understand.

Todd, I see your point. Let me try to relate this to something else, maybe it will make more sense to you. Say you were going for a job interview. You want to be judged/hired on your skills and experience. But even though that's what really counts, you would still put on a nice suit, shine your shoes and clean your fingernails before showing up, to present yourself in the best possible light. That does a couple things, it enhances the first impression, paving the way for the interviewer to take the time to discover your skills and experience. It also shows that you cared enough about this interview to make an effort. Now you could show up in an Armani suit, with designer shoes polished to a high shine. You could be more well groomed than a celebrity on the red carpet, but if you don't have the skills and experience, none of that presentation will get you the job. On the other hand, if you show up in dirty jeans, a wife beater shirt and flip flops, the interviewer will have a hard time seeing past that poor presentation to discover how great you really are. If you have an excellant image to enter, why not go the extra effort to create a presentation that is on the same level as the photography. Cropping an image can sometimes lead you in a totally different direction than you first visualized when capturing the image. Yes, it's great to get it right in camera, but it's also perfectly fine to discover something different that requires a different crop, when you look at the image after capture. Plus, in camera, you are limited to the format of the sensor. Maybe an image is better presented in a different format. Just because your sensor is a particular rectangle doesn't mean you can't compose for a slimline or a square. Think of presentation as framing the final image. Think of placement of the image within the 16x20 the same as deciding where to hang an image on the wall. We aren't suggesting that it's possible to make a bad image or even a mediocre one merit by presenting it well. The idea is to showcase an image to the best of it's potential.



Frankly, I totally understand that you really shouldn't ever put the subject in the center of the image, but in this case I felt like it was the best way to take this image. Is the fact that I've cast the rule of thirds to the wind a deal-breaker for comp?


Never a deal breaker. What is important is why you make the choices you do.
The rule of thirds wasn't invented by photographers. It is a general proportion that has been used in art and ancient architecture long before cameras were around. Often it is a great choice for composition. But sometimes an image is better presented with a different layout, maybe even dead center. It's up to you as the artist to decide what enhances the image most. I wish we would call it the suggestion of thirds instead of the rule of thirds. In this image you chose to somewhat ignore that suggestion of thirds. Her head is in the general vicinity of one third down from the top. I think it works, but I would like to see you somehow accentuate that decision and make it even more obvious, with your mounting and background choices.

Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-28-2007, 08:07 PM
Keith to the rescue!

I absolutely understand the presentation issue. I guess I'm trying not to mask those things, and learn what I'm doing wrong in the camera at this point.

So, do those of you who are experienced in this step-mount images that you sell to clients like you would for competition? I'll go out on a limb and say I wouldn't, which is one of the things that stil makes it hard for me to "get" with regards to comp.

thanks again for all the insight.

- trr

Dave_Cisco
12-28-2007, 08:42 PM
So, do those of you who are experienced in this step-mount images that you sell to clients like you would for competition? I'll go out on a limb and say I wouldn't, which is one of the things that stil makes it hard for me to "get" with regards to comp.

thanks again for all the insight.

- trr

I cannot remember ever having sold a step-mounted image to a client. On the other hand, I cannot remember ever meriting with a full-bleed image like I sell to clients. :)

Todd_Reichman
12-28-2007, 08:50 PM
(still trying to "get it")

So, Dave, should we be selling images with better presentation, or should we be submitting images for comp that "don't need" mounting or other presentation to improve them? (insert smiley here)

So, how closely related is our daily work to our competition work? Are they two separate animals? Which one informs the other? Should they be the same thing? Should we be shooting for comp? Should we be able to merit with the "average" image that we are selling? Should our typical work ot be merit worthy. Should it require a great deal more work than "usual" to merit and image - thus the quality and benefit of competition?

thanks

- trr (one step closer to getting it)

Keith_A_Howe
12-28-2007, 10:01 PM
(still trying to "get it")

So, Dave, should we be selling images with better presentation, or should we be submitting images for comp that "don't need" mounting or other presentation to improve them? (insert smiley here)

Answering for Dave, but hoping he will also give his viewpoint. I sell images to clients with frames or folders as a "presentation" if you will. 10,000 framed images to go through a national judging would be a nightmare. Step mounting is just a different presentation than a frame. If you are presenting images to clients with no frames or folders, just prints, then yes, you should improve the presentation to the client to increase the percieved value of your image. Don't try to equate what you present for competition with what you present to a client. We are talking about two different uses for an image. Some images will fulfill criteria for sucess in both uses and some will not. Logistics prevent entering images with frames in competition. Step mounting is one way to create a "finished" presentation that works for the demands of handling and judging large numbers of prints in competition.



So, how closely related is our daily work to our competition work? Are they two separate animals? Which one informs the other? Should they be the same thing? Should we be shooting for comp? Should we be able to merit with the "average" image that we are selling? Should our typical work ot be merit worthy. Should it require a great deal more work than "usual" to merit and image - thus the quality and benefit of competition?



I got my Master's degree all from client images. My goal is that my competition images are the best of my day to day work. Just like an athlete can't always perform at their very peak, not every image I create is my best or "merit worthy". But hopefully, I can create on a regular basis, images that will merit, without photographing strictly with competition in mind. There are catergories in scoring, average, above average, deserving of merit etc. So if it is work you create on a daily basis, wouldn't that be your average work? I think the goal should be to make what is average for you, be excellant in comparison to your fellow photographers. I know my day to day work has improved from what I learned by choosing and entering images for competition. As far as whether to create strictly for competition or to only use client images, each photographer has to decide for themselves. As judges we are not concerned about or even aware of why an image was created. We only judge what is placed in front of us. So if an image is created strictly for the purpose of competing, does that make it any less successful? I don't think so. And I think the creator probably learns as much from that process as they would from an image prioduced for a client. To me education and improvement is what competition is all about, so I personally have no opinion on whether an image should be from a client file or a self assignment to create a competition image.

Todd, I applaud your efforts to fully understand the whole process, but at some point you just have to jump in and get your feet wet. Some of the understanding will only come with actually participating. No one can tell you how competition will benefit you. We can only tell you what it has accomplished for us.

Keith

Todd_Reichman
12-28-2007, 10:11 PM
Point taken, Keith.

thanks

Dave_Cisco
12-29-2007, 03:21 AM
What Kieth said...:D
I have answered that question quite a few times so I'm glad Kieth beat me to the thread for an in-depth answer. I have distilled my opinion down to a few choice words.
First, Competition is a very expensive game... Learn the rules and play to win. Actually, it's not nearly as expensive now that we have digital capture and home printers as it was "in the olden days".
Second, I've always saidThere are only three reasons to capture an image... to please the client, to please yourself, or to please the judge. Not every image is appropriate for all categories.

cat_broderick
01-04-2008, 04:31 PM
My very humble experience is this: you may sell an image to a client that they love, buy huge, buy many copies for family, but in comp it may be a Green Ribbon taker. I was a bit surprised at this at first! A fabulous image, technically correct, can be ruined simply by clothing choice of the client. So I've learned there are great images, and great images for Competition. Its all a game, and watching a print judging is the best way to learn to play, IMHO.

All that being said, I need to assemble my group of "maybes" for critique here!

Michael_Gan
01-04-2008, 05:49 PM
Ah, but, Cat, I have to echo Keith. That is if you create your images competition worth, it will be that much better for your clients. If all you offer is competition quality, then you've developed a niche. All of my images (except one) were client images...come to think of it, they still are.

Todd_Reichman
01-04-2008, 06:00 PM
Hi all,

The most frustrating part of the process is trying to learn about competition without being able to actually go and view the judging. I absoultely realize that my client work currently isn't competition worthy. I have been able to take what I've seen from competition critiques and incorporate it into my work, however, there is always going to be a market and desire for work that doesn't work in comp.

Frankly, I was hoping that this thread would die so people would stop looking at these images! I'm shocked that I the nerve to post them.

Nevertheless, I'll try to post a few from last week where I incorporated some forum advice.

thanks

- trr

cat_broderick
01-04-2008, 06:55 PM
I completely agree with Keith too. I dont shoot FOR competition, but I think I am learning which of my daily work would be best, KWIM? When I started I couldn't make that distinction. The successful meriting photogs I know all say they also have green ribbon images, and they know the difference. Such as: smiling girl seniors sell well, but in my experience smoky hot senior girls score better. ;-)

All said with only a couple comps under my belt but I believe I learn a lot each year.

Todd, have you viewed your State Assoc's judging?

Todd_Reichman
01-04-2008, 07:05 PM
HI Cat,

I haven't been able to go to state, nor will I be able to go this year, which is frustrating. I swore to myself that I'd get involved in competition this year, but then I found that attendance is a major roadblock for me. I posted a thread in the Affiliate forum about competition being worth doing if you can't actually be there to view the judging. I'm still not convinced that, at this point in my young career, its really worth it to submit if I can't be there to see the judging. At any rate, I understand that that is the best road to go down starting out.

I can't imagine going out to shoot just for comp. I've never shot anything other than client work in my life!

thanks

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
01-04-2008, 07:18 PM
Hi Todd;

You don't have listed what state you are in & I couldn't find it on your web site either.

When I find out the meeting dates for our state association I open my appointment book and cross off all the dates so I don't take any work. I will not run the risk of missing a program that could help me make a lot of money as well as improve in something.

Besides our annual print competition, people bring images to the meetings often to ask those wearing PPA Degree medalions about them. I am stopped at every meeting with Photoshop questions since that's what I taught in getting my Craftsman.

So I strongly suggest that you join your state group and cross off every day in your appt. book.

cat_broderick
01-04-2008, 07:26 PM
I too block those dates off! Judging is beneficial not just to see YOUR prints judged but to see how everyone's are judged. I learned so much watching and listening. If you cant make your state's is there a neighboring state's convention you could attend?

Don_Chick
01-04-2008, 07:36 PM
I completely agree with Keith too. I dont shoot FOR competition.

I shoot for competition... I hope that every client that walks in the door will produce an image for competition, but it doesn't work that way very often. I do; however, ask people to let me photograph them and those images are often my comp prints. I do not do anything differently (lighting, etc) with those I ask than those who are clients.

Plus posting this keeps this tread alive for Todd!

cat_broderick
01-04-2008, 07:39 PM
Well said Don!

Michael_Gan
01-04-2008, 07:48 PM
The nice thing about California is that we have a State Association, and we have 18 local affiliated associations that meet monthly. Our members look forward to print comp every month and we try to a panal of Master Photogs to judge. This has helped all of our members do well in both the State, regional and national levels.



The successful meriting photogs I know all say they also have green ribbon images, and they know the difference
Always have disagreed with my colleagues on this one. I haven't seen too much of a difference between what I sell and what I put into comp. Yeah, occasionally I will sell a "smiley" 30x40, but only about 10% of those.

cat_broderick
01-04-2008, 07:56 PM
"The nice thing about California is that we have a State Association, and we have 18 local affiliated associations that meet monthly. Our members look forward to print comp every month and we try to a panal of Master Photogs to judge. This has helped all of our members do well in both the State, regional and national levels"

Would SO love to have this!

D._Craig_Flory
01-04-2008, 09:28 PM
The best possible thing is to make an effort to do a few images on each portrait, and each wedding, for possible competition. That may just be a matter of backing way up and creating a few more images. If the clients balks and says they won't order any from that far away just tell them you are not charging for these and simply letting your creative side out. You could try other angles. Just create some more just for you and hopefully for competition.

Dave_Cisco
01-05-2008, 02:05 AM
The best possible thing is to make an effort to do a few images on each portrait, and each wedding, for possible competition. That may just be a matter of backing way up and creating a few more images. If the clients balks and says they won't order any from that far away just tell them you are not charging for these and simply letting your creative side out. You could try other angles. Just create some more just for you and hopefully for competition.

Yup..I say "95% of what I do will be for you, but 5% will be for me".:)

Todd_Reichman
01-05-2008, 04:03 AM
Well, I feel that I shoot every session just for me, barring the occasional request from a client, I pretty much explore and try new things and try to satisfy myself during a session/wedding. The most frustrating thing for me, and the reason that I started this thread, is that I still really don't understand what to try to shoot during a session to specifically try for competition. Someone stated earlier that there are three potential audiences for an image - the photographer, the subject, and the judges. Too often, my inpulses and preferences tend towards pleasing the first two. Nearly always, with my favorite and most popular work, I can see the competition flaws, and can tell before trying that it has no shot at comp.

Someone recently mentioned a book about comp, I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a source for understanding comp-worthy images, or for creating comp images. I'm interested in competition, but I'd hate to have to wait until the local Fall convention to continue working on it.

Unfortunately, we booked and paid for WPPI's annual convention prior to discovering that our local convention runs the same week. So, no dice on viewing a judging for the time being. Hopefully, things will work out for the Fall convention.

thanks

- trr

Michael_Gan
01-05-2008, 04:06 AM
"Mrs. Jones, I have some great images to show you. Now, you were considering this over the sofa, is that still correct? Great! The first image I'm going to show you is one I love, and the reason you hired me in the first place..."

Todd_Reichman
01-05-2008, 04:10 AM
"Mrs. Jones, I have some great images to show you. Now, you were considering this over the sofa, is that still correct? Great! The first image I'm going to show you is one I love, and the reason you hired me in the first place..."

Hmm, not sure I understand where you're going with that, Michael. :) :confused: :rolleyes:

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
01-05-2008, 04:14 AM
The most frustrating thing for me, and the reason that I started this thread, is that I still really don't understand what to try to shoot during a session to specifically try for competition.

Contact Marathon Press and purchase any of the loan collection or Show case books.
Loan collection is the very best of all prints accepted for the exhibition ( merited) Showcase is the best of the general collection images ( merited but not loan). I think they have some past years. try to get one that is only a year or so old. You should get a bunch of inspiration and start to understand what makes a "merit" image.

Keith

Michael_Gan
01-05-2008, 05:03 AM
Hmm, not sure I understand where you're going with that, Michael. :) :confused: :rolleyes:
I never was a fan of the "one for thee, one for me". It was the prime reason that I went into a short retirement in 1995 from burn out. I got tired of the smiley faces and "I could see their faces better in this portrait". So, when my wife, Leslie, ushered me back into doing portraits, I did so under one condition: Portraiture was going to be under my own terms. That meant the pricing of my work, and the style of my work. Even when people are smiling in the camera, its from natural expressions from interacting. I have never said smile to a single client in nearly 30 years.

The thing that always irked me is that my samples would show these artistic portraits on the walls, and my potential clients would come in looking at these samples, oohing and awwing. They would then hire me to create a portrait that some photographer does down the street. I always thought that has to be the most idiotic thing that a consumer could possibly do. Why spend a lot of money for a portrait any other photographer can do? Thus, to me, the "one for thee" is just plain wrong.

Todd_Reichman
01-05-2008, 04:05 PM
Ok, now I get where you were heading, Michael. To be frank, I agree completely. I show what I like, and, nearly always, I sell what I like. There was a time when we were first starting out that I would try to second guess the client, and produce what I thought they would like. Now, I produce my version of what they have expressed interest in.

Right before last weekend's wedding, the bride and her mother came in for a planning session. The mother asked for a "normal" 3/4 shot of the bride and the groom for her wall. She understood that her daughter would like all the "arty" stuff that we were going to do, but she wanted to make sure that she got her "normal" portrait.

I'll shoot that "normal" shot, but I'm going to do it my way. I;m going to stretch within her request as much as I can to give her something that we can both be proud of. Also, I'm going to show her several options for that wal portrait when she comes in to view, some exactly like she asked for, some way different, and we'll see what happens. More often than not, they buy what I recommend, or at leas go home with at least a smaller version of it.

I was at that mother's home the morning of the wedding, and I saw some of the other photography on the wall. I knew exactly what she meant by a "normal" portrait. However, when we showed a prveiw slideshow later on that evening, she was most impressed with the more
arty" images.

Unfortunately, I don't think that either of these images, the ones that went over so well with the bride and her family, have a prayer in comp. This is the kind of work that I do "for me," and that I sell. I just struggle with understanding how to make it comp-worthy.

The first is a fun shot for me, and the bride was so excited and couldn't stop telling people about how she was standing in the window. She, and er family and bridal party, thought it was amazing. Sadly, the plants on the left are a distraction, and I haven't yet been able to cleanly remove them. Also, I'm certain that her "pose" isn't comp-appropriate.

The second image says everything I can say about this couple. In my marketing for the next few months, this is going to be a signature image. This is what I would show a client if they ask what I do, or what "style" shoot in. This is a completely candid/PJ shot, caught between moments while my wife was photographing one of the "normal" shots for mom. When I observed the couple, this is how the are with each other when they thought noone else was watching. I try for images like this at every wedding, a small slice of life that tells the story about how they feel about each other.

Nevertheless, there's so much "wrong" regarding comp I hardly know where to start. Look at her neck! You can't see their eyes! The lighting is hardly ideal! If you are a judge, or you don't know this couple, then this image most likely means nothing to you. Nevertheless, I think that every young bride (or at least every young bride I want to work with) wants a photo of herself and her bride like this - she wants to feel like this about her relationship, and so while not a crowd pleaser for comp, I've already profited from this image (through subsequent bookings) in the last week.

So, I don't believe that shooting "for myself" is what is going to produce comp-images, because left to my own devices, my work doesn't reflect competition standards, but it sure makes me and my clients happy. And I do incorporate what I have learned from other's critiques into what I do on every shot, I just wouldn't really know what to shoot for "on purpose."

Keith - I am going to pick up the 2006 loan book (the latest I could find) to see if I can crack this issue. Thanks for the recommendation.

Any comment or advice, either here or through PM, is welcome. If anyone has a story about how they finally "understood" competition, or how they choose what to submit, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for the continued help and support.

- trr

Dave_Cisco
01-05-2008, 09:10 PM
Any comment or advice, either here or through PM, is welcome. If anyone has a story about how they finally "understood" competition, or how they choose what to submit, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for the continued help and support.

- trr

The more of these elements your image expresses, the better chance it has to merit.


Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one. They are:

1. Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion.
2. Creativity is the external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.
3. Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.
4. Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.
5. Print Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.
6. Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.
7. Lighting—the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.
8. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.
9. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.
10. Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting and correct color all speak to the qualities of the physical print.
11. Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, film choice, paper selection and more are part of the technique applied to an image.
12. Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.