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View Full Version : For critique if you will.....



cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:34 AM
These are some images I am considering for competition. I value the feedback others have received on this board, so if you have a minute I'd love your thoughts. The first three are from the same session, so I must choose one.

***added revisions at end of post

Field of Dreamshttp://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/fieldofdreamsweb.jpghttp://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/FIELD2WEB.jpg

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:35 AM
Jackson Browne
http://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/jacksonbrowneweb.jpg

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:36 AM
Pregnant Pause
http://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/pregnantpauseweb.jpg

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:39 AM
Sorry so huge but at least you get a good look...
http://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/curleysueweb.jpg

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:40 AM
http://www.cathleenbroderick.com/competition/ashleyweb.jpg

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 01:41 AM
Any title ideas greatly appreciated too! Thanks in advance.

Erica_Larsh
01-08-2008, 01:54 AM
Hi Cat,

I know nothing about what makes a print worthy for competition, but I'll still throw in my two cents. First of all I think they are all precious and I can see why you are having a hard time deciding. I would love to see the second one in color. I like the color in the first, but I love the expression in the eyes on the second one. I also like Pregnant Pause, and I think the title is quite appropriate--like she's pushing the Pause button on the remote.

Great job, thanks for sharing!

Joe_Galioto
01-08-2008, 03:04 AM
cat,
very beutiful images. one sugestion, on the environmental portraits, especally children, i would leave much more space around the subject. judges like to see a small child in the big world, sort of room to grow.
lets see what other say.
joe

Dave_Cisco
01-08-2008, 05:45 AM
The first three are from the same session, so I must choose one.



The first three have two different subjects...unless there is "more to the story", you could enter both subjects.

I like your skintones(color) but not crazy about the mat colors. IMHO, they take away from the subject.

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 12:17 PM
Thanks all.....Dave-what colors would you suggest for the mats?
I was always told "only one image per session" They are siblings from the same session, yes, but two different subjects.

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 12:43 PM
Erica
Funny I have the second image of the girl displayed in my office in color-so I guess that was my gut reaction! I will post it later today when I can get back to the images.

D._Craig_Flory
01-08-2008, 01:52 PM
Thanks all.....Dave-what colors would you suggest for the mats?
I was always told "only one image per session" They are siblings from the same session, yes, but two different subjects.

Hi Cat;

In addition to what Dave answers, here are my thoughts. On the 1st image you used what looks like a grey background. I would have used the color picker and selected a shade of green probably. Also, when picking titles, using one the judges have all heard 50 million times will hurt you. I would say ... pick another title than Field of Dreams. Your subject placement is perfect - right on the 3rd quadrant.

On the 2nd image I'd select a slightly deeper tone from the image. My biggest problem is the subject layer placement. It is a good bit too low. Move it up so she is on the 3rd quadrant. I would also crop off a little bit at the top.

Once again, the subject layer on the 3rd image is too low ... it's halfway between the 3rd and 4th quadrant. I'd move it up to the 3rd quadrant. I would also choose a lighter shade from the image for the background layer. As deep as it is his white shirt draws too much attention. A shade or two lighter would lessen that.

On #4, I would pick the shade behind the little girl for the background. I'd also make it a horizontal.

I don't know where the background layer shade was chosen from the 5th image. I'd choose a tone from her hair. I would flip the image horizontally. I would also use scale and make the subject layer a lot smaller. "Kids Need Room to Grow" in an image. Then move her to the 3rd quadrant.

On #6, I'd also flip it. Once again I'd make the subject layer a good bit smaller and put the child on the 3rd quadrant. The eyes are incredible and may enter into the title very well.

You are an excellent children's photographer. I hope (all) of the advice from here help a lot.

Don_Chick
01-08-2008, 02:40 PM
Hi Cat,

I really like your image #6 and think it has potential although it's a "risky image"!

I wouldn't flip it, I like the flow of light to dark the way it is now. (IMO) some of the hand needs to be cropped out. This could be controversial; however, I would eliminate the bent finger. I suggest too that you lighten the dark area behind the child on the right and maybe crop off some of the bottom but not too much. If you get the right panel this image has potential as the subject is sooooo sweet!

Don_Chick
01-08-2008, 02:48 PM
I did a little PS to show you the potential crop. Also, I lightened the background a bit, (don't know how it will show up). Finally you need Holly Howe to help you with a knock-out title!

Good luck!

Oh, I don't know for sure if you've worked the eyes or not, but if you have and have darkened the black around the iris, I would back that off a bit. If not ok, but it is very wide. One time I was judging in VT where a judge comment on a child image that the eyes looked bigger than what a child's eyes should look like. They were implying that the maker had enlarged the size of the whole eye for competition. It was just that that child had very large eyes. You never know what may or may not get commented on during competition.

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 05:00 PM
I appreciate all your feedback so much! I hope to get to work on these alter today or tomorrow to make changes described, Craig.

Don I did work the eyes a bit on the last, not darkening the outer iris, but I did dodge the white and the inner iris. Just a bit tho as I could see them becoming overwhelming. Her eyes were huge!

Still looking for any title ideas!

Dave_Cisco
01-08-2008, 07:12 PM
Thanks all.....Dave-what colors would you suggest for the mats?
I was always told "only one image per session" They are siblings from the same session, yes, but two different subjects.

The person who said that probably only shoots one subject per session.:)

Mat color? To start with, a much darker tone of the color you used, or black. Might still use a liner color close to the mat color you originally had.

cat_broderick
01-08-2008, 07:33 PM
Dave I read that in PPA's rules its "no two entries of the same subject" but I believe at the state level it was "no two entries from the same session". But perhaps you are right, I will look into!

Anyway, I dont NEED to enter both, unless they are both good enough. I posted 5 images here but have not posted a couple of scenics and a maternity I am considering as well. Just gettin started-look out! I will take critique, make changes as neccesary, then ask you kind folks to help me make the final decision.

D._Craig_Flory
01-08-2008, 07:41 PM
Hi Cat';

Since you sent me a PM asking about my Step-Mount lessons ... here they are. I had one for when I taught Photoshop on the way to getting my Craftsman Degree and another I wrote for the Forum.

Dave_Cisco
01-08-2008, 07:43 PM
Dave I read that in PPA's rules its "no two entries of the same subject" but I believe at the state level it was "no two entries from the same session". But perhaps you are right, I will look into!



"no two entries from the same session" would be a silly rule because there is no way to enforce it. That doesn't mean someone might try........

Don_Chick
01-08-2008, 10:19 PM
Dave I read that in PPA's rules its "no two entries of the same subject" but I believe at the state level it was "no two entries from the same session". But perhaps you are right, I will look into!

Every State has their own set of rules. Best to check with the Print Chair for the latest set of rules for the State you plan to enter. In NH we had in the past allowed the same subject but it had to be a different treatment to each image. But we eliminated that a couple years ago to minimize confusion.

cat_broderick
01-09-2008, 05:06 PM
Thank you all for your thoughts. I have made a bunch of changes and would like to know how you think they are working.
First, Field of Dreams-still looking for a new title. (Here I thought I was being so original.)
I reworked the color of the bk, cropped a bit and posted two different shots of the girl with the same treatment. Is the bk too much?

cat_broderick
01-09-2008, 05:07 PM
Jackson Browne. Does the title do anything? Changed the bk to be lighter, scaled him a bit and moved to upper right.

cat_broderick
01-09-2008, 05:09 PM
Pregnant Pause
Changed to H, having trouble with placement. Always seems to end up with the belly button smack dab in the middle of the canvas.

cat_broderick
01-09-2008, 05:11 PM
CurleySue-again lame title I know. I had trouble flipping this one, probably just because I have looked at it for so long the other way. The original image has more room above her head, I do like this close crop.

cat_broderick
01-09-2008, 05:14 PM
"The Eyes Have it?"
Only cropped off the bent finger Don, and left three unlike where you left two in your version. Can you tell me your preference? I do like the placement so much better on this.

Thats all of them (for now-ha!) Thanks for helping me see things in a different light. I'm off to start on landscapes now!

Dave_Cisco
01-10-2008, 04:17 PM
A lot of those most capable to critique are not back from Nationals....might take a day or two before they see them.

cat_broderick
01-10-2008, 06:20 PM
Thought it was a bit slow around here....thanks Dave!

Keith_A_Howe
01-10-2008, 10:08 PM
Hi Cat
you ok with me copying them and posting my thoughts? If not thats ok but it would be harder to see what I mean
Keith

cat_broderick
01-10-2008, 10:13 PM
Oh absolutely, thanks!

Don_Chick
01-10-2008, 10:59 PM
Cat,

Exactly how you crop the hand (as I see it) is like salt on food. You add spices to taste. I'll try to explain my thinking for the crop I showed.... And Keith, please add your comments too... With a 3 fingered crop you now have a 3 fingered baby especially showing the gap between the last finger shown and the one cropped out. There are judges who will immediately get hung up on that. In their minds they will think "where's the rest of the hand, you've got a 3 fingered baby here, if only the maker had....". Why I cropped it the way I did is to suggest a hand, but not have it draw attention to itself by being too much a part of the image. I could be all wet here, but that's my thinking on this one.... Honestly, I said early on that this image is risky. Some judges won't be able to handle the treatment and some will... not saying which is right but that's the way it is!!!

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 01:10 AM
Cat, I like this version. As Don said there are judges that would get hung up on an comfortable crop, I am probably one of them though I try to be open minded and see if there is a reason it was done. I cropped off a bit more on the left side of the image to add drama and move his face over a bit farther in the frame. I kept the fingers, it looks like a natural bend of the fingers I see on babys all the time and it helps with the positioning of his face (also why give the judges a reason to question somthing unless it adds a ton of impact). I increased the blacks and midtones to add guts to the image so it will not look washed out under the lights. I played with a white or near white background because usually you will want the background to blend with the image especially a hikey image but when I layed it on the black it seemed to add a lot of drama and impact to those eyes. As Don said it is all personal choice so try it and decide what you like best. Keep in mind it is judged under bright lights so too much white border can make it hard to see past the border. Also I took the black from his pupils so it matches the image. You don't want to point out techincal problems to a judge like maybe putting a black mat when there might not be any true blacks in the image (same with whites).

Nibbles (my title not Holly's so it may not be as good as it could be).
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/nibbles.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 01:20 AM
Cat
I moved her in the presentation and again I increased the blacks and midtones. I worked her catch lights in her eyes and the crescents as well. I dodged the eyelid area to open up the slight tendancy of pocketed eyes. I went with a dark brown from the image for the background and then took it a bit darker yet and added a fine subtle stroke on the inside to keep it sharp in the corners. Sorry No title ideas as yet.

Holly came by and suggested feathering the edges of the mat and printing on watercolor. Might be worth trying. I have had a harder time getting dark images to look as vibrant on watercolor but this one might be worth it.

If any of my comments don't make sense please forgive me and ask for clairifcation.
Keith

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Untitled-3.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 01:27 AM
Cat here is the next one.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Untitled-2.jpg

Personally I like it in this corner, it doesn't seem to flow as well when it is flipped. I took her down again and added a bit of warmth to her. I am a little bothered with the sleeve bent at the wrist and almost no fingers or hand showing as it becomes the brightest spot in the image. Good subject choice. I enhanced the eyes, burned her outfit down and gave her hair some highlights.

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 01:30 AM
last one for now
Flower Girl - again my title and not sure about it.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/flowergirl.jpg

I like this crop better as it limits my eye from some of the distractions in the bacckground. I took her down again and added some warmth. I did a very quick selection and used lens blur to give the appearance of a narrow depth of field.

Hope this helps. Keith

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 01:37 AM
Nibbles (my title not Holly's so it may not be as good as it could be).
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/nibbles.jpg


I showed Holly and she said "As Soon As My Molars Come in, I'm Outta Here"

Assuming print quality is good I think this one will merit. The others will be above average. You seem to get good directional light, just need to print your images darker to make that ratio pop more. Sorry if this is all disconnected, I am really sick. Anybody else come home from IUSA with the flu?

Elizabeth_Pokela
01-11-2008, 04:13 AM
Keith:
I posted a thank you to you in 2 different threads, but since I see you're active here . . . Thank You! My critique was one of the best things I 've done for my work in years. Thank you so much for the time you took with me and your advice. Look around in other IUSA threads and I thank you many times over!

But to answer the flu question, I am not sick, but met several sick folks the last 2 days. It was very odd--I started washing my hands as often as possible! Hope you feel better soon.

Cat, I love your images. Thanks for posting something to get me excited about the new year's work.

Elizabeth

cat_broderick
01-11-2008, 01:50 PM
Thanks Don and Keith for your detailed replies, esp Keith while being sick!

I am leaning back towards "Jackson Browne" (does anyone GET that?) staying on the darker background and may try a wc edge. Do like the baby on the black.....

D._Craig_Flory
01-11-2008, 02:02 PM
Thanks Don and Keith for your detailed replies, esp Keith while being sick!

I am leaning back towards "Jackson Browne" (does anyone GET that?) staying on the darker background and may try a wc edge. Do like the baby on the black.....

Hi Cat;

I'm 60 years old. Do I need to be younger to get that title ? Keep in mind something. The judges hear the title and then see the image. If they have to sit and try to figure out the title it could hurt you. I seem to remember a rock group with that name but ... will the judges "get" it ?

Don_Chick
01-11-2008, 02:30 PM
I am nearly 2/3rd Craig's age and don't "get it" either... I have a Jackson Brown cd and it still is confusing.....

sorry... is it a boy or a girl in the image....

cat_broderick
01-11-2008, 02:44 PM
Its a boy, guess I wasnt as clever as I thought. LOL

His name IS Jackson.

Keith_A_Howe
01-11-2008, 02:56 PM
Don't use that title. Like Don & D. Craig said, the title is too far of a stretch. This is what will happen. The title will be announced and the judges will start trying to figure out how that title fits. Some of the panel will not remember Jackson Brown the musician and will not make the connection. Those that do will be trying to figure out how a musicians name relates to this image. Eventually a judge or two might think, well it's brown, maybe the kids name is Jackson? A title that makes the judges think can be good. Or even a title that suggests one thing but means another can be helpful, but it has to be quickly obvious. This title is just too obscure and you have lost the opportunity to help the print with the title.

Keith

cat_broderick
01-11-2008, 07:03 PM
Ok, not gonna use the title. Convinced.

As a side note, if I come across new images for critique (of the baby/child variety) should I post here or create new thread?

Don_Chick
01-11-2008, 07:46 PM
I had an image of a child titled "Aspen" at state level a couple years ago. I was her name, made sense to me... When it came around in competition and I heard the title announced, I immediately thought..

A city on CO
A cologne
A tree

So, I changed the title to Victoria when it went to PPA. It ended up going Loan. I don't say the title entirely did that but it minimized any possible confusion in the time between when the title is read and the judges actually see the image...

cat_broderick
01-11-2008, 09:44 PM
Is there a PPA slideshow of mertited/showcase/loan images available on line? I see Regional ones, but have not seen national.

Don_Chick
01-11-2008, 09:51 PM
Is there a PPA slideshow of mertited/showcase/loan images available on line? I see Regional ones, but have not seen national.

Cat,

Check out the ASP loan collection at...

http://www.asofp-online.com/portfolio.asp

cat_broderick
01-11-2008, 10:17 PM
Thanks Don. Such beautiful work, I cant hep but notice how the images are displayed differently. There was alot more images centered on the canvas than I see here and at state.

cat_broderick
01-12-2008, 03:31 PM
You seem to get good directional light, just need to print your images darker to make that ratio pop more.
Keith, question. Do you mean here that I need to darken these more for competition or in general? I'll admit I let the lab handle the "print for competition density" aprat as they are better at that than me looking at my monitor.

D._Craig_Flory
01-12-2008, 04:22 PM
Hi Cat;

I usually send for an 8x10 of each comp. image. When I get them I view them in my camera room using my Photogenic Powerlights with 16" parabolics and no diffusers. I use my light meter to make sure the light is even in all 4 corners as well as the middle. If they look good I order the 16X20's. If any need lightended or darkened all I spent was for un-mounted 8X10's. I don't let it up to the lab how dark to make my comp. images.

Keith_A_Howe
01-12-2008, 05:00 PM
Keith, question. Do you mean here that I need to darken these more for competition or in general? I'll admit I let the lab handle the "print for competition density" aprat as they are better at that than me looking at my monitor.

Cat, I feel in general they are too light. When you print an image down the image gains a viberancy and depth that is hard to explain, almost like you can see beyond the paper into the image. Everyone developes a prefered density and color balance. I like my work about 10% darker and warmer than most labs consider the average.
When it comes to competition you want to print even darker because of the judging lights (100 ISO, 1 sec at F16). I understand your tendancy to let the lab correct for competition but (I am not trying to say one lab is better or worse than another her just giving my observations from over the years) you don't know how much experience the printer that happens to be working on your images has, they may be a newer employee as well. We were on an advisory board for a color lab years ago that was a very good high quality lab, then they hired a new manager and he changed things to "acceptable to most clients - If they don't like it they will return it for us to reprint." It was more profitable to print lighter (back in the days of film if an average exposure to print was 1.5 sec vs 3,4, or more sec. you could not get as much through the lab in a day). So translate that into my question here, does the lab print each image individually darker by what it needs or are they useing a formula and printing each image for competition x amount darker?
Personally I like doing all my own artwork and adjustments so that I am learning as much as I can to benifit my clients day to day work.
Keith