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  1. #1

    Default First Competition!

    Hi all,

    I'm just getting started and joined my local affiliate (Triangle Association in PA/Ohio/WV). I joined this morning and found out that their fall meeting is next Sunday-Tuesday! I'd like to enter several images in the competition, but I need some help deciding what to enter. I've narrowed it down to some recent favorites. You can see them here

    I need to narrow these down to 3-4 to enter. Categories are just portrait, salon, commercial/industrial, and digital imaging.

    So, do any of these have merit? (bad pun intended) Which are your favorites? What would you change?

    Also, if anyone has any examples of how they often lay out images on the 16x20 print I'd be appreciative.

    I know this is asking for a lot, but I need to send these to my lab on friday or saturday at the latest!!!

    Thank you so much!


    p.s. in case you missed it above, here's the link again: Potential Competion Images
    Last edited by Nate_Weatherly; 10-19-2006 at 07:12 PM.
    "Often while traveling with a camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, too late to expose film, only time enough to expose our hearts."
    Minor White

    Nate Weatherly
    Hallmark Institute of Photography Graduate '06

  2. #2



    My favorites for competition are 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, & 20.

    Overall, I like them all. I have some issues with a few (like the big-foot family portrait ) but I really like your style.

    Portraits are difficult for competition because it's hard to stand out. Also, judges are picky on portraits for competition when they are more than magnificant for everyday portraits! Be careful and don't let yourself get disappointed by competition scores. Photographing for competition can be entirely seperate from photographing for yourself or your client.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Hudson, NH


    You've got some good ones in there, Nate. 2, 5, 8, 9, 19, and 23 jump out at me as being worth further study/competition presentation.
    Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr. Photog, A.C. Ph., CPP Liaison, PPCC Judge

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    North Platte, NE


    Nate ... awesome!!!
    If I was judging triangle I couldn't look at these, but I'm not so I am allowed to give my opinions. The scores I think I would give are based on the assumption that the print quality is there.
    #5 - while her left arm and foot appear a bit awkward, I feel that this has a lot of potential. Print overall darker say (in levels midtones to roughly 88-90). The crop is ok but if there is more room to the left with out distractions, I would crop off about a 1/3 of the distance from her back to the right side and leave more room in front of her. Think rule of 3rds, both in the print and placement of print on the 16x20 board. MY probable score would be around 85. I would use a accent line taken from her hair probably a med highlight color. Then I would use a background color for the board taken from the darkest point in the image background. This is all done with layers in PS. Images for competition need to be darker than normal as the judging lights are metered to 100 ISO 1sec. F16 This makes the colors really pop but bad artwork will tend to show more as well. On darker images take a blk marker and blk the edges of the mount boards as well so the edges won't pop out as white when the image spins around on the turntable.
    #8 Burn down the boat or what ever he is working on so it is not the brightest part of the image. Love the lighting. Make sure to hold the detail in his beard! Might have to move the catch lights in his eyes. It appears the largest catch light is on the shadow side of his face I can't tell on the link if these look correct. Crop off 1/3 to 1/2 of the distance between the top of his head and the top of the image. Also about a 1/3 of the way in from the left edge of the print level with his elbow is a bright something with a vertical highlight line on it's edge, crop this off. Position the image so his face tends to be close to the upper left third. Choose the accent line from what you want to draw attention to... say his face so a med to dark skin tone. Keep accent lines fine 3 to 5pt. Depending on title and how red his cheeks go (try to control the tendancy of the majenta reddish look I see) I would score 84 to 88. Again background board color should probably be the darkest color of image background.
    #12 I love the overall composition and feel same presentation guidlines as above but accent line should be very fine (3 pt) if you choose a hot color like red. I would make the background color a very dark green. Assuming there is detail in the pants shadows --- I would jump on this one, 88.
    #13Are his legs in the orginal image? If so this could be good too but I think 12 is a bit better. 13 is a bit more of a slice of life feeling. Let me know about the legs. 12 and 13 are the same subject and you can only enter 1 of them.
    #19 This has a lot of potential as well... needs a title like a quote from the bible, "I am the truth, I am the light" I may have this miss quoted but you get the idea. Print down the bible a bit as it is too bright but with a title like I sampled it explains the bright light emanating from the book and explains why the pages are brighter than the face. Again depending on the printing (print it dark without loosing detail in the shadows (hair and jacket)) I would be about 86-88.
    #23 commercial image If you want to enter a commercial image, this is a good one. Are the high lights on the hands blown out???? Commercial is not forgiving when it comes to the technical details. If the highlights are NOT blown I would be a t 84-85. If they are blown out I would be in the 78 area.

    I personally LIKE the family #7 but it is a risky image. Some judges like new angles and distortion when used well and others do not! Also the heads are a bit stacked, lighting is a bit stark for some and I think this is the same girl as #5 and #5 is a stronger image for comp. As you can only enter one or the other - I would choose #5.

    I'm in awe by your images. It is not an easy thing to get 4 images to all be 80 or above and I think you have them here and a few I didn't mention would also be in there. I just picked the ones I thought were the highest. save the rest for next year. Let me know which ones you wind up using and what the titles and scores are. I predict we are all going to have to hate you after this competition. LOL!

    GOOD LUCK Keith
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Nixa/Springfield, MO

    Default re: Competition Prints


    As a judge, I am strongly drawn to numbers 2, 5, 9 and maybe 19. I also want to say that I think you have a great gift for seeing light as a tool (and friend) and that you are going to have a long and happy life in the profession that is perfect for you....Good Luck! Remember that these are the 12 criteria that judges look for:


    1. Impact
    2. Creativity
    3. Style
    4. Composition
    5. Print Presentation
    6. Color Balance
    7. Center Of Interest
    8. Lighting
    9. Subject Matter
    10. Print Quality
    11. Technique
    12. Story Telling
    Jim Lersch
    M. Photog., Cr., API, F-PPO Both books on one CD! Seniors Book Commercial Book

    Scheduled Seniors / Commercial My Way Seminars:
    PPA of Pennsylvania
    on April 3rd, 2012

  6. #6


    My favorites:

    Without any question, my absolute favorite is #5.
    That one is absolutely beautiful!!

  7. #7


    Okay, I'm not qualified to judge these, but I can tell you that I absolutely LOVE #9. The lighting is AWESOME. I like all of them - even the family with the feet, although if I were IN that one, I wouldn't like the feet showing! But it's cute!

    But #9 is just amazing!! I'm jealous!!
    Lori Clapp
    Will I EVER know how to use what I learn?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Fayetteville, Ga.


    2, 18, & 23 are strong. Most of the others have sharpness or lighting issues. I'm sure some of the judges hanging around ere can give better advice, but check out the 12 competition rules. You'll find them doing a search on this board.

  9. #9


    So how did you do?
    Jeff Dachowski M.Photog Cr.CPP
    PPA Approved Juror
    Upcoming events:

    Photoshop 101
    San Jose
    Oklahoma City
    Washington DC

    Avatar by 2008 Diamond photographer of the year-Don Chick

  10. #10


    Hey Nate,

    Ok, I might be a little late on this and I'm answering w/o reading everyone elses comments. Also, I'm gonna spare you the "this is a great client image and I'm sure the *insert family member* will love this" speach. Also, no more of the "it's the green merrits that count" pep-talk. Let me tell ya, if you know how to get gold merrits then you definitely make more of the greens no matter what style of photography you do.

    Image 1. Lowerhand of mother is cut of, points will be deducted for incorrect crop. Ask yourself, did I add anything to the image by cropping that way. The curtain is cutting into mom's head. Finally, there's no clear connection between their emotions. ------ NO

    2. This has good impact at first though if you look closer it's photographically lacking. There's hardly any separation between the subject and background. Ok on the old rustic feel treatment. ------NO

    3. Like the red (it's an asian thing). Right angles like how his arm is tends to score lower than if the hands are in a position that supports a C or S curve. This is why most men solo competition portraits are either half body with hands on the pocket or headshots (old beardy man w/ pipe). ----- No

    4. Nice alternating colors and using the two greens to frame the girl. One thing that comes out almost imediately is there's a fight between the door and her face. The door wins. Also, there needs to be some form of separation on her hair, it just doesnt look good fading to black like that. ----No

    5. Nice tones, there's movement and most importantly very cute girl. It would have been nice if she had bent her left arm and you need to clone out that vine that's growing out of her head. The fence needs to be burnt down a bit more and the print needs to be place on the lower right portion of the 16x20 -----Maybe

    6. Great job on seeing the hair light, with a little finess, it's not gonna look so over powering. Pose is static and square, the human mind responds better to S'es and C's ----No

    7. Happy Feet! This one's got a lot going for it and it has that real short lens comercial feel to it. Only thing is the tree growing out of daddy's head and also the house. ----No

    8. Now this guy's got the expresion. There's a fight between the man's face and the shop project (BTW, is that the hull of a boat?) There's lines but it does'nt really lead into the man. --- No

    9. Nice manly posing and great warm feel! His hands are used to make triangular patterns which looks very natural. The leading line goes right into him. More burning needs to be done on the thingy on the table, the cabinet and the curtain. Might also need to enchance the catch light on his right eye. ---Maybe

    10. Cute kid. Again, hands. --- No

    11. Same kid, Square on the camera, kindda ok expression and stuff growing on his head ---No

    12. See number 11

    13. (TIP: try not to use your kids, relatives or close friends for competiton cause there might be an off moment when a coment feels weird to you) Some movement but nothing more than a kid on monkey bars. ---No

    14. Good Feel and lighting on mom is great. There's not much detail on dad's face on the shadow side. Cropping on the legs looks off. Sliding dad behind mom a little bit more and turning them a little bit more towards the window would make him turning his head a little bit more toward the window (to get some light on his shadow side) look natural. ---No

    15. Cute shot... Daddy's nekid back is the brightest portion of the image. Keep our eyes on the infants eyes. Also, see that skin flap on daddy's neck, it does not look to manly. ---No

    16. Same subject, different angle..... (side note: most competitions dont like same subject entries check your rules adn why did i just now remember that). same skin flap issue and baby's arm is just so in our faces right now. ----No

    17. See 16 but this time his hands are cut off ----No

    18. Nice baby eyes, but the baby in daddy or momy's arms has been done so many times and judges are really looking for something new. Dramatic lighting helps for stuff like these. ----No

    19. Nice (Title: Guiding Light) and yey, there's separation. I had to stop for a minute to take a close read on your lighting (that's a good thing when judges do that). For a second there I really though that the light was coming from the bible. (I wonder if you could get a tan from that j/k) Only things are his left eye looks funky with that shadow and there's no detail on his left arm. Broad light would fix that and a small 10 degree snoot pointed to his left arm would solve the detail issue. --No

    20. Edgey. What are we looking at here? Also, since the lady is curved, a curved bottle would have made more sense. Remember, judges tipically have 90 seconds to score and if they are having a hard time reading the image then the score suffers. ---No

    21. Looks very nothernlitish, that's a good thing. There we have it again, broad shoulders and right angles. Think feminine! ---No

    22. What a cute little boy and that green looks good. He kindda looks more humped than he really his from that angle. Kids this age do better standing or trying to stand up. ---No

    23. Almost.... I hope your competition still takes tear sheets! Only thing is the other leg looks weird like why is there missing detail?--- Yes but after further inspection Maybe.

    24. Another cute baby. A kicker light would have helped and baby resting on momy while looking to the camera would have really helped this. ---No

    25. Good detail on the white dress, composition works for me and their hair light matches the crop (wheat or corn?) Only thing is it's a little to static for what they are supposed to be doing which is walking. Kissing or looking at each other would greatly improve this image. ---No

    26. Statue spraying out watter and little girl in the backgound flying? What is the story here? Oh, btw the image needs to speak for itself within 90 seconds. The maker cannot speak about the story behind it, the hardships that were taken in order to take it nor the significant value of the subject. ---No

    27. Good use of the steps as a leading line. Broad shoulders and right angles still are not as apealing even if taken from the back side. ---No

    28. Cute and good expressions, I'm so gonna do this during picture at the park day next week! ..... The little girls foot looks like it got cliped on the lower edge of the frame. No

    Wow, so there we have it... I congratulate you on your decision to participate in professional print competition. The one's that I marked Maybe's are your strongest and might just be able to squeze in if worked on somemore and the subjects are placed in one of the rule of third quads on the 16x20.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Marc_Benjamin; 10-28-2006 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Added more reviews
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC

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