Ready to take the plunge... but a few ?s
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  1. #1

    Default Ready to take the plunge... but a few ?s

    After I-USA I think I am ready to start entering competition...

    I have read the compenent descriptions
    I carefully examined the entries in the exihibit to learn
    I bought the loan collection publication to inspire and learn from
    I have scoured this forum and read all of your comments to others
    I went to the Print Competition 101 program at OMG it's early
    I have been taking extra frames "for me" during client shoots....

    But I still have a few questions...
    I know judges have to disqualify themselve if they have seen the image- does posting here for critique create a problem with that? I see others posting so I wouldn't think so but I wondered...

    Does it matter when the image was taken?

    How much editing is "too much"? I am going for a competition quality print almost straight out of camera but it seems there was a LOT of editing that made the collections and not much that looked like it was unedited which leads me to my next question....

    If I don't "enhance" the image significantly does that reduce my chances of getting a merit print?

    Thanks!
    Val

    PS... any other advice and "little known facts" I would love to hear.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    North Platte, NE
    Posts
    1,884

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    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    After I-USA I think I am ready to start entering competition...

    I have read the compenent descriptions
    I carefully examined the entries in the exihibit to learn
    I bought the loan collection publication to inspire and learn from
    I have scoured this forum and read all of your comments to others
    I went to the Print Competition 101 program at OMG it's early
    I have been taking extra frames "for me" during client shoots....
    You are well prepared!

    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    But I still have a few questions...
    I know judges have to disqualify themselve if they have seen the image- does posting here for critique create a problem with that? I see others posting so I wouldn't think so but I wondered...
    Yes - if the judge knows the maker he/she must DQ themselves. So any image that is posted here cannot be judged by any judge that has seen it. I wouldn't worry about that a whole lot. There are so many different judges that the odds are small. Also - even if a judge does DQ themselves - it doesn't hurt your chances. An alternate judge fills in to score that print and there is no stigma attatched to the fact that a judge DQ'd themselves on your print.

    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    Does it matter when the image was taken?
    No. Used to - no longer a rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    How much editing is "too much"? I am going for a competition quality print almost straight out of camera but it seems there was a LOT of editing that made the collections and not much that looked like it was unedited which leads me to my next question....

    If I don't "enhance" the image significantly does that reduce my chances of getting a merit print?
    Hard question - and one that's been asked for the whole 27 years I've been around. Yes - there is a lot of enhancement going on. Yes its is absolutely admirable to try and get it all in camera. From personal experience - I have images with a lot of work earn merits. On the other hand my most rewarded image had no work other than printing darker for competition lights. My highest scoring print (not the same as most rewarded) had about 5 minutes of PS. So there is no definitive answer. You have to evaluate each print on it's own to see how much you might think about enhancing.

    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    PS... any other advice and "little known facts" I would love to hear.
    If you are using a border color - make it really thin - 1/8th inch or less. Black the edges of any low key print if mounted on white core board. If a filter or effect doesn't perpetuate the feel and story of an image - leave it off. The title should tell the judges what is most important to look at and can explain what might otherwise be seen as a problem. Ask as many knowledgable people as you can to express an opinion. When you hear the same thing from several sources, you can usually assume that it's probably true. And most importantly - what sells well doesn't always do well in competition and vice versus. Good Luck!

    Holly
    Holly Howe M.Photog., Cr.
    www.1224artdolls.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,643

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    Great questions Val. Thanks for asking them.

    And Holly, Thanks for answering them.

  4. #4

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    Hi Val,

    Congratulations, playing the print competiton game is very exciting and most times is very rewarding. More importantly, your image making will definitly improve year after year.

    I remember the first time I saw the print exibit and told myself that if they could hang then I could hang (hang =get a merit print) as well.

    A few tips:

    1. Find a local guild and run your images there first.

    2. Try not to use your relatives, friends or anyone that your close with as subject. There's always that chance that something might be mentioned that could hurt your feelings. Even if you think you can handle it, sometimes, there's that off moment that you dont expect.

    3. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on this. Most times, competition prints are just for competition and does not necessarily look good as displays. More importantly, display prints are not competition prints. Also, having 2 exibit cases is a must. Prints have gotten cheaper since digital but the overall cost still adds up.

    4. If you do post up your images for critique either here on during live mentoring, try not to overly defend or start arguing with the reviewer. Remember, in competition you don't get to speak in behalf of your piece, it needs to stand on it's own and the tittle is your only method of explaining the message behind the image.

    5. Print enhancement is almost a necessary component. I actually spent my mentoring time at imaging talking about this instead of bringing prints in. For professional print competition, we are expected to make the image the best that it can be and enhancements and creative presentation really helps. There are a lot of great straight images but most often they could be taken up to the next level.

    Ok, good luck to you and I'll be looking forward to seeing your images on display soon!
    Last edited by Marc_Benjamin; 01-21-2007 at 12:46 AM.
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC
    marcbenjamin.com

  5. #5

    Default Thank you!

    Thank you for replying and all of your great advice.

    Holly,
    Thank you for the great advice. I have been reading several of your critiques and both you and Craig are very thorough and constructive. I look forward to you tearing my work to shreds so I can put it back together again.

    Marc,
    Yep.. I totally get the "close to you" thing. My sister is an art major and gives excellent CC... and not always very tactfully. I catch myself defending because she is my sister. LOL. But for some reason I am ok with complete strangers telling me something is wrong with my work. I would rather have someone here tell me then come home with an embarrassingly low score. I am expecting not to get merit worthy prints for the first few entries but I don't want to have to pretend I don't know the photographer I assume your avatar is you... I think I sat next to you in one of the programs- you look familiar.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    I am expecting not to get merit worthy prints for the first few entries but I don't want to have to pretend I don't know the photographer
    Expect not to get them at your local during your first attempts, but it's not to far fetched to get merits by the time you enter nationals. My first ever case last year got 4 merits w/ a loan. Ryan, a friend of mines got 4 merits w 3 LOANS on his first case this last year. Minh La, one of my mentors also hanged 4/4 the first time he sent in. You just need to put in the legwork and time.

    Quote Originally Posted by valharte View Post
    I assume your avatar is you... I think I sat next to you in one of the programs- you look familiar.
    Yes my avatar is me, it was taken at the New Orleans convention. It's possible that I sat next to you though I only saw 2 1/2 programs... Hmmmmm, I didnt try to make a pass at the bar did I?
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC
    marcbenjamin.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Platte, NE
    Posts
    4,986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Benjamin View Post
    , I didnt try to make a pass at the bar did I?
    No Mark - that was the Lori doll you are thinking of. . . after she did her little dance. LOL!
    Holly
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  8. Default

    Hi Val,

    I went to the Print Competition 101 program at OMG it's early

    Glad you were at the program and hope it has helped encourage you to compete. We tried to cover most of what you have asked and those responding are doing a great job of enhancing it. The answers you are getting are right on.

    I do suggest as Marc has that you enter from the bottom up. Its how we do it. Most of the lower level competitions (local guild, state) allow more entries. We enter there and use the best scoring entries or replace ones that aren't worthy at the next level. By the time we get to the Regional Level we have images that we are more confident in. If you don't have a guild level create one of your own with 6-10 friends - acquaintences from an area around you and ask some masters/judges in the area to judge them for you. It will give you a good idea if you don't have a guild judging.

    The entire process is to grow your skills so that in the end your clients are getting better work and you are getting more for that work.

    Buddy Stewart PEC vice-Chairman

  9. #9

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    Thanks Buddy. It was very inspirational and definitely took some of the "mystery" out of it all. I am reevaluating all of my "favorites" and preparing to put them under lights for careful nitpicking myself before I share. ;-) I look forward to the honest feedback to continue to grow. It's time.

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