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Thread: At your mercy
01-25-2007, 02:39 PM #1
At your mercy
I have a portrait that I would like to enter in competition but I have never entered anything before and I would like your comments. I connected with this picture so I'm not very objective about its quality and if it is really competition worthy. The other thing is that it was taken while shooting the children of a local daycare. This was not setup, the shot just presented itself so I took it. I call it "A Million Miles Away" but if anyone has any other ideas for a title, I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks for looking
01-25-2007, 03:11 PM #2
Roger - I am sure that you love this image because it probably speaks to you about the personality of the children. You say you are very connected - are these your kids?
As far as competition - this image would have some challenges. The heads are stacked almost one on top of the other and the lower girls ponytail is actually covering the chin of the upper girl. Also notice that the blonde girls head is much larger than the brunette - a sign that you used a wide angle or relatively short lens. The girls are not relating to each other in anyway. In fact this is actually two seperate images. The highkey chair on the lowkey background is a real killer as far as competition is concerned.
BUT!!! AHA! you have nice directional light! And it is short light! Good job! So you have a good foundation to start with. This print is a miss but keep trying and you will get there.
01-25-2007, 03:34 PM #3
Thanks Holly. I guess I'm just not close enough for the competition side of this yet as shooting for competition and shooting for the client are two different beasts. I think I'll just sit and watch the print competition again at this year's Illinois convention.
01-25-2007, 05:19 PM #4
Try this ... when doing a client session, do a few extras just for you. Use other angles and poses. Create some from much farther away. If the client objects just tell them it is not costing them anything ... just letting your creative side out.
01-25-2007, 06:58 PM #5
01-25-2007, 10:25 PM #6
Ok so now I am really confused . I guess what I was thinking after Holly's comments is that this was going to take a specific shoot, geared only to produce a competition print, and that for the most part a random shot was not going to be good enough ( as evidenced with my shot). It would be something that I have planned ahead of time, set everything up the best that it can be and then shot with the competition print in mind, nothing else. With your comment (which I do appreciate) is sounds more like it should be spontaneous out of a regular client encounter and, oh, could I do a couple of shots for me. It would seam as though the spontaneous shots would be very difficult to get a competition quality print where the planned event would have a much better chance. Do you Masters really have that vision? Do most people that enter competition get their shots at the end or is the session more driven to get the competition print? This has to be more than I got lucky (given that YOU have a lot of skill that I have not developed yet) and got a competition quality shot from a paying client.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I believe what Holly said is exactly dead on the money with this shot. But with the two children in this shot, I don't think that I could have moved quick enough so the two heads were not stacked or the wisps of hair were not in front of the other child. It was an instant where I saw the look on the girl in the back and shot it. Or do I just write this off to a situation where I almost got it and maybe next time.
I think I'm making this worse so I'm just going to shut up now. thanks both of you for your comments and time.
01-25-2007, 10:41 PM #7
I think the point of print competition is to make you think about this stuff on a daily basis so that your everyday work does get to that point. Three of the best photographers I know in print competition rarely photograph something just for competition. They have the fundamentals so finely tuned that they are producing the best possible images each and every time. Let me put it to you like this... I knew about directional lighting, but the first year I entered prints I got burned on my images being too flatly lit. I won't ever forget that and I make sure that I pay close attention to my lighting on every shot I take now.
That being said, their are photographers out there that enter these things that are alot busier and better than me and you combined. In our state, we can enter 12 prints and some of them agonize over finding just 12 to use for competition. But their is a difference in above average and "Merit Worthy"... Merit Worthy being the cream of the crop. Some of the best photographers our there still get that occasional 79. That being said, hearing this from me is like being told how to play football by the Raiders... I haven't merited yet in two years. But I can promise you I am a better photographer today than I was two years ago because of it.
01-25-2007, 10:45 PM #8
Roger - As Jack asked me once - "Don't you have any easy questions?"
Some people shoot specifically for competition. They get a model - pick a location, choose the outfit etc etc. Some people submit images from client files. Keith got his Master's all on images from clients sessions. Maybe that's why it took him 4 years of entering before he ever got a merit. Whether you "set up" the image strictly for competition or you use an image from a session - it's a learning process all the same. Hopefully the goal is that all your regular everyday work becomes "merit worthy". I understand about the fleeting expression on this little girl, and not having time to move the heads, but even if you could have - this image still has other challenges - like I said highkey prop, low key background, distortion between headsizes from too short focal length, girls with two totally different "feelings' in their expressions and not relating in any way to each other just to name a few issues. So as your skills improve as a photographer - you will correct those things without even thinking about it. Then your regular work becomes nearer and nearer to what will recieve a merit in competition. But if you choose to shoot specifically for competition - the process of thinking and then creating the image will also be a learning process.
You ask if Master's really have that vision. The answer is a qualified yes. remember when you first learned to drive - and you had to concentrate on every little thing. Then after driving for awhile - alot of it was automatic, you don't think - "hey there is a stop sign coming up I need to start put-t-i-n-g o-n t-h-e b r a k e . . . . now!" Maybe we have vision - but more likely we have trained ourselves to look for things - and we've done it so much, we now do it by instinct.
I hope I have answered what you were asking - and not just confused you more!
01-25-2007, 10:47 PM #9
Dan was posting while I was typing - he said it better than I did.
01-25-2007, 11:08 PM #10