Help with Cert Images
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  1. #1

    Default Help with Cert Images

    OK- This is hard for me, but my images did not pass the review for certification.
    So far I think I have found 5-6 images that I should not submit next go around. If you have the time and would not mind checking them out, I would love all the help I can get. The images can be viewed on my website; go to Client preview and enter PPACert as the password.
    Thanks in Advance!!

    PS- I passed the written exam in Oct- so I really want to get this right the next time!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Fort Worth, Texas


    I looked at your images....There are four things missing in varying degrees, although they are not all missing in every image. Remember, you are asking to be Certified as a Professional Photographer.
    In general, I'm not seeing good posing, composition, lighting, or simple artwork. All you need to correct these issues is a little time to attend seminars, workshops, and conventions to see how these things are put together. Having passed the written exam puts you half way there.
    Don't give up...I almost failed the written part.
    Dave Cisco M.Photog, Cr., CPP, F-TPPA

  3. #3


    Thank you for the time you took to review & reply. I have been attending seminars for about 4 years now, and feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on composition, and posing- lighting is probably my biggest challenge, I am slowly working on this one. As far as artwork- I don't like PS and let my lab do most of my retouching. Could you please pick an example for me so I can see specifically what I am doing wrong? I have already identified some of the posing problems, specifically the family in orange, the senior in the black shirt, the kids in brown on the rocks. Are there any others that are not good for posing?

    Thanks! - Sheila

  4. #4


    Hi Shelia
    I took a look and I agree that you have a good sense of composition. Some of your uses of the horizontal frame are very creative. Posing could use some work. It looks like your trying to make the poses appear natural. Unfortunately once you've told them where to stand, where to look and when to smile, natural is already out the window. If your going to pose people, pose them. Some examples of specifics would be the hands at the sides of the bodies. Thumbs tucked in belt loops or hands slipped into pockets. These things can be pulled off but there are keys to making it look good. Joints need to bend. Elbows, wrists even hips. Hands should not be placed near the groin. I remember not to do this by calling it the "Adam & Eve" pose. It draws attention to the wrong place. If your going to hang thumbs in belt loops bend the subjects elbows and shift the weight to rest on one hip or the other to draw the hands away from the center. Hands slipped into pockets should also be used with bent elbows to draw the arms away from the body and avoid loosing the hand entirely into the pocket. I usually pull the hands back up to where the knuckles can bend along with the elbows. Shifting the weight to one hip or the other is called "Contrapposto".
    It allows one leg to come forward and bend at the knee while the other leg hangs back straight to support the body. The forward or free leg is referred to as the "Show" leg in the theatre. This would be the down stage leg for the Rockettes. By bending all these joints the lines of the body become animated. The lines created by the movement carry the eye and create interest. I'm harping on this because I saw allot of straight up and down hands at the side poses in your families. Another thing that would help with (what to do with the hands) would be to create more interaction between the subjects. Instead of Dad standing next to junior with his hands at his side, put one on Juniors shoulder and wrap the other around his wife's waist. etc. I did see some snugly poses in some of your images so I know you know what I'm talking about with those. I'll let Dave get back to you on lighting. He's better at it than me and I'd like to hear what he has to say. Hats off to you for passing the test and having the guts to tell us your submissions were not accepted. I think some people don't understand it isn't as easy as they think. You'll make it! I'd bet you were almost there this time. Good luck - David

  5. #5


    Oh what the hey, I'll tell you what I know about lighting. If you want to razzle dazzle other photographers with your lighting here's the Italian word that will get you there.
    Beware that this makes for lovely awe inspiring images that will unfortunately often leave your clients less than thrilled. I used to use this dramatic lighting all the time when I worked in fashion but once I started working for Joe Public I toned it way down. I can't tell you how many people said "why are those shadows so dark on my face" before I learned not to do everyday portraits this way. But it's beautiful stuff, you should learn and understand it. Some of your window light images are already there.

    Here's an image with about as heavy a ratio as I can get away with on a day to day basis.

    Last edited by David_A._Lottes; 02-23-2007 at 12:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Hudson, NH


    Speaking of chiaroscuro, got this great link tonight from that does a fantastic job of explaining chiaroscuro visually. Way cool.
    Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr. Photog, A.C. Ph., CPP Liaison, PPCC Judge

  7. #7


    David- Thank you very much for your reply; I have slowly been gaining an understanding of this type of lighting, and have been practicing it on my own subjects. I definately have an appreciation for it! Like you using it strongly for clients doesn't always fly. One thing that limits my images for certification is the fact that no "self assignments" are accepted. I have several images of my own children, that are fairly good examples of the Chiaroscuro principle- but I can't submit them.

    I agree with you that I can use a great deal of work on posing- I need to fine tune what I am currently doing- I always try to remember "if it bends- Bend it"

    Mark - Thanks for the link, it is very helpful! I knew about this type of lighting- just didn't know what it was called. I know to look for the triangle of light under the eye.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Axelson View Post
    I have several images of my own children, that are fairly good examples of the Chiaroscuro principle- but I can't submit them.
    Being honest about that is what makes you a pro!

    I agree with you that I can use a great deal of work on posing- I need to fine tune what I am currently doing- I always try to remember "if it bends- Bend it"
    I wouldn't say a great deal, just more practice. It's hard to remember to do all this stuff when your trying to keep kids and parents from getting fussy. Just keep that bends, bend it mantra you've got and it will start too come to you without thinking.

  9. #9


    Most of the images could be impoved by cropping them tighter. The images I would remove would be :
    7,10,15,16,17,19,20. By the looks of your site you should have plenty of replacements for these. Please let me know if you need specific suggestions on these.
    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 Sheila,

    I like the feel of your site.

    I agree with Dave about composition throughout the overall collection. The subjects could use more negative space to their advantage.

    Another thing that I noticed throughout the collection is that most of your subjects are facing straight on to the camera. Generally, a persons face photographs better if turned to one direction. Doing this shows that you have made the effort to compliment your subjects by photographing their better side.

    Also, I think Dave meant artwork in way that it doesent really mean complicated photoshop or painter work. Rather just common contrast adjustments, dodging and burning.

    Good luck...
    Last edited by Marc_Benjamin; 02-24-2007 at 04:43 AM.
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC

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