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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> Score 5.99 or lower and want a critique? 04/28/07
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04/29/2007 11:57:16 PM · #1
Another challenge closure so I'll critique the first 10 images posted here.
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Disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed here are subject to my own photographic views, bias and prejudice. The wise photographer will be able to extract from these critiques whatever helpful grains of truth they may contain.
04/30/2007 01:10:50 AM · #2
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04/30/2007 01:34:39 AM · #3
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04/30/2007 10:14:37 AM · #4
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04/30/2007 12:06:25 PM · #5
Originally posted by Greetmir:

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Positives:
Very cleverly conceived idea; unique and fun. Great positioning of kitchenware with respect to its corresponding wood piece and the inclusion of sawdust is a nice touch.

Technicals:
Technicals are not as strong as they might for a composition as clever as this. Overall lighting, contrast and perspective are bland. Color is not bad, per se, but then there is nothing in it that attracts the eye outside the light blue.

The vignetting acts more as a distraction than as a support for the composition.

Sharpness is hard to judge. Though I can see some digitalization creeping in along sharp edges the sawdust itself seems very softly focused. Those two things counteract each other visually.

The Challenge:
This meets the challenge in a highly unique and cleverly conceived way. But the technical treatment is almost as though you expected the idea itself to carry the composition. The technicals held it back, particularly the strong vignette which seems to serve no purpose. Normally titles matter little, but something like "High Fiber Diet" would have helped the viewer to associate the kitchenware to the wood faster. First millisecond impression is that it does not meet the challenge.

Suggestions:
It is a great idea and there is much than can be done to bring all that out. Stronger and more angled lighting with more contrast would add considerable visual interest. Reshooting from a different perspective, perhaps closer to the plane of the table with some light background DOF might be worth consideration.

Dodge and burn on the wood grain to make it stand out more would create additional interest and visual support for your main theme. Proper focus is always a critical element in every photograph. To be honest, I have no idea how to handle it in this composition.

Vignetting
Vignetting generally speaking is a good addition for added visual impact of an image, but not the old fashioned kind we see in portraits from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Yours has more in common with that than not and it looks unbalanced and offset. You want to back off its opacity. Subtlty is a virtue with vignettes and generally speaking setting the opacity of the layer it is on below 18% is a good idea or and/or widening its feathering. We often see on winning images vignettes that have been added that are subtle in their impact but support the image visually very well. Somtimes we see in those images that the photographer has made "hand" changes to the vignette specific to the image. All that you might consider for your own image.
04/30/2007 12:09:07 PM · #6
I will be busy but return to these critiques later tonight. I will do the remaining ones and any others that may be requested up to the magic number of 10. ;) :)
05/01/2007 11:59:08 AM · #7
Originally posted by jprhea25:

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Welcome to DPC and congratulations on a fine entry in your very first challenge.

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Editorial Note:
Get used to low, unappreciative sounding scores. That is the DPC norm, which is in stark contrast to all the ravings about how great the photography here is.
End Note
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Positives:
Very well setup and nicely arranged. Technicals are a strength in this image. Would make a very nice stock photo.

Technicals:
Lighting, color, sharpness, perspective, and use of depth of field are all well done in this image. Brown tones are good. Bamboo mat for a background in support of the theme is a nice touch. The internal lighting works with the composition for added viewer interest.

The basket is cropped very close to two edges of the frame.

The Challenge:
Obviously meets the challenge. Its suprising when such a fine image finishes with a low score - 5.4. That means DPC as a whole thought the image is average. I don't. Looking at it I can find little to fault and would have scored it higher than the group. Technical and overal photographic quality makes it an above average image.

DPC voters are jaded to exceptionally good photography. The quality of photography has improved greatly on this site, but not the scores. Meeting the challenge with a technically good image is not good enough for them to justify a good score. It both has to be technically perfect and have some unique idea or specialized processing for them to give it the time of day.

Based on the clustering of scores it looks like the group as a whole felt most images were somewhat equally average and/or were not very excited about the challenge topic in the first place and gave only average scores to most every image.

Suggestions:
Overall, there is little wrong with this composition.

Oddly enough, you might consider cropping out some of the top and left side of the imnage and clip off the edges of the basket on the left and top. It comes very close to the edge as it is and that is a slight distraction. There are only two choices to address the distraction, either away from the basket to capture it further from the edge of the frame or crop it closer and crop out the basket edges. The reason for doing the second way is because the basket itself will be much larger in the frame and the detail you remove is not all the significant. Before deciding try it by just "cropping" it on the screen to see how it looks.
05/01/2007 01:39:37 PM · #8
Originally posted by dcb300:

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Please read the whole review before passing judgement on it. I sincerely hope I do not scare you away from DPC. You are new to this site.

Positives:
Patterns and browns on the bowl are the strength of the composition.

Technicals:
This is gonna be harsh. I'm sorry. It is the hardest full critique I've ever written at DPC.

Technically speaking this is a poor quality image. The framing with the bowl being cut off on the left side is wrong. It has excessive color noise. The lighting leaves distracting shadows and overexposed spots on the bowl. The content and composition are not well conceived for a viewer unfamiliar with its sentimental value to you personally. Looks like there is a single and harsh lighting source that produces distracting reflections in the bowl, your main subject. Sharpness is a bit soft. Perspective is snapshot like.

The Challenge:
Meets the challenge, there is no issue with that. A score of 4.1 means the group felt it was below average. I will be honest and up front. I probably would have rated it lower than the group which is unusual for me to do.

It is likely voters thought your image was just a snapshot.

Technical quality and "wow" factor are important criteria for DPC voters to give an image a higher score. They are used to seeing very high quality images. I'm worse. I tend to be harsher in my assessments of images with poorer technical and esthetic quality than the group.

Suggestions:
Obviously, there are some things that could be done to impove this image. Taking it angled with a different perspective is the first thing. Do something to produce a more diffuse lighting using indirect lighting through a windw and avoid using lamps and indoor lighting.

Noise reduction is needed. There is a free version of a program called NeatImage that could help you correct that, but requires you to download and learn to use it.

There are things you could do with post processing as well, but that depends on a lot of things like the type of software you use and basic knowledge and stuff like that. I will be willing to discuss these privately with you if you would like.

You can do better if you want
I reviewed your camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. It is not used much at DPC but not because it is not a good camera. It has a lot of capability and you can capture high quality DPC worthy images with it if you work at it. You could beat out the best images so far submitted using it and be #1 if you want to try.

If you want to take 'better' pictures you need a mentor. There are a lot of very, very good photographers at this site and they are surprisingly approachable and helpful if you only ask.
05/01/2007 01:47:30 PM · #9
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I was surpised this didn't do better, frankly. But you liked it! :)

There are some outtakes in my portfolio; perhaps I chose the wrong one.
05/01/2007 02:07:09 PM · #10
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05/01/2007 02:23:56 PM · #11
Hi StDavidson and thanks! This was just a fun one I entered... but let me know what you think :-)

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05/01/2007 02:29:15 PM · #12
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Thought i had a chance of breaking the 6 mark with this entry.
05/01/2007 03:05:33 PM · #13
Originally posted by eamurdock:

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I was surpised this didn't do better, frankly. But you liked it! :)

There are some outtakes in my portfolio; perhaps I chose the wrong one.

Just because I liked it does not necessarily mean that it is good. It just means I liked it. You will be even more pleased, however, because I am one of the three to give it a 10. I did not even look at the outtakes. Still does not mean that it is good by DPC group standards, but I'd like to think I am better at justifying my opinion than the average person from the group is. LOL!!!

Positives:
Very, nicely done minimalist composition. It has a black and white feel, not surprising for a snow image, but conveys the sense of winter, and specifically Wisconsin winter, exceptionally well.

Technicals:
The choice of framing is excellent. Looks like the leftmost tree matches the rule of thirds, but having both trees with the rightmost one to the right of the rule of thirds adds even more to the starkeness of winter concept you were after. The stark white background and minimalist concept works well with this composition adding greatly to your main subject. Sharpeness is good for this scene.

You chose to highlight aspects of the scene that support your theme. Whether by accident or design everything comes together to make this a fine composition. I particularly like the snow plastered to the trees brought on by previous blizzard conditions.

The Challenge:
Obviously meets the challenge. I'm never surprised by that nor do I think this or very many other images ever fail to meet that goal.

Technical photographic quality, especially the use of minimalism, is a strength in this composition. It got a 5.1 which is well below DPC average scoring. That might be because it did not have a lot of color and detail expected by most DPC landscape voters.

This is an image I'm pleased to have disagreed with voters on.

Suggestions:
Other than maybe going full B&W I do not have a single suggestion to improve this image, which is the final question I ask before giving an image a 10, and I'm debating that thought.

05/01/2007 03:07:36 PM · #14
Originally posted by Melethia:

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It is meaningful that an image finishing in the middle of the pact gets so many comments AFTER the challenge closes.

Positives:
A lovely, lovely abstract. Colors and technical quality are its strength. Use of depth of field is exceptional. Generally a pleasing treatment to the subject. The simplicity of the composition is a strength.

Technicals:
Not a lot to say. This is a top notch technical treatment to this subject. Color is exceptional. The sharpness to this subject is slightly soft but perfect for the composition. Offset positioning of the spoons works well.

The Challenge:
Fits the challenge exceptionally well, including the background inside of a dishwasher. You scored only slightly above average for the challenge and only about .3 above the DPC average.

Chances are good that your lower score compared to the quality of the image was because voters did not think abstract was a good choice for the challenge. Please, please... don't ever let that restrict your thinking. Yours is a great image. I did not vote this challenge but wished I had so I could have given this a 10.

Suggestions:
I'd like to to be intellectual enough to make smart suggestions for improvement, but I'm not.

Message edited by author 2007-05-01 15:36:55.
05/01/2007 03:43:44 PM · #15
Thank you, Steve, you made my day! All of my current challenges are scoring well below this one, so you'll be seeing more of them in these threads... :-)
05/01/2007 04:35:07 PM · #16
Originally posted by RiderGal:

Hi StDavidson and thanks! This was just a fun one I entered... but let me know what you think :-)

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Ridergal... what a pleasant surprise. I have missed your great sports photography.

Your blue ribbon winner in the original "Magazine Cover" challenge is a great image and a favorite I long ago added to my favorites list. At that time I was jealous partly because Jason Kidd went to New Jersey from my beloved Phoenix Suns, but we have Steve Nash now so I'm not bothered any more. LOL!!!

Wow! Yours is an 'old' image that got a 4.97 and I understand perfectly well why you want a review. However, why you'd asked for a review now will remain a mystery to me. You don't need any input from me. You are a gifted photographer.

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A personal admission
I voted this image way back in 2005 when it was entered and I used to vote images like everyone else. Back then I gave it a 6 which today I consider below average. I'm embarrased by that now.
End admission
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Positives:
You said you took this just for fun, but your instinct for great imagery shows though. Composition and inclusion of reflections in the glasses borders on DPC photographic genius. Probably a reflection of your training and experience at the time.

Technicals:
No surprise from you here. Technicals are PERFECT and at f/3.2! Sharpness is exceptional. Color is fine, lighting good, composition and detail are just right.

The Challenge:
There were a lot of very good images submitted to the Free Study you submitted to. Voters typically expect images in Free Study challenges to be exceptionally good with high "wow" factor, even the ones untrained in photography. That is the only reason I can think of to explain your score, but then I was a contributer to.

Suggestions:
If I could suggest an improvement I would.

Another personal admission
I am sorry for my contribution to giving this fine image a 4.97
05/01/2007 04:49:16 PM · #17
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I'd love a critique on this one. :)
05/01/2007 05:47:57 PM · #18
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please critique my first entry photo,thanks

Message edited by author 2007-05-01 18:10:40.
05/01/2007 10:28:32 PM · #19
Steve, Dear...your thoughts?

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Message edited by author 2007-05-02 00:52:51.
05/02/2007 01:12:36 AM · #20
Originally posted by stdavidson:

Originally posted by jprhea25:

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Welcome to DPC and congratulations on a fine entry in your very first challenge.

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Editorial Note:
Get used to low, unappreciative sounding scores. That is the DPC norm, which is in stark contrast to all the ravings about how great the photography here is.
End Note
----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Challenge:
Obviously meets the challenge. Its suprising when such a fine image finishes with a low score - 5.4. That means DPC as a whole thought the image is average. I don't. Looking at it I can find little to fault and would have scored it higher than the group. Technical and overal photographic quality makes it an above average image.

DPC voters are jaded to exceptionally good photography. The quality of photography has improved greatly on this site, but not the scores. Meeting the challenge with a technically good image is not good enough for them to justify a good score. It both has to be technically perfect and have some unique idea or specialized processing for them to give it the time of day.

Based on the clustering of scores it looks like the group as a whole felt most images were somewhat equally average and/or were not very excited about the challenge topic in the first place and gave only average scores to most every image.


Awesome, thanks for the critique, and the advice.
If I can return the favor sometime let me know.

I noticed the "free baby puppies" (to coin and advertising phrase) and/or a "WOW" factor of some kind seem to be what gets the high scores. *shrug*

I'm not really one who "plays to win" since I shoot for me, if others like too that's great. ;-)
Taking photographs for the "unwashed masses" (as one of my instructors used to refer to them as) might put food on the table but it dose little to feed the soul. *grin*

I joined DPC for the inspiration, the advice (I'm learning how different shooting digital can be compared to film), and weekly challenges to help me build a new portfolio, winning a challenge would just be gravy.

For the record I noticed voting seemed a little off when I first signed up on DPC. I even noticed some folks said they only enter Member's challenges because they felt the voting was more in tune with their expectations.

I admit I fell into the "5-6 is average" range of voting myself at first.
Now I approach voting from a 100 point scale, which makes 50-60 an "F-D" on the grading scale (and I see very few "F"s in most of these challenges) and I know very few people who would accept getting a "D" or an "F" as an acceptable grade. I have started giving photos a letter grade first and then voting with an appropriate number:

A+ = 10
A = 9
B = 8
C = 7 (this to me is your average DPC challenge photo)
D = 6
F = 5

I comment when I just love something about an image or when have a suggestion that might add another tool to that photographer's tool box for future challenges.


Just thought I would throw that out there in case another new member comes across this post.

Thanks again and all the best,
-JP

Message edited by author 2007-05-02 01:49:52.
05/02/2007 11:16:21 AM · #21
Wow - then I've gotten an F on every assignment so far! ;) And I'm well on my way to picking up three more...

05/02/2007 11:19:33 AM · #22
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05/02/2007 01:24:02 PM · #23
Originally posted by superdave:

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Thought i had a chance of breaking the 6 mark with this entry.

This is a fine first ever DPC submission particularly in a challenge with so many submissions. Welcome to DPC!

Positives:
Perspective and lighting are the strengths of this composition. Generally decent technicals and good composition.

Technicals:
Sharpness and lighting are generally good, especially in the clouds. It is very easy to allow overexposed areas in clouds... you didn't. Lighting on the tulips brought out detail that is the main attraction of the composition. The drama of the background clouds supports the image very well. The application of the rule of thirds adds to the visual interest of the image, especially since there is cloud balance of the right side.

The shadows generated by lighting on the tulips creates some distracting shadows. White might not be the best tulip color for this composition.

The Challenge:
Voters look for technical quality and "wow" factor in free study challenges. Your image has both which is why it scored above this challenge's average and the overall DPC average.

If looking for a reason why the image did not top 6 look no further than the slightly harsh shadows on the tulips and their white color.

Suggestions:
Reduce the intensity of shadows on the tulips. There are many ways you could chose to do that. If you have a different colored tulips try a re-shoot to see how it will stand out against the clouds. (Yes, I realize clouds will be different in a re-shoot. LOL!!!)

05/02/2007 01:28:50 PM · #24
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05/02/2007 01:55:45 PM · #25
Originally posted by ErinM:

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I see you've been registered for a quite a while at DPC, but don't often brave the stormy waters of image submission. ;)

Positives:
Well concieved and simple idea. In photography, simple and clean is GOOD! Framing with the window as the main background feature works well for the silhoutte. Technicals are good.

Technicals:
Sharpness is good, composition and framing to the rule of thirds to highlight your main silhouetted subjects are good. Including the kinetic art for balance on the left side is a nice touch and easily helps the viewer to know where the image was taken.

Edge framing is a little "ragged". The closeness of your subjects makes them hard to distinguish.

The Challenge:
Voters expect and demand only the highest quality images with significant "wow" factor in Free Study challenges to give an above average score. Yours lacks the "wow" factor voters were looking for and that is why it got a below average score from those given in that challenge, though it pretty much matches the overall DPC average score given. In others words, voters think it is an average picture.

Suggestions:
Though the framing is generally good the left edge is a little unevenly balanced against the right edge. You might consider cropping out just a little off the left side to achieve better balance with the right side.

If you could reshoot you might consider having your models stand further apart so their silhouettes are distinct and recognizable as separate individuals.

Probably the most significant thing to try to increase viewer interest and add "wow" factor is to better highlight the light rays emerging from the lower stairwell on either side of the frame. That lighting is a significant feature of the composition that is begging to be brought out more. Dodge and burn and/or specialized color post processing could be used to good effect to draw attention to that lighting and get a higher score.

Message edited by author 2007-05-02 13:56:34.
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