BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Nicole Parent
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/9/2004

What am I doing wrong?

So, I know I'm not the first person on BP to ask this question; but, what am I doing wrong? I think I need some harsh critiques, because I can get Editor's Picks up the wazoo, but not a single finalist or winner! Someone help meeeee!! :(

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8/29/2007 6:44:52 PM

Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  Your compositions are really good. I very much like "Summer Morning", "Sand Dunes" and "Cades Cove"

Dinner with a view is a little flat. It needs some levels adjustment and color saturation.

I like "Jordan Pond" but it seems soft on my monitor.

The landscape category is one of the hardest (I think) to get a finalist in. There are just so many amazing photos that your photo really needs to pop.

All I can suggest is to boost and saturate your colors.

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8/29/2007 7:33:47 PM

Kai Eiselein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/21/2003
  Nicole, Are you saving and uploading your images as tiff files?
Size them to 480 on the short side, and make sure you oversharpen a hair. (Some of yours look a bit soft on my monitor, too)
I know EXACTLY how you feel, I've got a ton of EFPs, but I didn't get my first finalist until July's contest.
Keep on shooting!

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8/29/2007 9:03:05 PM

David W. Orias
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2007
  Well, quickly glancing at this month's winners, I would say what they all have in common is colors that we don't commonly see due to lighting, location composition and possibly filters. Your portfolio doesn't really have that "in your face" color on first glance. Saturated colors is a personal preference but I guess that is but one quality that may take a good landscape to an exceptional landscape.

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8/30/2007 6:37:58 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  This question gets asked alot.
Please consider this is a world wide contest and just how many entries there are.
The staff does a good job of TRYING to pick a winner, but there are many,many WINNERS out there who's work has not been choosen here.
I myself have submitted winning and published entries with out a mention here.
I will say again, consider submitting your images in local newspaper contest/fairs and exihibitions and then contine up the scale.
This contest is here for fun, it is in NO WAY a good (or is it ment to be)
judge of your work.
I do hope this helps,

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8/30/2007 7:01:50 AM

David W. Orias
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2007
  Debby makes an excellent point. If you want to shoot a shot that catches the Betterphoto judges' eye, then study the winners of the landscape category and try to emulate them. But what catches one judge's eye may not catch another judge's eye in another competition.

There is always some aspect of fun in any contest but being judged by other professional photographers does give the contest a added degree of utility.

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8/30/2007 7:45:55 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Nicole, I think you have a beautiful gallery! As Susan mentioned N&L is a really tough category to win in. Keep at it and I'm sure you will though. Gorgeous scenics!

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8/30/2007 7:01:40 PM

Nicole Parent
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/9/2004
  Thanks everyone for the suggestions and feedback. I know it's hard to really stand out in the landscape category, but I guess I'm biased towards my own photos - I know that the more I look at them, the more they tend to grow on me and then it's hard to look at them with "fresh" eyes as others do to decide whether or not it might be a winning image. Guess I'll just have to keep trying!

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8/30/2007 8:18:00 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  I don't think you're doing anything wrong, per se. I can identify with you, though, and think you are at about the same point artistically as I am.

What we share is photorealism... we are competent enough technically to capture exactly what was there, and to compose the image so that it is pleasing. I like my gallery, and I like yours, but I've had an epiphany lately that has led me to understand what is lacking in my photography, and now I'm working in fits and starts to try and fix it. Let me share my epiphany with you to see if it helps.

Photography as art (as opposed to photojournalism) is about recreating an emotion. Specifically, recreating the emotion we felt as photographers that inspired us to take the picture within the audience for our photographs. What does this mean? It means that photorealism isn't necessarily the goal.

Think about love. About how being in love makes you think the person you love is beautiful. In my opinion the feeling of beauty is an emotional response that combines the physical appearance with the emotional connection. That's why the women I've considered beautiful may not be beautiful to other men, and vice-versa.

Our job as aesthetic photographers is to make our audience feel the love, to go "Wow! That is beautiful!" That often means intensifying the colors, using selective focus, etc. It is why some portraits, even of unflattering subjects, are visually compelling. There are tricks, photographic sleights of hand that emphasize certain areas of the image more and others less, that draw the eye, or make it move around an image. I call it 'tickling the eye' and I think all good photographs are pleasurable to look at.

I know this is rather long-winded, but I hope it has been of some assistance to you. I hope it makes you realize that perfect technique in and of itself produces adequate images but not superlative ones... you need that emotional response to rise above.

Good luck in your journey!

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8/30/2007 10:46:14 PM

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