Well, my prints didn’t warrant a merit this year. The good news is that I didn’t cry. Seriously, though. I can’t break that 77 barrier and I thought I had a really good chance for this print competition.
WPPI 16×20 Print Competition
Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day. This image scored a 77. The judges’ critique was that the lighting was flat, and they didn’t feel that the facial expressions were quite right. They suggested that I should have intoroduced some artificial lighting into the scene and shot “lots and lots” of images until I captured the perfect facial expressions. I do agree with the lighting, but I don’t agree with the facial expressions. I think my subject’s face expresses happiness and joy.
This series of images was shot on a slope and that made post processing a little difficult for me in that, if I kept the slope in the image, it appeared that I shot this with a crooked horizon. Making the horizon a straighter line added a lot of duplicate cloning in the foreground which is now very evident to me. I may try to replicate this composite in the future and improve on all these points.High School Seniors. This image scored a 76. Upon entering, I knew I was taking a chance with the subject’s arm not being bent. Straight limbs are usually a no-no, but rules are meant to be broken. I did have a few other poses of this setup, but this one—with the straight arm, captivated me the most. It looked relaxed, and non-posed. I went with it and it was probably a bad decision because the judges did not like it. They did not like the pose, they said it looked unnatural. The also commented that the water was blown out. I’m not sure I agree with either, but art is subjective, so whatcha gonna do?
High School Seniors. This image scored a 75. This image was the very first image of the category and I think it may have been judged a little harshly because of that. The judges commented on the brightness of the water in the upper left-hand corner and wanted to see more of my subject’s mouth. In retrospect, I should have cloned in some darker water in that corner, but I kind of like the fact that I only see the upper lip and that it’s mirrored in the water.
All-in-all, I respect the judges’ decisions, but I do think this is a very hard game to play. While one image may get judged harshly for breaking a rule, such as limbs cropped incorrectly for example, another image may score really well but have committed the same infraction. I just have to keep trying to reach my goal.
I did have a bit of a revelation during the first day of judging. Looking at all the magnificent images in the competition, I realized something. My revelation is that I should shoot specifically for competition. Instead of trying to garner competition images from my paid client shoots, I should rather try to produce a competition-worthy image from a styled and planned shoot with something very specific in mind. Client shoots are pretty stressful trying to get all the wardrobe changes and props incorporated, while still trying to produce multiple images the client will love. I think if I were to narrow down my goals for a shoot, ie. one or two specific images, I would have to time to tweak it and work out all the kinks that would prevent it from doing well in competition. Time to start brainstorming.
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I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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