I want to start this post off with a sad face, but I will end it with a happy face. While none of my entries in the WPPI print competition scored the coveted “80” I was hoping for, I did score better than in the very first print competition I entered AND I moved up an entire division within the score key. To recap, here are the two divisions I scored in and their explanations.
76-79: Professional Average—Average professional skill and technique
70-75: Below Professional Average—Requires improvement in technique
For the record, anything below a 70 is not even required at a professional level. So, while my work didn’t score exactly where I wanted it to, the good news (happy face) is that all of the work I submitted is considered to be of a professional standard.
The highest score I received was for this image, titled “Window of my Life.” It scored a 77. The judges didn’t like the harsh lighting on the truck door and said my lighting, posing and post-production were lacking. One comment I kept hearing when I attended the live critiquing at the 2014 WPPI in Las Vegas was “camera awareness.” Images tend to score higher when the subject appears unaware of the camera.
“Basketball in the Street” scored a 76. The judges would like to have seen better lighting and a shallower depth of field.
“Angel” scored a 76 as well. The judges critiqued my lighting, exposure and posing and also suggested that I remove the distracting elements in front of the subject because they were not being used to frame her. In hindsight, I agree with the latter.
“Give me Wings” scored a 75. The judges would have preferred more flow and grace in this image. However, I submitted it based on its darkness and edginess. I guess that’s one of the challenges of photography. It is subjective, so there’s a challenge in getting the viewer to feel what you’re trying to convey.
“City Meets Country” scored a 74. A standard staple in my critiques by now, my posing, lighting and post processing were commented on.
“The NEW Trash the Gown” also scored a 74. According to the judges, my flash was a bit too direct and I should have done something to alleviate the distracting water droplets over the subject’s face. However, they liked the concept and advised that I rework it.
All of my wedding photojournalism entries scored a 74 including “Over Zealous Flower Girl.” My lighting was critiqued. I’m a bit puzzled by this one being that it’s during the ceremony and it’s outdoors using natural light. Most of the time, you are not even allowed to use artificial light during the ceremony, so I don’t know what I could have done to improve the lighting.
The judges’ comments for “Marine Escort” indicated that they did not feel a connection between the subjects, but added that I captured a great moment.
Another great moment captured in “Like No One is Watching,” but advised that I should watch for distracting elements in the background. I do agree with this and that’s why I really tried to make the background as low key as possible in post production. The judges also said that the story is not clearly being told.
So, there you have it. I didn’t meet my goal of obtaining one point towards a master photographer accreditation, but I did acquire some useful feedback. Now, I just need to figure out how to implement the feedback for improvement in my future work. The WPPI’s Second Half Competition has already started. I have a few weeks to decided what I want to enter.
If you’d like to see the top three finishers in each of the divisions and gauge the competition I was up against, you can click here.
Until next time, be positive, happy, and healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings worldwide. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography experience.
I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. 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. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love hiking, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and most importantly, I enjoy seeing my daughters happy!
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