BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘photo critique

Picture Perfect!: National Park Foundation Announces 2008 Winners of the Share the Experience Photo Contest

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

The National Park Foundation (NPF) recently announced the 2008 winners of the Share the Experience Photo Contest, the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal lands, sponsored by NPF in partnership with Olympus and the federal land management agencies. The photo contest encourages Americans to explore and experience the best of our country and share the experience with all Americans when they enter their souvenir photos online.

“We’ve been hosting this contest for nearly a decade and it has become an important way that we connect Americans to their parks and federal lands,” said Vin Cipolla, Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation. “We’re proud to be working with Olympus and all the federal agencies to inspire Americans to discover our nation’s most treasured places.”

The winners of the 2008 Share the Experience Photo Contest are:

Grand Prize Winning Photo: Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Photographer: Mark Cromwell, Enid, OK

Grand Prize image by Mark Cromwell of Enid, OK.

Grand Prize image by Mark Cromwell of Enid, OK.

Mark Cromwell (60) has spent much of his life exploring the backcountry of America’s protected lands. His winning photo was taken during a bird-watching trek with his wife. Of his photo, Mark said, “The day I took this shot we were up before dawn to catch the morning light. A few cranes settled in shallow water in front of me and it was serendipity!” As the Grand Prize winner, Mark’s photo will grace the cover of the 2010 America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass. He will also receive a trip to a National Park of his choice and an Olympus E-3 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera kit.

Second Place Winning Photo: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Photographer: Dan Sorenson, Glendale, AZ
Dan Sorensen (31) became passionate about photography at a young age with the support of his parents and a few disposable cameras. Of his winning photo Dan said, “A group of our friends rented a houseboat on Lake Powell. This photo was taken just as the sun was just about to dip behind the western walls of the canyon. My friends were frying up some striped bass around a campfire and breaking out acoustic guitars. Me, I was taking pictures.” As the second place winner, Dan will receive an Olympus E-520 DSLR kit.

Third Place Winning Photo: Rocky Mountain National Park
Photographer: Eric Feder, Aurora, CO
A retired school teacher, Eric Feder (42) and his wife have enjoyed traveling and taking pictures throughout the country. Of his winning photo of Rocky Mountain National Park, Eric said, “My photo is one of many I took as a bull elk was testing the waters. After the elk had drunk its fill, the magic was over, but the experience was ours to share.” As the third place winner, Eric will receive an Olympus SP-570 UZ.

Fourth Place Winning Photo: Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Photographer: Kuang-Yu Jen, San Francisco, CA
Kuang-Yu Jen (31) says her interest in photography stems from her appreciation of the natural world. Of her winning photo, Kuang-Yu said, “I had been trying to find some time to get away from the city to do some nature photography so I picked up my gear and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Headlands. The sun, the clouds, and the light came together perfectly and allowed me to capture this spectacular moment.” As the fourth place winner, Kuang-Yu will receive an Olympus Stylus 1030 SW.

To view the 2008 winning photos and honorable mentions visit www.nationalparks.org/photocontest.

Sponsored by Olympus Imaging America Inc. and the National Park Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, the Share the Experience Photo Contest showcases the more than 500 million acres of Federal Lands and draws entries from all across the United States.

The 2009 Share the Experience Photo Contest will launch on May 4, 2009.

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Photo Critique 15: ‘Untitled,’ by Diego M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Diego, my friend in Miami.

"Untitled," by Diego M. of Miami, Florida

"Untitled," by Diego M. of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Diego, it’s too bad you don’t take photographs as much as you should. You have a good eye and you’re very creative. I wish you would get interested in photography again because I think you could have a real talent for it. I really enjoy this image because of its relative simplicity. It’s a nice, clean image with a nice use of light and shadow. The subject has an interesting texture with plays of the texture of the background it rests on. I also like the use of color in this image. It has a nice warm tone that helps tie the whole image together.

This is a nice image. Good job.

Improvements
Here are a few improvements I think will make the image better: First, there is a stray straw coming from the top of the hat on the upper right side that is driving me nuts. A little Photoshop and voilà, that’s gone.

In this edit, I used a warm filter over the entire image then added a soft filter to give it a dream-like appearance. (Photo Credit: Diego M. with edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

In this edit, I used a warm filter over the entire image then added a soft filter to give it a dream-like appearance. (Photo Credit: Diego M. with edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

Secondly, I think you need to give the subject a little more context. Where is it? Why is it there? Who does the hat belong to? What happened? If you can answer one or more of these questions, then you have the opportunity to make an image the audience can better connect to.

Finally, I think you should edit the photo so the colors standout a little more.

Digi, keep up the good work. Get your camera and go shoot some more.

Thanks for the submission. Good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 24, 2009 at 7:35 am

Photo Critique 14: ‘Perfect Hideaway,’ by Adri O.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Adri, my friend in Venezuela.

"Perfect Hideaway," by Adri. O. of Venezuela

"Perfect Hideaway," by Adri. O. of Venezuela

General Overview:
Adri, I really enjoy this image. I can see this image being used for advertising. It has a nice, weathered look. I love the texture on the weathered beach chair and the way it compliments the texture of the rocks. I also like the use of color in this image. It’s a nice, soothing blue tone that helps tie in the beach chair, the ocean and the sky.
This is a nice image. Good job.

Improvements
Here are a few improvements I think will make the image better: First, I think the image would look better if the beach chair filled the entire bottom right corner of the image. I think this will help set the tone for the image a little better. I also think it would help tie in the blue in the chair, the blue in the sky and the blue in the sea a little more.

Cropping and some adjustments to the color saturation makes the image standout a little more. (Photo Credit: Adri O., with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

Cropping and some adjustments to the color saturation makes the image standout a little more. (Photo Credit: Adri O., with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

Secondly, I think the hotspot in the middle of the chair needs to be toned down just a little. Perhaps the use of a polarizing filter or a neutral density filter will help. If you don’t have a ND filter or a polarizer, then I would suggest a little editing in Photoshop help smooth out the blown highlights.

Finally, I think you should edit the photos so the colors pop a little more.

Adri, keep up the good work. Your portfolio is expanding.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 21, 2009 at 7:06 am

Photo Critique 13: ‘Beach Tower,’ by Gabriel M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Gabriel, my friend in Miami, Florida.

"Beach Tower," by Gabriel M. of Miami, Florida.

"Beach Tower," by Gabriel M. of Miami, Florida.

General Overview:
Gabriel, this is a nice image that allows the viewer to take a break when they look at it. Architectural photography isn’t easy and this is a good attempt at making an image with appeal.
This is a nice image. Good job.

Improvements
Here are a few improvements I think will make the image better: First, the building looks like it is leaning. This is called perspective distortion and it happens when you tilt the camera up to capture the entire building. Those photographers who specialize in architecture photography use specialized lenses – called tilt-shift lenses – to stop this distortion from occurring.

Light editing removed the person from the beach and brought the color saturation out. (Photo Credit: Gabriel M. with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

Light editing removed the person from the beach and brought the color saturation out. (Photo Credit: Gabriel M. with edit by Jeremy Schneider)

Secondly, I think the person at the bottom corner of the image is distracting. If you wanted to incorporate both a person AND the building, it may have been better to get closer to the person and use a wide-angle lens so you can capture the whole scene.

Finally, I think you should edit the photos so the colors pop a little more.

Gabriel, keep up the good work. It’s good to see you try different forms of photography

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 19, 2009 at 6:37 am

Photo Critique 12: ‘Cousin,’ by Daniel M.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Daniel, my former student in Miami, Florida.

"Cousin," by Daniel M. of Miami, Florida

"Cousin," by Daniel M. of Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Danny, this is an overall nice image that has a postcard/advertising feel to it. You do a great job incorporating the subject and the background while at the same time keeping the subject apart from the background. I know it sounds strange that a subject can be both a PART of the background while SEPARATE from it, but it’s a technique used when you don’t want to lose the subject in the background but want the background to shine through as well.

This is a nice image. Good job.

Improvements
Here are a few improvements I think will make the image better: First, the people in the ocean need to be removed. Even though you’re using a shallow depth-of-field, I think they come out just a little too much and distract from the image.

The image with minor corrections. The person in the ocean is removed and the subject is more burned in. (Photo Credit: Daniel M. with edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

The image with minor corrections. The person in the ocean is removed and the subject is more burned in. (Photo Credit: Daniel M. with edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

Secondly, I think you need to burn in her face and body a little more. It’s just a little too underexposed.

Finally, I think you should remove a little bit of the stray hair. Some stray hairs makes the photo look whimsical. Too much and it’s distracting.

Danny, keep up the good work.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 17, 2009 at 7:35 am

Photo Critique 10: ‘Waiting for the Magic Bus,’ by Carla B.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Carla, my friend in Miami, Florida.

"Waiting for the Magic Bus," Carla B., Miami, Florida

"Waiting for the Magic Bus," Carla B., Miami, Florida

General Overview:
Carla, although you do great portrait work, I really like when you leave your “comfort zone” and try something different. The concept for this image is great … it’s an image that really makes the viewer create a story. You give great visual clues and set a nice tone with the image. I think you have a great eye for visual storytelling.

It’s important to give your viewer the ability to let their minds go off the beaten path and dream up a story behind an image. I believe you’re well on your way to doing that with this image.

Good job.

Improvements
Here are a few improvements I will suggest: First, remove the lights that are popping through in the background. I think it’s a little too distracting.

A quick edit removing the lights in the background and playing with the color. (Edit by Jeremy Schneider, photo credit: Carla B., Miami, Florida)

A quick edit removing the lights in the background and playing with the color. (Edit by Jeremy Schneider, photo credit: Carla B., Miami, Florida)

Secondly, I would add a little more light to the subject. An off-camera flash placed to the viewer’s right and directed at the subject would have helped a little.

Finally, I think I would have toned the colors a little more to mute them, with the exception of the red. It might look a little better if all the colors were muted and the red bus station frame popped.

Carla, keep up the good work and keep pushing yourself OUT of your comfort zone and try new things.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Photo Critique 7: ‘Diego II,’ by Carla B.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Carla, my friend in Miami, Florida.

'Diego II,' by Carla of Miami

'Diego II,' by Carla of Miami

General Overview:
Carla, I love your portrait work because you always seem to capture an interesting aspect of your subject. Portrait work is tough because you have to find new and interesting ways to make an image, which is something you do quite well. Portraits involve finding a way to express a concept or emotion while making a visually-appealing image for your audience. This is something you do quite well.
I like the concept of this image because of its simplicity. You’re forcing the viewer to explore the subject but you’re not being “pushy” about it. Although the subject is right in your face, as a viewer, you feel a connection to the subject and not a sense of overpowering.

Great job.

Improvements
There are a few improvements I want to suggest. First, you need to work on getting the model to give you more expression. Give your model a theme or topic and let him try different facial expressions and body language to communicate the emotion. Secondly, I’m not sure about the greenish cast you gave the image, I’m assuming, in post production. This is more of a personal preference than anything and I could say I don’t like the greenish cast and 20 other people will say they do like it. But I would recommend experimenting with different looks. Finally, I would suggest experimenting with different lighting. I think directional lighting would have helped make this image “pop” a little more.

One more tip: Trying playing around with the ISO sensitivity. Perhaps a grainy look would help make a portrait like this standout a little more.

Carla, you always do a great job and I always look forward to seeing images you’ve produced.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com.

Written by jeremyparce

March 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm