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Alicia in Sepia

By markst33    
This was shot a couple of months back and I entered it into the Open section of our clubs monthly competition in Mono section.

Now I don't mind being criticised for exposure/softness/composition/crop/subject matter etc.

But the judge marked it down cos he said "her elbows were too pointy" ????Grin

Thats a new one on me

Tags: Model Monochrome Sepia Portraits and people

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chase Plus
14 1.3k 273 England
18 Oct 2019 11:08AM

Quote:"her elbows were too pointy"

Well, that's a new one on me too !! lol
I do like the pose, sunglasses are a bonus here.

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dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
18 Oct 2019 11:14AM
Well, maybe he was struggling to find soemthign to criticise?

Perhaps they are a tiny bit bonier than ideal, but a girl needs a way to get to the bargains in the hat section during hte sales...

You could do a little cloning to take the corners off, very slightly, but my feeling is that life's too short for that. Sensible judges will love this. (I knew there was a reason I wasn't in a club!)
markst33 10 66 2 Ireland
18 Oct 2019 11:18AM
@dudler - I all for Post Processing as you are well aware but I really think taking the corners off elbows is a step too far GrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
18 Oct 2019 11:19AM
As I do.

Maybe somebody cloned the judge's eyes shut?
Chrism8 13 934 26 England
18 Oct 2019 11:32AM
Judges eh..........

I think its great, nothing the lass or you can do about her elbows, Before seeing John's comment, my observation also was to lighten top right and bottom right and left if poss.

Skin tones, lighting, pose and the lasses elbows Grin are all fine with me
dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 600 England
18 Oct 2019 11:33AM
Oh dear, camera club judges. That among other things is why I'm not in a club either.

My first thought on reading that was the same as John's, just somehting to say. I guess they have to say something in front of the group, but they shouild engage brain before opening mouth. Thry;re not there to be constructive (I guess some are) so rather than be destructive with silly comments they could just say 'it's a pleasant shot, good mono conversion'.
With all the furore about body image these days it's a crass statement to make and unkind to the model, who looks perfectly fine to me. With the typical demographic of camera clubs I doubt it raised a concern.
Basically don't take it seriously (I'm sure you didn't). Certainly voteworthy on here.

Honestly I can't think of 'imptovements' here, just alternatives. Eye contact is one idea, but not all portraits need that, so that's just one variation amongst varioius poses you'd do as part of the shoot
Likewise mono treatmnet. This is good, ithers will have their own interpretation which is a personal preference thing.
For example, I wouldn't go heavy grain on here.

Heck, I'd probably have shortlisted this for a UA Smile
Owdman Plus
3 5 6 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2019 11:52AM
If I was going to criticise anything it would be that the far eye looks soft compared the left one. Posing wise, I think the glasses shouldn't actually be touching her nose as it appears to have given a slightly bulbous end, but this is being extremely picky and I've no problem with her elbows. Perhaps the vignetting is a bit harsh too on the right, but that may be because you were after a sort of spotlight effect. Nicely converted to B&W.
I too am no longer a member of a camera club for the same reasons as John and dark_lord! Sitting watching someone pull an image apart is soul destroying and I found my photographs actually got worse when I was a member of my local club as I subconsciously adapted my photography to the comments I heard. The last one being 'I wouldn't have put this mountain top here!' on a straight image Smile
It's why we're on ephotozine.
markst33 10 66 2 Ireland
18 Oct 2019 12:10PM
I have to say I have been a member of my Camera Club for a long long time now and I do love it. It helped my photography immensely which I will be forever grateful to. It introduced to me to ways of using Photoshop and Lightroom and other software packages in ways I would never have figured out.

I take your point about finding that you were adapting your photography to suit judges comments and I found that I did that too - which is not a bad thing whilst you are learning - and I then found that I came out the other side of that process where I felt that judges comments were no longer helping me but were hindering me and I think everyone will eventually go through that process.

I have always said to people who are taking up photography that the best thing they could do is join a camera club and I still believe that.

I have started to be asked to do some judging at camera clubs here in Dublin and I actually judged on Monday. But I would refrain from making comments that don't help.

Thanks for all your replies.
banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4050 Canada
18 Oct 2019 12:51PM
Its a lovely shot. He was critiquing the model, not the shot.
Robert51 11 7 92 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2019 1:31PM
It works for me...
pablophotographer 8 1.3k 355
18 Oct 2019 1:36PM
"...and her wisdom tooth needs reworking with white filling, not black".

There was a judge in our company... would be nice to hear from him too.

"Never seen a green one before, hahaha."
That is how the infallible test joke ended.


dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 600 England
18 Oct 2019 2:03PM
Good to hear you get on well with your club Mark.
As a beginner there are some things you can learn, if encouraged (not all will be helpful) and yes you then need to forge your own style and path.

Quote:I would refrain from making comments that don't help

You're new blood Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2099 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2019 4:34PM
I have on several occasions been told that I have sharp elbows, particularly when trying to get a position for a shot. Maybe the judge has had a bad experience with sharp-elbowed women?

I am not and never have been a camera club member but I have heard stories...

The query that I would raise would be the position of the sunglasses, because my eye is torn effectively between two (very similarly shaped) pairs of eyes. I find that quite unsettling.

Otherwise, very stylish.

18 Oct 2019 5:50PM
I've never had anything to do with camera clubs, and I don't feel that's significantly curtailed my development as a photographer.
Sounds to me like your judge is a dickhead. Not that unusual. Critiquing the model... that's quite staggering.

They aren't even particularly pointy, for chrissakes.
pablophotographer 8 1.3k 355
18 Oct 2019 7:02PM
I do not find a problem with her elbows but you can crop them and have a "supposed nude" - depending if the cut is above or below the sparkling top she is wearing.
pablophotographer 8 1.3k 355
18 Oct 2019 7:03PM
Sorry, I meant to type "satin"
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2019 9:05AM
It is a fine piece of technical photography, but as an ex-camera club judge at PAGB level, I sympathise with him. The problem is often time and the need to say something quickly to suggest why that image has not won.

For me, the problem here is that the image looks very contrived and set up. The elbows are very prominent - pointy or not - and the whole bottom part of the image seems superfluous. I would have been cropping much tighter, but the comments then become chopped off arms.

Possibly a bit more directional stronger lighting too. That in use here is very conventional.

Camera Clubs: They can serve a purpose, and I had a lot of experience of them. The bigger ones can tend to be meeting nights for the old fogies - I'm one of them now! There can also be a lot of friction and squabbles.

However, my first competition back in the sixties was an eye opener. I thought I was good, having been trained on 5x4 cameras at work, but the judge, a chap I learnt to respect A LOT put one of my studio portraits up alongside a very fine advanced workers effort - he was an accomplished theatrical photographer - and, believe me, it was learn or pack it in!

As here, and this is a sort of camera club, you need to decide who to take notice of, and who not to. I singled out three or four people and watched their work and asked how they did things - it usually works, but not always.

I learnt a lot.

I was involved in starting a small club of enthusiasts - I was secretary for 13 years - but it then got the same as the bigger ones and I gave clubs up in the mid-nineties.

Use them correctly, choose the right one and they can be good.

If you want to see the bad side, look at some of the work in the general gallery on this site that can get multiple awards! Many would be in my delete bin! That's the 'Mutual Appreciation' thing.

dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
19 Oct 2019 12:23PM
Paul knows a lot about clubs and how they work, from the inside, and there's wisdom there.

Also, almost a throwaway comment, that may be the way to understand the judge's motivation. Paul says the picture's contrived (as many portraits are - nothing wrong with that), and part of the contrivance is that the elbows are stuck out quite a bit. That makes them prominent, and so possibly attracting comment...

Clubs vary - and so do photographers. So it's good advice to try one or two, and see. My ideal would be a club without competitions: I've never worked out a way to be competitive without becoming uncivilised, myself.
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2019 5:25PM
Like many things - try to do it yourself and see how difficult it can be. I used competitions to see how new work was received as I do here on this site (As I said before, this is also a 'club'.), then consider submission of single images or sets to libraries. I knew the judges, and thus who could be sensibly listened to, and who could not, but talking to club members who re also proven experts in their field can be very beneficial.

It is also possible to play the judge. I will admit to winning a few club trophies in my time by knowing the judge and what they liked. That applies to any competition and is more successful with single judges than panels. It also applies to RPS panels!

The bottom line is to satisfy yourself, but some basic rules will apply if you wish o be more generally accepted. Quality is the main in my opinion. Master the technology, then look at composition, then content.


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