NECCC – Image Critiques

Pre-Conference Image Critiques

By Bill Barnett, APSA, GMPSA, AFIAP, HonNEC
Jacob Mosser, HonPSA, EPSA, HonNEC
Sarah Musumeci, MNEC

WhenFri 8:30 am – 11:30 am, 40-minute session
WhereListed in your critique registration info
BringUp to 15 of your prints and/or digital images
SkillAll levels
Cost$42 by June 26 (Deadline to sign-up)

Note: Critiques run concurrently with Pre-Conference Workshops so you cannot attend both.

One of the special opportunities available to NECCC conference attendees is a one-on-one evaluation of your photographs (up to 15 images, prints and/or digital) by an experienced, accomplished New England photographer. Susan Mosser, s.jmosser@comcast.net, will send confirmation by June 26th including a form that must be returned by July 1st. You will then be contacted via email with the time slot and reviewer to whom you have been assigned.

How do they work?

You bring 15 images or perhaps a few more in case time is available. The images may be prints and/or digital. Prints are laid out on a table for review. The reviewer loads digital images from a memory stick into a computer and examines them using a program such as Lightroom. You and the reviewer then carefully examine each image. The reviewer offers suggestions on how you might improve the composition, technical quality or other aspects of each image. She/he will also consider your images as a group. You will also be able to ask questions regarding tools, techniques, selecting images, judging, etc.

Why do I need this?

Creative people don’t have absolute standards against which they can measure their work. Much of its value depends on how well it connects with another viewer. When you look at your own images, you remember the special experiences you had when you captured them or how hard you had to work. The person critiquing your images is only looking at the final versions and will probably see them differently than you do. All creative people, not just photographers, have a variety of ways to receive feedback. Writers rely on editors to help them improve while speakers depend on audience reactions. Musicians attend master classes to refine their technique guided by an experienced performer. We all need help from mentors to improve our craft. The critiques at the NECCC Conference provide an opportunity to receive knowledgeable feedback. Why not try it?

This was the first time I took advantage of the portfolio review. Bill was extremely helpful. I learned a great deal, and will happily do the review again. Worth every penny and then some. Am in the process of editing the prints I brought in for review in light of Bill’s suggestions. He was right!!! Each suggestion that I have incorporated has definitely strengthened the image. Now I just need to remember all that goodness in new photos. 😉 Blessings
Alice
My portfolio review was with Sarah Musumeci. I wasn’t quite sure what the expectations were prior to the review and spent quite a bit of time deciding whether to go print or digital with my portfolio and what size prints would be appropriate. I decided to bring 16×20-ish mounted prints prepared as I would for a competition to give Sarah an idea of my ability as a printer as well as a photographer. It worked out well for the kind of work I do. Sarah is, of course, a very accomplished and successful professional photographer and seemed to be a good match for me, as she does many kinds of photography, including architectural photography and still life photography, which are my main photographic interests, at least at the moment. Our time together was warm and friendly from the very beginning and the time flew by, so much so that she generously ended up giving me an extra half hour of her time. She affirmed many of the strengths of my work, but also made constructive criticisms, such as keeping things simple and keeping all aspects of a still life in character. She also shared some hidden features she knew about in Photoshop with me and suggested checking out Corel Painter as a software tool. Finally, she suggested checking out tilt and shift lenses and moving up to full frame. I have followed her advice to move up to full frame, but I am still a little intimidated by the cost of Nikon tilt and shift lenses and have not made that move yet. For me, the portfolio review was a great experience and left me feeling validated, with a renewed enthusiasm for making photographs.
Charles

Portfolio Reviewers

Bill Barnett

APSA, GMPSA, AFIAP, HonNEC

Proficient in both Mac or PC, and Photo editing. International Exhibition competitor, print maker. Extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of Photography. Photo Travel, landscapes, informal portraits, street scenes and cityscapes are his main subject matter. Judges throughout New England.

Jacob Mosser

HonPSA, EPSA, HonNEC

PC user only, International Exhibition Competitor, Print maker. Photographs anything but primarily nature, macro, sports, street photography and landscapes. Teaches on Nature photography and basics in photography. Judges throughout New England.

His approach to the review is to look at a participant’s entire submitted work to get a sense of the photographer’s style and interests before rushing in and applying the standard critiques. He lets them explain what they were trying to achieve with each image. Then, where and when appropriate, he offers suggestions to improve their work and their photographic vision, not only with a critique of the work, but also offering tips and how-tos along with where to go for certain photos to improve their photographic experience.

This is a great private learning experience personalized to fit your individual needs and questions. We had one attendee who signed up for the reviews three years in a row asking for the same reviewer each time and every year she listened to the comments, asked questions and worked to improve her work. Each year the reviewer saw great improvement in her images, taking her from a Class B competition/photographer to a Class AA .

Sarah
Musumeci

MNEC

Proficient in both Mac or PC, and Photo editing. Has own Photo Business shooting Bed and Breakfast Inns. Photographs still life’s, portraits, scenics, and architecture. Teaches and judges throughout New England. Print maker.

Being a portfolio reviewer is my favorite activity at the NECCC conference – year after year! Like a child having a great tutor, a good reviewer takes the level of the presented work and drives it up a giant step. The reviewer begins a few weeks before the conference by familiarizing himself/herself with the attendees/subject’s personal work. This information has been passed to the reviewer via the conference chair people – well before the actual conference weekend. And then during the session, the reviewer presents to the attendee, thoughtful and organized, step by step, suggestions on how to improve his/her work. Also, there is plenty of time to point out the strengths and talents seen in the attendee’s portfolio. This is an important part of growth – as building blocks and through a simple confidence boost in one’s abilities!

One of the reasons that I think the portfolio reviews are beneficial, is due to the personal nature of the review itself. It would take months and months – if not years – at a camera club to get this kind of personal attention and close-up scrutiny over an image. Judges have a limited time on competition night, often with hundreds of images on which they must focus and comment. And maybe only one or two belong to any one person. During a review at NECCC a reviewer may speak about 20 or 25 personal images- each in detail. Often too, the attendee will begin to see ‘negative patterns’ that need attention, but may not be seen otherwise unless looked at in groupings. One thing that NECCC attendees may not understand, is that they don’t need a “fancy portfolio”. Several people who have not had their portfolio’s reviewed mentioned to me that they did not do it because they didn’t have a ‘portfolio’. This review session just involves bringing a series of photographs (print and/or digital) to get feedback on.