Today I wanted to give you a glimpse of the editing behind “Silver Screen Kitty”, one of two of my Loan images in the 2017 International Photographic Competition.
Aside from some work in shelters, I haven’t had much luck photographing cats and certainly never in studio. I have a cat at home named “Boo”, aptly so because he’s pretty skittish and would never consent to a studio shoot. Imagine my surprise when I walked in one afternoon and found Boo drowsing in one of the prop chairs right in front of a left-over lighting set-up from an earlier shoot. I quietly went around turning all the strobes and triggers back on and grabbed the camera. I got one shot – this one, before he took off.
It’s nothing spectacular – that fur blanket is all bunched up around him but I was pleased to have finally caught a decent image of my skittish fifteen year old. I played around with it a bit and decided that it had more impact in black and white. I changed the crop, tweaked a few adjustment layers, and voila:
I needed another portrait to round out my case for our state level print competition so I decided to put this one. We call these “case fillers”. They’re not images we shoot for competition and they’re generally not images we expect to score particularly well. But when you’re paying to compete with four images and you only have three… you find another to get your money’s worth! I ran it by my mentor and she made a few suggestions – take out part of the chair arm and even out the background exposure. In our Spring State Print Competition, I submitted “Silver Screen Kitty”.
It scored an 82, was challenged, and re-scored at 84! This was a pleasant surprise and my case filler just found a permanent spot in my portrait case!
Here is the recorded challenge from the State competition:
I took the judges feedback to heart and went back in and made a few edits. I brought down the brightness on the right side of the image, cloned out the odd bump in the blanket in front of the cat, and toned down the texture of the blanket so it didn’t compete with the cat. It was also suggested that I tighten up the crop, so I played a bit with the warp tool in PS and managed to crop off the straight piece of the chair arm and shortened the body of the cat. Yes, that’s a fair amount of editing and sure, it would be great to get images perfect in camera but, especially with pets, sometimes you have to fudge a bit. This was the final image that I submitted to District Print Competition:
The image scored an 83, was challenged, and finished with an 87! Remember our print competition scoring goes like this:
Deserving of a Merit 84-80
Above Average 79-75
Below Exhibition Standards 69-65
An image that scores 85 through 94 is automatically sealed through the first round of judging at International Photographic Competition so that it proceeds directly to Loan judging. So Silver Screen Kitty was in the running for a Loan!
This image was judged as a Loan Image during International judging and will be joining the prestigious PPA Loan Collection!
SHARING IS CARING!