Hey guys! Happy snow day! At least I think it’s a happy snow day as I’m at WORK while Chris and the kids are having fun at home! Hopefully I can leave a bit early this afternoon and catch some sledding time with the kiddos!

I’m popping in to reveal the winner of our Fresh Class from JULY. Yes. We are about six months late on this one but whatever. We just gave them ample time to practice! And I have to tell you, we are SO proud of the four ladies who wanted to compete for a FREE session with us!

In the past we’ve let you guys all vote on your favorite image and this time we decided we wanted to do the voting ourselves. And although all four images are great, there was a clear winner this time and I hope you all agree!

So what we’re going to do is show you the image and then underneath will be our critique. We are being honest and hope that no feelings are hurt… ultimately we want you each to grow and get better. And when all you hear from family and friends is “wow! you take the BEST pictures!” then you stop really looking at your photos and trying to constantly improve. And trust me, I fell into that bad habit. I’d get so many compliments that I really thought I was good with my Canon Rebel taking snap shots of my kids! But DUDE did I have a long way to go! Even now, there are shots in every session I wish I had taken differently. Kim and I are constantly standing back with a critical eye and working to be better. So we feel this part of our class is important. To hear OUR thoughts on what you did well and what needs improvement…

First up, KATIE!

Adore this, truly!  Perfection in the composition department!  Super angle and great moment captured!  Your subject missed focus, which is hard on the edges with no focal point (having your subject this far on the edge is hard to take with a pro-camera and even harder with a basic DSLR because they have less focal points to use), but I’d still print this big for my house!
If we were shooting this for a client (meaning we were being incredibly picky about the shot being perfect and not just capturing the moments of our own lives) I’d have loved to have the tree shade gone so that Elliot’s shadow really popped out on the page. The tree just distracts me a bit. This for sure was a close second to our winner!
Next is CARRIE!

What a wonderful moment captured!  Swings and happy baby, doesn’t get any more sweet!  The lighting is on the harsh side and high in the sky which made his eyes fall in the shadows. As a rule of thumb you always want the eyes to sparkle and be in perfect focus as they are what draw you into an image so when they are dark it instantly takes away from the strength of the image a bit. Such a great moment captured, it just would have been a stronger image if the lighting were better.  BUT it’s really hard in the middle of a park in full sun and you captured a sweet moment!  Perfectly followed the rule of thirds too, which isn’t always easy when you are trying to focus on a moving subject!
Oh how proud she is of her new 3 year old status!  Great focus and clarity! Perfect really!  Would have loved to see this without such a competing background so she would pop out more!  Between the edge of the door, the doorbell and the brick it takes your eyes off her and the flowers that happen to match her perfectly… I would have loved to see her with just the flowers as a background or the trees in your back yard. Gorgeous+crisp colors too, I mean, does it get any better than pink & green on your blonde cutie?? Her skin tone is perfect too! You had all the technical parts great, it’s just the composition that was lacking a little… but overall hitting the technical is hardest so great job!
And the winner… COLLEEN with “Hit the Floor”!
Bravo!  I’m having a hard time finding anything to critique.  Awesome use of depth of field, love the leading lines of the alley, adore the moment you captured!   And all in a dark bowling alley!  Super job! The only thing I can even notice is that I think the focus is on his tush instead of his head, but in that dark of a setting it’s amazing! Truly, this is a seriously good shot! Technical and composition!
And I love what she wrote about the image…
To me this photo captures my 5 year old, Liam.  He loves to play games of any sort.

In his previous turn, he had gotten all but the one pin you see standing.  He wanted to get a spare so bad.   This photo allows us to be right there with him wanting the ball to hit that last pin.  And while you can’t see the look on his face, you can just imagine all the hope that he has.

As a 5 year old, he wants to be so good at so many things; he wants to be a grown up so bad.  Sometimes we just have to “hit the floor” and hope for the best.

Now Colleen and her husband are from St. Louis but live currently in New Zealand! So Colleen, we’ll let you collect your FREE family session whenever you are back in the state and ready! No time limit for you guys! Congrats… when I saw your photo come through it made my heart jump because I’d die to have a shot like this of one of my kids! Great job!
Our January Fresh Class is THIS Saturday and we can’t wait to meet this group of people! We’re not sure how we’ll run the next contest as we always like to change things up but the result we know will be the same… great images born of great passion! If you have an opinion on any of these images we’d love to hear it! Did we chose your favorite? Did we miss something? Are we idiots? 🙂 If you are a pro-photog we’d love to hear your crits as well!
Again, great job ladies!