Judging by Erin Corbett
The entries for the October Photo Show were simply superb! Nearly 100 entries in the 17 and Under section shows us just how much creativity and excitement we all have for this time of year. I saw fall-themed entries on every end of the spectrum - gorgeous tones of brown and orange, falling leaves, spooky setups, furry fall wildlife, pastoral stable scenes - and of course, a lot of pumpkin spice!
When I judge competitions like this one with relatively flexible entry criteria, I'm really looking for photos that instantly tell me a story. The winning photos were unique, had a good amount of detail, had elements that complemented each other, and clearly conveyed the passion of their creators. They were well-balanced, with a well-chosen perspective. I wasn't looking at things like perfect model condition, or the anatomy/biomechanics of the horses - this contest was about accurate storytelling through your photo and I am so pleased with the entries I was privileged to judge. I applied the same judging criteria (creativity, composition, accuracy, and adherence to the theme) to both the 17 and Under section and the 18 and Over section.
Hailey S., OHI really love the creativity in this setup! Here we have two bakers looking out their kitchen window, observing the kiddos at play. The family portrait on the upper shelf, as well as the whipped cream cups of (what I'm interpreting as) pumpkin spice lattes is a really lovely touch. Overall just very well done!
Eleanor B., NH
The composition of this photo is so well-done! I love the consistent tones throughout, and the choice of the perfect Stablemates model to top off the perfect fall latte.
Kiley C., AZ
This one made me laugh – not the straw man! The perspective is right on, and the composition with the speech bubble and the poor straw man's toppled head really rounds it out. I also appreciate the inclusion of a modern and a vintage model; that old Grazing Mare has perfect listening ears!
Emilie F., WI
You had such a great idea for this setup! Clearly a lot of work went into each element, and the pig on the table is just wonderful, as is the sneaky foal taking advantage of the chaos to score an apple. My suggestion here would have been to take the photo from a slightly lower angle, to be level with the doll's gaze - really understanding her frustration! I would also have loved to see the green fabric footing smoothed out along that back edge. With a few tweaks, this is a really great barn vignette and I hope you try again with future themes!
Ashley L., WV
Leave it to a mule to barge in and start sampling! You did a great job bringing the elements together in this photo, including the specks of pie on the mule's mouth! A few more details would take this to the next level, like perhaps a grassy background behind the mule, or a few more cooking implements? Overall super well-done – the woodgrain on the cabinets is a nice touch!
Trillian H., VT
This is a gorgeous outdoor photo of your barn setup! I love how all three models are attentive, in spite of the Halloween decorations surrounding them. I would love to have seen this photo taken from a bit lower down and a few inches zoomed out, so we can see some of the ground in front of your barn to help balance out the image. The fall decor on this barn is really well-done!
Sophie M., IL
This is a really fun photo! If you were to keep that chef hat and stage Dani with a pumpkin and cookbook that match her scale, you'll be right on.
Madeline B., WI
Overall this is a lovely photo. I appreciate the fall trees in the background, balanced with the fall sewing project in the foreground. I can't tell if your model is slightly out of focus intentionally and if he's supposed to be trotting up to us - but for a Photo Show like this, try to make the model the center of your photo next time. You have a great eye and all the pieces are here!
Madison M., OH
WOW! Wonderful use of your field of perspective here! I'd be up on two legs headed for the hills if I came across Thriller in a forest as well! I love that you did such a good job keeping the image focused on the pair in the near ground, while (somewhat ominously!) ensuring that Thriller is far away… but approaching. The tack looks to be well-adjusted and the rider doll is positioned nicely, looking where he should be. The reins are a bit loose, but for a scene where everybody is clearly taken by surprise, this makes sense! Thank you for entering this super-cool photo!
Sara B., MI
I love this Halloween/fall barn scene. Everything in this image is complementary to everything else, including the attitude on the model! The kitty in the pumpkin is a nice touch!
Rebecca G., MA
Nothing beats apple pie in the fall, especially when shared with an attentive friend. The colors in this image all work nicely together, and the story told here is right on theme. My only suggestion would be to make sure the model is focused, rather than the food items on the table. Overall the whole photo has a dreamlike quality, so I gave the fuzziness a little bit of a pass.
Savannah D., VA
This is really neat! I enjoy how you pulled in elements of the model's decoration and emphasized the light passing through him as clearware. It's overall a really pleasing image of a fantasy type unrealistic model, well done!
Marissa H., KY
This is a really lovely fall photo. I enjoy all of the elements, especially the pets and the balance of the sunflowers and other fall goodies. My only suggestion to bump this photo up in its accuracy would be to set it up so it's harder to tell just how tall that grass is in the background – most of it is blurred well, but that dandelion puff draws the eye away from your scene just a bit. I'm impressed that you have both dolls appearing to free-stand, as that is a talent all by itself - especially since one is walking!
Tish K., CO
I am in love with your skeleton cowboys. This photo is a little bit busy and the horse gets a little bit lost with everything else going on, but for your setup it mostly works out! I'd suggest removing the big fall leaves on the ground, or cut them down to be closer to scale. I love the spectator skeletons in addition to the two actively trying to get Eek's front end on the ground. This was a super-creative setup idea, and you did a great job!
Prue C., MB, CanadaSQUIRREL! I am in awe that you got a real, live squirrel to sit on your wheelbarrow for even a moment, great job!! One of your pumpkins is upside down and your model could benefit from a more detailed harness, but overall this is a really fun image and I wanted to make sure you got a well-deserved shout out! If you see this, please share with us the story of how you got this image!