The Viewfinder

Workshop Review by Brenda Kieso

28 May 2024 4:10 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

Merit Image Review: Crack the Code   

                                                     May 19. 2024

Workshop presented by Karen Butts


Attending Karen Butts’s  recent PPGH workshop, Merit Image Review: Crack the Code,  was an enlightening experience that provided a deep dive into the essential elements of crafting a Merit Image. Karen emphasized the importance of color harmony, ensuring that all hues within the photograph complemented each other to create a visually pleasing and cohesive image. She demonstrated how value, or the range of light and dark in a photo, can dramatically influence the mood and depth, making certain elements pop. We even went upstairs to her studio, and did a hands-on activity on color harmony. It was a fantastic way to keep our interest, and to give us an opportunity to process what we were learning.



Technical aspects like hue and value were meticulously covered. We learned how different hues can evoke various emotions and how manipulating value can add dramatic effect. For instance, a high-contrast image might create a sense of urgency or intensity, while a photo with subtle variations in value can convey tranquility or mystery.  Composition was another area of instruction, where we learned to arrange elements within the frame to guide the viewer's eye and maintain balance. Each photo we reviewed showed the power of a well-thought-out composition in enhancing the overall narrative of the image.Impact and storytelling were also covered.


We had an opportunity to go upstairs again, and Karen showed us her one light set up in her camera room, as well as where she photographs her natural light newborns.



In the last part of the workshop.  Karen offered each participant suggestions on some of their images on how to improve them for Merit Image Review. She also showed us how to create a presentation that not only enhanced the image, but made the image stand out while meeting the high standards expected by judges and viewers alike.


This was one of the most engaging and informative workshops I have attended.  Karen’s knowledge, expertise, and kind heart are unsurpassed.



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