The things I like about http://www.zuzanas.eu.pn/zuzanas/ZuzanasPhotography/Pages/COLORED_PEOPLE.html#7, are the way the child seems to be looking into a window that is right at floor level, and we are looking back. I think we are helped by not being able to see the top of his head and parts of both arms/hands. The wide eyed expression makes the photo and it has the eyes sharp, which is critical. Every time I see the picture, my eyes go right to the child’s eyes, so I think it is a really successful photo. Just to see, try out a conversion to B&W, it might work like that. The image seems desaturated. The eyes are beautiful, but the lips, tongue and gums seem too muted, and the skin has a grey hue. He is already in grey and blue cloths and the decor seems to be mostly white, so you get a selective colour photo, without having to do selective colour, and the child is the coloured part , so it works out. I would try going back to the original photo, figure out what the correct white balance is, make sure the eyes stay sharp, and do minimal editing otherwise. If you are concerned about the hands being cut off, run a blur tool over both arms, up to about the elbows. Try to get more blur as you get closer to the lower border. You shouldn’t have to blur much. A swipe near the elbows and two or three at the wrists should do it. Keep a copy of the original photo, a copy of the one we have been looking at, and compare both to the new one so you can see the differences.
Jared Polin is an interesting character. I thought his critique seemed a bit lame. It seemed to consist mostly of looking at prints and claiming they were not sharp. That might be true, but I would have liked to hear more about the photos in terms of composition and what might be done to improve them. The critique didn’t help me grow and probably didn’t help the student much either.
Here is a link to a different set of critiques, by someone who has been at it a bit longer than Jared: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=PYltqSEJMyU&NR=1