Can We Talk?

Et cetera

Can We Talk?

Photography Contests

I’ve always been an avid photographer.  Everywhere I went, my camera went.  I can’t tell you how much money I spent on film and development over the years.  Looking back, had it not been for me there would be no cute shots of my little boy in various stages of his young life, or of those swell vacations.  Face it, each moment that passes is a moment gone forever.  You can only hold tight to moments of your life and the world around you, through photography.

Three years ago, I became a member of the local Camera Club and am still in the Beginner’s category.  I had a slow start.  For the first year and a half, I had a 35mm point and shoot.  Other members had their SLR’s.  I had no idea about lighting, composition, the rule of thirds.  I had always just looked at a scene, decided I liked it and “click”, that was it.  Still I had the gall to enter photography contests, would you believe?  Naturally, my scores were low.

Then, I got my Canon Rebel DSLR.  Well, that was like learning the computer all over again.  All those settings.  But, I shot like a maniac, entered our club’s photography contests and, naturally, scored low – what is the pesky fstop, anyway? What do you mean depth of field? Geesh!  I read the instructions over and over.  I entered online forums.

By last year, the penny was beginning to drop – not as it would naturally – but in slow motion – defying gravity.  And what helped me to see the light?  Participating and observing the judging of photography contests.

Photography Contest – The Judging

First of all, the judges came from outside the club.  Some had quite a drive to get to the appointed place.  They were always seasoned competition judges.  Three judges sat side by side, each with an electronic clicker in his/her hand. For us, the observers and note-takers, we were required to sit quietly behind them, register their votes on our score sheets and write down the judges’ comments.

Sitting behind the row of judges I was amazed just how intricate judging is.  They look at the picture.  All is quiet.  Sometimes one of them will get up, walk up to the picture, examine closely and sit down again.  Sometimes a couple of hands would come up and form the “viewfinder”.  Then, without fanfare, the scores would light up on the console beside me. “Six, Six, Seven, for a total of 19” I call out.  The others write the scores.  Then the judges voice their comments, we write them down and we move on to the next picture.

When all the pictures have been judged, they decide first, second, third and runners-up standings.  When all that has been decided on, we have coffee and sweets, sit around and chat until we call it an evening and leave.

What I have learned from all this is that judging photography contests is not an exact science.  Judging photography contests is very subjective.  Here is an example.

The last contest of the season is called the Salon Competition.  This is where you enter the best you’ve done for the year.  Usually, you enter the highest scoring pictures from previous contests you’ve entered because the Salon is the best of the best.

Photography Contests – The Salon

Since I had the good fortune of observing the contests throughout the year, I was also involved in the process for the Salon Contest.

On this occasion, everything remained the same except the judges.  We had three brand new judges we’d never met before.  The judging process was an eye opener.  As you recall, this is the best of the best, so I’d seen these pictures before.  Now they are to be judged again but by different judges.

The results were dramatically different.  What had previously been lauded as amazing – now were being panned.  What had been previously panned – now was lauded.

The prizes on this occasion went to totally different photographers.

Photography Contests – How To Enter

Make sure that the basics are correct, such as horizon line is straight, the image is in focus, the lighting is pleasing, observing the rule of thirds. Oh, and give your photograph an appropriate title.  You’d be amazed how the wrong title will lose you points.

Apart from that, send what makes you happy.  If the photograph puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart, enter it.  Judges are only human and you never know what makes them tick.

There’s no use taking pictures with the view of winning photography contests.  That attitude will only stifle your creative spirit.  Make sure you’ve covered the basics and go for it.  Oh, and one more things before I forget.  If the contest requires a theme, then stick to the theme before entering.

Now, go ahead.  Be brave.  Click below and enter the photo contest.  You may just surprise yourself.
Click Here

June 19th, 2007 Posted by | Affiliate Advertising, Photography | no comments

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment