Classic Landscape Category Winner: 2015 Better Photography Photograph of the Year Award
Luke Tscharke's amazing landscape photograph appeared in several competitions towards the end of 2015 - and yes, this is a good idea, especially because there were different judges for each of the competitions.
I suggest you approach photography competitions as a game. After all, it's only a matter of opinion. Most importantly, you need to like your own photographs and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Of course, anyone can take a photograph, but does it have value? Do other people enjoy viewing it? Could you do it better? If like me you are interested in improving your photography, then entering photography competitions is a great way of getting honest feedback from people who have some expertise.
However, don't assume the judges from just one competition are right! Remember, the results of a photography competition are only a matter of opinion. Years ago, I entered a photograph in two competitions. At the local camera club, the judge told me the photo had no artistic merit and I should consider giving up photography. At the Sydney International Salon, it won first prize. Two different judges, two different opinions. Which one is right?
So, if you were to enter your photograph in two or three competitions and you received low scores in all of them, then you have two choices.
Peter Eastway is one of the key photo leaders at the Australian Geographic Whitsundays True Colours Photo Workshop. He will be joined in Queensland by Bruce Pottinger and Frances Mocnik next year, 26th April – 1st May 2016.
The workshop is suitable for photographers of all levels and is set in the Whitsundays, a place of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef area. And, when you're not pondering your depth-of-field or shutter speeds, you can take advantage of all that Airlie Beach has to offer such as fine dining at one of the bars and restaurants, or simply lying by one of the pools.
The workshop covers landscape, aerial and portrait photography skills, as well as digital processing and printing. The price is $2849 and includes registrations and all workshops, aerial photography (a 30 minute helicopter flight), field trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, ocean rafting and two dinners! Don't miss out!
For further information and bookings, click here.
One of many amazing analogue prints in Tim Rudman's beautiful tome, Iceland: An Uneasy Calm
Tim Rudman will be a familiar name for darkroom workers and, in many ways, his style of work has been a huge influence on modern digital 'filters' and aesthetics, too. Based in the UK, Tim has written definitive texts on black and white print toning as well as the elusive art of lith printing. Both were beautifully illustrated with emotive and intriguing photographs - and I was very jealous of most of them!
It's interesting to observe where digital photography has gone, producing ready-made 'filters' that mimic the techniques mastered by Tim and a handful of other darkroom exponents.Yet despite the obvious attraction of digital, there's something special about a hand-made darkroom print, especially at the hands of one of the world's leading exponents.
Tim sent me a copy of his latest book, Iceland: An Uneasy Calm. I can remember him posting some complimentary messages on my Facebook page after my recent trip to Iceland, but after looking at his work, I think he was just being kind! The photographs are sensational.
Apart from the amazing subject matter and the sublime composition, there are a number of aspects to Tim's work that really appeal to me.
Overall Winner: 2015 Better Photography Photograph of the Year Award
Ice and snow are Kath Salier's point of difference in her winning image. The photo encourages us to ask questions - what is it, why are those shapes as they are?
Choosing a winning image in a photography competition is part science, part experience and part emotion. As a judge, the first thing you look for is technique. While there can be exceptions where some other aspect of the photograph is just so good that you can ignore technique, for the bulk of entries technique is important.
Technique covers everything from camera handling skills to presentation of the final image. Is the photograph in focus, is it correctly exposed, has appropriate tonality been used during post-production? People complain that you can't just enter a straight photo without post-production and win a competition, and to some extent this is correct. At the very least, post-production allows us to refine the tonality - darken down the sky, lighten up the face - and if we ignore these possibilities, the photograph may look unfinished. Mind you, it was no different in the 'old days' - successful entrants would have a 'custom print' created where these minor but important adjustments were made by a skilled darkroom technician.
To win a photo competition, you have to ensure the technique is invisible. Viewers want to look at the subject matter, not the handiwork around making the image.
The experience side of judging considers the entry in a different way.
There's nothing like a photo book or a calendar full of your photographs - and it's an even better gift for your friends and family! Momento asked if we'd remind our readers that it's not too late to order photo books and calendars for Christmas - they have a cut-off date of 8 December.
In the meantime, see how easy it is to create a unique Christmas photo book gift, card or personalised stationery with Momento’s software by following the link here.