2017 Emotive Portrait Category Winner: Andi abdul Halil, 2017 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award. Was this a composite image? Does it really matter if you like it?
In another competition I’m involved with, we were accused of giving priority to composite images over ‘real’ subjects. When I sat down and did a count of the winning images, 70 percent were single capture photographs of real subjects with ‘appropriate’ use of post-production.
Composites don’t necessarily beat straight shots.
However, there are two reasons you enter a photography competition. One is to test yourself against a standard, determined by the judges, and you succeed based on the bronze, silver and gold awards. There is no limit to how many of these awards are handed out – it’s based on how good your entries are.
The second reason is to win a prize and that’s hard. You can control how good your own entry looks, but you have no control over how good the competition is. A ‘straight’ photo may struggle to beat a clever ‘composite’, but similarly a composite can look overworked and fabricated in comparison to a beautiful ‘straight’ shot.
My view is that judges today are much more sophisticated and have a good understanding of the techniques and approaches they see in the competition. A strong straight shot, appropriately finessed in post-production, has every chance of winning a high award and first prize as well.
If you’re in doubt, take a look at the overall winner from the last three year’s Better Photography Photo of the Year competition – a straight nature shot of a humming bird in 2017, a travel shot in 2018 and a beautiful portrait in 2019.
Composites and tricky computer techniques are not necessary, but some post-production to refine your images is definitely recommended.
Enter our 2020 competition today! Details below.