Photo Feedback

Tuscan Trees, Gold Award, 1995 Australian Professional Photography Awards. You can also read about this image in Peter's new book, The New Tradition. Details on the www.betterphotography.com website.

Each year, in an effort to encourage photographers 'to give it a go', I repeat a competition experience I had years ago: The most important award I ever received was coming second!

It was back in 1995 when I aspired to produce great photographs like Doug Spowart, Rob Imhoff, Ken Redpath and John Whitfield-King. Of course, I also admired the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn, but they were the international legends while Doug, Rob, Ken and John were the leading photographers in the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography).

And then at the end of the awards that year, I was standing on stage next to Tim Griffith who was the AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year. Was I bummed that I only came second? Hell, no! I was amazed that I was even on the same stage – that the judges put my photography in the same league.

However, even second place wasn’t the real prize, it was the gold and silver awards I earned for my four prints. Winning first or second is a preference made by the judges and there’s only one of each; while gold, silver and bronze awards are a standard and there is no limit to how many will be handed out. It’s not up to the judges, it’s up to the entrants to reach that standard.

So, if your work is good enough, it doesn't matter how many other photographers produce bronze, silver or gold awards. There are no limits to the number of awards presented if the quality is there.

We all love receiving likes and hearts on Facebook and Instagram, but how does your work stack up when viewed by the more experienced eyes of equally experienced judges? Earning a bronze award tells you that you’re on the right track, a silver award is a real mark of achievement. And a gold award – I wish I knew how to get more of them myself!

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter! How many bronze, silver and gold awards can you earn? For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

2017 Classic Landscape Category Winner, Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year: Peter Hill

Photography isn’t like a horse race where it’s (usually) very clear who comes first or second. Photography is subjective. The judges express an opinion. First or second is a matter of preference as much as anything else.

However, the good thing about some photography competitions is you don’t have to get a place to be successful, you just need to earn a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on your level of experience.

This is the beauty of the Better Photography Photo of the Year competition because there’s no limit to how many awards can be given. If your photography reaches a standard, you get an award. It doesn’t matter if another photograph is better or not.

A photography competition lets you know as objectively as possible if your work sits up the top or has some way to go. Getting one or more silver awards in the Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards is the collective opinion of three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. Earning a bronze shows you’re on the right track; scoring a gold means the judges are jealous! And earning four silvers is an achievement!

So, if you've been entering for a while, have you earned four silvers yet? Enter four entries and get a fifth for free. Perhaps this is your personal challenge for 2020?

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

2017 Exotic Travel Category Winner: Michele Palazzo, 2017 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

The Better Photography Photo of the Year Award is judged by the same three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography every year. All three of us have over 30 years’ experience as photography judges, all three have judged amateur and professional competitions, all three have judged internationally – and all three still enter photography competitions. And we’ve all won hundreds of awards over the years as well.

So why do we have the same judges each year? Surely there are other good judges? Why not mix them around? 

There are arguments for and against. An argument for using different judges is that the competition is less likely to become stale with the same ‘opinions’ every year, but a look at the variety of winners we’ve had over the years doesn’t support this.

In fact, one of the reasons we keep the same judges is to introduce a level of consistency – so as entrants improve from year to year, it is more likely to be because of their photography, rather than the opinions of new judges.

And the overall standard? I find that as judges we’re a little more lenient when it comes to bronze awards. If we see aspects of a photograph that are good, we’re likely to award a bronze as encouragement: you’re on the right path, but there is still room to grow. On the other hand, if you earn a silver, you’re on a par with how we judge at the professional awards. And those golds are every bit as good as the professional golds.

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

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