Photo Feedback

 

Are there any tricks to winning a photography competition? I wish I knew. Rather than aiming for the top prize, I think a better approach should be to have your photograph in the top 20 percent of entries. Why? Because most judges will agree about the bottom 80 percent, but the top 20 percent is up for grabs.

 

The top 20 percent always has the winning images, but which individual image wins can vary on the day. I have had entries of mine score first place in one award and not even be accepted in another, but that is the exception. I usually find that if an image is in the top 20 percent in one competition, it will be in the top twenty percent in most. And once you're into the top 20 percent, then you have a chance of taking out a prize.

 

Photography competitions aren't like a running race because there is an element of subjectivity about the result.

If your photos are special, you have a chance and, to an extent, that is exactly what entering a photography competition is - a chance. You have no control over what the judges like, their opinion about certain subjects or techniques, or what other photographers are entering. All you can do is produce your best work, work that you are personally proud of, and put it up. You have to be in it to win it.

 

Then, sit back and hope the judges take a fancy to your imagery. If nothing else, it is the best learning and growing experience available in photography.

 

The 2017 Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Award is now on! Late entries close TODAY 21 August and first prize is a cool $5000 cash. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be handed out and every entry will receive a short comment or suggestion from the judging panel. For more information, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com.

 

Sometimes we get so caught up with our amazing subject that we forget what sits behind it. Many photos are ruined by busy or inappropriate backgrounds. Sometimes by changing your camera position or moving your subject you can frame your subject against a better background that makes a much stronger photograph. And this is something judges are keenly aware of!

 

When looking through your viewfinder, look at all the elements as shapes and lines, rather than what they really are. How do these shapes and lines interact? Can you keep the shapes and lines of your subject separate from the shapes and lines elsewhere? One way to make the shapes and lines of your background disappear is to focus on your subject and throw the background out of focus. Or in a landscape, maybe you need a higher vantage point to remove the horizon if it is distracting, or get down really low so you just have the sky as the background. Or shoot on a misty day when the background is obscured.

 

When editing your photos, can you darken the background or desaturate the colour so it is less distracting? The background is not as important as your subject, but it can ruin an otherwise wonderful subject if it is not kept under control.

 

The 2017 Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Award is now on! Entries close TODAY 15 August 2017 (late entries possible until 21 August) and first prize is a cool $5000 cash. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be handed out and every entry will receive a short comment or suggestion from the judging panel. For more information, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com.

 

Before submitting your entries to a competition, try to look at them with fresh eyes. Sometimes an important or key subject is really small in the frame or hidden away. This is something that is easy to do because the human eye is very good at zooming in on what the brain is interested in. This is especially so when you look through the viewfinder of your camera and what appears to be quite large to you when taking the photograph, can end up being relatively insignificant in the final image. Get in close with your zoom or macro lens so it's really obvious what the judge is supposed to be looking at, or look at the images you have and crop them so the subject is more important.

 

Of course, making your subject obvious doesn't mean it has to be large in the frame. A car in the middle of a flat desert doesn't need to be large to be obvious. However, a car on a busy city street will be lost with all the other cars unless you move in a bit closer with your zoom, or you crop the image during post-production.

 

Having convinced you that your subject should be strong within the frame, this doesn't mean you automatically crop in tightly and exclude everything else. Space around a subject isn't a problem if the space is subservient to the subject. Essentially, generally we want your subject to be obvious.

 

The 2017 Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Award is now on! Entries close on 15 August 2017 (late entries possible until 21 August) and first prize is a cool $5000 cash. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be handed out and every entry will receive a short comment or suggestion from the judging panel. For more information, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com.

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