Evening. I read the AP article on winning photo competitions just the once, maybe too hastily, but... I'm not sure how much I got out of it to be honest. I tried to "convey more emotion" in my photos this afternoon, but couldn't find the right button. Ha ha. Seriously, I think there's some deeper analysis to be done on what judges are typically looking for. For example, I'm fairly sure that the judges of street photography competitions are generally obsessed with lighting, and one is MUCH more likely to win with a cool black & white shot with impressive shadows than, say, a funny juxtaposition. Also, I've noticed that photos of bull racing (and similar) in Asia have picked up many travel photo awards over the last few years - presumably because it looks exciting, unusual and exotic if you're sitting in a dull office in England. I wonder if a photo of greyhound racing in Hove would pick up awards in India? In fact, what IS a "travel photo"? If your picture is of a beautiful location, but you live 2min away, does that count?! Anyway, an idea: perhaps next time you could ask readers/users to send in photos which they're CONVINCED should have won an award (or, at least, done better) - and you could help explain why they 'failed'. "Why you DIDN'T win that photo competition" is quite a compelling splash, and it would be interesting to see a few spreads of imperfect photos with obvious (and less obvious) 'flaws' explained. I reckon most of us have an example. A few years back, a favourite shot of mine failed to make the top 50 in a street photography round of APOTY, but was later used in an article by Martin Evening, who heaped praise on it. Confusing. I mean, maybe I filled out the competition details incorrectly. Maybe the judges thought it was staged (it wasn't). Maybe they thought it needed editing (like Martin!), despite being a candid shot. Maybe... well who knows? Whatever the answer, there's probably a useful lesson to be learned - and shared. Also, I don't think there's any harm going to back to basics with advice - to save everyone's time. It's often hard to objectively look at a photo (especially if one's family is featured), so I've learnt a rule: if I can't imagine the photo on a stranger's wall, I would never enter it in a competition. I know too that a photo of a pet is pretty unlikely to win a wildlife comp! To me, lazy cropping and signature files are big turnoffs but, judging by some of the entries on Photocrowd, not everyone sees in the same way. Incidentally, I really like the tweaks with this year's APOTY - especially the fact you've geared it more towards magazine readers, with the free entry, so it's more about the APOTY community rather than just another online competition. But also the fact that only one photo a month now counts towards a reader's points total - much better. I do wonder if the rounds could be less predictable though? I look forward to the "Movement" month, but how about vague themes such as, I don't know, "red" or "girl" and let imaginations run loose? Oh, I've just thought of something else related which you could cover in more detail - what manipulation is/isn't allowed in competitions. With yet another high profile disqualification this month (albeit nothing to do with Photoshop this time), there's clearly a lot of rule-bending and confusion. Anyway, THAT was a Friday night ramble. Ha. Keep up the good work!