Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by barry_scott, Apr 22, 2017.
I can't find a link to them.
I've only just signed-up to the site so I'm not an expert I'm afraid.
You can opt out of rating at any point and then see all the pictures. That's a good way of keeping everything anonymous.
The rating system is a good idea but it is never used properly. Most photos are given the lowest rating, presumably because the rater want to maximise their own chances by rating others low. If you look at competition winners the most common rating of really good images is often one star (out of three). There are some superb images that no-one fairly minded would say are poor but receive many low ratings. Looks like a giant exercise in sour grapes to me.
Could someone at AP explain why on their website giving details of this year's competoition that it says that today is the closing date for entries to the Monochrome round, but that on the Photocrowd website the Monochrome round is already closed to entries and only rating is now taking place?
Also, I do have a fairly speed computer for most purposes but having visited the Photocrowd website I was disappointed to find that the loading of the 4,000 plus entries is not exactly efficient and a bit random. I've seen some entries down in the 900-1,000 spots but having waited an age could not see the first three or four positions. Is there something I'm doing wrong?
Got there this time when I went into the site. I saw a lot of HDR, a lot of over-contrast, a lot of urchins and old people - oh dear! I saw some before I gave up which were good, but as you say, they were not the ones rated highly. I WAS surprised to see names when I hovered over a picture!
Oh my! Did you look at all of them? I gave up at 1,000. I scanned them (obviously) but was struck by how many looked familiar - or were badly done HDRs - or were the usual overdone urchins and old folk. Of course there were the ABLTs and Pier shots, the gloomy skies - and the now ubiquitous Baker Street station ones (do people still have to wait forever for a train like I did on my old Bakerloo days)?
All in all, I can't see the results are going to be any different from normal. Such is life.
There are a lot of photos - I saw some really good ones. I think the names appear either after you have rated the particular photo or once you opt out and can rate no more. Overall it's a pretty good system - if people are magnanimous to use it fairly.
Thanks for the feedback. To answer some of the questions...
The closing date on the AP website is an error. We'll get that sorted. ASAP. For future reference I believe that the closing date is always at midnight on a friday night.
Page loading times – well I've been through and given an initial rating to around 2000 images this morning and didn't find it especially slow, but I do have a fibre optic broadband connection. Its certainly significantly faster than the way we did it when people had to email their entries to AP, which took forever. Which is just as well, as we've had considerably more entries.
Crowd ratings dont influence the winner of the Sigma kit. There's a separate prize of an AP subscription for the most popular crowd rated image – which could of course be the same as the expert chosen one, though the crowd vote stays open longer than the expert one as we have a print deadline to meet.
I'm fairly new to Photocrowd myself, but I can assure everyone that the photographer's names don't appear when you hover over the images in the judging section. The only time we get to see a name is if someone has added it as a watermark, in which case it generally gets rejected anyway. Besides, with 4000 entries we just don't have time to spend faffing around trying to see who took each image. Likewise we cant check each entry to make sure it wasn't taken by a professional, but we will of course scrutinise the winning image.
Thanks for the reply. Are all the other closing dates correct on the AP website? Given the new format I'm not sure I will want to enter anyway but it would just be nice to know in case I'm in a last minute flap. And, should that be the case, at what hour do things shut - last year it was midnight - is that still the case?
On the other matter of pages loading - I didn't have too long to wait for each page to come up. My problem was that many of the photos on each page failed to appear, so whilst I saw photos as low down as number 1,000 (like someone above I gave up at this point) many of those between there and the current fist place did not show up. I tried waiting for over half an hour at one stage and still got no sight of the current 1 to 3 and several more in the top 10 also failed to be seen. Maybe it is just down to how we each access the internet but it seems a bit of a shame for those not running the best connections that they can't see what is going on. After all the idea of moving over to this system is to make it more current and accessible and in my case it is failing to deliver. As such I'm probably inclined to show a lot less interest in APOY than I have over the last 5 years. Sad but I guess that in every move to embrace the future someone has to go to the wall..
I said I expected to be in about 400th place - I'm currently nearer 800th! Oh dear.
As far as I can weigh the job up - and remember I'm new to this as well - the way it works is that as long as you're still set for rating photographs, then the only ones you'll see on the main placings page are the ones that you've rated yourself.
In other words, once I've rated a picture, the main page will show it in the appropriate position and hovering over the picture will show: the name of the photographer, the points spread of that picture in the overall rating system and the number of points I allocated to it will be highlighted in green. The more pictures I rate, the more populated the main placings screen will become.
If I don't want to continue rating pictures I can opt out of the rating process and all the pictures will be shown in their appropriate positions - but once I've done this I can't go back to giving poor scores to HDR nightmares, out of focus messes and those that feature horizons that look suitable for downhill soap-box cart races...
APOY, like similar competitions run by other photographic magazines was originally, in large part, a marketing device to attract/retain readers. As such, publishers expected to have to meet a degree of cost to run the competition.
Internet entry systems, if unfettered, tend to negate this purpose as entries from non-readers/non-potential readers and, indeed, from other countries can be submitted.
I wonder if APOY would better serve such purpose and also be much more meaningful to competitors if entry was restricted to magazine subscribers?
Or am I being cynical if I suggest that it is easier to attract sponsorship if the competition is open to the world with no genuine connection to AP?
That being so, would regular AP readers prefer a restricted competition with no high-value prizes rather than an open competition with only a tenuous connection to the magazine and its readership?
It all seems a bit of a faff to me. I did register, but decided against entering.
I bunged one in, but that was the last. The site doesn't attract me at all.
Thanks Jeff, this now makes some sense of the experience I was having. I will try this and see if it solves my problem.
However, and for the benefit of those AP people who read this, I'm not entirely satisfied that it works this way. I suppose the idea is that you are only allowed to rate photos without knowing if others have highly rated them or not, taking away some sort of bias towards going with the flow (do they really think we photographers have no sense of critical analysis and will only be influenced into giving high marks where others have also given them?) What I find remiss about such a system is that when I am faced with a random photo ( which did indeed happen with the first I was presented with) I had no idea how it stood in relation to all the others. So what mark do you give something when you can't see the overall submission? I'm fairly sure that I began by under marking the first batch of photos, as I felt I could not give three starts early on when I may later come to something that was so much better and I would not have the means to express this difference. And on this topic I did feel that a three point system, whilst certainly being less time consuming and complicated doesn't really allow a full expression of the difference between the average and the stunning.
And on the subject that got this thread underway, I think that this move is just the latest development of a trend that seems to have existed in this competition for the past few years, which has opened it up to a much wider audience that may be anywhere in the world and may never have seen a copy of the actual magazine, let alone bought it. Whilst this will surely be a good thing for getting the AP name out there, which must be a major concern for those running it, I'm not sure how this fits in with the competition being restricted to amateurs. Once the the competition becomes so large and worldwide, as someone has already said, it becomes impossible to vet all the entries and therefore opens it up to being a vehicle for the professional and semi-professional photographer.
The question has also been asked as to why a professional would want to bother themselves over a competition that may give them prizes that are unworthy of their talent or may duplicate their already full set of quality equipment. Well it's not for us to know, but I dare say that in some parts of the world such prizes may well be a lot more valuable than some here in the UK may think. There also may well be some additional value in getting an award, such as APOY, on ones CV and may well bring in more work for those who wish to promote themselves. There is very little doubt that the AP name carries a considerable amount of prestige with it and that may be enough for most people to want to be associated with it's premier competition.
Did it change your life?
Some wannabee professionals in some places, no doubt; but once you're even partly established, probably not.
I have seen the way in which Photocrowd raters work...
[A figure dashes into the drawing room of 221B Baker Street, It is none other than the World's most famous consulting detective: Mr Sherlock Holmes]
[The snoozing doctor bolts upright in his armchair, knocking the antimacassar askew]
[Watson] My dear fellow! What's all this fuss about?
[Holmes] No time to explain, old chap. I need a kitten - the cutest you can find. A street urchin costume - constructed to fit the winsome feline and, finally, the most garish HDR programme you can lay your hands on!
[Watson] But Holmes!
[Holmes] No time Watson. Hurry as if your very life depended upon it! Round Two is afoot!
I've managed to get to 1000 pictures rated so far, but it has been quite a slog.
I rated a smaller competition on there yesterday which was expert judged, and the judge's ratings are very different to the crowd ratings.
I understand why AP have done this, but I still remember cutting out part of the page to send in with a 35mm slide...
It isn't cynical to suggest that sponsors may want to reach as many eyeballs (and therefore potential new customers) as possible for their investment – it's obvious.
A competition that was only open to AP subscribers (who make up only about a quarter of the overall readership) would struggle to attract any significant sponsorship at all.
Also, of course one of the main aims of a competition such as APOY is to attract new readers and if it was only open to subscribers it wouldn't do that either. Working with Photocrowd has given APOY the biggest year on year increase in entries in its history (in fact it had been going down up to now) and many of these are new to AP. If some of them become new readers, either of the print or digital edition, or of our website, then mission accomplished.
While we can't check to make sure that every entrant is non-professional we can certainly look at the winners to make sure the prizes go to amateurs.
I know that change can be difficult to adjust to and not everyone will like it but it is essential for APOY's future that it goes online, whether with Photocrowd or someone else. It is long overdue. I do appreciate all those who have entered and/or taken the trouble to rate some of the other entries. Thanks
How times have changed!
It may not have been the AP comps (I don't remember) but there was a time that competition entries could only use original [cut out] forms so one had to buy a copy of whatever it was to enter.
What is a manageable size for a competition? I find it hard to imagine sorting through 4000 submissions in a month.
Separate names with a comma.