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How to win photo competitions (or not)

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by wozza, May 11, 2018.

  1. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    You haven’t
  2. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    A little tenuous, but I get you sentiment.
  3. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I'm really trying to interpret this statement correctly........
    Gezza likes this.
  4. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    Best of luck with that one
    Catriona likes this.
  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    What I meant was that the judges might not have liked the pictures but lots of other people probably would. It was badly put and I'm sorry you took it the wrong way. Mea culpa :(
  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Didn't take it the wrong way. I was still trying to get my head round it, correctly! :)
    The darkroom was MY province. Hubby didn't get a look in. :p
  7. wozza

    wozza Active Member

    And, please, no more ruddy puffins eating fish!
  8. andymcd

    andymcd Well-Known Member

    I've thought about this a bit more and I wonder if it is something of a holy grail trying to answer the "what do judges looks for". It implies that there is a formula that you can follow and get great results. Whereas I think being technically competent is probably the only given. After that, I think everything is subjective - so for me, I think the answer is take pictures I like, try to improve and enter some competitions is probably my answer to this.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  9. wozza

    wozza Active Member

    Oh, I agree. I certainly think showing winners and vaguely discussing what judges are looking for isn't particularly useful.

    Ultimately, I think the main criteria for any competition is originality. There's no formula.

    But there are clearly pitfalls to avoid. As I said, an alternative would be to explain why photos DIDN'T win - cliched, poor cropping, is a snapshot, needs colour correction, too much editing etc etc.

    I'd be happy to have my excellent (according to me) but non-placed (by AP judges) image picked apart in the magazine. I'm sure others would too.
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    The trouble is, too many people are too thin-skinned, even if they swear they won't be.

    There's also the point that there are almost infinite ways to screw up, and who wants to look at other people's bad pictures? On top of that, people can be astonishingly unable to see the beam in their own eye while nodding sagely about the mote in someone else's.

    I can see the appeal of the idea, but I'm having difficulty in figuring out how to construct an article -- or even a page -- around it.


    Catriona likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I'd say one drawback would also be that a reasoned argument would have to be made to justify the rejection of the image. The judge's reputation is as much on view as the owner of the picture.
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    Sort of. Technical shortcomings are easy, and in my experience, that accounts for half the rejections (though some people are apparently unable to see colour casts, camera shake, etc. in their own pictures. Aesthetics? Well, yes, there are plenty who will say "But I MEANT it to be like that" without accepting that all this demonstrates is that they've never looked at enough good pictures for long enough. Sometimes there are broad consensuses; sometimes there aren't; and especially when there aren't, it can be quite hard to explain why one picture succeeds (content, historical value, familiarity, colour...) when another doesn't.

    Also, do judges really have reputations?


    Catriona likes this.
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I'm sure they do from their peer group. For the ones (and images) under consideration, a degree of respect - or not - could be the result. Not that it would affect the judge!
  14. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    Of course judges have reputations... good ones from the winners and bad ones from the losers
    El_Sid, Catriona and Roger Hicks like this.
  15. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    Looking at the previous years acceptances for various salons, competitions etc can give food for thought and pose questions as to the impartiality of the judges.Or possibly what they'd been drinking and/or smoking!

  16. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    My only global winner and no one was more surprised than I!
  17. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I won a couple of mugs in the old monthly comp on this forum. We have members dotted around the world, so I suppose I was a global winner too!:D
    Catriona likes this.
  18. wozza

    wozza Active Member

    I wouldn't suggest using "bad pictures" as such. More along the lines of good and interesting pictures which, for one reason or another (explained!), aren't good enough. How do readers reach the next level?

    AP has traditionally reviewed users' photos and suggested/shown enhancements. The difference here would be that the advice would be in the context of competitions.

    Another angle: can AP explain (in article form?) the often sizeable discrepancy between the public-voted places on Photocrowd and expert awards for APOY? Clearly judges are looking for something different to the masses.

    (A reminder that I benefited from this in the last round, so no sour grapes from me!)
    andymcd and Catriona like this.
  19. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I guess it is an impossible task.
    We can't ALL be winners.
    Especially when the initial 600 (or 5000) is rapidly skimmed down to, say, 50 and the winner chosen from that.

    Of course, I'm going to win Taylor Wessing, which will prove a bit of a problem, as they need pictures where the SMALLEST edge has to be 4,800 pixels! Makes for a large image in portrait form. Mine is only 3142 on the smallest edge. :( Haha!
  20. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Would you feel any better getting this? I didn't.

    I wish I'd kept last year's email. I swear it is identical!


    Thank you for entering Portrait of Britain 2018.

    We received over 13,000 portraits this year, which made the judging process particularly challenging, and we regret to tell you that your portrait did not make the shortlist this year.

    Please do not feel that this decision reflects the quality of your work, or that your subject is not considered an important reflection of contemporary Britain. The standard and number of entries this year was just particularly high.

    We appreciate your involvement in the competition and would like to keep you up to date with what's to come. Our shortlist of 200 photographers will be announced end of July 2018, and their work will be published in the first Portrait of Britain book. The final 100 winners will be announced end of August 2018. You will be able to see the nationwide exhibition on JCDecaux screens across the UK from 1 September.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your application. We hope you will consider submitting your work again in future BJP competitions. Keep your eyes peeled, as we are launching a number of exciting new awards soon.

    Best Wishes,
    British Journal of Photography
    end email

    Rhubarb, rhubarb...

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