Summary – Photo competitions and exhibits are, in a general sense, games. If you’re after the “thrill of victory” (not “agony of defeat”) here’s a tip that may help.
In a photo competition (which is totally subjective)
The judge has the final word
Little else matters
(Assuming entries of comparable quality)
That said, don’t play the game without
Entering your best efforts
and – equally (or more) important
Knowing the likes & tendencies of the judge
Here’s the Tip
Do extensive research on the judge
Learn all you can about the judge’s like’s & dislikes
If the judge shows a dislike for certain styles
Don’t enter images of that style (and vice-versa) – duh!
How do you learn this information?
Many judges have web sites with their own work
Looking at their work is like reading a book
The judge is likely to have judged before
Many club sites list competition results
Including who judged (& the winning images)
Understand the implication’s of the judge’s background
For example – photojournalism vs. weddings vs. outdoors
Each background has its own expectations
Do this before you even start considering possible entries
Two examples from real life
Each was both a winner (ribbon) and a loser (out immediately)
The only difference was different judges (in different events)
#1 was eliminated solely because the judge disliked infra-red
Gushed over the “perfect composition”, etc. etc., but
“I’ve never liked IR so, sorry, but it’s out”
#2 was thrown out because the judge disliked soft focus
Another example to consider is
Q – What would a photojournalist look for?
A – An immediate impact story
A WOW! photo that gets immediate attention
A PJ isn’t the person to have judge your arty image
In the words of one PJ judge as he threw out
The 1st & 2nd place winners (not mine) of
A Photography as Art exhibit
(unbeknownst to him)
“That’s art. If it’s art, it’s out”
My tip is mostly common sense
Unfortunately many competitors don’t recognize its importance
Judges are human with likes & dislikes
(that may even go beyond the “rule-of-thirds” 😉 )
Don’t forget the International Abstract Photography Exhibit
Entries close March 31st; it’s free
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