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Thread: Any ideas for a "Photo Finish" type competition?

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    Ausphotography Regular bobt's Avatar
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    Any ideas for a "Photo Finish" type competition?

    Hi,

    One of the perennial complaints we get in camera clubs is the lack of a level playing field - advantages gained by better equipment, better processing skills, overseas travel, etc etc which all provide an advantage to the "have's" over the "have nots". Essentially that's just the way it is, and people have to deal with it, BUT...... it would be an interesting experiment to have our members compete just once on a truly level playing field where they all shoot with the same camera, in the same general location and have absolutely no post-processing of any kind.

    The recent "Photo Finish" show on TV suggested to me a way of doing this by getting all our members to put in $20 and buy a pile of those single use film cameras, and then get them to do their best within a specified area and then see who takes the best shot.

    I'm working on maybe having them printed out at 5X7, letting each member choose their 4 best, and then judging those images.

    Has anyone tried this? Does anyone have any complimentary ideas to make it work? Any other thoughts on how to make it a good, fair contest?

    I'd appreciate any thoughts you might collectively have to add to the mix.

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    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
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    Quite a few (pre-digital) years ago, Foto Riesel in Sydney used to run Photo rallys, where they'd give you a roll of film in the morning and a number of locations and you went out, shot your best, and returned the film at the end of the day. They were great fun and worked well.
    They modified it a bit a couple of years ago when they dipped their toe back into it again, only this time with digital. Unfortunately, one of the sponsoors (Canon) wanted to turn it into a mini Canon 5 comp. The brief became too big and unwieldy.
    But I think maybe something like the first version could work well again, with the right sort of management around the digital medium.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    fair contest?.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    The recent "Photo Finish" show on TV suggested to me a way of doing this by getting all our members to put in $20 and buy a pile of those single use film cameras, and then get them to do their best within a specified area and then see who takes the best shot.
    The word contest and the mention of $20.00 is indicative of an entry fee and most such contests involve a prize for the winner and runners up -----



    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    I'm working on maybe having them printed out at 5X7, letting each member choose their 4 best, and then judging those images.
    Once again, a hint at more cost but no mention of reward. Who pays for the developing and printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    it would be an interesting experiment to have our members compete just once on a truly level playing field where they all shoot with the same camera, in the same general location
    That makes it even more restrictive to those who are unable to (for example) travel from Perth to Sydney to be on the same playing field "general location" wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    and have absolutely no post-processing of any kind.
    Will they all be processed on the same machine in the same lab / Big W / Harvey Norman?

    I have seen some interesting processing applied at differing establishments.
    Andrew
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    The word contest and the mention of $20.00 is indicative of an entry fee and most such contests involve a prize for the winner and runners up -----
    Nah ... the $20 is just a stab in the dark to cover the cost of the camera and the processing - the final figure would depend on the actual quotes - and any surplus could go to the winner.



    Once again, a hint at more cost but no mention of reward. Who pays for the developing and printing?
    The cost is simply the cost price of running it - no profit here, just "user pays".


    That makes it even more restrictive to those who are unable to (for example) travel from Perth to Sydney to be on the same playing field "general location" wise.
    Our members all live within a few k's of our hall - this isn't a global comp - it's a club comp in the real world!

    Will they all be processed on the same machine in the same lab / Big W / Harvey Norman?
    Yup ..... for both ease of organising and fairness to all.

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    Ausphotography Addict geoffsta's Avatar
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    I take it this for your camera club. Not mentioned in OP. Not for AP members. Hence why i think I @ M had so much to say.
    In all I think it's a good idea. I went to our local camera club and seen how they ran their comps. And you are right. It all came down to gear, location and experience.
    I would suggest it be done in pairs. A C grade member with an A grade member and two B graders together. (If that is how your club is done)
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    I understood it to be for bobs camera club, thought it was quite clear, but anyway I think it would be worth a shot!
    No harm in trying and I lay pounds to peanuts that you will still get some grumbling from somewhere within lol!!
    Cheers and Happy Shooting
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    I have a bit better sort of view of it now Bob, my over dramatisation of travel distance was probably a long way off the mark but I was more thinking of all the members being able to participate at the same time. Some may be away at the time and therefore not able to enter that comp but may have been able to enter an "ordinary" comp with a an image that they had prepared prior to their travels.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    Our members all live within a few k's of our hall - this isn't a global comp - it's a club comp in the real world!
    I do however think that ( not knowing your clubs members or demographics at least since the founder of your club introduced me to photography some 40 + years ago ) that many may shy away from such a comp as they are very happy doing things "their way" and in the "real world" of photography there really isn't a right or wrong way, or is there?

    I hear what you say about gear, PP skills and travel availability and whilst your idea of the simple camera + level playing field isn't a bad idea I am still left wondering who exactly it is going to benefit and why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seabee View Post
    I understood it to be for bobs camera club, thought it was quite clear, but anyway I think it would be worth a shot!
    No harm in trying and I lay pounds to peanuts that you will still get some grumbling from somewhere within lol!!
    Yup .... the one constant - you can't please them all any of the time!

    They do have a point though becuase we have guys who can photoshop an image to death and end up with an award winning masterpiece! It would be nice to see how they go flying without a safety net.

    We're doing away with first, second and third prizes next year and awarding in bands of merit so that equally competent images can earn the same points - that'll please some and not others, but until someone invents the perfect judge and the perfect competitor, we're still going to be searching for the "best" way to run a camera club . After all, we've only been trying to achieve that for 45 years so far ....

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser Film Street's Avatar
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    I'd say there's no need for a specific location for a challenge like this one.
    A disposable camera will give you a fantastic shot if your imagination is up to it.
    One person could be in a city and another in the outback. The location isn't going to produce the best photo, the person is.

    C-41 processing should be the same everywhere. Different scanning may produce technically different results but better scanning wont fix a bad photo.

    I think you could allow three edits for your challenge -


    • Cropping
    • Density
    • Colour correction


    Apart from that the image stays the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    I was more thinking of all the members being able to participate at the same time. Some may be away at the time and therefore not able to enter that comp but may have been able to enter an "ordinary" comp with a an image that they had prepared prior to their travels.
    Yeah ... we'd get around that by giving them several months notice - we have one meeting in January which we always have trouble filling because it doesn't fall into the annual competition program. That way it wouldn't make any difference to the year's normal program - it'd just be a challenge in its own right.



    I do however think that ( not knowing your clubs members or demographics at least since the founder of your club introduced me to photography some 40 + years ago ) that many may shy away from such a comp as they are very happy doing things "their way" and in the "real world" of photography there really isn't a right or wrong way, or is there?
    That guy is still our number 1 member - not many clubs have their founding member still around after all that time!
    Some people will shy away - especially those who don't like a challenge - or those who rely on non-photographic skills - but it might just be a case of "put up or shut up". So far the response to the idea has been very positive.

    I hear what you say about gear, PP skills and travel availability and whilst your idea of the simple camera + level playing field isn't a bad idea I am still left wondering who exactly it is going to benefit and why.
    Partly to fill in a dead date on the calendar; partly to give people a challenge; partly to make so called ace photographers prove they're more than just a pretty face - but mainly just for fun.

    I figure that with the same camera - the same broad arena (i.e. local) and a wide time-frame it might just be a useful way of seeing what we can all achieve without all those things we now take for granted - even the cropping and colour correction which Film Street mentions. Even colour correction and cropping rectify flaws that could be avoided by better composition. You get 24 shots, and so you would have room for quite a range. They'd all be better off than the participants in "Photo Finish" at least!

    Not quite sure how to handle the end-game yet. Maybe get them all printed at 5X7 and let them choose their best - or have them saved to a disk and choose from there. Coulkd even save money by having proof sheets.

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    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
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    I too thought it was pretty clear it was a B&M club.

    In relation to the issue about gear, etc. Members could do a 'swap', picked out of a hat, used with the owner if it causes too many grumbles.

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    As a thought,

    How about instead of buying disposable cameras, or swapping gear,

    a) use phone cameras.
    It won't completely level the playing field, but it might narrow it...

    b) buy 1 or more cheapy kids digital cameras.
    And contestants can borrow the cameras for a limited time, when they return the camera the next contestant can use it.
    This has a start-up cost, but reduces the ongoing cost...

    Another thought is run it more like photo finish,

    Select a panel of judges (the most experienced) which also removes them from the competition.
    Have everyone who wants to enter put their name in a hat.
    Ask for people to volunteer equipment for the competition.
    Randomly select a type of shoot,
    Select a location,
    Select a camera,
    Randomly draw 3 names from the hat,
    (these names don't go back into the hat until everyone has had a go as a contestant)
    Each contestant has a set amount of time to use the camera in turn.
    Each contestant can submit one image, the judges decide, (Judge's choice award)
    then everyone can vote (Peer award)

    It can use some polishing, but it's the beginnings of a rough idea...

    Regards and good luck.
    Anon

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    I would structure the competition as follows.

    Set up a studio type of environment in the hall you use. Supply gear for each entrant, a body, a few lenses, some speedlights, reflectors, softboxes, backdrops and props. Possibly a model if you can find someone willing. Each entrant has a set amount of time to take a photo with everything supplied. How they use it is up to them. Each entrant has their file numbers written down as their entry. coming straight off the camera.

    Now for the gear, being a camera club I'm sure there would be a wide variety of equipment available. To ensure care of the equipment is upheld the supplier/owner could be on hand at all times and not take part in the competition or have an equipment monitor that stays with it at all times. After each entrant has had their time shooting the equipment gets returned to where it was when they started so not to give away what they have just shot/done.

    I know that not a lot of people would be as easy going and would be happy to leave their equipment with anyone, but on the other hand I personally know quite a few people that would.
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