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Thread: Why don't my competition entries score better?

  1. #1
    It's all about the Light!
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    Why don't my competition entries score better?

    Why don't my competition entries score better?

    A good question!!

    Due to some posts on the forum and some recent experiences judging at camera clubs I thought I'd start a conversation on the subject and put forward my view and open a debate.

    The #1 thing is IMPACT !!
    If your image does not connect with the viewer then it wont score as well as one that does.
    This is very subjective! So don't get disheartened.

    Eg. I scored an image lower 8/10 at a club last week then someone else who felt it was the best image of the night.
    I just not feel a connection with it, although it had good technical elements.
    There were about 150 images presented from beginners to very advanced/pro 'togs.
    So there was lots of opportunity to get it wrong in terms of others perspective.

    So what should we do to improve ourselves?

    Consider the following elements when preparing a competition image... (my simple quick guide to judging and giving feedback)

    Impact
    • Wow!! Factor
    Composure
    • Subject isolation, distractions
    • Landscape vs Portrait vs Square vs Pano
    • Crop
    • Lines
    • Rule of thirds (or not)
    Exposure / Depth of Field / Focus
    • Focus – depth of field, bokeh
    • Dark vs Light – bright/dark spots
    • Monochrome tonal range
    • Blow areas, Dark areas
    Processing / Presentation
    • Colour Saturation and Range
    • Colour cast
    • Pixilation / Noise
    • Borders and presentation


    Once your image has been voted and your not in the running in a comp, post it for feedback - you will learn heaps that way!

    The main thing is to use the comp system as a way to improve
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Great thread. Another thing for me is the theme, if there is one. Some entries fit a theme so well, others are very clever interpretations on the theme and then sometimes I scratch my head trying to understand how an entry meets the theme. If I cannot see how an entry fits the theme, even if it is technically great, and super subject, it will get voted lower due to not meeting the theme.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    RICK
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    Kym got it right , "Impact" does the trick , If I could go back to a previous post a couple of years ago , I said the same thing , When it hits you in the face for various reasons , Must admit I have'nt cared to much for the latest themes , As far as effort , But I have put in entries , Got in the final vote heaps, To much !! My family calls me second hand Bill I like the open ones , But good thread Kym, I have noticed some on here wondering why they dont get results , The Answer is "IMPACT"
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Ausphotography Addict Richard Hall's Avatar
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    Composure?
    www.richardhallphotography.com



    Atheism is Myth-understood

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Hall View Post
    Composure?


    Composition ?

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Hall View Post
    Composure?


    Composition ?

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    Ausphotography Addict Richard Hall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post



    Composition ?
    Yes! Two very different things!

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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    Like any art it is always subjective. I agree with Rick about fitting the theme and tend to give, even excellent photos, a lower score if they don't fit the theme. We recently had a guest speaker at our local camera club who also judged the comp. He works at our local museum and is into historical photography and looks at photographs from a story telling perspective. Another 'judge' would possibly have picked a completely different set of winners. A PSQ judge selected our photographer of the year last year. None of us were surprised at the photographer chosen but everyone, including him, was surprised at the photograph chosen.
    Glenda


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    Member CAP's Avatar
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    As a side note and regarding "THEMED" comps....
    Do you reckon it would be worthwhile adding an extra scoring button which indicates that the photo does not fit the theme?
    Would simplify the process for voters by not dwelling over scoring a really good photo with a low mark and make it clear to the entrant that their pic didn't fit the theme etc.

    With regards to voting, my initial scores are always based primarily IMPACT for both themed and open comps
    I then look for the more technical aspects within each photo if I feel the need to further grade them in order of preference.
    I definitely have scored many pics with "impact" higher than some that were technically superior yet lack that "wow factor"
    I also seem to score the clever interpretations of themed comps quite highly, think it's worth an extra point or so for the effort.
    Chris.
    CC always welcome and appreciated.
    Tweaks welcome but please add how and why.



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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I agree, Impact is the key.
    I think a photo has 2 components - the subject and the rest. Each are important. The subject is usually clear and always interesting, the background (the rest) sets the scene. The background may be as simple as a blue sky, or as complex as a city street, but it should never overwhelm the subject.

    The subject can be separated (and highlighted) from the rest by sharp vs blurred, by light vs dark, by dark vs light, by rule of thirds, by leading lines, etc. Sometimes it is easy to blur the background, eg macros. Sometimes it takes a little effort, eg portraits, and sometimes it is virtually impossible, eg landscapes. With landscapes, the rules of composition become quite important in subject separation, often because there is little else to work with. Subjects can often be separated by light vs dark (or dark vs light) and this can often be enhanced with post processing (not regarded as "photoshopping" as some dodge and burn are always accepted).

    Where ever possible the background should compliment the subject. It can be a mistake to make it too simple, eg a black or single colour background for a macro, or a uniformly blurred background for a bird or animal. Better to have something that hints at a real environment, this makes the photo more complete. After all, we see what is at our focus point AND the rest all at once. To ignore the rest is a big mistake.

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    Go the Rabbitohs mudman's Avatar
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    they won't score better if you don't enter the competitions
    cc and enjoy

    Photography is painting with light

    K1, Pentax 18-250mm zoom, Pentax 100mm macro, Sigma 50-500mm, Pentax 28-105mm
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    Ausphotography Regular leanneqld's Avatar
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    depends who is doing the voting as well.As an example, a less experienced photographer who is a cat lover will look at a photo of a cute little kitten and score it highly regardless of the background, if part of it is OOF, etc , disregarding the technical merit of the photo. A more experienced photographer will be more picky with the same photo. So a voters experience level will have an impact on voting. Some people just can't help themselves if there is silky water in a photo, they'll love it regardless. Others will fall for a baby photo. There again, subjects that a voter has a particular fondness for score well.

  13. #13
    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by leanneqld View Post
    depends who is doing the voting as well.As an example, a less experienced photographer who is a cat lover ...
    And that vote is swamped by the overall number of votes.
    The AP system works quite well (not perfect) as we have a decent number of voters who have a good skill and appreciation level.

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