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Thread: Beginner members only: Competition Themes and other suggestions

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Beginner members only: Competition Themes and other suggestions

    Hi ,

    In another thread we have been discussing, among other things, the themes for our competitions. One of the matters that was brought up was encouraging our beginner members to join in both the competitions and the challenges more. One aspect of that was the themes we have.

    As beginners you are often busy trying to understand how your camera works, get your head around the settings and how to do various photographic techniques. The point was raised that by having themed photo of the week competitions, we are impeding you from entering as you are most happy when you photograph the things you enjoy and adding a theme is often outside what you enjoy. It was suggested we have more Open (not themed) Beginner competitions on Ausphotography to allow you to enter photos of things your enjoy taking photos of, leaving you to learn better photography techniques and skills. So you do not have to think, where am I going to go to get a running water shot, when you much prefer to take photos of your children, pets or flowers. By offering more Open (not themed) competitions you do not need to find a location with running water and can enter a photo from what you love to take photos of.

    So my question to beginner members, is would you prefer more non-themed competitions? And would that encourage you to enter our Photo of the Week more often?

    Any other thoughts and suggestions from beginner members will also be taken on board, so if you have something you want to suggest, please do so. After all, Ausphotography is here for you, the members of the site, and if we can make the site more enjoyable and encouraging, we will.
    Last edited by ricktas; 07-02-2015 at 7:15am.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Since there's been no response and not many views of this thread.
    Maybe beginners are not aware of, or not concerned with the comps? I don't know.
    Maybe (if you can do it) a bulk email to them all to let them know the comps exist, encouraging some participation and explaining that it's only beginners playing? That may get more attention than this post in site matters.
    Think it's important to encourage beginners to play in the comps somehow.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Mark L;1278538
    Think it's important to encourage beginners to play in the comps somehow.[/QUOTE]

    Maybe some additional prizes just for beginners ?
    The name is Brad ......

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    Mark's suggestion re a bulk email might have merit. Don't think I read this section much as a beginner. Maybe combine open as in subject with narrow DOF, composing using rule of thirds etc. and push the idea that this will improve their skills. Good luck, I know locally with both our camera club and a social group which just uses facebook to share photos we struggle to get beginners to participate.
    Glenda


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    Open themed comps,in my opinion,would seem more welcoming to enter.Hard enough getting a photo in focus,with good exposure and with reasonably good composition as it is as a beginner,but with a theme it may cause one to baulk at entering. Then there is the PP factor to consider,because as a beginner just trying to navigate around the software is daunting enough.....(Layers! What the hell are they?!)

    I feel though,there should be encouragement in the rules/description of the comp staing that it is not a CC section,but a place to show off what the beginner feels is a good capture.Reiterate that it IS for the newbs.


    CC always welcome.

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    Member sanger's Avatar
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    I reckon a theme is better as it gives you new ideas to try.
    Will enter the current no theme once I think of something.
    Hopefully more beginners will get into it.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanger View Post
    I reckon a theme is better as it gives you new ideas to try.
    Nothing wrong with joining in to the weekly members challenge for that then sanger ...... http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...lenges-52-2015
    It's given me a reason to try different things and enjoy some wonderful photos that aren't seen anywhere else on AP.
    Why don't more beginners enter more comps sanger?

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    I like the themes too Rick, my biggest problem I have is getting the time to get out lately, as I have been super busy at work.

    I'm about to go on holidays for 10 days so will be getting out and about then.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I think if you look at not getting out as an excuse, you're probably not understand what photography is about. I use them same excuse at times, but the reality is you can find random things at home and try create photos. Getting something cheap like an extension ring can open the door to macro and suddenly you can start looking for things in the house to take photos of. I think as I battled with my time due to kids, I've been forced to look at trying out new genre's and I think it's been good in that it's forced me to try see pictures in areas I never saw them. It's a bit hit and miss when you start, but as you start progressing, you find it easier.

    If you look at some of the recent themes like Blue, Get on your geek, all of these offer opportunities to spend 5 minutes at home trying to take a picture of something in your house. Get on your geek could have been a photo of a keyboard or mouse which most people would have. Blue could have been anything.

    I think the hard part is forcing yourself to pick up the camera or forcing yourself to take it out with you the whole time, because that's often where the opportunities lie.

    I like the themes. It forces you out of your comfort zone and that's a good thing. Even a terrible photo is a lesson in itself because you've learnt one more thing about what doesn't work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    I think if you look at not getting out as an excuse, you're probably not understand what photography is about. I use them same excuse at times, but the reality is you can find random things at home and try create photos. Getting something cheap like an extension ring can open the door to macro and suddenly you can start looking for things in the house to take photos of. I think as I battled with my time due to kids, I've been forced to look at trying out new genre's and I think it's been good in that it's forced me to try see pictures in areas I never saw them. It's a bit hit and miss when you start, but as you start progressing, you find it easier.

    If you look at some of the recent themes like Blue, Get on your geek, all of these offer opportunities to spend 5 minutes at home trying to take a picture of something in your house. Get on your geek could have been a photo of a keyboard or mouse which most people would have. Blue could have been anything.

    I think the hard part is forcing yourself to pick up the camera or forcing yourself to take it out with you the whole time, because that's often where the opportunities lie.

    I like the themes. It forces you out of your comfort zone and that's a good thing. Even a terrible photo is a lesson in itself because you've learnt one more thing about what doesn't work.
    I hear what your saying MissionMan, but due to work and the hours and days I do lately I have been that time poor its not funny, and by time poor I mean when your doing 14-16 hour days you don't get any time to do much at all.When I do manage to get some time to myself then I get a few jobs done around the house for the wife.

    I am looking foward to my holiday for 10 days and will be out and about then, so will hopefully get some nice photos.

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    What are the statistics on the break-up of members by skill level Rick? Is "Beginner" the largest group? It would be interesting to know how long people stay as a beginner on the site too, but you'd probably have to custom build that query.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warbler View Post
    What are the statistics on the break-up of members by skill level Rick? Is "Beginner" the largest group? It would be interesting to know how long people stay as a beginner on the site too, but you'd probably have to custom build that query.
    Intermediates are by far the biggest group. People stay in their level till either they upgrade themselves via their profile menu, or we (the mods and I) upgrade them. We upgrade based on competition results, photos posted to AP, member websites, or links to their Flickr/Photobucket etc. We upgrade constantly. For example, yesterday we upgraded someone who has been on the site since 2010, but only had 60 posts in 5 years. The joined as a beginner, but are now selling photos off their website and offering themselves as a wedding and sport photographer. So we took them straight from beginner to advanced.

    We also check competition entries from recently joined members. It is not uncommon for someone to join as a beginner, post an intro saying they are just starting out, then enter a comp with a photo that is an advanced level one. This especially happens on the comps with prizes, like the hostgeek one, or the bestcanvasprintsonline one. We upgrade them and move their entry to the relevant experience level. Some are OK with this, other get quite irate at us for doing so. For us (the mods and I) it is fairly bad form to enter a beginner comp when you have years of experience, simply to get a win, and a prize, over a genuine beginner.

    We do not downgrade a member, unless asked to do so by the member, and then we assess their photos etc. If they ask to be downgraded but have not posted any photos, we ask them to enter some comps, show us their website/facebook etc and we assess them before we do a downgrade.

    So to answer the last question in your post, there is not a set timeframe that someone stays as a beginner, or intermediate. We assess active members based on their own photos. However, we sometimes do a query on the databases of beginner members who say joined before a set date and have more than 100 posts or similar, and we check each of those and do bulk upgrades. We have also done this with intermediate level members. We post a list of member names into the mods area that are extracted based on the query and as a team we discuss each member before we upgrade them.

    Not a perfect solution, but we try and make it as fair as we can, overall, entirely based on each member's photos etc.

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    Yes, I see another beginner in the sports action section with some exceptional boat photos.

    The real beginners might be better with set subjects that are more focused (excuse the pun) on things like "Rule of Thirds", "Shallow DOF", "Backlit", "Panning", "Rear Curtain", and stuff like that rather than a subject like "Red" if you get my meaning. It might make them plan their shot, and learn something on the planning, rather than snap something when they see it. Of course I might be totally off the mark. Just a suggestion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Haha! You're quick! I see you got him. Eos1DX w/EF500F4L + 1.4TC and great panned shots like that mean advanced to me too.
    Last edited by Warbler; 14-02-2015 at 10:49am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warbler View Post
    Yes, I see another beginner in the sports action section with some exceptional boat photos.

    The real beginners might be better with set subjects that are more focused (excuse the pun) on things like "Rule of Thirds", "Shallow DOF", "Backlit", "Panning", "Rear Curtain", and stuff like that rather than a subject like "Red" if you get my meaning. It might make them plan their shot, and learn something on the planning, rather than snap something when they see it. Of course I might be totally off the mark. Just a suggestion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Haha! You're quick! I see you got him. Eos1DX w/EF500F4L + 1.4TC and great panned shots like that mean advanced to me too.
    we got him yesterday

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