Being a creative artist itself is a fantastic solution for all those chaos surrounding our mechanical life. Creating something gives an immense satisfaction and fills the emptiness within us. There are times any artist would require an applause or any of that sort to keep the fire burning and continue his potential work. The Stage is set for them to perform and the one who outsmarts others rests in the memories of people or the so called fans.

Photo Competitions certainly fall into this bracket of gaining exposure and an incredible limelight to any artist. Participating or competing with talents equal and superior would in a certain way boost up the morale of any artist and push him beyond his limits to smartness and perfection.

In this post of ours, I wanted to reveal some secrets involving within winning a photography competition, the do’s – don’ts, if – buts, and a lot more on the field of photography, all narrowed down and pointed towards an ultimate aim of winning the competition.

Greg Vore - Communication Arts Photo Annual Winner
© Greg Vore – Communication Arts Photo Annual Winner

 

Theme

Understand the theme completely, how relative is your picture corresponding to the theme given to you. This is the foremost point in expressing yourself in a more relevant and appropriate way towards the theme and competition. Having been a jury in couple of instances, this falls as the first screening process in striking out the uncommon, i.e the photographs which falls outside the category. Your picture could be a masterpiece, an award winning stuff but falling outside the theme serves no purpose. Be careful not to misinterpret the theme according to your own understandings, always try to keep it simple. Remember a theme can never be so complicated unless you think it to so.

Theme - Deanne Fitzmaurice - 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner
© Deanne Fitzmaurice – 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner

 

Choosing the Picture

Ask any skillful or professional photographer, choosing a picture for a competition from his/her portfolio is the most haunting task. Amongst some dozens of splendid photographs, how would you pin down to one single photograph, which according to you beats hands down all the other in the pack and makes you feel “Yes I will win it for you”. Mark down some of the important aspects in choosing that single photograph. Composition, Light, Subject should be the top 3 criteria in nailing that picture for you. Hold-on, but there are a lot more.

Choosing the Picture - Wes Calder - Runner up Award-winning Army photos
© Wes Calder – Runner up Award-winning Army photos

 

Vision

What would you shoot with your camera, what makes you point the lens at something. What according to you is beautiful, what makes a good photograph for you. These are some strange as well as incredible questions which according to me every photographer should be ready to give a sensible answer for. And well that answer in your vision. Having a truthful and an interesting answer would definitely mean the same to your photographs. Gaining a certain edge and a passmark for you to excel in any competition.

Vision - Tim Hetherington
© Tim Hetherington

 

Surprise

I love this word, so do all of us. Surprise can never be negative, full of positive vibe adding enormous magnificence to our creations. How often do you surprise yourself. Arguably a common picture without any surprise will not fetch you awards and glory, choosing the right one which would raise some eyebrows, the one to stay on hearts for its light or composition or some impeccable emotions will be a surprise and bring you name and fame.

Surprise - Gali Tibbon - Winner of the Sony World Photography - Travel category
© Gali Tibbon – Winner of the Sony World Photography – Travel category

 

Technical Aspects

Make sure you follow all the mentioned pixel proportions and color scale. As we all know, post processing is to enhance a good picture, digitally removing or adding elements within a photograph will land you in trouble when submitting for competitions. I have seen instances, where the winner was disqualified for he allegedly removed an object in his photograph using Photoshop. A Picture cannot win an award for post-processing so beware of over processing or mending a photograph for what it has never been.

Technical Aspects - David Maitland - BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year
© David Maitland – BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Connection and Punctum

These are 2 words which are really hard to explain. Take a basket of 10 beautiful delicious,Vibrant red apples and how do we pick the one which for that instance makes us believe it is superior to the rest of all the equally delicious and appealing apples. This is called the connection, there can be only one winner and this doesn’t mean the rest of all were bad apples, in this case photographs.

The picture which could bring tears or a sudden spur of joy to any onlooker, which doesn’t need a bottom line, a description or even a title. The Photograph which makes you curious for the people in the frame, whose story you would want to listen, a pinch of mystery and a handful of brilliance is connection.

Punctum is that extra punch which you would give to your photograph, that extra something which may be lacking in other pictures, just like the apple we picked. This is more of that instinct variety, just follow them and it cant be described, for it just stays there being the winner.

Connection and Punctum - Jasper Doest - Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year
© Jasper Doest – Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Some final words, following all these important aspects could still land you on a losing cause. Competitions are games, we try to satisfy someone(The Jury) in this place through our creations. At times, your pictures do convince them and make you win. But many times not, that instance keep your head high and say boldly “May be something even bigger waits for me”! Since, we all know participation is more than winning!

Cheers!!

 

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