Every season at Preston Photographic Society we have themed competitions. So, in the summer I take my special Lucy and the Lens notebook with the seven competitions written down so I can think about what I want to take and whether I can take a couple on holiday.
Sometimes this is easy because the themes fit perfectly with my holiday however other times, I can only manage one during my trip.
Sometimes I’ve been working so much I find it hard to find time to take images for a competition at that moment. So, to prepare I look through photos I’ve collected over several years and see if anything fits if I know I won’t have time to take new ones or as a backup plan in case I don’t have chance to get out.
I will do the same for any external competitions. I also have to prepare for print competitions which I send off to be printed so I have to give myself enough time to send them and get them back in time to enter.
But whatever the theme I make sure I take the photos for me and not just for the competition. What I mean by that is that I make sure my personality is reflected in the photos as well as the theme as I won’t take a photo if it doesn’t stay true to me as a photographer.
When you are looking for a theme or any competition entry you need to evaluate your portfolio or back catalogue and choose your best image. Try to pick original images and there you have it your first entry.
Don’t expect your first entry to win the competition right off the bat it will take many attempts to achieve that. Also remember that photography is subjective one judge could love your image and the next could hate it. I wouldn’t worry as long as you are happy with it that’s what matters.
Once you have decided on your image if you haven’t previously edited it go into lightroom and photoshop and make adjustments until you are happy that its competition ready. I’m predominantly a portrait photographer and I like to adjust highlights, exposure, contrast and shadows slightly. But in editing remember to always make the image reflect your own style.
Finally, always make sure your images are resized to the correct competition standards and that you have read the competition rules beforehand. There’s nothing worse than entering it to be bounced back having not been judged.
Here are three images that have done well for me in competitions:
And three that have done badly:
There should be a distinct difference between my top scoring sets of images and the low scoring set of images and hopefully this will help give you some ideas what to expect.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more.
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