Inside an Image Competition: A Judge’s Perspective
Let me start by saying that it was truly an honour to be on a panel of judges that included the incredible Jennifer Hudson and the fabulous Karen Carey. Judging was a lot of work, but, at least for me, it was a wonderful learning experience and I hope that all of the participants feel the same way.
I know, from my own experience, that now that you have your marks and your comments, some of you probably have some questions. It is understandable so I am hoping to clarify a few things, as well as, point out some things that we noticed were happening repeatedly.
Let me start off by saying that the industry standard is a mark of 5-6. So, if you are looking at your grade as a percentage, that is a misrepresentation. You should be looking at in relation to the average. So, if you consistently scored below average, you may want to take a step back and evaluate where you could improve. To do this, you might start by having a portfolio review done by a photographer you admire and trust with the goal of learning the areas you truly have to improve technically and artistically. It is hard to judge from the results of an image competition where you entered two or three images exactly where you stand within the industry. Some mentoring from a more senior photographer could benefit you greatly.
For those of you who consistently scored within the industry standard, there are a number of things you can do to elevate your images. First, you want to become a ‘thinking’ photographer. And, by that I mean, you want to utilize all the tools in your kit to create images with greater impact. Starting with the basics like shutter speed, aperture, and the rules of composition. For example, the vast majority of the images were centred. Now, don’t’ get me wrong, there is always a time for centring, but the images that were cropped to the rule of thirds stood out after seeing hundreds of centred images. Many times you had found incredible locations that were under utilized. Look for things like leading lines, repetition, symmetry, framing when you are setting up an image. The better your understanding of these creative elements, the higher your score would have been.
Secondly, I think many of us underestimate the importance of connection. Often connection creates impact–so taking the time to truly connect with your clients and having them truly connect with each other creates an image that your audience will remember and think about.
Finally, I would like to say that anyone can take a perfectly fine image…but so what? So what if you can take a perfectly exposed, nicely posed image if it doesn’t leave an impression? In this market, and especially in competition, you need to do something to stand out. This is often referred to as ‘personal style’ and it requires some soul searching and a deeper understanding of what it is that you are actually trying to capture through your lens. What do you want your work to say? How is it a reflection of how you see the world? This is what truly creates impact and in a competition where impact is so important(and highly rated), you want to choose images that won’t get lost in the sea of entries. You need to create images that stand out. How you do that is the exciting part of photography. No one can tell you how to do that. That is entirely up to you.
I want to thank the NAPCP for everything over the past year. It was an honour to be their Photographer of the Year. When I entered the competition, I never would have imagined that would be the end result. Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who entered. I know that putting yourself out there to be judged takes a large amount of courage and a desire to improve. That is something to be celebrated.
We’re Obsessed With This Session + You Will Be, TooRya Duncklee, of Rya Duncklee Studios, photographs fellow NAPCP member, and 2017 NAPCP Photographer of the Year, Ashley Berrie … Inspiration – When Ashley reached out to me to document portraits of her family enjoying time in one of their favorite places, of course I knew I wanted to do the best job I possibly […]
We’re Loving This Underwater Maternity SessionInspiration It’s no secret that I love underwater photography, especially when it involves photographing maternity clients. I feel that it’s an incredible time in a woman’s life, and something to truly celebrate. Underwater always adds such a poetic element to any sessions and a special something that not many other sessions do. When Kathryn Langley, […]
September 2018 Inspired Magazine: Featuring Jaye McLaughlin!Our September issue of Inspired features Jaye McLaughlin of The Life in Your Years Photography! Read her exclusive interview, download your free motivational desktop wallpaper, access helpful resources and learn how to manage your time better in the busy season. Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family […]
What’s in Her Bag: Heather Davidson-MeynTell us a little about what’s inside. My bag includes different things for every type of session or age group I’m photographing that day. This bag is packed for an outdoor session with a mom, a dad, and an 18 month-old! I have my Canon 5D Mark 3 together with my 24-70 2.8L and 70-200 […]
We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.
NAPCP.com (formally pronounced "NAP-C-P") is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.
September 2018 Inspired Magazine: Featuring Jaye McLaughlin!
Our September issue of Inspired features Jaye McLaughlin of The Life in Your Years Photography! Read her exclusive interview, download your free motivational desktop wallpaper, access helpful resources and learn how to manage your time better in the busy season. Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family […]
Announcing the Inspired Gallery Event & Print Competition Winners!
Hello friends! After much excitement and anticipation, we are absolutely thrilled to announce the winners of our Inspired by NAPCP Gallery Event. In contrast to our annual International Image Competition, the NAPCP Inspired Gallery Event was creative in nature and gave both members and non-members the chance to place in one of three categories — […]
August 2018 Inspired Magazine: Featuring Heather Crowder!
Our August issue of Inspired features Heather Crowder of Heather Crowder Photography Studio! Read her exclusive interview, get your FREE printable lunch box notes, and see which photos we have featured this month #napcp hashtag on Instagram. Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save
July 2018 Inspired Magazine: Featuring 2018 International Image Competition Winners!
This month’s issue of Inspired features our February 2018 International Image Competition Winners! Click here to read their exclusive interviews, learn more about the 2018 Best New Emerging Child Photographer, and see the photos we have featured this month from our #napcp hashtag on Instagram. Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your […]
The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com