January 17, 2012 | Posted by Karen Carey
In the spirit of pushing ourselves to become better photographers this year’s image competition will challenge you to discover and submit only your very best work.
When choosing images for competition, my best bit of advice is to get tough on yourself. Have a critical eye and take as much emotional connection to your subject as possible out of your decision making process. With attention to detail, cull your photographs into categories and select your top two favorites in each category. Work fairly quickly and use this rule to help you with the process: If the image you are considering IS NOT a definite YES, then it IS a definite NO. Move on.
Once you have your favorites in each category, select the strongest two overall images based on the elements that make a great photograph, like great composition, excellent exposure, provoking gesture and thoughtful storytelling. Take yourself out of the equation and ask for the advice of a colleague or mentor who is not emotionally invested in the subject. Sometimes we cannot see distractions or mistakes because we know the subject personally and have become emotionally engaged, rather than thoughtfully critical of the image.
The goal is to find photographs that invite the viewer to linger long enough to become curious about and intrigued by the subject matter. Avoid distracting elements that pull the eye of the viewer out of the frame or cause the viewer to feel uncomfortable while lingering. Remember that all of the elements need to work together to yeild a high score. Dynamic expression can not overcompensate for awful composition or poor exposure.
Below are the 12 elements that the Photographic Exhibitions Committee (PEC) of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) provides as guidelines to print-competition entrants. Based on fundamental precepts for judging a photograph or other piece of fine art, these guidelines are meant simply to give entrants a basic understanding of what constitutes a good image.
1. Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion.
2. Creativity is the external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.
3. Style is defined in a number of ways. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.
4. Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.
5. Print Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.
6. Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the imagemaker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest and the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.
7. Lighting (the use and control of light) refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of lighting should enhance an image.
8. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.
9. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.
10.Technical Excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color all speak to the qualities of the physical print.
11. Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, paper selection and other elements are part of the technique applied to an image.
12. Storytelling refers to the ability of the image to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.
Best of luck! I m so excited to see and evaluate your very best work! – Karen
NAPCP Members can submit their best images here!
Last Call for Images!
The July 2012 NAPCP International Image Competition will be closing TONIGHT at 11:59PM...