NAPCP Judge Stephanie Buckman's Tips and Advice!


NAPCP Judge Stephanie Buckman's Tips and Advice!

NAPCP is currently hosting it’s bi-annual International Image Competition. Selecting images for submission is critical and can often times be an overwhelming process for our members. We’ve reached out to our distinct panel of judges for expert advice on what they look for specifically in an award winning image. Our final judge is the wonderful Stephanie Buckman of Stephanie Robin Photography!

In submitting images for competition, I’m often overly critical of my own work and I’ll tell you why I think this is a good thing. The experience you carry with you from being present during the actual moment of documentation affects the way in which you view the image. Taking yourself out of the image is definitely the first step in objectively viewing your artwork and a lack of a critical eye may result in submission of images that mean more to you as the photographer than they will an outside viewer. For this reason, I rarely submit imagery of my own children for competition as I can’t easily remove my emotional attachment to the imagery resulting in less objectivity when viewing the image.
I use the following as techniques in determining which images may fare the best:
*ask neighbours, friends or artists of another genre for their impression of your imagery. Keep an open mind as to what they see
*flip your image upside down or as a mirror reflection to help you to see distracting elements you may have bypassed
*look at your image in relation to the rules of photography (rule of thirds, leading lines, balancing elements etc.). These rules are there for a reason
*choose images that depict genuine emotion or a connection between your subjects. With children, unless your subjects are great little actors, moments that occur spontaneously will often resonate much better than those in which you have told the subject what to do
*consider the category to which you are submitting. Ask yourself whether your image truly depicts or emotes something distinctive about the category
*is the image or setup original in thought, expression or creativity. Don’t simply replicate past winning imagery. Strive to create new and distinctive work.
Most of all, look for constructive criticisms from trusted and experienced mentors whether in the field of photography or beyond. A mentor can help you to see beyond yourself and provide you with direction and motivation to do and be better.
I so look forward to seeing your creativity and technique shine in your submissions this competition!

Thanks Stephanie! Members, be sure to submit your favorite images here by 11:59 EST tonight!
Alice Park
[email protected]
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