Last night was the start of two courses which will be held over three sessions.
Course (1) was for the basic photography, including knowledge of cameras and software
Course (2) was for the knowledge of entering competitions and what the judges may be looking for in a winning image.
Brian held the basic course in the back room whilst Dave and Aussie Alan ran the competition course in the main hall.
I was wanting to have a foot in each camp but as it was not possible I opted for the competition course. It was nice to see several new members turning up to try the courses and a big welcome to them.
So today I can only talk of the ‘competition course’ in this blog.
Dave our club’s webmaster gave a talk on the requirements needed to enter the club competitions and pointed out that Nick our new internal competition secretary needed entries to be on the club’s website by 23.59 pm on the Sunday before any competition, entries after that time will be rejected.
Also one must be a paid up member to enter the competitions.
The first competition talked about was the ‘Winner of the Night‘ competition in which the rules had slightly changed this year.
Firstly there are two separate competition sections on the night
both sections are required to have images entered on the website by midnight Sunday before the competition.
One can now have a maximum of three entries in either the print section or the image section or split 2-1 or vice versa or of course if one desires can just enter a single image.
Both sections will be judged separately, so there will be a winner on the night for both.
If on the night there are more than 80 images, everyone’s third entry will be discarded, so enter your best two first in the entry list, especially if you have taken the trouble to print them.
As before the prints in the competition section have to be placed in a mount of 40 cm x 50 cm but the picture inside can be of any size within the mount. The website entry must be within the 1600 x 1200 maximum size to show on the screen.
The ‘Club’s League Challenge Cup’ consist the same as last year of five rounds of theme and open competitions. Dave said, “It is inevitable that the winner will come from a person who has entered all rounds”. Although one is allowed to enter three images with 2 in the open or theme but only the image with the best score from each section will count in the challenge competition.
You can now enter an image from one’s past library but it must not have ever been used in competition in previous years. Those images previously entered cannot be turned into monochrome nor cropped as another entry. Also a similar image taken a few seconds before is not allowed either.
Details on the website of how to enter the competition were shown to us but basically they are the same as last year and have been set up for members to enter every competition for this season and if one wants to, entries can be changed or deleted as new images become available to you.
All the competition dates and themes are on the website.
In the second half Aussie Alan one of our club’s judges gave a talk on what the judges are looking for in an image.
Alan handed out a sheet showing eight different categories of things judges look for in an image. Each of these eight categories are loaded with information to look out for in your image and most will not meet the criterias.
Alan talked of impact in a picture and gave an example of a poor woman on a street corner down on her heels and the same woman in another picture who had once been a director of a company. The two photographs of the same person was placed side by side and one could not fail to see the said impact.
The other emotional impact Alan talked of was the attachment a person has to their own photograph and he quoted a story of a person buying £900 bottle of wine to take to the party. The person awoke the next morning to see a blurred picture of the bottle he had taken and and a memory of a good night and he entered the picture in a competition. The judge did not know the story and just saw a blurred picture of the wine bottle. The judge marked it according, so avoid getting emotionally attached to a picture if others can’t see the story in it.
Alan talked of judges using a Kiss, Kick, Kiss method where a judge will talk of the positive parts of an image, then tell the bad parts about it and then not wanting to put the person off will give a little more credit lol. I have recognised this, as can recall the up beat part and thinking this could be held back but then getting the kick lol
Alan talked of a number of standard rules to watch out for and one should whittle down anything that is wrong in a picture. An image getting a 14 may have a light patch in the corner and if you can see it so will the judge, try using a vignette to darken it as light attracts the eyes and you might get a 15. Then look for a border that might add another mark.
Don’t over sharpen a picture, as a keen eyed judge will spot it.
In portraits make sure the nearest eye is in focus and not the other one.
Watch for the best way of cropping an image and whether a crop could be closer.
Avoid unwanted murky colours in street scenes also clone out unwanted cans and rubbish if they don’t enhance the scene.
Also in landscapes don’t have crooked horizons, straighten them in software, as judges don’t like them.
Watch out for the rule of thirds and clean any spots on the image from a dirty sensor.
In software use saturation carefully it is on a slider to adjust.
So summing it all up
Does it tell a story
make a statement
is there impact emotion
have interesting techniques
and why did this person take the picture
Finally some judges do a run through first but our two judges don’t do that now. I did ask the question whether judges had already formed an opinion of say the best five and then mark down the rest. The answer was it can happen but our judges like to judge each image on it’s own merits
An interesting night and thank you to Dave and Alan.
Tuesday September 26, 2017 from 20:15 to 22:15
Tonight led by Steve Beckett … Essentially three or so tables setup with a single light source , Steve is very keen for people to follow his lead on this one so if you have question, he’s the man. camera,tripod, battery and SD card might be handy too.