Before entering our monthly competitions, would you like to have your image reviewed by an experienced camera club competition winner? Are you curious to know whether someone else thinks the image you selected is “good enough” to be in a competition or if they think it is just a “nice snapshot”? Maybe you feel the image you selected rocks but just want another set of eyes on it to feel confident that you are presenting it in the best light. We have several experienced photographers who’ve volunteered to give you their advice on how to improve a competition image before the judge has a crack at it on competition night.
Many times I feel like I’m just too close the subject and can’t be objective about my own work. I welcome feedback from relatives and friends. Yet mom will always tell me that “it’s great” and that is not exactly what I need to hear to improve. Fortunately, we have greater resources at our disposal (sorry mom!) by having veteran photographers who will give you their honest opinions. These photographers have been where you are and have a good feel for what the judges are looking for in competitions.
The mentor might give basic instructions on how you can develop your image further by making adjustments to composition, cropping options, suggestions on how to tweak the exposure, sharpness, etc. They may also comment on whether the image has that WOW factor, if it tells an interesting story, or how you might want to try a certain shot again. They might suggest shooting it from a unique perspective or under different lighting conditions. They’ll let you know if your image is sticking to the theme of the category you selected to enter or whatever your image might need to get you the right exposure.
This is how it will work, in the subject line entitle your email “Competition Consideration” and attach your image (sized to competition dimensions 1400 x 1050) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org include the category you’re thinking about entering it in: Open Color, Nature, Assigned, etc. and also include what editing software you use. I will then forward your email to one of our mentors. Within a few days, you will receive an email with their sage advice.
Now your job will be to absorb the mentor’s critique and apply their “fixes” in photographic software like Lightroom or Photoshop or a free program like Picasa, whatever you might use. Keep in mind that this is just one other person’s (albeit, experienced) opinion so you can choose to discard some or all of their advice. Keep in mind that a mentor can’t make any adjustments to your image themselves, only you can bring your images into the proper focus!
May the focus be with you!