As a photography competition judge for the last 10+ years, I have seen an incredible number of entries come my way, with many shots potential winners, had it not been for certain aspects that made the entries lose that chance to progress through to the end. In this article, I have written some helpful advice that will increase your chances of going all the way with your entries!
Read The Rules Carefully!!
Its hard to fathom how often amazing images are instantly disqualified, simply due to the fact that the entrant hasn’t read the rules!!
So often, I see beautiful images entered into photography competitions that could potentially do really well, but they are entered into the wrong category! Sadly, that’s instant disqualification…. In some cases, I’ve seen images entered into ‘wildlife’ yet the subject will be a dog or other domestic animal. In other examples, where its clearly states that cloning in Photoshop isn’t allowed, photographers have blatantly done this. This is why many photography competitions ask for RAW files, which show the original file that hasn’t been manipulated.
Quite simply, READ THE RULES. Read them carefully, read them again and if you are uncertain about any of the points, contact the competition organisers and ask some questions.
Don’t Emulate Last Year’s Winners
Year after year, I see photographers trying to ‘copy’ the winner of the previous year’s photo competition. Quite simply, this won’t work, as it has already been done… You need to look at new ideas that will catch the eye of the judge(s).
Watch Your Background
A distracting background is the last thing you want when showcasing a particular subject. Smooth, clear backgrounds for many wildlife subjects are recommended and won’t lead your eyes away towards something in the background that is overblown or brightly-coloured.
Also, the last thing you want is for trees, poles or other objects to stick out behind the head of your wildlife subject. I have often seen during the photography workshops I present, that participants get really ‘into’ photographing a subject and forget to look at the background.
Think Outside The Box
Composition is a key part of creating an interesting shot of wildlife, so think about trying different angles and focal lengths that are normally considered outside the ‘norm’. The key is originality!
Images Must Be Sharp
An image that isn’t pin-sharp won’t even get past the first round of judging. If you look at the images you are planning to enter into a competition, and they look a tad ‘soft’, then relegate them to the trash bin… Unsharp images will never win a photography competition. With wildlife, its also paramount to focus on the eyes.
Never, Ever Give Up
You may have entered plenty of photos into competitions in the past, but never, ever give up. Keep photographing, keep entering and eventually, all of your hard work could pay off.
If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.