This article today comes from Adam Williams who submitted this article to “picturecorrect”. Amazing insights are certainly worth sharing.
After a few minor photo competition successes, I entered the 2013 Focus Awards absolutely full of confidence, my ego had taken hold and all I could think about was all the recognition and prizes I was going to win.
You guessed it, it was an absolute fail!
However, failure is one of my key inspirations and every time it happens (fairly often) the cogs in my mind start spinning as I try to figure out how to never let it happen again.
At the time, I was still a carpenter/builder and as I went about the rest of the day my mind was elsewhere contemplating how I could improve my chances of photo competition success in the future.
Then an idea struck me, a lightbulb moment, what if the winning photo competition galleries, the top 20/50/100 scoring photos that are always published on the relevant competition websites contained a pattern as to which photos might be more likely to be successful in a photo competition.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I raced home, turned on the computer, opened an Excel spreadsheet and created a series of columns based on photographic criteria.
Great Light, Black and White, High Saturation, etc, etc
I then scoured the galleries of my favorite photo competitions, one by one I viewed each image and ticked the various boxes on my excel spreadsheet.
I was hoping to see patterns of specific photographic criteria common to the top-scoring photos.
Not only did I find a series of patterns, their significance blew my mind.
There were three very important photographic elements found within almost all of the winning photos, so much so, if your photos didn’t contain at least two of these three elements it was almost impossible to win photo competitions.
3 Important Photographic Elements:
- Strong Subject
- Great Light
Enter Photo Competitions with the unfair advantage!
Have you ever noticed that the same handful of photographers seem to win all the high profile photo competitions?
It’s true, the same names tend to end up on the winner’s list time and time again.
Photo competitions are no different from any other competition in the fact that if it is your first time entering you are probably not going to be all that great. To be great in any competition generally requires figuring out the subtleties of success.
So what can we do to give ourselves the best chance of winning?
The reason the same photographers tend to always win is that after several years of entering they have figured out what works and what doesn’t.
Keep in mind, like me, those winners once were lousy at photo competitions too.
But, that kind of experience comes at a cost. They have probably, entered their best 4 or more photos into at least 5 photo competitions per year, over a period of 2-3 years. If we do the math at an average of $25usd per photo that kind of experience is likely to cost well over $1000.
What if I told you that you already have GOLD-winning photos in your collection?
Yes 100%, you already have photos in your collection that have the potential to achieve awards at the highest levels and win the biggest international photo competitions!
How do I know this?
Over the years, I have taught Photoshop to thousands of passionate photographers of all levels, from absolute beginners to experienced professionals.
And the one thing they all have in common is GOLD-worthy photos in their collections.
I bet your wondering, how can absolute beginners and experienced professionals both be at the same level?
You are right; they are not. However, without fail, no matter the skill level I could always find photos with GOLD level potential on the hard drives of every single photographer that I have taught.
Granted, the beginners generally had fewer gold-potential photos than the more experienced photographers; however, regardless of skill or experience, I could always find the diamonds among the rough.
Therefore, I am 100% sure that you too have photos of the highest level in your collection; but, which ones are they?
If you are like me, you probably have 20,000 – 200,000 photos on your hard drives.
And if you have entered a competition before you might know that your favorite photo is often the one the scores the lowest. Just because we like it doesn’t mean it will do well in a photo competition.
We should absolutely take photos to please ourselves, however, to be successful in photo competitions we need to put our emotions aside and choose photos that will please the judges.
Image selection is the most important skill you can learn to winning photo contests.
Not only is selecting the right photos critical to doing well in photo competitions, but it is also the single most important skill in building your reputation as an exceptional photographer.
All photographers of all skill levels have both brilliant and bad photos in their collections. Yes, the more skill and experience the photographer has will generally result in a higher ratio of brilliant over bad images.
That being said, if both the beginners and the best photographers have both brilliant and bad photos to choose from, then there can be no doubt that one of the most important skills in becoming an exceptional photographer is image selection.
In other words, your reputation as a photographer is directly related to the quality of the photos you choose to share.
Having a better understanding of what makes a great photo, along with being more critical and more selective about which photos you share, is likely to elevate your standing as a photographer more than any other skill.
Exceptional photographers only share exceptional photos! (When was the last time your favorite photographer shared a bad photo?)
You will be able to take the knowledge you learn in this course and use it to build a reputation as an exceptional photographer by being more selective and refined about the photos you share.
In this short video course, I will teach you the key criteria that judges tend to favor and show you how to find those winning images within your own photo collection.
Deal ending soon: How to Win Photo Competitions Course at 84% Off
ALL PHOTOS SHOWN HERE IN THE ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHTED AND OWNED BY THE AUTHOR: ADAM WILLIAMS.