How To Win Photography Competitions
It is easy to take a picture with a camera. Taking a picture that could win awards is in fact very difficult. It depends on the skill of the person holding the camera, and to a lesser extent the quality of the camera itself. Very often, the best shoot can occur by accident.
Or else it seems like an accident. What is more likely to happen is that a very skilled photographer will shoot a subject many times over and examine dozens of shots to find the best ones. The truth is that professionals take far more pictures than they ever show to the public.
They might take a hundred photos of the same subject over the course of a day, experimenting with different angles and natural lighting as the day progresses. From these many samples, a few gems are chosen. It takes time to develop an eye for finding the best picture, although blurred and off-center photos are obvious rejections. Photographers deliver the best through hours of study and real work.
When an event is occurring in real life, the photographer does not take time trying to find the perfect position. They will try to get as clear of a shot as possible, zoom in if they can, and snap away with their high speed shutters. They will take many pictures in rapid motion, the result being something that resembles a choppy motion picture.
It is from this hastily obtained raw data that the expert will try to find the best pictures. They were taken under less than ideal circumstances, but sometimes an astonishing photo will emerge. These pictures are astonishing for their subject matter, for having obtained rare evidence that someone else might not have caught. This is not art so much as pursuit journalism.
Sometimes it is the rare photograph that will win competitions. This is true if the subject was photoed close up. The reality is that live shots will seldom be perfectly balanced or aesthetically pleasing. The photographer has absolutely no control over anything other than his or her own position and timing.
Photography competitions are about the beauty of the picture according to the taste of the judges. It pays to understand who is doing the judging: If the panel is manned by visual artists or collectors, they will probably choose colorful and crisp photos. They will judge according to is appeal and balance and other visual qualities. A contest for journalists will likely love your live action shots.
Knowledge of the competition is the first rule. If you are a professional or an avid amateur, then you will likely have a large stock to choose from. Finding your best depends on subjective judgment, so it is best to become familiar with what the photography word already perceives to be quality.
An expensive camera and photo shopping are not necessary, although their judicious employment might drastically improve your odds. To win your competition, get serious and take many photos. Some of those images have the potential for greatness.