PDA

View Full Version : Competition Worthy



Keith_A_Howe
06-13-2008, 06:28 PM
Many times people post images asking if it will work for competition or if it is competition worthy. I have a hard time answering those questions because I don't know what the poster is really asking. Will it work can mean anything from "will this be disqualifed for any reason?" to "will I be embarassed with how this scores?" to "will this earn a merit?". Every image is competition worthy. It just depends on what your goals are. Some people want to learn about the whole process of print competition. Some are looking to learn and improve their work. Some are working towards a degree. Some are trying for awards, and some are looking for a creative challenge. Those are all good reasons to enter, but the answer to "is it competition worthy" depends on what your motivation is for for entering. So to get the kind of feedback you want, it would be really helpful if we knew what your hopes or expectations were.

Keith

Rodney_Ninow
06-13-2008, 06:33 PM
Good point Keith. Is there a tutorial online somewhere explaining the process, what judges look for and how to enter, etc.?

D._Craig_Flory
06-13-2008, 06:41 PM
Hi Rodney;

Here is the Dirty Dozen of print competition. That will help you in what a merit print should have in it's attributes.

Angela_Lawson
06-13-2008, 07:44 PM
Okay - got the point. Sorry about that. I'll be going back to the drawing board now anyway!!

Noelle_Zaleski
06-13-2008, 08:12 PM
well Kieth I have to say I have learned so much from you responding to my post's. I will remember to be specific when i post something for CC.

Keith_A_Howe
06-13-2008, 08:36 PM
Okay - got the point. Sorry about that. I'll be going back to the drawing board now anyway!!

Angela, I was NOT talking about you specifically. But I will admit your post did remind me I had been wanting to say this again. If I ask a friend ( this year I asked Dennis Craft and Bob Hawkins) if they think an image is worth entering, my friends know what kind of scores I am aiming for - because they know me, they know where I am at in my career. When someone asks here on the forum, unless I know them, I do not know if they are a beginner who will be happy with a 77 or a veteran who is trying for all loan images. So don't take it personally because it certainly was not meant that way!

Keith

Don_Chick
06-13-2008, 08:47 PM
Is there a tutorial online somewhere explaining the process, what judges look for and how to enter, etc.?

Hi Rodney,

Not to sound to flippant, but Yes there is a tutorial on line... all the threads under print comp where Keith and others have offed comments!!! :)

No, there is nothing official that I am aware of...

Todd_Reichman
06-13-2008, 08:47 PM
I'd like to get some insight into what the "dirty dozen" actually mean in practice. I know what impact means to me, but not to a judge. Maybe if interested and competent parties could post images that are excellent examples of each of the 12 that might help?

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
06-13-2008, 09:10 PM
In addition to what Keith said ... in sub state and state competitions, an added benefit, to entering, is publicity. If you score a 76, in Pennsylvania, that is an "above average" image and is labeled as an award of quality. You can send out news releases that you won an award as well as displaying it in the studio for clients to marvel over. So even if you don't get a coveted 80+ you still benefit. I hate to see anyone not compete simply because they don't think they are up to getting 80's yet.

Of course, if you get a ribbon, of any color, and call the client in the image, they will be thrilled and tell a gazillon other people !!!

Andrea_Chapelo
06-13-2008, 09:45 PM
Good point Keith. It is so true that not everyone is aiming for the same thing. I can say that what was good enough for me in April (just to NOT humiliate myself my first time out of the gate) is no longer what I will be aiming for. The competition bug seemed to bite me while I was in NH!:eek:

Angela_Lawson
06-13-2008, 10:08 PM
Hey Keith - no worries, I wasn't offended or anything. You make a very good point. Of course, for me, I want all those things. If an image really stinks, I don't want to send it, so please tell me so. If I will embarrass myself, I want to know. I want to learn from the process, so I definitely want to know what I've done wrong and what is fixable, and what isn't. However, I am a bit competative, so if it isn't going to be above average, I don't want to bother with it either. So, I guess what I'm saying is...if I post something for cc, I want to hear the good and the bad, and whether it will at least score above average. If you don't think it will - then out of the running it goes. Having never competed on any level, I know that it is a process, and I have a tendency to like to skip to the end on things, so sometimes I need someone to plant my feet back on terra ferma. I want to work toward a Masters' but it will take time. So for now...fire away!! :)

Angela

Michael_Gan
06-13-2008, 10:20 PM
I'd like to get some insight into what the "dirty dozen" actually mean in practice. I know what impact means to me, but not to a judge. Maybe if interested and competent parties could post images that are excellent examples of each of the 12 that might help?

- trr
Get a copy of any of the recent loan collection books and it they will give you a good idea of the 12 elements. Also http://www.asofp-online.com/ and go into the exhibition section.

Rodney_Ninow
06-14-2008, 12:09 AM
Hi Rodney;

Here is the Dirty Dozen of print competition. That will help you in what a merit print should have in it's attributes.


Hi Rodney,

Not to sound to flippant, but Yes there is a tutorial on line... all the threads under print comp where Keith and others have offed comments!!! :)

No, there is nothing official that I am aware of...

Thanks Don. What exactly is the PDF Craig posted? (going to look at it now) What I was looking for is guidelines for submission, there has to be something official, explaining the size, how to submit, etc. I can't believe everyone is just gleaning the info out of posts on this forum.

Rodney_Ninow
06-14-2008, 12:12 AM
Hi Rodney;

Here is the Dirty Dozen of print competition. That will help you in what a merit print should have in it's attributes.

Thanks Craig, that is very helpful. What about size, I think it is 16x20? Is any other size acceptable? I find it odd that there isn't any basic guidelines for people to read.

D._Craig_Flory
06-14-2008, 12:29 AM
Thanks Craig, that is very helpful. What about size, I think it is 16x20? Is any other size acceptable? I find it odd that there isn't any basic guidelines for people to read.

Hi Rodney;

Yes, 16X20 or 20X16 are the overall size requirements ... for non Masters. Generally, the thickness is best between 1/8th & 3/8th.

Look for, and buy this book:
Success in Print Competition for Professional Photographers
by Patrick Rice

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 02:44 AM
I want to post on this subject so bad! Keith this is not bashing nor am I gunning to hurt anyone's feelings, but let's call it like it is.

An image is presented under regimented set of rules. It is given a title.

There are, however, 12 terms in which we need to shed light upon. These 12 little chestnuts are indeed known as the “12 Elements of a Merit Image.”

I'm going to quote a friend and spill "#1" in our group of topics we have in our our competition bootcamp class.

Impact: Put plainly, impact is the first impression a viewer gets from your image.

There’s an old expression: You only get one chance at a first impression.

Dirty little secret:
Judges score prints almost entirely from a first impression. This is not to say that the other 11 elements void, but consider a simple fact: Judges have A LOT of prints to judge before sanity becomes a commodity. Realizing that most prints are scored in about 10 seconds will dramatically change the way you present your images. The ability to make the panel laugh, cheer, cry, or fume is a very valuable skill. Giving a judge something to go to bat for is what will get your prints challenged. Know that your prints will rarely score in the stratosphere without a challenge. I once heard a judge confess that he spends about 3 seconds scoring a print and the rest of the time finding ways of not looking stupid if another judge calls him out. Knowing this makes it even more important to make a strong statement right out of the gate. Make your prints jump off the turntable and you’ll score higher.

Cindi_Penrod
06-14-2008, 02:56 AM
Excellent post, John. Well put indeed.

Todd_Reichman
06-14-2008, 03:40 AM
5 bucks to someone who can post a few examples of images with impact. If you have judged in the past, what impacts you in competition?

- trr

Keith_A_Howe
06-14-2008, 04:06 AM
John, One question. Have you ever taken the judging class?

Keith

andiegoodman
06-14-2008, 04:19 AM
Good point Keith. It is so true that not everyone is aiming for the same thing. I can say that what was good enough for me in April (just to NOT humiliate myself my first time out of the gate) is no longer what I will be aiming for. The competition bug seemed to bite me while I was in NH!:eek:



See what happens to people when they get a few blue ribbons :D. And NOT that we in NH are just a wee bit competitive. Nah! Not all.

andiegoodman
06-14-2008, 04:42 AM
My suggestion for anyone who has never entered a print competition before is to enter where you can watch the judging and hear their comments. You can also ask (when the prints are hanging) what you could do to improve the print.

Remember that even though there are judging guidelines, it is still subjective. Don't get too bummed out if your print did not score what you thought it would...every panel is different.

Just keep entering...you can only learn and improve.

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 06:12 AM
Now before I get in trouble... I will reiterate that I was quoting someone.

And "No" is your answer I am going but haven't gone. Just with this last judging have I qualified to earn credit for taking the class.

Michael_Gan
06-14-2008, 06:36 AM
Dirty little secret:
Judges score prints almost entirely from a first impression. This is not to say that the other 11 elements void, but consider a simple fact: Judges have A LOT of prints to judge before sanity becomes a commodity. Realizing that most prints are scored in about 10 seconds will dramatically change the way you present your images. The ability to make the panel laugh, cheer, cry, or fume is a very valuable skill. Giving a judge something to go to bat for is what will get your prints challenged. Know that your prints will rarely score in the stratosphere without a challenge. I once heard a judge confess that he spends about 3 seconds scoring a print and the rest of the time finding ways of not looking stupid if another judge calls him out. Knowing this makes it even more important to make a strong statement right out of the gate. Make your prints jump off the turntable and you’ll score higher.Gosh John, I gotta ask you where you came up with this stuff? As a state judge, I know that I have somewhat of a limited time to make a decision, but I don't consciously figure out how my time is spent in my image evaluations. I don't laugh, cheer, nor cry when judging an image. In fact, I'm pretty dead silent because I don't want to sway a judge in any direction of mine.

The "stratospheric" images, when they do come up, only get challenged when a 100 is in question. Most of the time, most of us are in agreement for say, a 94 to 96. By then, most of us would see some really small thing that would keep it from 100. When it comes to scoring, I rarely score from 79-81. I either think the image should merit, or not. To me, judges scoring in the 79-81 are playing it safe. At National, since you have a thumbs up/down situation, you have to either say yes, or no.

The title and impact are the first things that hit a judge, but I'm pretty safe in saying that the competent judges will ground themselves quickly and look at all the other "elements" that would qualify it for hanging...unless it's WPPI where they seem to stop at impact (sorry, couldn't resist). Many times, I've seen images that are ingenious and amusing, but those images still have to pass the other technical aspects. Just last night I judged at our local, and I saw some great impact images, but scored them down because of underexposure problems, or other parts that distract from the subject.

I've judged in all day sessions and we get rotated enough so that we don't go starry eyed over the images. I feel pretty rested and refreshed when I get rotated back in. To say that all seven judges get cranky at judging all at the same time ("Sanity becomes a commodity") is a bit of a stretch. If any, if a judge starts to falter in their scoring, some other judge will start to challenge the score and that seems to "right the ship".

To wit, don't get hung up on any one element in print comp. Again, if you will all look at the ASP loan collection I mentioned previously, you will find an incredible collection of all 12 elements. These are images that were accepted in the loan collection who are members of ASP. Generally, the ASP images attribute to close to , if not more than 1/2, of the total loan images selected.

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 07:12 AM
O.K. I'll do this again...

I quoted someone.

" a friend"

"his words"

I typed them on here.

And I do agree on your title statement. I named all but one of my images this year before clicking the camera.


If you don't follow what I have written or believe what I have stated to be true, your choice.

This topic we are just dipping our toes in is a daily in-depth discussion for me (and a small select group- a think tank if you will)

I have watched judgings and have been a judge (non-affiliated of course). I have the scores of every print from my last 11 of 12 judgings I have been involved in. Yes every print. I have studied every judge on the panel before entering, every associations ligting set up and set of procedures. I am quite serious when it comes to competition. A life's pursuit (of late)if you will. I wouldn't state anything here if I haven't found it or had it proven to me to be true.

And before I forget, that was only #1 of a 12 part discussion. And if you look back into "my friends words" the other 11 are not "null and void".

Can't wait to post #2. Maybe he'll do it himself... What a hoot!

Noelle_Zaleski
06-14-2008, 11:43 AM
Good point Keith. It is so true that not everyone is aiming for the same thing. I can say that what was good enough for me in April (just to NOT humiliate myself my first time out of the gate) is no longer what I will be aiming for. The competition bug seemed to bite me while I was in NH!:eek:


Bit me too!!

Andrea_Chapelo
06-14-2008, 01:30 PM
See what happens to people when they get a few blue ribbons :D. And NOT that we in NH are just a wee bit competitive. Nah! Not all.

I plan on coming back and trying again in NH Angie....hope to see you next year:D


Bit me too!! Good fo you Noelle...I saw your entries and they were awesome!

Linda_Gregory
06-14-2008, 02:35 PM
John,

I'd like to see all 12 points discussed in a separate thread. I'd be interesting to discuss the perceptions and reality of comp judging.

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 04:31 PM
5 bucks to someone who can post a few examples of images with impact. If you have judged in the past, what impacts you in competition?

- trr


O.K. since it's my neck...
Here's #1

This image originally scored a 90 and was challenged I was told twice and after review ended up at 94.

I will reserve speaking out what impacts me, saving any chance of rebuke...

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 04:35 PM
John,

I'd like to see all 12 points discussed in a separate thread. I'd be interesting to discuss the perceptions and reality of comp judging.

I'm not sure about that Linda...

Funny thing about opinions... They're fine and dandy till you share them with others.

In private maybe or in a small grouping, maybe a class even.

Michael_Gan
06-14-2008, 05:02 PM
If you don't follow what I have written or believe what I have stated to be true, your choice.

I think truths come in different interpretation paths. For my truths, I believe the print competition and the pursuit of the Masters degree is to "master" what you can bring to your everyday work. I guess I'm one of the few who believes that excellence has to be a process of everyday life, not just for one specific purpose, or to "beat" the system. When I mean to "beat" the system, I mean for for those who are "playing the game" to get the degree. I find many of those who played the game, are the Masters who's work end up to colleague scrutiny of "this master has really mediocre work". A classic case of going stale after a goal has been met; no personal growth.

Not knowing who's in your think tank, it appears that the opinions of those you quote are not current national judges, as I could not picture any of the affiliate judges make statements that you've quoted. Even then, I don't agree with preaching to other photographers to separate photographic excellence from general practice. You have to understand that, in my opinion, the Masters Degree is a degree that was created as a goal for the common photographer to be able to reach with constant personal improvements. Also, IMO, the degree was never really designed for the "superstar" photographers who can get the merits in the least amount of time. In short, it's the spirit of the journey that is important in a photographer's personal development.

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 05:17 PM
Michael you are right. And I have achieved my goal.

Best to all,

Keith_A_Howe
06-14-2008, 05:23 PM
And "No" is your answer I am going but haven't gone. Just with this last judging have I qualified to earn credit for taking the class. That's why I asked, I didn't think you had taken the class yet. I found that once I attended the class and went through the process to become an affliate juror, I understood the whole process a lot better. A lot of misconceptions I held (even having served as a juror at non-affliate competitions) were cleared up. Impact is the most important element, but any skilled juror does not use impact alone to detirmine score and then the other elements to justify themselves. So how does a judge evaluate all those points in the seconds it takes to come to a score? Because we are trained to do so. Remember when you first learned to drive? and how you had to concentrate on everything? Then as you gained experience behind the wheel you could drive much more easily, maintaining speed, watching for traffic hazards and road conditions, keeping track of everything. After hundreds of times behind the wheel, you are still just as aware of everything that effects your driving, but you are able to do it almost instinctively because of experience and training. Judging is the same thing. Experience and training allow us to evaluate everything that effects the final score before we punch it in.



Funny thing about opinions... They're fine and dandy till you share them with others.

Opinions are fine and dandy even when you share them with others, as long as you share them as opinions. When someone states an opinion as a fact or truth, then they are implying that a differing opinion is not valid. That's where I think the problems come in.

Keith

John_Metcalfe
06-14-2008, 05:44 PM
Well stated. I'll say no more and will reserve my facts and opinions to the private sector.

Michael_Gan
06-14-2008, 05:54 PM
Congrats on reaching your goal. Will you receive your Masters in January?

D._Craig_Flory
06-14-2008, 05:56 PM
The more you learn, the more you find out that you don't know ! I have learned a lot from what Keith, and others post. When I've posted my feelings and opinions on an image, Keith has explained why I was wrong. (or just less than right).

Those having never entered look at images one way. Those who have competed look at them a little bit differently. Those, like me, who have judged a few times look at them still another way. Those like John who are Masters, or about to get Masters, & have judged a number of times look at them still another way. Finally, you have those who have been through judging school & have the best handle on it of all. It's all a journey we travel.

Mark_Levesque
06-14-2008, 06:00 PM
I'll say no more and will reserve my facts and opinions to the private sector.
That's unfortunate.

andiegoodman
06-15-2008, 04:53 AM
When I mean to "beat" the system, I mean for for those who are "playing the game" to get the degree. I find many of those who played the game, are the Masters who's work end up to colleague scrutiny of "this master has really mediocre work". A classic case of going stale after a goal has been met; no personal growth.

You have to understand that, in my opinion, the Masters Degree is a degree that was created as a goal for the common photographer to be able to reach with constant personal improvements. Also, IMO, the degree was never really designed for the "superstar" photographers who can get the merits in the least amount of time. In short, it's the spirit of the journey that is important in a photographer's personal development.

I agree with you Michael. It is the journey that makes us all better photographers. I wonder what would happen if all portraits were required to be client images. No bringing in pretty women or 6 pack abs men to photograph, just your average client that you make as good looking as possible. That would be, IMHO, the test of a true master.

Having judged, I can say, to those who question the judges, that it is a job not taken lightly. We all want to be fair to the maker but it sure does the maker no good to overscore an image. This is also why there is a panel, and not just 1 judge. The score is an average of the number of people on the panel.

Well, enough for now.....

John_Metcalfe
06-15-2008, 05:36 AM
Congrats on reaching your goal. Will you receive your Masters in January?that wasn't my goal, but YEP!

Michael_Gan
06-15-2008, 05:43 AM
It can be taken as two completely exclusive thoughts :D