View Full Version : Anxious to try firstcompetition after attending first Imaging USA, but need critique!

02-17-2011, 04:56 PM
I am very anxious to try my first competition; however, I have no idea if my work is up to par! I would really appreciate some critique. Also, I have included a couple of wildlife images...are wildlife portraits ever submitted, or mainly weddings, seniors, still life, etc.? I remember seeing some landscapes and environmental wildlife images in the collection at Imaging USA, but couldn't remember if there were any portraits. I am also wondering if there is any benefit over submitting prints vs digital images? Thank you so much for any critique/advice!

02-17-2011, 09:13 PM
Yes there is a Portrait/Wedding category as well as Illustrative, Commercial and Album categories in the Photographic Open Competition (eligible for the Master of Photography Degree). Wildlife images can be in either the Illustrative or portrait category, it is the makers choice as to which is best for the specific image.

These portraits have some nice qualities but the lighting has some room for improvement. For your first time at competition I would choose the bird and the porcupine from your other post and image 1 and 3 from here. I believe these will be excellent images to learn with. If you are only interested in Merit worthy images, I am afraid you might be disappointed in the results.

You ask if there is an advantage to print vs file entry.
Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. The following is my personal opinions.

Prints - Advantages:
prints offer opportunities for impact that files (digital) can't. Example in a print option, the maker has the chance to choose what type of paper will best perpetuate the story the image is telling. For example a soft emotional or romantic light airy image may be stronger printed on watercolor paper were as a dark vibrant or saturated image may be stronger on metallic paper.
Keep in mind the 12 elements. One of which is impact. The paper choice can add to the impact of the image. Another element is presentation. How you choose to present the image - traditional matting, -- a background layer / stroke / image, -- full bleed image (note the last 2 can be done on a file entry as well).
Images that score at a certain level (varies at local, state, district and international) hangs in the print exhibit. Great learning tool to look through and analyze images to see what makes them work as well as giving you ideas for your own work.

- Disadvantages:
Time - if you procrastinate too long to decide to enter it takes time to get prints back from the lab, put the info on the back of each and ship them to the event before the dead lines.
Cost - You have the cost of the prints and mounting as well as shipping cost.
You will also probably want/need an approved print case. Most district competitions will require a print case. At the international competition you have the option to send your images in a box or a print case. If you choose a box your images will NOT be returned to you.

File (digital) entry :

Advantages - Less expensive, (really comes into play with album entries). Faster. Work a file up, do your online entry and send a disc.

Disadvantages - Do not have the added impact that a paper choice can add to the story of the image (addressed above). Images that score a certain level are only shown on a slide show at the exhibit. Makes it hard to analyze specific images as well as having the time to wait to see your images shown.

Not an advantage or disadvantage of either print or file entry, just my opinion.
I believe that given time we will come to find that just as we learn that some images are better on one kind of paper vs another, we will learn that a specific look or image story will be best suited for file entry. I truly feel that the choice is the makers to decide what is best for the image and it should be entered that way. Also if you like having a print show to study, enter prints because if we all start entering files the print show will be gone. One more real learning tool will no longer be available to us.

02-18-2011, 03:11 PM
Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time for your detailed response! I definitely think I will take the time for a print submission. I think the visual impact of prints seems to be stronger, and the point you raise of continuing to submit prints to keep a print show going is a very good one. I am going to work on these images a bit more and see what I come up with.
Thank you!