Photo Contest Guide to Judging Criteria
Actual judging form will be made available after assembled.
1. Is there a clear center of interest? In a strong photo, the viewer can immediately identify the subject. While this sounds like a no-brainer, a surprisingly high number of photos fail to clearly identify the main subject. Instead, a complex montage of elements compete for the viewer's attention.
In a strong photo, the subject should dominate the image and form the viewer's first impression. If the subject is strong, the viewer's eyes may move to explore other areas of the image, but the eyes are drawn inevitably back to the subject.
To evaluate your own photos for a strong center of interest, try asking yourself these questions. Or show the picture to a friend and ask your friend to honestly answer the questions.
2. Is the image composed well? In a strong photo, there should be a sense of overall organization. While entire books are written on composition, at the most basic level, composition is the process of establishing a sense of order for the elements within an image.
Note Composition rules or guidelines are a helpful starting point, but they are useful only as long as they enhance the overall image.
As a quick review, here are a few basic composition pointers.
To evaluate the composition of your images, try asking these questions.
3. Is the focus crisp and is the exposure appropriate? With the exception of photos that either intentionally show motion or are taken as soft-focus images (such as a portrait), tack-sharp focus is one of the first things that everyone notices first about an image. Going a step further, the center of focus should be on the center of interest of the subject. The sharpest point of the picture should pinpoint what the photographer sees as the most important aspect of the image.
The exposure (the combination of focal length [lens or zoom setting], aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) should also enhance the intent of the photo.
Questions that can help you evaluate whether focus and exposure settings are appropriate for an image include:
4. Does the photo tell a story? Most often, the difference between a photo you remember and one that you quickly forget depends on whether the photo tells a story.
In strong photos, the story is revealed at first glance, and it is self-contained. In the best images, the story evokes an emotional response from the viewer. I believe it's that emotional response that ultimately makes the image memorable.
Try asking these questions as you evaluate images to decide if the image tells a story.
5. Does the lighting enhance the subject and message? Like the composition, lighting is a subject that is worthy of book-length discussions. Whether in shooting or evaluating photos, light should be used to its maximum potential to reveal what's important in the image and to set the overall tone of the photo.
In masterful hands, lighting is used selectively to focus attention on specific areas of the subject while simultaneously demphasizing less important areas; to guide leading the eye through the composition, and to establish the overall mood and tone of the image by taking advantage of the different temperatures (colors) of light.
Light is another "design tool" that can be used to enhance the overall mood and intent of the image and subject. And, of course, there are few photographers who fail to take advantage of the superb colors of light during sunrises and sunsets.
When evaluating the lighting merits of a photo, ask:
6. Is the approach creative? In broad terms, we define "creative" as an image that goes beyond predictable techniques and treatments. In more specific terms, the best creative images show subjects through the photographers' eyes and perspective. In other words, the photographer reveals the subject in extraordinary ways: ways that the viewer otherwise would not have seen.
Creative techniques and subjects can range from bringing abstract ideas into a visual form, taking a concrete idea and making it abstract, relating or associating unrelated concepts into a visual space, or, in short, taking a fresh look at and lending the photographer's unique thinking and vision any subject.
When evaluating the creativity of a photo, ask yourself:
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information was originally assembled from the following website:
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