How NOT to select photographs for competitions
We've just finished judging over 3,000 images for the VECC National. This exhibition covers entries from UK photographers in four categories: Colour, Monochrome, Creative and Natural History. Now I'm going to ignore the natural history - I don't understand the bugs and birds on sticks bit really.
So, here's some observations:
All judges have seen a gazillion photos of Rannoch Moor, Dunstanburgh Castle, The Bothy, Iron Man contests, Venice masks, Selfridges Birmingham, steam railways in the snow or at night and the British Library. Oh yes, dog racing, remembrance, bikes with the zoom filter as well.
If you really want to submit another one - please try and say something new, if nothing else, don't put your tripod in the previous photographer's spot. We've seen it before!
Using a push button filter on Photoshop does not make an image "creative". We are all old hands, we know exactly which filter you've used and it is not creative, new or clever.
Spot colour on monochrome images is very, very old fashioned.
Really bad cut and paste montage and layering is very obvious.
Actually I like motion blur on the right image, but I can tell you know, it won't get accepted, so don't bother.
Apart from a personal thing that just way too many shots are spoiled by shooting too wide, the whole nearly fish-eye look - especially on portraits - is tired, tired, tired.
GRABSHOTS OF FOREIGNERS
Preferably kids with dirty faces. Just because they are foreign and you had an interesting holiday that is not an excuse for a poor grabshot of some poor native person.
VERY COMMON TITLES - MEANS VERY COMMON SUBJECTS
The following word lists are based on the last 7 years of entries, though to be honest the subject matter hasn't really changed in all that time.
14 bluebell wood
13 red kite
11 walking the dog
11 misty morning
11 low tide
11 lady in red
10 red squirrel
10 morning mist
10 beach huts
9 homeward bound
8 winter trees
8 the mask
8 frosty morning
8 evening light
8 autumn leaves
7 walk on by
7 the wave
7 the engineer
7 one man and his dog
7 end of the line
7 eilean donan castle
VERY COMMON WORDS IN TITLES - MEANS VERY COMMON SUBJECTS
Competition entries need to be different, but not too different. By their very nature they select for a median. But please, before you submit, please look to see if you are doing something new or just re-treading the same old ground.
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