Monday, June 4, 2012

To Enter...

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! A great weekend slips into the past for those of here in Hohenfels, and a new week has begun.

This afternoon presented some great opportunities for shooting the stormy nature of the season; with high billowy clouds backlit by a sheet like layer of clouds cover. Dramatic skies are incredible photos, and for those willing to take the time, are quite rewarding.

Today we’re going to provide an intro to photo contests.

By now, most of you are doing good stuff with your cameras and making the photos you want. You’re getting great feedback from those who see your pics, and maybe some pointers, too. You should be feeling pretty good, which shows that you’re moving further than the camera thought you could when you were shooting in automatic modes.

A great way to move that feeling along and get some serious feedback is through photo contests. I’m sure some of you have entered online photo contests, and maybe even some juried contests. There are a couple different types, so we’re going to move along to a basic intro to the types you’re likely to encounter.

The first type is the public vote type. This type used to be held in galleries and libraries and occasionally still is. You submit a photo and the public votes on it according their idea of its merits. An offshoot of this type is the online poll. It’s an online posting of photos entered into the contest. These are voted on by the public at large, and may even be linked to your social media accounts. When linked to your social media, this type is often a popularity contest. AFN Bavaria has a monthly contest on their Facebook page that I have entered several times that serves as an example of this type.

The second type we’re going into today is the juried, or judged, type. You submit a work to the contest, then a judge or panel of photography and or art experts reviews all the works submitted. Voting by a panel or a decision by the judge determines the winner. Many of this type charge an entry fee, which goes to cover prizes and other items, such a book of all the finalists.

The popularity contest, or voting, type can be quite frustrating. It can also be incredibly rewarding. The frustration comes in when you don’t get many votes, and you notice the leaders have 100 of their social media friends voting for them. You’ll find that you get discouraged or put off by this. DON’T!!!! These contests are also a great way to get rewarding feedback. Even if no one comments on your work, by counting the tally of votes, and noting how may of those were from other than your friends, you can see how your photograph truly fared. You’ll soon notice that even though you don’t win, folks are responding to your photos, and isn’t that what it’s all about? If you get 20 votes, and 15 of those are from someone other than your friends, that means your photo made an impact on at least 15 viewers, a positive impact at that. Keep entering and keep trying, you’ll start feeling that the notice your image gets is all the reward you need.

The juried contests often offer large prizes, including whole camera kits, gold medals, and cash. These ones require entry fees and your image may not be accepted. Reputable contests, such as the Trierenberg Circuit, will include a catalog or book of all the finalists. Another feature of the reputable ones is that they do not require forfeiture of your rights. They may, however, require rights to use your work in connection with the contest. Bigger ones often refer those entries that are accepted to one of the photography associations for recognition and listing, as well.

In both cases, themes are often involved. When entering, make sure read all the fine print, but make sure to read the entire description of the themes. Not adhering to the theme can get your entry returned without further consideration for other areas where it might fit. These contests usually have some great works in them; so don’t be disappointed should you not win. The main objective is feedback, exposure, and the thrill of being in something beyond the basics of photography.

This post just touched upon some of the basics, there much more information online that can help you get started in choosing the right contest for you. For this week’s exercise, I hope everyone will enter a contest and be thrilled with the chance to share your work with the world!

Is there anything you’d like to see here? Do you have a question? Share your thoughts here or at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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