The Photography Blog: The winner takes it all
Welcome to the Independent’s new photography blog. Here we’ll be discussing everything that’s current and topical in the photo world keeping you up to date with the latest news, trends and competitions.
We’ll be asking you for your opinions on these issues and you can always join in the conversation by posting your comments after each post.
This week we’re looking at the latest big photography competition asking to see your work and examining what it takes to be a winner. If you’ve got a stack of images sitting on your hard drive collecting cyber dust then competitions are the perfect excuse to dig them out and get them seen.
With big prizes up for grabs and, potentially, the opportunity to kick start a photography career, the Landscape Photographer Of The Year (LPOTY) carries much allure amongst amateurs and pros alike.
Although there are hundreds of photography competitions to enter at any given time, some stand out as carrying particular appeal and this is certainly one. First prize is £10,000 and all the top entries feature in a book and an exhibition at the National Theatre.
There are a variety of categories to enter encompassing every possible angle on landscape photography so check these first to guide your selection process. Beyond these categories there are also three ‘floating’ prizes to be won for images across the categories that fit the choices of the competition’s major sponsors-a nice added twist to the normal competition format.
The deadline for entries is 15th July 2012.
What are the judges looking for?
A review of previous winners of LPOTY suggests that whilst there is no particular trend the judges are leaning towards in terms of location or style, they seem to be very keen to avoid anything that risks being visually unbelievable.
The most famous case of a spectacular winner being stripped of his prestigious title has to be the 2009 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of The Year. In that case the photographer was deemed to have used a tame wolf in his winning image, breaking competition rules.
LPOTY rules do allow good leeway for common digital post production techniques. However, on reviewing previous winners, the judges appear keen to place an emphasis on creative use of light and composition and avoid any risk of someone walking away from viewing a winning entry at the exhibition muttering something about the dark arts of Photoshop being employed.
Of all the previous winners, only the 2009 winner may have required some advanced digital editing due to the high key nature of the light captured by the photographer. Even then, the result is striking but calm and, crucially, believable.
Choosing photographs to enter into any competition is tough but a big one like LPOTY requires stringent quality control over your submission.
Ruthless editing of your work for anything that is not technically perfect followed by a second round of checking for creative and aesthetic strengths should provide a nice, tight shortlist.
Wonky horizons, soft focus, low res images or poor composition are all no-no’s. It may even help to ask friends and family to choose their favourite image in your collection-you might be surprised what they pick!
Even if you don’t enter, the competition’s annual exhibition is worth paying a visit and will be open from late November. Just keep tabs on the Take a View LPOTY website for final confirmation of the date.
Each year there are a number of big competitions to consider. In addition to LPOTY, there is Travel Photographer of The Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Perhaps the biggest of all, open to both amateurs and professionals, are the Sony World Photography Awards.
You and Your Photography
Have you won a photography competition before? What do you think plays out well in front of a judging panel? Do you think ‘believability’ in landscape, travel or wildlife photography has suffered in the digital age or has it opened up new creative possibilities? What did you think of the leaping wolf image that was disqualified?
We’d love to hear your views, just post a comment below.Tagged in: photography, photography competition
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