Photography News | Issue 49 | photographynews.co.uk
We kick off this year’s CCOTY contest with a nice, easy and very open theme: scenics. But don’t be fooled because while the theme is accessible andstraightforward, that’sdeceptive and ordinary shotswon’t be good enough to get the high scores you’ll need to qualify for the grand final next spring. So what we are looking for this month is great images of outdoor scenes that can be urban or rural, home or abroad, so whether your personal preference is for cityscapes or for landscapes, you are catered for. The five images from each club will be judged on an individual basis so don’t worry about getting a balanced or cohesive set of five pictures. The fact that the five shots complement each other will count for nothing so just make sure each individual image stands up on its own tomaximise your potential score. As with any contest, you need pictures that grab the judges’ attention as quickly as possible. Images might have a deepmeaning or beautifully subtle content but often fail to score highly because they don’t catch the judges’ eye in the few seconds allowed them. Impact is important. So too is good camera craft. There’s no excuse for poor focusing, inaccurate exposures and camera shake. Most cameras these days help with these issues; Fujifilm X-series cameras in particular have excellent exposure systems, accurate AF and many lenses have OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) systems to ensure pin-sharp images at remarkably slow shutter speeds. Images that are obvious technical failures should not be part of your camera club’s entry and if they do get entered don’t be surprised by the low scores they will almost certainly attract. Basically, the club member responsible for gathering images together needs to work hard to ensure the entered pictures at least fulfil some basic photographic criteria. Poorly edited pictures are also best avoided. Too much use of the unsharp mask, over-enlargement and poor white-balance control are the sort of problems that will lose Theme 1: scenics
Images Whether you enjoy shooting urban street scenes or rural landscapes, thismonth’s themewill offer you an interesting challenge .
Simple techniques like moving your feet and kneeling down for a lower camera viewpoint can massively improve a picture
you marks, but are easily sorted; so again there is no excuse for images displaying such deficiencies. Having expressed what we prefer not to see in an entry, it is time we looked in more detail at what can score you big points. It is not really rocket science and the judges will be looking for flawless technique as we have just discussedbut also creative interpretation, great composition, awesome light and brilliantly observed content. For this contest, scenes can be taken at any time and anywhere – the world is your oyster. From our experience gained in the three previous years of this contest it is a fact that the majorityofpictureshavethepotentialtobehigh scorers. The photographer has usually made a great effort to get to the location, often at silly o’clock, but the final result is let down because the author has not worked hard enough on the composition and that, unfortunately, negates all the effort and expense of getting there in the first place. Working on composition does not just mean what is in (or out of) the frame but includes lens choice and camera viewpoint. Most photographers use zoom lenses but forget to fine-tune their composition to make the most of lead-in lines and depth-of-field. Simple techniques like moving your feet and kneeling down for a lower camera viewpoint canmassively improve a picture. To sum up, when you’re checking through pictures to enter into the contest, reject the less strong ones and you can be sure of a high score with the chance of getting through to the final shoot-out. Good luck, and we look forward to seeing your club’s brilliant work very soon.
To get your members thinking about images for the next round now, Theme 2 is all about Portraits
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