Twenty-Five Questions to Think like a Photo Competition Judge

Photo of an impala drinking. Impala Drinking. This image has a feeling of tranquility. The lighting and soft focus background of the impalas reinforce the feeling of a peaceful scene. The subject pops and helps create story. © Donna Brok
Impala Drinking. This image has a feeling of tranquility. The lighting and soft focus background of the impalas reinforce the feeling of a peaceful scene. The subject pops and helps create story. © Donna Brok

By Donna Brok

Camera clubs offer members some great opportunities to learn and practice their craft, one of which is regular photo competitions. In addition to whatever points members earn toward year-end recognition, seeing other members’ images and getting critiques on your own is one good way to improve your photography. Thinking like a photo contest judge is an even more powerful way to rapidly improve the quality of your entries. In this article, I will explain my thinking as a photo contest judge and the 25 questions I ask about every photo I evaluate.

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Secrets to Showcase

2021 NANPA Showcase Graphic

NANPA member Wendy Shattil is a full-time professional wildlife photographer with a list of accomplishments as long as your arm. She’s no stranger to awards and photo competitions, having won her first (of many) awards back in 1972. But did you know she was one of the people most responsible for creating NANPA’s Showcase photo competition, which grew out of a member photo slideshow at the 1999 NANPA Summit? She continues to be involved in the competition and administers the entire process. So, who better to give you some tips for selecting your best images, insight into the judging process and the critical role that good captions play.

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