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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Avoiding a Messy Background!

Images such as this have the background far enough away to blur, but still give a hint of the habitat beyond. This is how the Great Masters painted backgrounds with just a hint of the scene. Nikon D850, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/500 @ f/4, ISO 50 © Donna Brok
Images such as this have the background far enough away to blur, but still give a hint of the habitat beyond. This is how the Great Masters painted backgrounds with just a hint of the scene. Nikon D850, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/500 @ f/4, ISO 50 © Donna Brok

By Donna Brok

What the heck is a messy background, as opposed to a good one, and is it boring?

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