From the Archives: Why Do Photographers Enter NANPA’s Showcase Competition?

Male Lion Attack on Giraffe, 2017 Showcase Judge’s Choice, Mammals © Michael Cohen

There are as many reasons to enter NANPA’s Showcase photo competition as there are photographers.  For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials.  To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills.  And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.

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Top Seven Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

2021 NANPA Showcase
Time to get your entries ready for NANPA’s 2021 Showcase competition.

In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2021 Showcase photo competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

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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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Showcase 2021: Meet the Judges

2021 NANPA Showcase Graphic

Each year NANPA recruits a panel of outstanding judges to evaluate Showcase entries. If you’ve entered before, or read a copy of Expressions, you’ve seen the exceptional caliber of the judges. So, it should come as no surprise that this year we have another stellar group. Some are familiar names to NANPA members, others may not be. Regardless, they constitute a highly-qualified collection of experts in nature photography, as you’ll see from their bios.

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Give Us Your Opinion on Photo Contests

Photo of manta ray and invitation to help NANPA understand what you value in photo contests.
Here’s your chance to help NANPA understand what you value in photo contests.

Entering a photo contest can be a great way to gain recognition, from fellow photographers as well as the general public.  But there are many other reasons to participate.  Entering can juice up your creativity, make you practice new skills, hone in on photographic perfection, and inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone.  What are your reasons? A NANPA survey wants to know.

NANPA wants nature photographers’ opinions about photo contests.  Why do you enter?  What do you expect to get out of participating?  Win or lose, how do you like to see the winning photos?  (I know I love seeing the top photos, online or in print.  They give me so much inspiration and so many ideas for compositions and potential locations for future photo trips.)

hart with 2017 survey results.  Date from previous surveys have helped NANPA refine its own contests.
Date from previous surveys have helped NANPA refine its own contests.

Your answers will shape NANPA’s approach to photo contests.  The survey’s open to anyone but Friday, December 13th, is the last day.  So, take five minutes to answer a few questions and help NANPA understand your thinking about photo contests.

Share your opinion and help shape the future of photo contests. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NANPAContests

Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – David Armer

Showcase 2019, Best in Show, Birds: Rough-legged Hawk in Flight with Catch © David Armer.

Showcase 2019, Best in Show, Birds: Rough-legged Hawk in Flight with Catch © David R. Armer.

Bio:

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. In grade school, I used my Dad’s Kodak Brownie and started shooting anything and everything.  In middle school, my Graphic Arts teacher taught me black and white processing and printing. This was the beginning of my love for photography.

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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Betty Sederquist

Showcase 2019, Judges' Choice, Altered Reality: Painterly View of Tom Turkey © Betty Sederquist.

Showcase 2019, Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality: Painterly View of Tom Turkey © Betty Sederquist.

Bio:

Betty Sederquist, a resident of northern California, has been publishing her images in magazines, calendars and textbooks since the 1970s. Her first love is nature photography: wildlife and landscapes. Since 1999, she has led photo workshops and trips near and far. A former resident of Alaska, she has returned to the northland with other photographers almost every year since moving from the state in 1979. Another favorite destination is Africa; she has been to Tanzania four times. Other beloved destinations have included Iceland, Ecuador and Bhutan.

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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Jeff Vanuga

Showcase 2019, Judges' Choice, Scapes: White Dome Geyser under the Milky Way, Yellowstone, © Jeff Vanuga.

Showcase 2019, Judges’ Choice, Scapes: White Dome Geyser under the Milky Way, Yellowstone, © Jeff Vanuga.

Bio:

Jeff Vanuga is based in Dubois, Wyoming, and specializes in both advertising and editorial media. His work has been published worldwide in magazines and major advertising campaigns. He has won major international awards and leads tours for the largest photography tour company in the world, Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, and additional tours for National Geographic Expeditions, First Light Workshops, African Wildlife Foundation, Nature’s Best Magazine, Santa Fe Workshops and the Moab Photography Symposium. He is represented by Getty Images and the Nature Picture Library stock agencies.

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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Jackie Kramer

Showcase 2019, First Runner-up, Altered Reality: Dead Tide – Stolen Lives © Jackie Kramer.

Showcase 2019, First Runner-up, Altered Reality: Dead Tide – Stolen Lives © Jackie Kramer.

Bio:

Jackie Kramer resides in St. Augustine, FL, after living in Alaska for almost 30 years. She has been photographing the natural world, with an emphasis on flowers, since the age of 16. Jackie has earned awards from The International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY); from the Jacksonville Professional Photographers Guild (Best in Show in 2017 and 2018 and Competitor of the Year in 2017 and 2018), and by the Professional Photographers of America’s International Photographic Competition (Silver Medal in 2018). Jackie maintains an active Facebook group, Phlorography- Artistic Floral Photography, with over 5,000 passionate floral photographers from around the world. She is committed to enriching others through the support and relationships developed and fostered through this network.

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Top Six Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

Time to get your entries ready for NANPA's 2020 Showcase Competition.
Time to get your entries ready for NANPA’s 2020 Showcase Competition.

In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2020 Showcase Photo Competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

Continue reading