Updated 09/01/21, and still relevant today …
06/03/2008 – A few weeks ago, I was again privileged to be a Judge at the San Diego County Fair Exhibition of Photography, always one of my favorite contests to judge (and one of the largest!). It is always lots of fun, and I get to spend time with other pros in the industry whom I haven’t seen all year.
This year I judged in 2 categories: Nature (Plants) and Underwater Photography. My fellow judges in that category were two individuals; one that I’ve known for over 25 years, Lee Peterson, and one that I just met, Larry Stein of Warp 9 Imaging. We clicked together well as a judging “trio”.
Suffice it to say, it was a great day. This was not quite as intense as last year, when I was judging one category with 800 entries (Can you say “speed judging”?). This year, we judged around 500 images in two categories – LOTS more fun and relaxed.
By the way, what was the one thing that made an image stand out from another? That’s easy – – Impact. I like to call it the “WOW” factor, because when you look at the image, you want to say “WOW!”.
So, what are some things that we noticed about the entries this year, both good and bad (and this is why it was interesting)?
First, the “good”:
- The quality of the inkjet prints has drastically improved over past years. Lee, Larry and I believe it is less about improvements in the hardware, and more about the people doing the printing: The knowledge level and expertise of the folks doing the printing has obviously increased!!!
- For the first time in ages, a black and white print won “Best of Show”.
Now, the “bad”:
- For some reason, the composition of quite a few images got a little sloppy – not sloppy enough to keep an image from being accepted into the fair (only 3 out of 10 images are accepted), but sloppy enough to keep an image from “placing” or getting an “honorable mention”. And it was little things: An obvious edge of a finger that could have easily been cropped out, or even the edge of a building that obviously wasn’t part of the subject matter of the image.
- One of the other things that stuck out like a sore thumb was the careless manner in which some prints were mounted. Again, it was little stuff – – Bent matte board, crooked matte cuts, wrinkles in the prints, dirty finger smudges and so on. Haphazard and slipshod mounting can destroy the overall effect of a great print – There were some very strong images that did not get accepted because of the manner in which they were mounted.
• San Diego County Fair Photo FAQ’s: https://wattsdigital.com/sdc-fair-photo-faqs
• Here’s my San Diego County Fair Photo “Print Special”: https://wattsdigital.com/sdc-fair-print-special
• Want to see Photoshop in action? Check out my “Photoshop 101” series of FREE online & live Photoshop Meetups – available nationwide:
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• By the way, this is all based on my Photoshop book designed for photographers, “Not just another Photoshop Book”, available exclusively on Amazon:
Questions? Please contact me – also, feel free to comment and tell your photography friends!
Thx again, and cheers,
John Watts 🙂