BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Leesa Jones
 

Photo Contest Question?


I was wondering how come betterphoto does not have 2 seperate contests? One should be for altered photos and one for real photos. "Real photos" without (added images) can't compete with an actual photograph. It seems so many people who enter the contest are just making photos and not taking them. For example...adding a moon, adding a witch, adding this and that is not real photography. It is just frustrating when someone actually takes a decent photo and does not had things to it and never gets any comments. This is more like an art contest.


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10/20/2005 6:27:17 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Well, the contest does have categories for digitally-altered prints.

More important, this IS an art contest, although the medium is photography. Images are judged on aesthetics (how they look) however that judgment is based also on how successful the image is as a photograph (instead of a drawing or painting... special categories that judge images in terms of retouching/editing skills or mastery of special techniques excepted).

I would also add that, if an image has been subtly altered to reflect what the photographer saw and to remove limitations caused by the equipment, then isn't this the same as doing a little dodging and burning and retouching on a print made from a negative? IMO, it is.

I find a lot of the digitally-altered images to be a little hokey. For example, some images are buzzed so they look like watercolors rather than photographs. The same is true when images are added to backgrounds... this is nearly always obvious. Again, IMO, these images are good artistic efforts but I personally do not compare them favorably to photographs and unless they were in the 'Digital Darkroom' or 'Special Effects' categories I would hold a loss of detail or lack of reality against them.

Of course, I'm not a judge... just one of the masses. My opinion is just that. The only opinion that counts is the judges. Read their comments on how they feel about digitally-altered images.


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10/20/2005 6:52:24 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Amen to Leesa.


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10/20/2005 6:54:43 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I think it would be nice to limit software modified photos to the Digital Darkroom category, BUT digitally modified photos are not discouraged in any category that I'm aware of soooo I enter Buzzed or otherwise modified photos in any category I wish. I'd be one of the first to welcome such a change but until that happens (which I doubt it ever will) I just accept BP for what it is. An art contest based on photography. At least that's my interpretation of the contest. If a person's photography is top notch they are going to win out over the "art efforts."

BP is a lot about just sharing images and having fun IMHO. If you browse the archives of the winning photos, while you may see some Buzzed or modified images, you won't find very many.


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10/20/2005 7:03:23 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Achoo to Leesa


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10/20/2005 7:37:09 PM

 
Nicole Kessel   Where do you draw the line on a digitally altered image to consider it graphic art instead of photography? If you adjust the brightness, contrast, dodge or burn, etc? Arn't those techniques you could use in a traditional darkroom?!

What about removing grain with a noiseware program? Cloning out a partical of dust that was on the lens?
Using a digitally colored filter?

What about using two seperate photographs (ex: a child in a fairy costume and placing her on a flower) did you not have to use traditionally photography in order to get to that final image?


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10/20/2005 7:39:01 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Adjusting brightness, contrast, dodge and burn are not considered manipulated images to me. Nor would cloning out dust.

Taking elements from two separate photographs and combining them would qualify as a digitally modified image IMHO. Same thing for Buzz.

There are many different effects that can be accomplished in a traditional darkroom. You can make photograms where you don't even use a negative to create an image. You can use diffusers or texture screens when printing. There's always sandwich printing. Solarization and posterization are both tradition darkroom effects as well. I would think any of these techniques would go under the category special effects as well as the in-camera effects that normally place and win. I can't say I've seen many winners that are darkroom special effects though.


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10/20/2005 8:10:32 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Leesa, in the spirit of wanting to give you some comments on your photography, I took a look at the one image in your gallery... and it appears digitally-altered! LOL!


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10/20/2005 10:41:54 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  It's true that many of the digital alterations we've seen can also be performed using traditional methods.
Now, it's easier and faster and requires a different level of skill. We live in a fast-food, cruise-control,...auto-everything world, where faster and easier is considered better.
(I'm a traditionalist, but it's nice having the ability to digitally convert a photo to B&W with a single click of a mouse.)

I AM against trying to pass off something as real which was manipulated without disclosing the steps taken during the creation process. This applies to traditional manipulations as well as those done digitally.

Yes,..."real photos" are also manipulated every day whether we care to admit it or not. Every time we place an object into our scene (or remove one that wasn't "photogenic"), it's no longer reality. We've all added filters, used auxillary light sources, etc. to make our scenics and still-lifes more visually appealing.
The only real difference between traditional manipulations and those adjustments which are made digitally is that they are made in the camera and the results have to be anticipated,...as opposed to putting an image up on the screen and seeing the changes as they occur.


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10/21/2005 5:04:12 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I agree with you, Bob. Manipulations should be mentioned, however I don't always give out my recipes.

I'm traditionalist at heart, but BP is a fun site that seems to encourage any kind of artistic expression you wish to present so it's fun to try different things in Photoshop. I MUCH prefer getting a fantastic image right out of the camera though. That's infinitely more rewarding to me.


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10/21/2005 7:01:31 AM

 
Nicole Kessel   Lately I have been trying to list any manipulations I have done but, I tell you what... when you sit there and mess with an image for an hour or so it's hard to remember all the steps you took to get to the final image.

Even if I don't list the steps I'm more then happy to tell some one that wants to learn how I got there! That is if I am able to remember myself! :)


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10/21/2005 8:30:07 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I often write down the the exact steps as I'm playing around with a photo. Later when I go back and try the steps again on a new image I won't be able to get the same effect no matter how hard I try. Very frustrating!


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10/21/2005 9:31:14 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  Lessa I Doubt Bp Will Change The Sites Contest Or Add Another Contest To Suit Your Needs,There Are Other Sites With Contests For Purist's You Should Check Them Out:-)


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10/21/2005 12:23:36 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  have you ever tried to use the settings listed on the contest pictures,you know re-create the picture with your own camera using their settings.only to find out,your picture isn't even close.all manipulation should be revealed.just a thought.
sam


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10/21/2005 1:15:04 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  How about this one rules change to the contest: any obvious digital manipulation disqualifies an image unless it is put in the Digital Darkroom or Special Effects categories.

Or, maybe have a 'digitally-altered' category corresponding to each main category, i.e, 'People' and 'People - Digitally Altered'. Obvious editing (colorizing, blurring, adding elements from different images) goes into the Altered category. Non-obvious editing (dust removal, cropping, retouching, sharpening, slight contrast or color enhancement) stays in the regular category. How you choose is based upon whether the editing is obvious.

I agree that a photograph should be a photograph and should represent reality (what was there at the time the shutter was released) as closely as possible. Buzzed, or blurred, or swirled, or unnaturally-colored photos are often beautiful, but they aren't photos to me... they're illustrations. I'd like to see some differentiation.


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10/21/2005 7:55:57 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Unnecessary.


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10/21/2005 8:53:31 PM

 
Kelly Plitt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  Some of you in this thread would love the weekly contests over at www.dpchallenge.com - they have strict rules regarding digital manipulation. The members vote on the photos, and also report any suspected undue manipulation.

The only catch is the photos must be taken within the weekly challenge time window, which can be tricky!

Give it a try! :)


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10/23/2005 6:50:57 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Try another contest :o)?!?


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10/23/2005 7:23:31 AM

 
Kelly Plitt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  Yep, try another contest if you are worried about competing with digitally manipulated photos. Betterphoto is clearly a place where photo manipulation is not only tolerated, but welcomed and celebrated.

Case in point - my very first entry was in the people category and was HIGHLY digitally manipulated, but it wasn't overtly obvious. The bench the kids were sitting on was switched to a different one, the background was totally replaced, and there was extensive target editing to reach the correct tonal balance and color.

I entered it into the people category, and then saw the "digital darkroom" category. I got worried and wrote to the site asking if I was being deceitful, if I should change the category, and/or disclose my manipulations. I also sent them my original shot to show just how much manipulation was done.

I got a response from Jim Miotke saying basically, don't worry, that I was doing everything right - digitally manipulated photos are allowed in all categories. The photo ended up winning that month, so I guess it was all ok! :)


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10/23/2005 8:58:44 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I personally don't have much of a problem competing with a software manipulated photo in any category with the exception of Special Effects. I just don't see much point in a separate category for in-camera special effects if software manipulated images are going to be awarded finalist or win status.


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10/23/2005 11:55:02 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  to me... an Image is an Image, altered or not. if its good, it will win. The biggest problem I can see with the contest is the amount of pics vs. the amount of judges. Im willing to bet that if you were allowed to enter one pic per month in each catagory, it would be easier for the judges to judge EACH pic. and there would be more winners. This isnt just sour grapes because I didnt place in the last two contests its just my observation of the whole thing. I know I have some pics that, compared to some of the finalists should have been chosen but who's to say? If I had to look at every single one of the entries each month, I think i'd just pick a few and be done with it..but since its all in good fun, I really dont care and will enter my 30 again this month and keep them judges "earning" their pay...
lol
Craig-


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10/24/2005 9:43:53 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  of course, they're bittersweet grapes.


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10/24/2005 11:21:33 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  ....lol the best kind!
lol
Craig-


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10/24/2005 7:13:42 PM

 
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