BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Brett D. Robson

I dont understand ......


I came across here in the last few months and have enter about 5 photos per month into different catagories for the competitions that are run here.

I dont understand why my photos are not being picked even if it was a finalist

Please find below my current submissions, if I am doing something wrong to take myself out of contention I would appreciate any advice

Star of David:

Momenti Della Farfalla:

Red Reflections:

Melbourne City Lights:

Bird Portrait - Kookaburra:

Ambizione Del Blonde:

Any other advice even on the photos would be appreciated

Kind Regards
Brett Robson

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7/26/2006 2:54:28 AM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  Hi Brett... I won't attempt to guess what the judges think of your photos. (However, your Red Reflections, and City Lights are my favs among those you listed. I love night-cityscapes, but I just don't think this one "pops" quite as much as some of the winners' night-cityscapes I've seen.) All I can say is that remember, you're competing against (on average) 27,000 other photos, submitted every single month. You will find members here who have entered the contest regularly for say, 12 months, or longer, before a Finalist was pinned to an image! Keep on shooting, and keep on entering your personal best; if you really believe in a particular photo, you can always resubmit it in another month.

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7/26/2006 4:18:35 AM

Brett D. Robson   Hi Christopher

Thank you for the reply, the thing is Ive been takin photos for over 15 years now and it seems that I never won anything with relation to my photography

I dont mean to be negative but Im starting to doubt that my photography is up to scratch..

Ive done courses, I take photos, I have a few people that want to purchase them and I am taking photos for a Band from New Zealand however Ive had nothing in the public eye.

What is it that I need to do to gain some exsposure to my photo's.

I understand that persistance is the key however after 15 years you would have though something would have come about

I look forward to hearing back from you

Brett Robson

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7/26/2006 4:41:52 AM

Brett D. Robson   This is another photo

In the Reflection:

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7/26/2006 5:52:23 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Brett, study the winners to see what kinds of images the judges are drawn to. I had been serious about photography for probably 20 years when I began entering here at BP. I was surprised to find out I still had a lot to learn and still do! I had never even heard of the "rule of thirds" which is an important compositional aspect to the judges.

The butterfly photo didn't look sharp on my monitor. Same thing with the Kookaburra. On the Kookaburra the breast area looked to be the part of the bird that was in focus. Make sure the eye is sharp when doing closeups of birds and animals.

Do you resize your photos to 480 pixels on the short side? Even though the guidelines suggest 500 pixels on the short side it's been my experience that they'll appear soft if you size them to 500 before uploading them to BP. I've been told it has something to do with the borders that are added but I couldn't say about that. I just know nothing I ever upload at 500 pixels looks sharp.

I like the cityscape but those are difficult to get noticed. Keep shooting and good luck!

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7/26/2006 6:22:30 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Brett, you need to understand that judging a picture is subjective. The judges have their own set of values when it comes to judging a picture which may be different from your ideas or mine. I know they are different from mine because I've seen finalists and winners that I wondered how in the world they picked. Of course, I will admit that my likes and dislikes are different from those of others. I have seen photos that people have asked for a critique on here in these threads that others have cut down on the technical aspects that I found quite attractive on the artistic merits. As they say, to each his own. I don't have any finalists, winners, etc. but then I don't enter the contest. Judging from what the judges like, it wouldn't do me any good anyway so I shoot to please myself. Sometimes I succeed in doing that and sometimes I don't (and believe me, I've been shooting a lot longer than 15 years! LOL).

I see that Sharon has entered a reply while I was typing mine and I agree with what she says. If you want to win in the contest, study the winners to see what the judges like. They do look for things like the "Rule of Thirds". Personally, I think the rules were made to be broken. One of my favorite photos on this site was shot by a 14 year old kid and it broke that rule to shreds. The subject was right in the middle of the frame, and it worked to perfection.

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7/26/2006 6:41:16 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  "Personally, I think the rules were made to be broken."

Kerry, one of my all time favorite photos is of a barn and it's smack in the middle of the photo. I could have cropped it differently but would have lost some elements I thought were important to the photo as a whole. The only other option I had was trespassing and my husband wouldn't let me do that :o)! Interestingly, in a photo book I got from the library recently it stated that if the subject is looking directly into the camera and there are no other elements vying for the viewers attention then it's appropriate to place the subject in the center of the frame.

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7/26/2006 7:02:23 AM

KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  Hi Brett, Don't get discouraged because you haven't gotten a finalist yet. Some amazing photographers only get a few here and there are some who get none. You have to be the biggest fan of your own work. I see your style in your images, you also need to see your style and go with it. The best thing I have learn from this site is... step forward or back when looking at a image to snap. Amazed what a different a few feet make. My style is not for everyone. I love bold, I mean bold. It is who I am and it shows in everyone of the images I post, and yes, I have been shut out on finalists alot. Ansel Adams was told he was off his rocker when he started metering the light and not the dark for images. It took many years for him to change the mindset the business and way of thinking. He proved em all wrong with his style. and I am with Kerry, rules are ment to be broken and Sharon is right, study images. Really watch TV commercials. There is a reason they catch your eyes. They use the rules of photography all the time. I do like your images, I would post the max in the contest to get the best change of some chosen. Tough field of contenders and they are posting 30 a month. Brett look forward to seeing more of your work. Regards VIcki

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7/26/2006 7:12:28 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Sharon, I have either seen that image in your gallery or one similar somewhere else and I know what you mean. When something is plunk in the middle of a frame with open spaces on all sides, it gives a feeling of solitude, which I like. BTW, I don't always like to shoot with the subject looking toward the camera. I recently shot some bridals and the one the bride chose for the newspaper and to display at her reception was one of her sitting on a bench looking straight at the camera. My favorite, however, was of her looking off to her right (Valerie-1 in my gallery) simply because, to me, it had more feeling.

Vicki is right. Create your own style and go with it. Many people like to shoot with the subject filling the frame. My preference is to quite often shoot with the main subject being a smaller part of the frame with lines leading to the subject (excluding portraits, of course). I have one planned for about 3 weeks from now (waiting for the building to be finished) that will be that type, similar to "Girl at Catholic Church" in my gallery. The contest judges probably wouldn't like it but if it works out the way I envision it, I will like it.

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7/26/2006 7:35:02 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  I think that Kerry makes a good point – you need to find your own style and then develop that style. I don’t enter the contests here, but I certainly have seen some amazing images both in the contests and in people’s galleries. The ones that I personally feel the most drawn toward are those that may take an ordinary subject – say a bird – and show it in a way that expresses the photographer’s passion for that subject. The best photographers, like the best artists of all mediums, are those who have a passion for the craft and the art of the medium. Anyone can learn the technical aspects of capturing images. But unless you have a passion for the type of subjects you photograph I think your images will always lack that special spark that catches the eye of viewers, be they judges or friends and family.

I have a deep passion for nature photography because I have a deep passion for wild places and wildlife. When I go out to photograph I go out with a desire to take the beauty and wonder of the natural world and show this in my final image. I have days – weeks and months – when nothing I capture seems worth the trouble. My images are weak and fuzzy; they lack good color or fail in some other way. I grow to hate my camera. Then, almost as if by magic, everything falls into place and I manage to salvage one or two images that fill me with joy. Other times nothing I shoot works out and I feel frustrated and doubt my ability. Throughout it all I keep shooting, not because I think that I can be a great photographer, but because, despite it all, I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Brett – I looked at your gallery and saw some good work and some things that could be done a little better. Most of all, I think that your work still has not crystallized into passion. Many of your images seem somewhat fuzzy on my monitor (however, I am on my laptop today, so that is very possibly just my screen); others; some of your birds for example, seem a little dark and others seem just a little flat as if they were “grab shots” rather than something you thought out. Your shot “Birds at Peace” is lovely, but a little fuzzy and the exposure seems a little off. Again, this could be my monitor. I agree with others who say that rules are meant to be bent if not broken; however, personally, I am not a fan of the “bulls eye” approach of centering the subject. This may work with larger subjects, but with flowers and birds, I think they may work better if just somewhat off center.

The best advice I can offer – and keep in mind, please, I am very, very far from being an expert – is to find your passion, hone your skills and keep shooting. Don’t get discouraged by not winning a contest, it is not the goal you should be seeking. Good luck!


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7/26/2006 9:20:45 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Irene, if Brett's images look sharp on his monitor I'd bet it's the way he is resizing them. When I first began entering the contest my images looked nice and sharp and as soon as I uploaded them they looked soft. Brett's images looked soft to me as well but this could very well be the resizing issue or not. Only Brett knows for sure ;)!

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7/26/2006 9:51:45 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Excellent point, Sharon, and one that I was not aware of until recently. The technology is certainly not perfect!

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7/26/2006 1:04:34 PM

Brett D. Robson   Hi all

Thank you for the reply, I think I am in agreeance with the "resizing" issue as here is the full sie image

Please let me know if you still have the softness and exsposure issues you mentioned before

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7/26/2006 7:56:29 PM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Brett, that looked good and sharp on my monitor. I like that pic too!

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7/26/2006 7:59:20 PM

Jason A. Woodcock   brett I know what you mean man. the first contest here I entered I got three finalist and sence then nothing for over a year and I enter about 20-25 a month. it can be very frustrating but don't let I get you down. shot for your self and love what you do. many artist are not appreciated until well after there dead so keep your chin up and maybe your grandkid will make a fortune of your images:)

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7/28/2006 7:22:06 PM

Robert M. Nicholson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/19/2005
  I feel your pain guys! I have been posting here for over a year and only have 4 finalists (which were totally unexpected.) I used to get frustrated too. I’ve studied the winners and have grown a lot...but still no winners. So I decided to enter the same pictures in another contest ( and in less then 2 months I received a total of 8 “Photos of the Day.” Last month I put together a portfolio and hit the town to show my work. Ended up getting accepted into 2 galleries and 2 restaurants...that is better then a sling bag or premium gallery if you ask me! LOL

I still post here at BP and am taking some classes. So if the judges pick my photos...great...if they don’t....that is fine too! After the “fruitless” results come out every month, it has no affect on my dreams to be a professional photographer and make living doing what I love to do!

Humbled Eyes Photography

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7/29/2006 1:48:56 AM

BD Photo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/10/2006
  what is the differnece between my resizing my images and letting them be resized when I upload? thanks

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8/24/2006 4:07:18 PM

Robert Baer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2004
  a couple of us jokingly say that the bp judges think our entries are spam and delete them right away. ( just kidding ) but why else would we not get picked in a field of 27,000???? :-)justin baer

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8/24/2006 4:22:07 PM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   I am an artistic and photographic genius. Sadly, the judges here haven't recognized it yet. Others have. The other voices in my head have. Do what you love and success will follow. On a harsher note, if you're doubting yourself, do you really, really, love photography? I never doubted once! Even when I was a newly hatched chick (still just a fledgling). I've always known I was an artistic genius and would just have to let the rest of the world catch up with me!!! Just do what you do, do what you love, for yourself, and if compelled, share it with others. If you're doubting your photographic abilities, surely you realize this would come across in your photos (all this having been said without looking at your gallery, this is all supposition (except for the artistic genius and photographer part, you can take THAT to the bank), not meant to offend or discourage). I wish you well!

Artistic & Photographic Monolith

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8/25/2006 7:33:17 AM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Just looked at your gallery and Vela Via is spectacular! Well done!

Artistic & Photographic Monolith

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8/25/2006 7:42:46 AM

Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  Brett, it's cliche but it's true 'beauty in the eye of the beholder.' (Don't stop reading yet). I entered photos for about a year, and I just recently got my first finalist here. There is one photo, one of my absolute favorites, that I have entered 3 times here and it never got a nod, yet it was named Kodak's POTD in July.
So here is my question: what is your goal with your photography? to have fun? to make money? or to be recognized for your accomplishments?
It matters what your goal is. If you just wanna have fun, then keep shooting and don't get discouraged by one contest. Try other sites too and have confidence in your own work. You are a good photographer. If it's to make money, I would seriously look into the business aspect, because people pay alot for just studio shots.

Sipho, you're a nut.

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8/25/2006 10:22:23 AM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thank you, Becky!

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8/25/2006 10:34:13 AM

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