BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Karim Abiali
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2005
 

How to win this contest


I was wondering what does it take to win this contest? I believe there is a high rate of professional photographer that post images, where serious amateurs, as myself, won't ever have a chance. I suggest to slipt the competition into groups: 1.professional photographers, 2. Semi professional or serious amateurs.
Thanks;


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8/28/2006 10:33:08 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Hi Karim... Speaking as a non-professional photographer (a hobbyist, myself) I have to disagree with your idea of 2 contests. I've been fortunate enough to garner several Finalists in the past year (no "wins" yet) but there's no single formula to produce a winning shot. A good photo is a good photo; composition, color, clarity, focus, overall execution, storytelling, etc. You can find a Grand Prize winner who earned that prize this year (as a non-pro himself) with 1 prior Finalist to his name. You can also find amazing photographers who have yet to make a Finalist, after many months of entering...
Keep in mind also, BP receives about 27,000 entries per month today. Only 1 entry will make the Grand Prize. Only 10 entries will make it to First Place. Only 100 entries will make Second Place. An average of just 3% of all the monthly entries will make it to Finalist. Study all those past winners, to see what the judges see... ie, see what makes the Top 111 photos that good... THAT is what makes a winning photo, whether shot by a pro or an amateur, and pros certainly aren't the only folks who can achieve it.


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8/28/2006 1:31:09 PM

 
Tamera S. Phillips
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/28/2005
  I too am a non-profesional and have also been fortunate to receive finalists over the past year. However it took a long time and lots of learning from others to get there. I have to say that looking back from where I started I have improved so much and need to thank many of my friends here at BP that have guided me in one way or the other. Just keep looking at the finalists and winners Karim. Your time will come!


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8/28/2006 1:47:11 PM

 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
  Karim,
I am a non-professional...although I do have a deluxe website, which makes many think I am a professional. In reality, I started into photography just a year ago and received a finalist after only 3 months of shooting. Since then I have been very lucky to receive 5 more, but no wins. So why do I have a deluxe website? It was much easier to tell friends how to find my work. As well, any aspirations of selling any shots are though a deluxe site. I have just recently found myself entering some of my shots to stock agencies. This also does not make me a pro as I have made all of $14.20. Looking at your gallery, I see that you have great clarity in your shots as well as composition. Your exposures are great and your macro shots are fantastic. I'm sure you will get a finalist someday. But, also looking at your gallery, I see that you don't upload many shots per month. Many of the people on BP enter every day. I can't keep up with that!!! Nonetheless, keep shooting!


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8/28/2006 5:22:06 PM

 
Karim Abiali
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2005
  Hi Margie
Thank you all for your replies. I don't upload a lot, because honestly I rarely find time..and also can't keep up with people on BP that update everyday. I am a CPA and work in public accountancy!!!!-I guess that explains everything- and my problem is time, however, I don't waste a spare moment, I try to read and learn, still I need more practice, and still have a long way to go. I am just wondering about your thoughts and long did it take to get a finalist. Anyway, good luck to all of you, and keep shooting!


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8/28/2006 5:44:32 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Karim,

As has been said many places, photography is more subjective than it is objective.
What may appeal to one may not to another.
Winning contests does not make one a great photographer.

Pete


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8/28/2006 6:43:31 PM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  The way to win is to have a winning photograph! I know that sounds condesending, but I'm just making a point. The objective is to take the "best" photograph. If I ever win, I want to win because mine beat out ALL competition.


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8/28/2006 8:28:19 PM

 
Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
Contact Kerby
Kerby's Gallery
  Karim

Really go into the winners and finalists on the site and study them. I give you an idea of what is doing well in the contest and what the judges are looking for.

I am not a professional I just enjoy taking pictures and I love making abstracts in photoshop.

I won one second place and several finalists. So you do not need to be a professional to get a finalist or winner.


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8/28/2006 8:38:07 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I am a serious hobbyist and haven't done too bad in the contest so I'd say you definitely do not need to be professional to enter here. For myself I would hate having separate categories for pro vs. amateur. I like competing against pros. It makes a win all that much more satisfying for me to know I may have competed against a pro and won.


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8/28/2006 9:22:48 PM

 
anonymous A.    I have no idea if pros enter the contest or not...I suspect most wouldn't: what is in it for them except time lost to money-earning imaging and the loss of face when a bunch of amateurs beat you!
I have been fortunate enough to have reached the finals a number of times, but my only First Place came the month after I joined BP. Like the other who have respsonded to this post, I have another busy life (I'm a nurse).


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8/29/2006 7:00:49 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  David, I think you'd be surprised the amount of pros that enter here. No telling what's in it for them. Maybe recognition or some kind of validation other than making money??? Then there's people who just like to compete.


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8/29/2006 7:18:56 AM

 
Michael S. Baker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/14/2004
  Hi Karim;
I agree with every one else, so I won't repeat. Just keep shooting, try to improve on your technique, ask questions, and before you know it, voila! Your first win!

BTW, I'm not a professional, but I love to take pictures, and learn from others!

Don't be discouraged...keep making those photos!

Regards,
Mike B-


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8/29/2006 12:32:39 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  The level of talent among working pros and advanced amateurs is usually parallel.
The main difference between the professional photographer and the serious amateur is that the pro has learned how to market himself (or herself).

The advanced amateur usually has better equipment. He or she has a "day job" with a steady source of income to afford the latest gadgets and upgrades...while the working pro is more concentrated on cost-effective allocation of funds vs. projected profits.

Competing with the best can only make one better.
This is true in whatever challenge or endeavor one chooses to embrace.

Bob


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8/29/2006 4:04:13 PM

 
Karim Abiali
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2005
  Thank you guys for your responses. It is only a matter of pratice & time. And Bob, I agree with you that an advanced amateur can afford better equipment. I will take your advice all, and keep up the practice. One thing thought, I would like to welcome any conscrutive critique to my photos, based on your experiences, so I can learn from my lets say, mistakes! Thanks a lot again.


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8/29/2006 5:16:36 PM

 
Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  It took me 18 months to become a Finalist. I thought that it would have take me longer as I only enter 4-8 images a month.I guess I could say that it took 25yrs because that is how long I have used P&S and SLRs, Just keep at it and have fun, becomming a finalist or winner is just a bonus.


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8/29/2006 7:50:43 PM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  I joined this site by invitation of a couple of friends. First, winning was out of question as far as my photos are concered. They were not good at all but I enjoyed sharing them with some people I knew at the time. But when my friends are winning months after months, I was a bit frustrated. I started thinking just like you do now, "how can I win in this contest?", "what's wrong with my photos?", etc... The important thing is I kept studying those winning shots and learning a lot from others, viewing, studying their work, and asking questions.

It was a pleasant surprise when one of my photos was selected as a finalst after 4 months. It took another 4 months to get the 2nd place, and so on. Later on, one was lucky enough to be a 1st place winner. Thanks to friedns for their support and encouragement, and thanks to BP judges.

Winning is still not my priority but I know what you are going through. I remember the time when my friends are winning but not me... It's nice to be recognized. So, I tried harder... My bio text I have right now was written around that time, which still reflect my feeling about photo friends and this photo community. We just have to help each other to become a little better next time, each time...

Also, remember, judging is subjective. no two people look at your art the same way. And winning in this contest has gotten a lot tougher now that around 25,000 to 30,000 entries are submitted each month for the contest.
Remember, this is not the only contest. You may also try out at other contests at your local art festival and county and state fairs, etc. I try to remember to participate in the once-a-year State Fair/Creative Art contest.

- Nobi


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9/1/2006 2:53:01 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Well I'm certainly not a pro - although I think I've certainly improved since joining BP... I've taken 4 courses, read a whole bunch, asked a thousand questions and practiced practiced practiced. I also joined my local camera club - which is interesting and you get to hear in person the critiques on photos entered.I know many people here have full time jobs, plus their at home jobs (parents, etc.) and still find time to squeeze in this hobby that they love so much.
K.I.S.S. - keep it simple - silly! Make sure to keep the pics simple - sharp - nothign distracting in the background. Get close - and then get closer! fill the frame with your subject.
Keep trying. Entering 3 or 4 times a month will probably take you way longer to get recognized - but it's not all about the little medallion. Although it does kinda feel good...
Happy shooting everyone!


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9/1/2006 4:03:48 PM

 
David A. Dawson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/10/2005
  If you really want a chance to win the photo contest, send BP some money. Almost all of their finalists selections are from people who have paid for a premium gallery, a deluxe web site, or enrolled in one or more of BP's courses. Check it out for yourself. Look through the finalists photos and pick out what you think are the worst selections in the bunch. I think you will find that every one is from someone who has paid BP some cash.


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9/6/2006 8:15:20 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  David, that's pretty cynical :o)! I have purchased a gallery one time two years ago. This was before the Premium Galleries were offered. I have taken no courses, no deluxe web site, no books, no summits, nothing else. I have 12 wins so I don't think I've won because I'm "paying" for my wins. That's a tad insulting to those who win as well as BP :o)!


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9/6/2006 8:28:42 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  ...Not to mention, the folks who have Premium galleries when you look today, *because* they won in the contest, formerly having just a Free Gallery...


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9/6/2006 8:43:03 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  It's that time of the season again.


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9/6/2006 9:12:23 AM

 
anonymous A.    Nice try, David...but I won when I had only a free site, I haven't taken any of the BP courses, and it cost BP more to send my prize to Oz than I later paid for a premium site (It will take a couple of years of renewals before I have paid out the equivalent of the value of the prize itself!).
Sure most winners have paid money to BP; they are more likely to have more expensive equipment, too, and to devote more time to taking and enhancing their photos: that just goes with a greater commitment to photography and pride in your work.


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9/6/2006 2:46:54 PM

 
David A. Dawson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/10/2005
  First, let me apologize for my previous comment. I shouldn't have said what I did and I certainly didn't mean to offend any previous contest winners. Just sour grapes I suppose. Many of the finalists and winners are great photos, but there are also many finalists pictures that I don't like at all. Photo judging is very subjective. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

David R,
I'm glad to hear from someone who won something without buying anything from BP. I was really hoping someone would prove me wrong. Thanks!


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9/6/2006 4:09:11 PM

 
Patrycja Adamowska
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/12/2006
  well.. I have never won,I wasn't finalist yet.I am not telling that my photos are amazing and wonderful but sometimes,when I was looking at the finalist I was just asking myself-Why is this picture better than my? Becouse in some photos I didn't see anything that could make the photo outstanding to me.. But well...I guess I will be keep trying..Maybe one day... MAybe I will be lucky too. :) and that I wish to all of you.. :)


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9/6/2006 4:17:18 PM

 
Michael S. Baker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/14/2004
  See what you've started, David? :)

Good and spirited conversation, though...and that's good.

I viewed your gallery and I see that you have 'win-able' images. Keep shooting, working to improve, even submit some of your images for critique, and one day you'll find yourself a winner.

Regards,
Mike B-


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9/6/2006 9:15:18 PM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  Only an 1/7 of what I upload onto my gallery is ever put in the contest. I finish about 10 images a day with only 3 or 4 being uploaded. If I get a nod from the judges, great, but its all personal taste, not always predicable, but really, if you look at the finalist, it can be. Most have something that makes them pop, whether it color, angle, detail, composition, originality. I've lost interest in the contest over time and the time between judging isn't adding to the interest. If someone wants to know how I did something on an image, I don't hold out, I tell em so they can work their own images to the best of their abilty. I actually forget to enter contest some days.

Love your photos, do what you do best, find your style and stick with it. You will win someday, if not on this site, there are others. Gotta have a passion for your own work!
Regards, Vicki


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9/7/2006 4:56:08 AM

 
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