BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
 

For BP Old-Timers only...


Hi! I'm looking for feedback from BP "Old-timers"... This has nothing to do with physical age - but I'm looking for people who have been entering the BP photo contest on a regular basis for over 2 full years...
I'd love to know how you're faring in the contest. Personally - I started out at BP at the end of 2003 (December) with a 2 megapixel point and shoot. My results in the BP contest have gone as follows:
2004 - 7 finalists
2005 - 20 finalists (and 1 2nd place win)
2006 - 14 finalists (including 2 2nd places)...
(upgraded to DSLR in Nov. 2006)
2007 - 3 finalists
2008 so far - 0

I'm not looking to discuss the doubling of the number of entries and how the quality of work has improved etc... I'm just wondering if anyone else who has been around for a while and who is still entering has seen a decline as drastic as mine...
Thanks!
D.


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2/27/2008 3:13:14 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Here's my stats:

2004 - 14 finalists, 2 wins (2 1st)
2005 - 45 finalists, 8 wins (1 1st)
2006 - 29 finalists, 3 wins
2007 - 10 finalists, 1 win
2008 - zilch

I don't know why but in the top 100 finalists they have me down for 85 finalists but my files shows 98.

EFP is hard to come by now. I'm convinced in my own mind the contest is biased (or stacked) and I'm on a black list. What the heck, who cares??? I'm sure everyone gets tired of hearing about microstock but at least they recognize my work and I make a few bucks.


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2/27/2008 3:34:27 PM

 
Kara L. Hendricks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2004
  Hi Diane... I have been entering since Oct. 2004... I got my first finalist in Jan. of 2005...

I have never been what I would consider a favorite.. Where I do really well... Like some I have seen of late.. or back then even...I have averaged 2 finalists a month.. overall.. A few months I have gotten 3 or 4.. Many months just one.. And a few shutouts... I still get like one a month.. Nothing to write home about...

And I don't think for me it has anything to do with my camera... I still have a P&S... I started out with a Kodak EasyShare... Went to a Fuji Fine Pix for a little while and have been using my Olympus for a couple years.. Still happy with it so why upgrade right??

For me, it's been steady... I have seen a bit of a lull of late.. Last 3 or 4 months for me... One a month.. for a while it seems.. But I know many members get none.. So I won't complain...

It's an interesting Q&A, I'd be interested to see how the others are doing...


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2/27/2008 3:36:24 PM

 
Kai Eiselein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/21/2003
  I've been entering since December of 2003.
2004: 0 finalists
2005: 0 finalists
2006: 0 finalists
2007: 1 finalist, 1 POTD
2008: 1 finalist, 1 win (2nd)
On a side note, after the EFP tags came out I found that nearly 80% of my entries did move out of the first round.


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2/27/2008 3:44:39 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thanks so much - it sure is interesting to see...


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2/27/2008 4:14:21 PM

 
Joanne  Kramer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2005
Contact Joanne
Joanne 's Gallery
  Member since 2005
2005: 0 finalists
2006: 0 finalists
2007: 0 finalists
2008: 0 finalists

I'm happy for an EP.


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2/27/2008 4:24:59 PM

 
Joannie Bertucci
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/17/2003
Contact Joannie
Joannie's Gallery
  Hi Diane,
I've been a member since 2003!

2004: 3 finalist
2005: 3 finalist
1 second place
2006: 5 finalist
2007: Some EP's
2008: Some EP's

I've been consistent until last year. I think my work has improved since 03, but as I think I'm getting better the judges don't seem to think so! :-) I know I've seen some work on this site that is really, really outstanding and the photographers have nothing to show for it...
I don't think it's a black list but more of an overwhelming amount of photos to go through and try to whittle down for finalist. The EP's were created to help them whittle down to the finalist. As I understand it, if you have any EP's for that month, they are the only photos being considered for finalist. If I'm wrong, please set me straight!
Plus they are working on this new cash contest, so that takes their time also!
Well that was my 2 cents worth! :-)

I agree with Kara, an interesting Q&A!


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2/27/2008 4:38:42 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thanks Djoanne and Joannie!
Yes Joannie - an EP is the pic making it past the first round of the contest. But it's still what I call a "loser" button because if it makes it to finalist the button gets changed (or so they tell me!)
Thanks everyone for your input and sharing your stats!


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2/27/2008 4:41:17 PM

 
Marcie A. Fowler
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/17/2003
  Well I can't give you stats cause I've never tracked mine. I get a fair amount of EFPs on my images and I usually have 1 or two finalists although last month I had none. CAn't even remember when my last 2nd place win was. But for me it has always been about sharing my work, learning and growing and not so much about the contest itself or winning etc. I think it is safe to say that we have all improved in our work over the years.


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2/27/2008 5:10:50 PM

 
Murry Grigsby
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/12/2002
  I don't keep track either but I know my results were way down in 2007 but I attributed that to the thousands of entries. There is no way that a few people could go through all those photos and do justice to them. To me it has become more like a lotto than a contest and I always felt like I was lucky to win anything :0) That is why I am excited about the cash contest. So far this month they have just over 450 entries compared to well over 29,000 entries in the free contest. I also figure that most people won't waste their money to enter crummy photos or if they do they are just helping to pay for the prize money. I entered four photos in January and had an honorable mention but no cash. I am entering six photos in February so we'll see what happens but I think the odds are better than the BP lotto (free contest) or the real lotto?? Cheers to all my BP buddies!! BTW Marcie is right it is all about sharing photos and making good friends.
Murry


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2/27/2008 5:37:19 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thanks Marcie, Murry for voicing in on this thread. I do agree that BP is more than just the free contest - but my results have been so poor lately I get the feeling that it's me and I obviously suck way more than I did when I had no idea what I was doing?!? Not sure how that's possible - I've spent so much on courses, workshops, books and equipment in the past 3 years - you'd figure there'd be some sign of improvement...
Oh well - as long as we keep shooting and still love what we do - right?!?
OK - who's next?!


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2/27/2008 6:05:39 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Ah, my kind of thread!! :) Thanks, Diane, for pointing it out.

I don't know what my stats reveal, if anything really, except I apparently have a good handle on how to shoot Finalist images! :) I do think personally, I've improved over these 2+ years, compared to my earliest images. I track my entries back to Nov. 05, for 27 months of entering. My one interesting stat (to me!) was a 25-consecutive-months-streak of one (or more) Finalists every month. Alas, that streak just ended with the Dec. 07 results.

11-12/2005: 3 Finalists
1-12/2006: 29 Finalists
1-12/2007: 30 Finalists, 3 Seconds, 1 First
(4/2007 upgraded to Canon Rebel XTi)
Jan 2008: 2 Finalists

Other related stats:
First months' BP reported entries: 22,200+ This past month: 34,900+
In my months of tracking, the greatest % of Finalists awarded: 4.32%, 12/05.
The lowest percentage awarded: 1.16%, 12/07.
The 27-month average: 2.78%, or 732 Finalists.

My fewest-entries month was only 9 images, while I had many months of one-a-day entries. Interestingly, my first BP gold ever, was in that 9-images month, and was shot with my old P&S camera, pre-SLR!

I'm a firm believer in resubmitting images---as the # of entries grow, it gets easier to have images overlooked. My only First Place win, was a resubmit.

As for trends, or declines, or what does it all mean---no idea. I tend to slump, photographically, in winter, and this winter is no exception. I agree with the earlier post---I enjoy the fun of entering, the surprise of finding out, and mostly, the great community of friends I've found on BP!


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2/27/2008 6:28:09 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com
  Ok, I started in November 2001..Nothing for that year..
2002 12 finalists 1 second
2003 17 finalists 2 seconds
2004 31 finalists 3 seconds
2005 33 finalists 4 seconds
2006 23 finalists 4 seconds
2007 14 finalists 4 seconds
2008 1 finalist so far..
So you can see it started going down in 2006 and went even further down in 07, these both no doubt due to the huge increase in number of entries..Back when I started, the total entries were in the 2000 to 3000 per month range so it was much easier to get a win.


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2/27/2008 6:41:34 PM

 
Marie Fields
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2004
Contact Marie
Marie's Gallery
  Hi Diane, I uploaded my first image to BP on Jan. 28, 04 and had entered the contest daily (with very few exceptions) up until the last few weeks. Here are my stats...

2004 - 32 finalists (and 1 2nd place win)

2005 - 40 finalists (and 1 2nd place win)

2006 - 45 finalists (and 1 2nd place win)

2007 - 33 finalists (and 4 2nd place wins)

2008 - 1 finalist

I'm personally not a big fan of the EFP program and have kind of lost interest in submitting on a daily basis. Plus, I've been concentrating my efforts on food images in recent months as I've discovered a real passion for those and since they get tossed in with Macros or Catch-all, they never seem to fair well in the contest. It always seemed a bit easier to get finalists when I was shooting more of a variety of subjects and could designate them to "flowers", "animals", "digital darkroom", etc. With my food still-lifes, there just doesn't seem to be a good category to put them in... So, although I know that my work has improved drastically and I'm doing my best stuff now, it just isn't a good fit for the BP contest any more, I suppose. However, I've decided to shoot images that I love and can market without trying to "shoot for the contest".


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2/27/2008 6:49:21 PM

 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
  I, too, am like Marie. I used to shoot for the contest, but am now concentrating on my stock photography. Some of it fits well with the contest, but most do not. However, with that said, what has been submitted has been overlooked for about a year. I truthfully can't even remember my last finalist (but I've not received many anyway) and only 1 win. EFP's...I rarely get them...but you have to enter to get them...so...


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2/27/2008 7:13:13 PM

 
Dan Holm
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2004
Contact Dan
Dan's Gallery
  I first entered the contest in May, '04 and while I don't have my overall tallies, over the years I've fared pretty well with Finalists. Winners and POTD's, however, are a different story. My biggest(actually, huge)pet peeve is with EFPs. If a shot doesn't receive an EFP, it's eliminated from the contest. The critera for an EFP seems to be VERY flexible. Some entrants are awarded an EFP every day. Is anyone THAT outstanding that they NEVER enter a sub-standard shot? Can anyone always enter absolutely awesome shots every single day without fail? Not to my eye. In fact, on some days, EFPs seem to favor recropped, overworked, definitely uninspired work. To see some members receive EFPs for often "okay" shots while many others who've posted really strong work get overlooked day after day is not only disheartening but (my opinion) reveals the not-so-objective nature of the contest. -- Personally, I was averaging anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of my shots receiving EFPs. I'm definitely appreciative, but just can't understand how so much great work (which meets the BP posted criteria for an EFP i.e; not intentionally burry, good color management, well composed and captured, etc) is immediately eliminated from the contest. ... As a result, I've backed off from entering on a regular, daily basis. Since a good percentage of my work is automatically tossed out by the anonymous "Editors", I have to question whether it's worth the extensive time and effort. If the purpose of the EFP is to discourage members over time (face it, if the screeners for some reason don't like my work today, chances are they won't like it tomorrow. As a result, it won't make it in front of a the judge's eyes.) and immediately seperate a few flawless photographers from the rest of the pack (if someone's THAT good, just hire them, already!), then it looks to me like it's working. ... Again, just my personal observation/opinions.


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2/27/2008 7:54:14 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery
  I've been participating for a couple of years..at first, it was tough getting a finalist, becauase my photos were just so so. I've improved alot on BP and have gotten my fair share of EPs and finalists. I know of folks that have greatly increased their number of finalists over the last several months. And I think it's because they've improved. I do think the level of competition has gone up drastically in the last couple of years...number of entrants, and the percentages of finalists/entrants is going down. I think the folks that were in BP early on...maybe it was easier to get a finalist...not really sure...but I do think the bar has gone up. I haven't gotten as many finalists lately, but that's OK cause I know the competition has gotten better. Just look at the names of the finalists..many many are coming from outside the United States. I'm not convinced there are black lists, or conspiracies against certain people. But I can't prove it one way or the other. Bottom line...the competition is getting tougher, less medals are available, and that's the reality. It doesn't mean you (generically speaking), as a photographer are getting worse. The bar is higher...again, just my 2 cents worth..


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2/27/2008 7:54:20 PM

 
Marie Fields
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2004
Contact Marie
Marie's Gallery
  Well said, Dan!


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2/27/2008 8:05:35 PM

 
Larry Lawhead
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2002
  Well, I've been around since late 2002... Never much success but, since you asked.... I think this is pretty close to right:

2002 0 finalists, 0 wins
2003 2 finalists, 0 wins
2004 4 finalists, 0 wins
2005 17 finalists, 2 2nd place
2006 8 finalists, 1 2nd place
2007 1 finalist, 0 wins
2008 0 finalist. 0 wins

I used to enter just about every day, but as my sun set, my interest has also waned. One of these days I'll probably just fade away....


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2/27/2008 9:01:02 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  "Some entrants are awarded an EFP every day. Is anyone THAT outstanding that they NEVER enter a sub-standard shot? Can anyone always enter absolutely awesome shots every single day without fail?"

Marc Adamus and a few others probably could but not the ones you're talking about. I think it boils down to how much time an individual spends commenting, those "power users". Members that get EFP regularly are commenting a lot sometimes regardless of what they enter. Anyone else notice that? This is the bias that really causes the contest to stink IMHO.


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2/27/2008 9:26:12 PM

 
Linda D. Lester
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/13/2004
Contact Linda
Linda's Gallery
lindadlester.com
  Sharon I can't imagine how they could keep up with who comments and who doesn't! I think Ken is right on. The entries have almost double for ones that have been on this site for a while. If you really like a shot that didn't get an EP or finalist reenter it!
I think I would have to look at it that I need to see what I can do to up my quality of work.


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2/27/2008 10:06:29 PM

 
Les Rhoades
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Les
Les's Gallery
  I stopped in to read the thread and see what all the ďold timersĒ had to say. Since I have only been on BP for just over a year I wonít chime in on any stats. Rather, I will leave one comment that ends in a shameless plug.

At the end of December 2007 I stopped getting EPs and that continued into the first week of January 2008. ( I enter every day) I know I have (IMO excellent photography skills) so I decided, with motivation from EP withdrawal, to create a photography book about Switzerland. I used the self-publishing company Blurb. Iím sure you see the advertising banners now on BP. (Link to my book in my gallery.)

My point: I had let BP be the end all to me sharing my photography. Now Iím actually selling book left and right and I have feature articles in three Swiss magazines next month. I have more photography stuff going on right now that I had ever expected.

So I say; if BP is not doing it for you, look into the microstock stuff, self publishing, selling greeting cards at a local kiosk or gift shop,Ö.something to keep your photography interest engaged.


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2/27/2008 11:02:22 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  "So I say; if BP is not doing it for you, look into the microstock stuff, self publishing, selling greeting cards at a local kiosk or gift shop,Ö.something to keep your photography interest engaged."

Well said, Les! AND congratulations on your accomplishments!

Linda, I didn't realize the quality of my photography had deteriorated so much :o). I guess I've gotten stale after shooting for 25 years. I'm going to have to take this advice seriously since you aren't the first person to tell me to improve. I'll see what I can do to try harder to "up the quality". Courses are not an option so maybe I can start cracking the books at the library again. I have to say I honestly don't even know where to start.


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2/28/2008 5:18:11 AM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Susan
Susan's Gallery
  This thread is a very interesting read, thanks for starting it Diane.

I joined BP in March 2004 and probably only entered a dozen or so times each month up till November 2005 (there were maybe three entries after that). So in those 9 months I got 3 Finalists, 0 Wins, 0 POTD's. (I had an HP945 camera, which was digital, but not SLR).

I rejoined in July 2007 (with my current Nikon D50)and have had 1 Finalist in Aug 07.

But Wow, how the quality and quantity had increased since 04! I've heard a few other members say that Finalists or Wins they got back on 04 or 05 wouldn't win in today's competition.

When I rejoined last July I got caught up in the EFP thing pretty quickly. I had been quite pleased to return and see EFPs on so many of my older images. That was encouraging. But I got into entering the contest every day and so I believe I wasn't being discriminating enough with what I submitted, and my EFP percentages reflected that, averaging about 20-25%.

I took a break in late November and didn't do anything until this month. That break got me out of entering every day and instead, concentrating on making better images. I'm happy to report that my EFP rate for February is over 50%...wooohoo! (and the EFP questions are a whole other thing!)

I now shoot for reasons other than just to get a BP entry in. Les, I think you hit the nail on the head! It was only when I started considering working towards other things, that I felt a sort of shift happen. I'm still experimenting but also looking outside of BP at different venues for photography. When I do enter it's because I want to share and participate in the community at BP (and PG101).

I totally agree with what everyone's already mentioned. Even with that said, I know if I ever do get a Gold I will knock myself out because I'll shoot right up to the ceiling...lol.


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2/28/2008 6:38:55 AM

 
Claudia Kuhn
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2003
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Claudia's Gallery
  Ok Diane, you asked me and I had to go back and research. I joined in 3/03. My first finalist was 5/03 and I got a total of 15 finalists and 1 2nd place that year.
2004
44 finalists
10 2nd places

2005
34 finalists
6 2nd places
1 1st place

2006
38 finalists
6 2nd places

2007
29 finalists
7 2nd places

2008
3 finalists
1 2nd place

I've had some of my finalists dwindle, but I guess I've been fairly steady throughout the years. I definately have improved and learned a lot and made friends and met a lot of them through this site.


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2/28/2008 6:39:39 AM

 
Murry Grigsby
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/12/2002
  For anyone wanting to share photos and get constructive critques without the contest you might try http://www.radiantvista.com/ They have about three photo critiques a week by Craig Tanner and each Thursday they have a Photoshop Workbench by Mark Johnson. These are free but require you to register. They also have a Community (which is also free) that requires a separate registration (can be the same as above) where photographers share their photos, ideas, techniques, etc. Like BP they are selling workshops but all the above is free for the looking!! There is also a new online digital art school with very reasonable short classes. I am currently taking a four week Photoshop smudge painting class for $32. It's fun and very good! Don't get me wrong, I still love BetterPhoto but there are other options out there to check out :0)
Murry


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2/28/2008 6:45:25 AM

 
Linda D. Lester
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/13/2004
Contact Linda
Linda's Gallery
lindadlester.com
  Murry that is one of the best sites to go too! I think this would be great if everyone posted one of their favorite sites that learn from.

I'll add this one. It gives you some great info on layer masks.

http://www.blog.bluehourphoto.com/


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2/28/2008 7:08:24 AM

 
Marianne Fortin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/23/2006
  I joined BP in May 2006 and was using a pocket point and shoot at that time. I upgraded to a Panasonic FZ30 (fixed zoom) in 2006 and have been using an XTi since Jan 2007.

May-Dec 2006 (8 months) = 7 Finalists
Jan-Dec 2007 = 5 Finalists
Jan 2008 = 1 Finalist

The contest spurred me on at the beginning, but I too have been a bit disappointed over the past few months. When the EFPs came out I thought they were a good idea, now I'm not so sure. There seems to be a randomness to the EFP selections and, as others have stated, many excellent images are overlooked and may sub-par images get EFPs. Maybe it's better not to know if your image went through to the final round.

Then I realized that I had to think past the contest and concentrate on what I liked to shoot and try to improve my knowledge and techniques.

I wouldn't be at the standard I am today without BP - I really had no experience at all when I joined. Of course, if I had joined more recently I wouldn't have had those early finalists that gave me confidence. I do feel sorry for those new to BP who have a much harder time than I did.

I guess I'm trying to say what others have said - the contest isn't everything!


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2/28/2008 7:22:17 AM

 
Larry Lawhead
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2002
  I think Les has a very good point (echoed by others):

"if BP is not doing it for you, look into the microstock stuff, self publishing, selling greeting cards at a local kiosk or gift shop,Ö.something to keep your photography interest engaged"

In my case, after a year of fading recognition at BP I made the jump into microstock. I've been doing that for about a year, and enjoying it. It is a whole 'nother discipline (and a whole 'nother discussion). There's other areas I'm looking to branch out into....

I didn't mean to throw any rocks or anything, but my success at BP has certainly waned. Whether it is because my images have gotten worse, or more entries mean more great shots, or more entries mean overload on the judges (and less time to evaluate images).... doesn't matter. It is what it is. My success at BP has dropped pretty dramatically, and it has inspired me to find other (additional) outlets. Which is a good thing.


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2/28/2008 7:46:19 AM

 
Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  This is really interesting. Thank you for starting the topic Diane.

I have been here since July 2006. I started entering contest in August of that year. I know I haven't been here long but I still think my stats are relevant to the topic.

Nov 06 - 1 finalist (first one)
Dec 06 - 2 finalists
Jan 07 - 9 finalists - 1 2nd place

I then received about 4 finalists a month after, with several wins along the way.

For Nov I had 3 wins, 2 of which were first places.

But then everything fizzed in Dec. I received nothing. And now for Jan 2008 I got only one finalist, 0 wins.

I list all the numbers only to show something has definitely changed since last year. And I don't think it's my photography :-) I feel I am entering the same, or even better, quality of images as before. Yet my EFPs are down, which means fewer images making into the first round.

Dan said: "Some entrants are awarded an EFP every day."

That is strange since I would think with 30,000 images entered a month it would be against the odds that editors would see every single image entered by any one photographer.

But maybe it has to do with the time of day an image is entered. Maybe entering early or late makes a difference in being seen.....???

I agree with Les and others, try some other things. I was initially upset at the lack of finalists. But I am now using the energy/time I used to put into the contest and putting it into RM stock. I applied and was accepted. And I am working even harder on the RF stock too. I also love the idea of trying a book. Maybe I will try that next :-)

I hope none of this seems like I am whining. I admit I've done my fair share of whining about the contest. But I really am getting to be less obsessed with the contest :-)


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2/28/2008 7:58:21 AM

 
Murry Grigsby
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/12/2002
  IMO you can't shoot for the contest. You shoot for yourself. Enter the contest if you want to. If a photo wins it wins and if not, NOT. Don't get consumed by the contest but use it as a fun past time. Since I quite posting every day it is amazing how much time I have to do other things :0) Here is something else that I am trying this spring and you may want to try it too? Make a book: http://photomusings.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/solo-photo-book-month/
Murry


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2/28/2008 8:47:04 AM

 
Colleen Farrell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2004
  Great thread! Terrific resources and ideas. :) I joined BP in April '04 but due to poor health I only entered a couple of photos that year. I entered none in 2005 and most of 2006. Didn't come back to BP until Oct 2006, when I started entering about 15-20 photos a month.

Throughout 2007, I did pretty well, getting 28 (I'm pretty sure) finalists total and 3 2nd place wins. I got at least one finalist every month. Then suddenly in December it stopped, and I haven't received anything since.

I get EFPs on at least 50% of my entries, but that doesn't mean much to me if I'm not going to go further. I have a feeling that if there are a fixed number of finalist slots, the badge will always go to newer members and those who participate on the site a lot. And I can understand that. I also think that what time of day you enter can make a difference, just in getting your photo on the top of the pile. :) Finally, I wonder if sometimes the "editor" is just a staff person who isn't experienced in photography, and that's why some technically-flawed photos get through.

Anyway, with the feeling that my "lucky streak" at BP has just run out, I also have decided I need to focus more on other goals I've neglected. I have wanted to get a book printed (just for myself) and also to try to get a showing at a local gallery or coffee shop, etc.


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2/28/2008 9:30:20 AM

 
David A. Bliss   It's funny, I don't really consider myself an old timer, especially compared to most of the true '03 old timers, but I just realized I have been here for just shy of 3 years. Time flies when your having fun...

I have entered a contest maybe 30 times total since I have been here. I have only removed a couple of imaged from my gallery, so most of them are still up (man I need to update!).

I have 11 editors picks and one finalist. I haven't entered anything this year.


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2/28/2008 9:32:46 AM

 
Donald R. Curry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2006
wildlifetrailphotography.com
  No, it has not changed a bit for me. I'm still getting zero wins, zero finalist and a few EFPs. I think it is better for my ego if I just stop entering.


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2/28/2008 10:59:20 AM

 
Donna La Mattino Pagakis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/12/2004
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  Hi everyone, Diane asked me to join in.

I've been a member since 1/12/04. I don't have the exact stats, but I average two Finalists a month with a total of 86 over the 4 year period. I have one First place win and ten Second place wins. I did the best in 2007 with five wins. One in August, two in September and two in December. I have seven POTD's but I haven't received any in over a year.

I have to say that I think I am the biggest critic of my own work. If I don't succeed with a Finalist or Win and I really like my image, I will resubmit or rework it. Sometimes several times!! My 'Sweet Solitude 5' image is an example. It took almost a year and at least 5 reworks until it was noticed by the judges. Thanks to the inspiration from all of you I was able to go on.

I really like being a member of BetterPhoto. I haven't taken any BP classes but I have learned SO much from ALL of you!!! With so many talented photographers here it's a pleasure to visit the BP site. I do miss Dan Holm, but I understand his frustration. About half my images receive an EFP. I miss the days when we didn't get EFP's. Everything seemed to be more exciting and fun.

Anyway, thanks to all of you here. Keep up the great work and GOOD LUCK!!!

Donna


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2/28/2008 12:34:38 PM

 
Elida Gutierrez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2007
  I'm not an old timer, but there's something that's bothering me since the winners where out; there is this picture that I don't think it deserve the second place, and more because in that category was really rich in very good pictures.


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2/28/2008 12:47:29 PM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  It is all subjective. Who ever the judge was at that particular time and moment, with all thier likes and dislikes decided on what appeals to them at that moment. A photo that won might not have won in a different month.
Personally, I've gotten to really dislike most images cheesy filters applied and try to avoid them, but I might be only one of 100 that think so. I would be a terrible judge :) I could not be subjective on all forms and styles of photography. I would choose all none filtered stuff.


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2/28/2008 5:44:03 PM

 
Kai Eiselein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/21/2003
  I agree with Vicki about overusage of filters. Gaussian blur is the worst.
Done well, filters can make an already good photo stand out even more. Too often, its a so-so pic that someone is trying to jazz up or they are trying to be "artsy-fartsy".
Skill first, art later.
About the only real tweak I do on occasion is solarization, but I used to do that in a darkroom, too.


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2/28/2008 5:51:11 PM

 
Elida Gutierrez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2007
  It's just that I saw this picture in the second place winners that I can see the deffects in the background and the resolution is so poor. And in tha category was so many good -and I mean very good- pictures and they didn't pass.


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2/28/2008 6:03:40 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com
  Well, some of us like the filters. I try to bring something different when I use them, and many times will submit filtered and non filtered versions of the same shot. The one I really didn't like was the flexify. We all have our likes and dislikes, doesn't make the shot bad because a filter was used...or not used. Just a matter of opinion like everything else.


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2/28/2008 6:04:26 PM

 
Elida Gutierrez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2007
  And is not any of your pictures Vicki, yours are GORGEOUS!!!


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2/28/2008 6:06:47 PM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  Don't get too close to mine! :) I sit 4 feet away from my monitor to see the photo at all.(seriously) I wish I could see closer but my eyes have really gone and I can't see very well. I wish I could really, I almost quit photography over it.

I enjoy watching different styles but I really don't like obvious filters or layer over filters and maybe its not the filter it's the obvious use of them. The one I really dislike is fractals but its all taste and sometimes they are fun. I have a blast with Mr. Contrast when I first got it. I still like some buzz ones. It can tone down a very busy photo to a very delicate image


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2/28/2008 7:44:05 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thank you all so much for chiming in! It is interesting to see the stats... Please don't let this thread go off on a tangent... Like filters or no filters - some people get too many efp's or pics that don't deserve their medals... That's not what I intended...
Thanks again!


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2/29/2008 4:34:56 AM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  I was suprised anyone had stats. I deleted alot of finalist and winners and really don't miss them. I would still like to know who everyone refers to that gets EFP dialy.


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2/29/2008 4:44:26 AM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  It's very easy for me to have stats - the finalists and winners are still in my gallery.
Please e-mail off list if you want to name names about who is getting unfair amounts of efp's - that's not what this thread is about.
Thanks for understanding!
D.


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2/29/2008 4:46:37 AM

 
Amy JACKSON
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2005
Contact Amy
Amy's Gallery
  I joined 07/05. I was shooting film until April 06 then switched to a DSLR.

(05): 0 finalists
(06): 9 finalists, 1 POTD
(07): 16 finalists
(08): 2 finalists


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2/29/2008 6:23:40 AM

 
Elida Gutierrez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2007
  Iím so sorry about that Diane, I didnít mean to.


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2/29/2008 7:47:08 AM

 
Erika  Haight
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/5/2007
  ..


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2/29/2008 3:04:31 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  No problem Elida...
Erika? waht's ..?


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2/29/2008 4:09:18 PM

 
Erika  Haight
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/5/2007
  Just watchin' the thread! LOL! For me...hummmm...

1 finalist = 2007
0 = 2008

I get excited over the idea of an EP! LOL!!!

~ erika


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2/29/2008 4:23:24 PM

 
Sylvia Rossler
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2005
  A fun thread the way I like it :O)

I've joined in july 2005, guess this will be enough to be counted as an oldtimer ..loll

2005 I had 7 finalists

2006 13 finalists, 2 1st place and 1 2nd place winner and 1 POTD

2007 11 finalists, 1 1st place and 1 2nd place winner

2008 1 finalist...hope there will be more cause I have to admit .. I'm not looking for a winner every month but I makes me sick not having a finalist....guess this makes me a BP-addict :O)..lolll..some of you surely remember the thread we all were yelling that we are addicted to BP waiting for the finalist results...F5F5F5F5F5 :o)


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3/1/2008 11:37:31 AM

 
Joanne  Kramer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2005
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  I'm happy that the thread is back on track!


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3/1/2008 12:03:01 PM

 
Heather K. McFarland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2001
Contact Heather
Heather's Gallery
  I am also an oldtimer. And I have had great success on this site in the past. I used to think this site had the best judging on the net. That it was unbiased as opposed to many of the peer judging contest sites out there today. And that it rewarded really excellent photography. But I really don't enter very much at this site any more.

For one, there is no way that any judging panel can weed through 30,000+ entries every month. I still say that they need to limit the amount of entries one can submit in a month since their free membership is so large here. Allow folks to still enter as many images as they want for "show and tell", but limit the contest entries. This would weed out much of the crap and snap shot images that I see entered here day in and day out and allow the judges to concentrate on each image submitted to really chose only high quality work. Some of the images that I have seen win here in the last year or so just make me cringe.

Also the new re-sizer making any image over 720 pixels long look like crap was a real turn-off to me. I really don't want to go back through all my images that are 740 or longer and resize and resharpen for the web...again.

So I really haven't entered much in the past year. I sometimes enter a few a month, but most months I rarely enter at all anymore.

It's a sad thing but Betterphoto has gotten way to big for it's own good as far as the free contest is concerned. I have gotten more print sales and photo work through people and companies looking through the winning contest photos at this site than at any other site on the web. So I really liked having winners out there. But these days I don't feel that it's even worth it to submit to the contest any longer.


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3/4/2008 7:18:27 AM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Susan
Susan's Gallery
  Wow Heather - you are the Number One in wins on BP! I agree with what you are saying about the number of entries and overload, if in fact, that is the cause of so many inferior images getting through.

Forgive me for being stupid here but what is the deal with the 720pixel sizing? Does this happen when you upload? I hadn't heard anything about this. Thanks.


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3/4/2008 7:43:40 AM

 
Heather K. McFarland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2001
Contact Heather
Heather's Gallery
  Here is a link to one of the discussions on the 720 long side/resizing issue. I think there may be more than one thread floating around at BP, but this is the relevant one I could find!

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=30974


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3/4/2008 8:24:10 AM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Susan
Susan's Gallery
  Thanks Heather! That is very good info to know. I can't believe it's not on the Upload Page!


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3/4/2008 10:44:08 AM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thanks Sylvia, Erika and Heather for chiming in.
Heather I do agree with the sheer size of the contest being overwhelming...
Thing about the resizing of pics? honestly - I have always used the single image uploader and hardly ever pay attention to the size (they're often 4x6 inches) and don't see any problems... I wouldn't want to have to rework each one either...


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3/4/2008 3:37:43 PM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  Thought this thread was just about stats...guess it's ok for certian people to get off the subject. "Please don't let this thread go off on a tangent..."


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3/4/2008 4:55:55 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Yup - I guess it is! LOL!
If the top winner at BP takes the time to comment on this thread and explains why she no longer enters as much (due to the hassle of resizing) I don't believe that it's that off topic that I can't respond to her...
I do not like when the discussion starts going off tangent where we want to point fingers at those who get too many efp's and how unfair the contest is, how some winners don't deserve their medals etc... That's not constructive.
How to size for the contest to get the best quality out of our pics is fine with me... If you'd like to start other threads about the other stuff - feel free!


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3/4/2008 5:00:59 PM

 
Heather K. McFarland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/28/2001
Contact Heather
Heather's Gallery
  Wow Vicki. I was invited by Diane to comment on this thread. In her initial post she asks for "feedback from old-timers" on the contest. I gave feedback but didn't really feel like throwing all my stats out there.


This is exactly why I don't participate in forums. It's the first time I have here at BP...on an invite...and I get a smarmy response from Vicki who didn't even start the thread about staying on the subject? It will be the last time I post to the forums.


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3/5/2008 3:06:49 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I guess one could consider me among the "old timers" around here.
As a member since 2003, I really haven't been tracking monthly or yearly stat's but my totals are as follows:
- 38 Finalists
- 6 Second Place Wins
- 3 POTD's
- 9 PhotoFlash Features

I have noticed the "trend" toward fewer awards since the size of the contest has grown. Since I usually post only a few images each month the odds of getting noticed are quite slim.


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3/5/2008 3:52:37 AM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Susan
Susan's Gallery
  My bad....I realize my question to Heather was off-topic. I just wanted the info on where to look and that was the end of it.

Heather, don't go! It's easy for misunderstandings to happen in emails and on forums. Thank you Diane for inviting Heather AND to Heather for giving us her feedback on the TOPIC :)


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3/5/2008 6:36:17 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Excuse me, but since when are there forum police that dictates to everyone what to post or not post in a discussion and what gives them the right? So what if someone goes OT? Personally, I appreciated Heather taking the time to explain why she's not entering much anymore and I totally agree with everything she said, OT or not.


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3/5/2008 6:47:39 AM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  I think the issue is that I asked people to stay on topic earlier as things were veering to murky waters... I think I have the right to ask that seeing I asked this question. No one stopping anyone from starting new threads with whatever questions they wish... I must have ruffled some feathers when I did that and then got it handed back to me later... C'est la vie - it's too bad but I don't blame Heather's reaction... If I went out of my norm to answer here and got that kind of response I'd go running too!


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3/5/2008 8:17:23 AM

 
Colleen Farrell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2004
  I've found this a very interesting thread, but was glad that Diane gently asked us to leave the (huge) issues of filters/no filters, who wins, etc. for another thread.

Heather's comments were very interesting.

But only now, after re-reading the entire thread, have I realized I'm not really an old-timer since I haven't entered consistently for two years. Duh!

Dang, I wanted to be an old-timer, too. lol


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3/5/2008 8:42:03 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Well, maybe people starting threads should post discussion rules along with the topic so anyone who is apt to trangress won't get whacked across the fingers with a ruler for transgressing, so please excuse this bit of OT as I have arthritis in my fingers :o).

Not long ago someone scolded another member for OT on a thread I started. I have to say I didn't really appreciate the input. The discussion usually rights itself after a few posts. I think people here are getting too uptight.

So, back to regular programing which in case anyone has forgotten is a request from old timers for stats.


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3/5/2008 8:43:26 AM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
Contact Susan
Susan's Gallery
  "Dang, I wanted to be an old-timer, too. lol"

LOL Colleen! I'm a member since 2004 but I haven't hit the consistent two yr mark yet....oooops :O


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3/5/2008 9:08:57 AM

 
Colleen Farrell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2004
  "Not long ago someone scolded another member for OT on a thread I started. I have to say I didn't really appreciate the input. The discussion usually rights itself after a few posts. I think people here are getting too uptight."

You're probably right, Sharon--I don't think I've ever been accused of being too laid-back. (So now I'm not an old-timer *and* I'm uptight. Dang, dang! LOL)


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3/5/2008 9:47:29 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Before I was an instructor here, I participated in the contest for fun. I don't know that I agreed with the selection as I have a more experimental flavor to the images I prefer, but that is my taste vs. the judges, and I came to accept that. I was still able to participate and have fun -- as well as adjust my submissions to the contest rather than try and wrench it my way. I set my own goals for submission...and like I have done with other art (fiction poetry) I drove myself to make my images to fit my interests, and to share.

I think some of these discussions may have stuck BP management between a rock and a hard place...Some complained about 'substandard entries' getting in as finalists, and then the management trimmed the number of finalists to possibly limit the number of entries people think are substandard, and they get complaints about that as well because there are fewer finalists. If they were to take Heather's suggestion about limiting submissions (which sounds good and fair), conspiracy theorists would suggest the push was to drive people to the cash contest. There seems always an excuse to find fault, but always fewer to praise...well, I like the latter better.

I don't know that there is a solution to please everyone, and I've not heard one suggestion that obviously will. For example, if they made the voting done by visitors instead of their judges, people may be tempted to vote for themselves, for friends, and for people who post comments to their images...There would be even more conspiracy. If they made a stipulation about comments (e.g., the most commented photos in the month would be the finalists), then there would be abuse of that as well. The fact may be as simple as things have changed...and increased competition doesn't make it worse -- it makes it more challenging. Frankly I wish I was still allowed to play ;-) and I would whether I won or not.

It seems a shame to penalize BP with bad press in the forums about a contest they still sponsor for free, at their cost, which involves paying judges and hosting the many images, the cost of servers, electricity, and staff to run it. To emphasize, this COSTS them money. The growth of the contest perhaps provides greater challenges for participants as there are more entries, and greater challenges in the competition, and perhaps a rise in the quality of work. The challenges rise to the participants as well as to the host as they have to find ways to keep it running smoothly without completely eating their resources and the bottom line. From what I understand the cash contest was added because people asked for it...be careful what you wish for, because the management that aimed to please did just that, and no good deed goes unpunished.

I am not a spokes-person for betterphoto, but it seems to me that from the outcry they've been looking to raise the bar in the ways that it makes sense. It may be a result that it is harder to earn honors, but then the honors can be cherished that much more when they arrive. The idea, unless I have been mistaken, has likely always been to have fun, share images, and get involved in friendly competition that might help spur you to making better photos (oh, that NAME! Maybe it has reason?!)...If it is only about winning, then it may be the fun is less.

Frankly I couldn't tell you my stats, as I didn't indulge the contest for long before I wanted to become more involved with the site as an instructor. It still looks like fun, and a place to share and comment on images -- win or lose.

Have fun!

Richard Lynch


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3/5/2008 12:17:33 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Very well summarized, Richard!


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3/5/2008 12:29:31 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Thanks Richard for your input. I do appreciate you taking the time to come and give us your perspective.
I understand that there are always two sides - and BP can get caught in the middle (as per your examples of too many finalists, not enough finalists etc...)
And I do acknowledge that it costs to run the free contest. Absolutely... BUT... that being said - don't you think the free contest has brought all these people to this site???!?!? Inspired us to get better - and therefore take courses??!?!?! Buy galleries and websites??!? It's like a loss leader in a store - the discount one item at the front to get you in - but then they hope you will shop and buy other things? no? Well I know in my years here I certainly have bought - books, Jim's video and more than my share of courses...
So I guess my question is still regarding the contest - how come I was doing so well with a point and shoot when I didn't know anything about photography - and now I'm sucking big time after taking a slew of courses and workshops, reading up a ton, learning at my camera club and taking tens of thousands of practice shots, getting critiques and advice, and upgrading to a dslr??


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3/5/2008 12:58:32 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  "You're probably right, Sharon--I don't think I've ever been accused of being too laid-back. (So now I'm not an old-timer *and* I'm uptight. Dang, dang! LOL)"

No offense, Colleen! I honestly don't even recall who tried to monitor the thread I was talking about and even if I did I don't have any hard feelings about it and I hope they don't either. I was just trying to point out if I start a thread I don't care where it goes ;).

Richard, I do try to remember to point out this is the best contest site on the internet, bar none. Sometimes when I have a beef I forget to post that, but it is how I feel. I do not feel this site is perfect though. There is still room for improvement. Griping about the site in the forum may not be polite but it can be compared to a photography critique. The owner of the work might not like the critique but they should step back and see if there's any value or creditility to what is being discussed. I am still seeing technical issues with EFPs and I do not understand how a flawed photo can be moved foward while technically good ones are not. Sure the imperfect shots will probably get cut further into the rounds but why move them forward at all? Surely there must be enough good photos entered each day to still have plenty of entries moving on without giving recognition to bad photography.

Sorry again for the OT, Diane! It was Richard's fault this time;).


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3/5/2008 1:15:41 PM

 
Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
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Susan's Gallery
  A quick thanks to Richard for a wonderful summary and perspective.

I know that I am encouraged because, due to all of these discussions, I am starting to hear members bring forth constructive ideas. And Sharon, you couldn't be more on point with BP taking (hopefully) the approach to these discussions as you've described, and weighing the value and credibility of the issues.

I tend to believe they are but I'm an optimist, which is why I'm still taking pictures...lol.


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3/5/2008 1:38:32 PM

 
Steve M. Harrington
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2005
  BP is important to me. I spend an extraordinary amount of time here with my friends, in my BP club and entering the free contest.
I believe BP has now reached a critical phase in its development. The free contest is still the heart of this site and it needs some revisions. Although I dislike them, EPs seem popular with many members. Keep handing them out if need be, but state openly that they are NOT the first round in the judging process. The present procedure is just asking for trouble. Secondly, have the category definitions mean something. Seeing images become successful in totally inappropriate categories is another way to build frustration.
I agree with Richard that BP is attempting to serve us well in increasingly challenging circumstances. They need to make a few important changes. And they must openly communicate those changes and their reasons for them.


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3/5/2008 2:02:26 PM

 
Alexander Czernin-Morzin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/27/2006
  Richard,

I fully agree with your comments, especially the last sentences:

"It still looks like fun, and a place to share and comment on images -- win or lose.

Have fun!"

Just like it says in the mission statement of BP. Maybe a few people should read (or re-read) this statement (http://www.betterphoto.com/about/mission.asp). It might lead them away from complaining and back to photography with fun to enjoy.

Alexander


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3/5/2008 2:12:01 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  As to be brief:

Sharon, A contest is a contest is a contest. What the judge says (or in this case sees in an image) is the judges take. No one in a Mr. World contest, a Ms. America contest, a dog show or on Judge Wapner is in a position to change the results. They accept the decisions even if they don't agree as it is judgment. If it is a contest they may be spurred to do better and try again. You can consider something flawed, yet the judge might not. These are differences of opinion, not facts that are more easily sorted.

Diane, no arguing the contest has brought people to the site. But it still has costs, and those costs need to be managed. It is still free, and open to anyone. As for reasons you may be doing 'worse' in the contest...the numbers in this thread if accurate suggest there are more entries and fewer finalists...That necessarily means fewer wins/place/shows for everyone. As the competition gets stiffer and everyone's photography improves, it won't be the same people winning time and again. If there was something rigged it would be the opposite result from the one you describe where only those who take courses and buy books would win...it doesn't enter into the judging. Certainly it isn't because you are a worse photographer, as it seems to me in a quick look at your gallery that you have many excellent, interesting and creative images.

I likely can't spend too much more time with this thread as I think I've done all I can. I just hope you can return to the spirit of competition. There are no conspiracies, omissions, blacklists, etc. It is a challenge, and not everyone can win.

Enjoy your photos, your art, sharing and accomplishments, and focus on the joys of your perspective.

Richard Lynch


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3/5/2008 2:30:24 PM

 
Revonda L. Gentry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/18/2005
  Interesting thread. Here are my stats since I joined July 2005 and by the way I have been entering less this yr. maybe due to less EP's being given?
2005 2 finalists
2006 15 finalist 3 second place
2007 10 finalist 5 second 1 first 1 potd
2008 1 finalist


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3/17/2008 9:10:16 PM

 
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