Jan 212013
  • CRITERIA FOR WINNING COMPETITIONS (Part 1):  Professional association judges look at 12 different criteria when judging a print. In my humble opinion that is twice too many, but if you want to do well, pay attention to these items.

Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion.

Creativity is the external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

Style is defined in a number of ways. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject.  It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.  More next week.

  • USE NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS:  A neutral density filter is a dark, neutral-toned glass lens filter that reduces the amount of light entering your camera. It has no effect on color. Neutral density filters come in a range of strengths and are labeled two ways, 2X or 0.3, 4X or 0.6, and 8X or 0.9. Regardless of the system, they decrease light by 1, 2, and 3 stops respectively. Use ND filters (screw-in or Cokin style) to slow shutter speeds (1 to 10 seconds or more) on bright days. By doing so you can create the silky water effect in streams or waterfalls. Use tripod or clamp to hold the camera steady.
  • MAKE THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY: The next time you are out with your camera shooting everyday scenes, change the angle you are shooting from to make it exciting. Climb stairs, lean out of a window, lay on the ground – change your perspective and do something different. I call this 360 degree Sphere Shooting because you imagine your subject in a sphere that you can access from all angles. Try it!
  • TURN SETTINGS OFF!: Your digital camera is a computer with a lens attached. Like your computer, it can do many things that you may not understand or have features you may not use. Some features may even make it harder for you to control your camera in Aperture, Shutter or Manual modes. Consider turning off D Lighting (Nikon), Safety Shift (Canon), all face and smile recognition and area focus modes. They can all interfere with your control of the camera and the quality of your final image.
    TURN SETTINGS ON!:There are many functions in your camera that should be turned on, but are not. Go figure!  Anyway, if you have them, turn on ISO expansion, Long Exposure Noise Reduction and High ISO Noise Reduction. If you wait until you need the function, you will probably miss the shot by the time you turn them on.