Feb 122013

 CRITERIA FOR WINNING COMPETITIONS (Part 3):  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.

  1. Lighting (the use and control of light) refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is man-made or natural, proper use of lighting should enhance an image.
  2. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.
  3. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image.  An image in which the tones work together effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.
    More next week.
  • USING YOUR HISTOGRAM:  Many digital cameras can display a special graph called a histogram. It shows the brightness (tonality) levels of an image ranging from pure black (zero value) on the left to pure white (255 value) on the right. Use it to increase the dynamic range of your images and adjust your exposure. There is no perfect shape to a histogram as it reflects the actual luminosity levels of your scene. For digital photography, it is best if you “expose for the highlights”, meaning you push the luminosity to the right side of the chart without slamming up against the edge (clipping or overexposed).
  • WHEN OVEREXPOSURE IS OK: If you have naturally overexposed items in your scene, such as the sun in daytime or a street light at night, your histogram will show clipping or overexposure by abruptly hitting the right side of the chart. This specular light is OK as exposing for it would make the actual subject of the image too underexposed. Just make sure that your brights or whites are properly exposed – far to the right without hitting the edge.
  • PAN FOR COOL ACTION SHOTS: A cool technique for showing action in a still image is to follow a moving subject along its path with your camera set to a a slow shutter speed. Depending on your shutter speed and speed of panning, you will get different results. Most people want to freeze the action of the subject completely and blur the background. Try shutter speeds between 1/30 and 1/60 with a moving car or cyclist. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged at first.
  • WORK YOUR SUBJECT & YOUR SETTINGS: Each time you take a photo, you are using a single ingredient (light) with many potential qualities (harsh, soft, diffused, reflected, colored, etc.). You use just three tools to influence your outcome: aperture, shutter and ISO. Combining these “science” elements with the “art” elements of photography (composition, depth of field, angle of view, etc.) you can create hundreds of variations of a single subject.