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How To Win UW Photo Contests

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#1 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 11:35 AM

Below is a link to an article I wrote a couple of months ago (for DIVE Magazine, which is now online) on how to succeed in UW Photo contests. It is written for the upcoming BUIF comp, but it is most generic for most competitions.

I feel as if I am in quite an unusual position at the moment, as I sit on both sides of the fence. I judge a lot of major competitions each year, but unlike nearly all the folks I judge with, I also still enter photo competitions (obviously not the same ones - that would be too easy). I tried to write the article from both perspectives.


It is not a complete list and I know that we have discussed entering competitions on Wetpixel before, but I thought it would be good to start a fresh discussion. So any other tips great


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#2 yahsemtough


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:31 PM

Great points Alex.

Many times I have had people comment on how they like a particular image but I suggest to them that it is not competition worthy. They seem shocked. Many, many great images out there but when combined with 100's of other great images they need to standout as you mention.

One point that I don't think was covered is how many images should people submit to a competition and to a particular category. I would think that too can be a difficult decision for people looking to enter the many competitions out there.

Also selecting a competition that may better suit your particular image. Would a macro traditional image compete well in a macro category(maybe). Or should you wait and enter the image in a majestic category as competing in Wide angle may be a much more difficult task to stand out.

Just a few other points for consideration.


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#3 pdksca



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Posted 02 March 2010 - 01:33 PM

Great article with a number of eye-opening observations and guidance. Thank you.

#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:19 PM

Thanks for that Alex. Nicely done. I'm wondering how much emotional content and storytelling comes into play in judging underwater images? Are contests always judged by photographers? Do magazine editors and publishers ever get involved? I guess I'm just wondering if the criteria for excellence are ever defined for the judges. Or is it more like pornography? (I'll know it when I see it)


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#5 TheRealDrew


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:37 PM

Or is it more like pornography? (I'll know it when I see it)


#6 DDT uk

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 03:09 AM


As an aside, the captions on the pictures of the Dive article are incorrect. That is unless Charles took the image of dolphins and snorkler under the PLymouth Breakwater!


#7 MikeVeitch


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Posted 03 March 2010 - 03:28 AM

Steve, yes sometimes the editors and art directors of magazines are also involved in judging both magazine contests as well as the international ones. Quite often these people are not actually underwater photographers themselves.
For shootout type competitions its pretty much always UW photographers who are the judges.

The criteria is sometimes defined. Usually they will use something like: Composition, Technical Excellence, Impact as three ways to judge one photo. So you mark each category out of 10 and add up all 3 for each image. You would then take the images with the highest mark out of 30.
But, not all competitions are the same so will have different specs.

Now, back to the porn :clapping:

I wrote a similar article to Alex's in 2008 and we mention several of the same things. I will see if I can upload it and you can then get two opinions on it :clapping:

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