Photo Challenges - Do they help you improve?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
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Re: Photo Challenges - Do they help you improve?
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 9 months ago

I never was good at competitions because I find it very difficult to judge my work: I see nothing but flaws, find it difficult to select an image, and when I try to operate on my gut instinct it often falls flat. As much as possible, I let someone else do the deciding for me.

However, I learned a lot by hosting competitions. I tried to have a clear subject and rules, open it up to lots of entries (which unfortunately, voters hate), and in most cases the few top ranking entries are very good if not excellent, although understandably the quality tends to drop quickly with rank. The entries at the bottom are almost always good negative examples.

From my experience, irregularities in voting only changes the ranking a bit — and so don’t just look at the winner, but also the runner-ups. Also, even if there are lots of entries and few people vote on all of the images, the cream still tends to rise towards the top — more entries usually means more voters, and the top ranking images will tend to have wider appeal.

Actually, I have to give the voters a lot of credit. I rarely disqualified any images, but the voters were usually rigorous in interpreting the rules. The only time I found bad photos as the top winners is when the competition itself was bad.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Rokinon 85mm F1.4
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