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Lets Have More Discussion Of Winning PFRE Photographer Of The Month Photos/Video

DiscussingWinnersI got an email today from Bill Baughman that raised an issue that I think is worth discussing with everyone. Here is Bill's comments:

I love looking at the Photographer-of-the-Month entries but have always wondered whether it might be of additional learning value for PFRE-ers to know more about the production process used in creating the contest photos. Maybe it's just me but it certainly would be instructional to know more about what lighting, camera and post techniques the photographer employed.

Ling Ge's winner is certainly an eye-popper! So were the prior month's winning photos - they ALL made me say "WOW - I want to be able to do that!" But, more than just a pretty photo, I would love to know what the photographer's concern(s) - if any - might have been before shooting it and what he/she did to overcome it/them.

I understand a beauty pageant often comes down to personal subjectivity, but what criteria do the judges at least start with to choose a winner? You all have infinitely more experience than the the rest of us put together so it has to be more than just the "WOW!" factor...or, maybe not. How do you critique the photos and choose a winner? What is it judges are looking for that we could use to guide us along the path to fame, fortune and stardom on PFRE?

Here are my comments to Bill:

These are excellent questions.

  1. Instructional info about how winning photos: Others have asked about this too. What I do is ask each winner to tell me about how they shot their winning photo. I then post those comments on the winner announcement post and put a link on the Featured page, that lists all the winners, to each post that has the photographers comments about the photo. Understandably what and how much the winners say about their photos varies a lot.
  2. What criteria do the judges use to choose a winner? This is very subjective and I suspect that many jurors would have difficulty explaining their criteria. It's a visual, intuitive kind of thing. Notice that some jurors do comment on the entries. But commenting on the entries takes a lot of time and most jurors just don't have the time it takes to comment on entries. This is why I'm so appreciative of those that that do comment. Another factor is that many photographers have difficulty talking analytically about photos.

Perhaps a way to address both of these issues would be to have a Google Hangout with jurors and and winners to discuss the winning photos/videos. I will try to come up with a format the will work. I think a hangout discussion with the winning photographer, a couple of jurors that voted for the winning photograph and a couple of beginning photographers wanting to ask questions would be a great educational discussion format. The YouTube version of the HangOut could be posted here for everyone to view. This may be difficult in general since we are spread all over the planet but I'll bet we could do some. What do you think?

9 comments on “Lets Have More Discussion Of Winning PFRE Photographer Of The Month Photos/Video”

  1. I'm asked by a local publisher of travel and attractions guides to write up a short piece called "How I Got That Shot" every time I get a cover for one of their pubs (it's not real estate). It's very popular and a fun way for me to engage with the audience as I've actually been contacted a few times. It would be a great addition here.

  2. Larry

    Great idea.

    Thanks for all you do, "Thanks" to all who participate in the monthly contests and "Thanks" for everyone's willingness to share ideas.

    I have been a full time professional photographer for 15 years and 6 months ago I made an economic decision to go into R/E Photography. I would greatly appreciate not only learning "How they made the shot" but also learning more about how/what these top photographers do in post processing. I am having trouble deciding between all of the choices (lights, no lights, HDR, Lights with HDR, Photomatix, LR 5, Enfuse, Photoshop, Blending, etc, etc) what will work for me. I know the answer probably starts with "it depends", but some generic ideas along these lines would be welcomed.

  3. I agree this is a great idea. I always try to figure out how the photographer got the shot, how he/she lit it, etc. With the last winner, I'm curious to know how he avoided reflections in an all- glass room.

  4. I am always looking for more information and techniques to get a type of shot. There is always more than one way to accomplish a project.

    What you suggest would be great, but I fear it would be a logistical nightmare to get everyone in your group to agree to a time and date to do this every month. I am sure you are all busy and all.

    Maybe when submitting a photo for entry, there could be a section on the form for where, when and how. That published would really provide a lot of info alone.

  5. @Jerry - You misunderstand how hangouts work. I would do a hangout with the winning photographer, some of the jurors and perhaps others. Hangouts are automatically recorded to the YouTube channel of the person initiating the hangout (me). I would then post that resulting YouTube video here on the PFRE blog for everyone to view. Only those that participated in the hangout could ask questions, but everyone could view. Only a maximum of 10 people can participate in a google hangout.

  6. I think this is a great idea. To those of us wanting to improve and strive for that kind of quality in our photography I think this would be a valuable tool.

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