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Photographer of the Month Contest Themes for 2019

Published: 06/12/2018
By: Brandon

Another year of Photographer of the Month contests has come to an end and 2018 showcased some amazing work from photographers around the world .  Over the years we've seen the contest grow in popularity and become a pillar of the PFRE blog.  As a community, your input has been critical to the development and success of the contest so we want to continue reaching out for your feedback as we make plans for the future.  One of the most popular topics of discussion is the monthly themes.  I think we can all agree that there are a few "no brainers" like: master bedroom, kitchen, living room, master bath, twilight exterior etc. but we would love to hear your thoughts on which themes you'd like to see remain in the line up and which ones we can scrap to make room.

If we've missed any potential themes, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

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12 comments on “Photographer of the Month Contest Themes for 2019”

  1. I think the majority of categories have been good although a few like "interior with breathtaking view" is a bit limiting as not everyone in all areas has the potential for a "breathtaking view" as those in other areas and for me, I do get some properties that have some great views but they are few and far between... also "patio/garden space" maybe could be more like "backyard/pool" or "Exterior additional living space" or something as the majority of homes I have encountered do not have garden spaces or patios that are selling features of the home or in condition for featuring...that might just be me but seems like that's possibly a rare opportunity for some... I may be wrong of course! Also, most homes seem to be doing away with formal spaces as far as I have seen... maybe adding some general interior photography necessities that most will shoot on a typical Real Estate shoot like "Establishing shot" or "Main Living establishing shot" and "Main Living feature" or something in that vein that might incorporate more of what most photographers will have in their arsenal. I wouldn't be opposed to a "Secondary Bedroom" or "Guest Bedroom" or "Guest Bathroom" category or "Bonus room/Flex room" as (especially secondary bedrooms) can be a real challenge. Might be good to switch them up year to year to add some diff categories...

    Another thing to think about might be some way to incorporate more leniency towards those that prefer to use the EnFuse technique or similar HDR techniques... Although I do not lately... there are plenty that do prefer it and although most believe that All in Camera or Compositing etc are the way to go, some may shy away from the contest or feel like because of the technique, they won't be taken seriously or have a chance... but again maybe Im veering off topic... you know a category like "best use of creative solution to get the photo done" could be interesting since this job apart from more High-End Architectural and Interiors shooting is heavily distinguished by creativity in photo techniques and how to apply them to provide a good quality in a short on-site and post processing timeline.

    Again, just thoughts...

  2. I may be the only one, but why not post the year's theme's ahead of time. Something that could be in the back of our minds when shooting current projects? Instead of looking back at past projects to enter, we could look forward to competing on new projects.

    That said, Why limit it to one theme for each month? Expand it to two or three themes with monthly 1st, second and third winners. From those the year end could be graded on over all points from standings in the previous months.

    This approach would open the doors to more competition, grater involvement and recognition.

    Just saying...

  3. Great idea! I do see one problem with the new proposed categories, the “people/lifestyle” shot wouldn’t work because, to the best of my knowledge, people aren’t allowed in the photos for mls. Maybe that’s not true everywhere but I know I can’t do that in my area, so it would lead me to using non-real estate work. Also, just curious, are all entries to be limited to contracted RE work only, or can people enter any architectural work? I’ve seen obvious non-RE work entered.

  4. How about something challenging like 'dark reflective wood interiors with huge windows and bright snowy views'. Obviously this is a bit tongue in cheek but you get the idea.

  5. I look forward to reading the judges' comments on every photo in each contest. What an absolutely terrific learning experience!!

    It would be fun have an 'as delivered' category. Ten or 12 of your best photos from a recent everyday job. Judged with consideration to the pressure we all face every day; time -vs- quality. Art -vs- business. If that seems too complicated, Id be happy to share an idea how how to do it pretty easily.

  6. I think that David Spencer has hit on a great idea. Instead of just one image in a category, a sub-set of images from one job. Consistency is a big part of what we provide for many customers as well as images that demonstrate the flow of a property.

    @Gary Kasl, if not having people in photos was rigorously enforced in my area, there are tons of images that would get pulled. Every day I look through listings, there will be several images with people in them from the agent that wants their 15 minutes to owners/tenants that position themselves perfectly to show up in a mirror or can't let themselves not be in a room being photographed. Lifestyle packages with models is several levels above day to day RE photography. Hiring a model and staging/styling would be an expensive day. I'd have fun doing it, but I just don't see agents anywhere near me being willing to spend that sort of money for RE images. I'm sure there are areas where it wouldn't break the bank, but not many.

    Since the prize money isn't that much (0), maybe having two winners some months can work. Whit's idea for dark/moody could be paired with light/bright. That would mean that there will be more opportunity for photographers in areas that have decors that predominately lean one way or the other. A "beige" category would be perfect for me and the sins that are committed in my area. If they would just paint the ceiling white I wouldn't yell so much. There could be a pairing of tiny (cozy) and McMansion kitchen's. Photographing each has its own set of challenges.

    The entries and winning images are top quality and an inspiration to look through but, there is a bias towards very high end and large homes since those tend to be better fitted out and decorated. It would be nice to see some categories that favor smaller/less well appointed houses where it takes some skill on the photographers part to tease out a compelling image. I photographed a beauty pageant where it was impossible to get a bad photo of the Little Miss winner, but I had to work like crazy to get a good image of the "Miss" winner who blinked liked crazy and had a face that would not auto focus. It's the latter where I feel I showed more ability. Just photographed them again last weekend with Santa and while Miss isn't blinking as much, Little Miss is still too easy. Some homes are going to be the same way.

  7. @ Jerry...The list of monthly themes is published but is buried behind several links to get to the contest rules/submission page and is inaccessible right now as the contest is closed. It needs to be available constantly. One thing that has confused me on this website, while there is an active button to the current photo and video contests where the drill down begins to find the contest rules, look at the top header of this website. There is a continual link to the video contest that discussed the contest in detail with a link to the actual contest, and past video winners but nothing on the photo contest. Space constraints may have prevented it, cut consider a new page dedicated to the photo contest that brings the rules and themes to the forefront and always available. For space, may require merging the winners page into the video contest page. Alternatively, rename "Video Contest" to "Contest" and discuss both - but layout would become critical as could be confusing.

    Good idea on multi theme and with some thought, it could be manageable. I rarely take exterior twilight but to have an alternative choice would be great. While "lifestyle/people" may be an issue prohibited by MLS, a broader word reflecting lifestyle would be "Community Amenities" which are MLS acceptable. In terms of dropping, "Aerial/Pole" and "Daylight Exterior" tend to duplicate each other. Look at past "Daylight Exterior" and the majority are aerial/pole.

  8. @Larry @Jerry,

    Thanks for the input, there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes with regards to the site layout/design. One consideration is having the contest live right on the PFRE site. Until then, you can find all monthly themes under the "contest" tab.


  9. I'm glad you're looking at changes to the monthly contest. My suggestion would be to require a link to the MLS listing (Trulia, Redfin, etc) with the photo submission, in the same way a website is currently required.

    Seeing how the submitted shot fits in with the regular listing would be very helpful. I've always wondered if the same style and technique for the winning shot matches how the entire house was delivered.

    The voting would still be based upon the single submitted shot. And since the link is publicly available, it shouldn't present any copyright issues.


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