Picking Photos for Competition

Entering pictures in your local county or regional fair is a good way to get started with photo contests. The cost is usually minimal and you can easily drop off your entry in person without the trouble of packing and shipping. So how do you choose what photo to enter?

You want the judges to notice your image for its outstanding qualities, so a sharp, well-exposed picture is the minimum requirement. Then your photograph should exhibit a strong composition, one that emphasizes the subject without any distractions. And you want the image to have impact on the viewer; impact means it captures their attention and holds it.

A photograph has impact if there is strong color, a special moment or gesture, and effective lighting. Compare these two photos (taken on film). Both have the same composition, but the better picture is literally lit up by the light striking the yellow cottonwood trees. Without this spotlight effect, the picture is dull and uninteresting.

Autumn Spotlight along the Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana

Before the sun, Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana

As you look through your photos, select the best moment from among your favorites. If it has an impact on you, it may have a favorable effect on the judges, too.

Learn additional tips and get help entering images in the 2018 Western Montana Fair photography  contest in Submitting Photos for the Fair beginning May 17, 2018, in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.