Expo –Expose: Winning Techniques          Dave Shafer
I. General principlesII. Flower and Landscape examplesIII. Questions
Make yourself comfortable whilewe go over some general principlesof competitive photography.
We all haveour dreams      Some     dream of a     home run at     the annual     Y’s Men     EXPO     competition
Let’s take a close up look at some techniques that canhelp you enter winning photos. There is no need to takenotes since t...
This talk is also available as a full body tattoo.
First we have to pop some illusions youmay have. The quality of your photos isimportant, of course, but even more so areth...
Who are the judges for our EXPO competitions?                                     They are a                              ...
We have the same 3 judges every year.No names will be given.
One of our judges is a purist and doesnot like any hint of digital manipulation
That judge would not like this image of mine.
One of ourjudges prob-ably mostappreciatescreativityand wouldlike thismatch andknot-holephoto.Also this“rainy day”image ma...
Another of our judges likes us to show him the familiar froma different perspective or slant. To see something new.
Finding a new way to look at the familiaris hard to do, but is much appreciated bythis judge.
He also might like an image that surprises
Many judges do not like to see print in aphoto, so it is best to avoid that.
It is hard to combine all the preferencesof the judges in one single picture, so it isbest to enter several different type...
It is probably best not to load up a pic-ture with too much excess ambition -one simple idea executed perfectly is bet-ter...
You want to expose your ideas to thejudges but not all crammed into a singleimage. Usually in photos, less is more.With me...
This lily lookslike a hooded co-bra. It might betoo simple an im-age to win a prizebut it shows mythinking, of aim-ing for...
This photo is brilliant! It captures an abstractidea in a profound way and yet it could not beany simpler. A work of genius!
You need totake an ax toall extraneouselements inyour composi-tion and sim-plify.  Try to lookat your photosas if you were...
The judges will not necessarily seewhat you saw when you took the photo.  Try to imagine a perspective that isdifferent fr...
I think that this is a cute photo, but I can’tsee it objectively, because 2 of my grandsonsare in it. If I try to imagine ...
The judges willbe casting acritical eye onyour photos.What you mayfind fascinating(Clinton’s catSocks here)may be just aca...
Humor in photos is risky. The judgesmight not get the joke, or appreciate it.  Squirrels,  flamingo  cat and  bee
Humorous photos are usually suspectedthese days of having been digitally ma-nipulated. I did this one of squirrels af-ter ...
I did no digital trickery with this one -just a set up in my back yard. This com-bines humor with a mini-story, which isha...
The effective use of color can be veryimportant in creating a photo with impact,but color alone is not enough. This com-po...
Diagonal lines in print and images are dynamic
Here I combined color and sinuous shapes tocreate a photo with high impact value.
In my nighttime photo of Munich I also have col-ors and interesting shapes, making a good image.
“Concept” photos
This car is a non-starter and is not goinganywhere, and neither are most “concept”photos. It is hard to have the photo tit...
I entered this in the recent EXPO and did notwin with it. It is a pretty picture but lacks anycenter of interest. I knew t...
It takes too long, in my “A Long Marriage” photo, for peopleto realize that the reflections are switched. A bad choice.
This picture of mine—”Dancing OrchidLadies” is a concept photo but it is strongenough on its own to do well even withoutth...
This “concept” photo - ”Bug Sex”, whichI found on the internet, is interesting evenwithout a title or the sexual interpret...
Backgrounds
You and the judges will probably notsee eye to eye about the merits of yourphotos. But you may have some will-ful blindnes...
Homeland SecurityA simple background highlights the main subject
The sky silhouettes the man and the nose
A bad photo—very confusing background. You can ignore this advice butyour EXPO results will suffer.
The use of black or a single color for thebackground brings attention to the main subject,reduces clutter and gives the ph...
A solid color background allows you to con-centrate on these seed pods without distraction.
A very simple background highlights themain subject, in “Orchid Man”, a past EXPO1st place.
Black felt makes a good background for flowers
Flowers are all about color and shapes, soyou don’t need anything else in the back-ground. Black makes an excellent back-g...
The black shadow gives extra emphasisto the snowy white swan.
1881 painting by Manet shows dramaticuse of black in an image.
In this Swiss night scene the black sets offwhat we want the viewer to focus on. That,the big ring of tiny lights, and the...
Hasta leaves, set off by black background.The liberal use of black in a photo allowsfor more color contrasts, simplifies t...
Morning glory, vine and single leaf
Calla lilies
More Calla lilies, with sinuousshapes and an interesting composition
“This Bud’s For You” - a very simplecomposition and an unobtrusive background.
Iris and leaves
“Flower Fireworks” - an EXPO 1st place
Too symmetrical      Too flattened down                   Just right, and an                  EXPO 1st place.
Every spring skunk cabbages explode into amazing shapes. Itis hard to get the best combination of shapes and background.So...
“Skunk Cabbage Ballet” - an EXPO 1st place
Composition
Usually it is not good to have the main center of interestbe exactly in the middle of the photo, but sometimes itworks wel...
A good composition—the bull leads us intothe picture and the man leads us out. Ouch!
You know that the judges will be critical of yourefforts, so try to be critical yourself first.
I like this photo and think that it is interest-ing, with the different shapes and textures.But two objects do not usually...
A good rule is that three of anything ismore pleasing to look at and makes a bettercomposition than two of the same thing....
A single blossum, or three of them, is a goodcomposition but two or four don’t work as well.The Japanese, with their rock ...
If you do go with just two blossoms at least do nothave them on the same horizontal line
Two blossoms don’t work as well as three (the next slide) andhere they are on the same horizontal line—which is boring.
An EXPO winner
Three Calla lilies. When I took thisphoto I could see that the bright light-green shoot in the background definitelydistra...
OriginalImprovedback-ground
I took this photo in Edinburgh, Scotland, andit is marred by the trash can, the distant build-ings, and the near foregroun...
Landscapes
Landscapes that also feature people orevidence of people, like this photo I tookin the Czech Republic, are more interest-i...
The people can be in the far distance but it stillmakes for a better landscape photo to have them.                        ...
In some cases, however, a landscapewould be improved by removing peoplefrom it.
These Swisslandscapes aremore interestingbecause of thetrails that can beseen, showing ahuman presence
An interesting landscape, evidence of people,and water make a nice composition in this color-ful Swiss photo I took from L...
The intense greens in these Swiss photos are almost not credible,but they are pretty accurate. The bottom image did well i...
Original photo above. Below is cropped version plus brightened up
I liked this Swiss photo but wanted to focus more on the church.
This “Swiss Church on the Edge” did well in theEXPO contest, with its combination of dramaticlandscape and the human eleme...
Too cluttered a scene—Heidelberg house pluslandscape. There is just too much going on here   The house on the lower right ...
Simpler Heidelberg scene—house plus landscape
These principles of competitive photography are notthat difficult to learn. This is not hard material, unlikethe trick que...
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
Competitive photography principles
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Competitive photography principles

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A highly visual presentation of competitive photography principles, with many examples - covering composition, backgrounds, photos of flowers and of landscapes, etc. with many prize winning photo examples. Liberal use of humor.

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Competitive photography principles

  1. 1. Expo –Expose: Winning Techniques Dave Shafer
  2. 2. I. General principlesII. Flower and Landscape examplesIII. Questions
  3. 3. Make yourself comfortable whilewe go over some general principlesof competitive photography.
  4. 4. We all haveour dreams Some dream of a home run at the annual Y’s Men EXPO competition
  5. 5. Let’s take a close up look at some techniques that canhelp you enter winning photos. There is no need to takenotes since this talk has been posted to the internet.
  6. 6. This talk is also available as a full body tattoo.
  7. 7. First we have to pop some illusions youmay have. The quality of your photos isimportant, of course, but even more so arethe Expo competition judges you get.
  8. 8. Who are the judges for our EXPO competitions? They are a diverse lot and it helps to know what they like and don’t like.
  9. 9. We have the same 3 judges every year.No names will be given.
  10. 10. One of our judges is a purist and doesnot like any hint of digital manipulation
  11. 11. That judge would not like this image of mine.
  12. 12. One of ourjudges prob-ably mostappreciatescreativityand wouldlike thismatch andknot-holephoto.Also this“rainy day”image madewith brooms
  13. 13. Another of our judges likes us to show him the familiar froma different perspective or slant. To see something new.
  14. 14. Finding a new way to look at the familiaris hard to do, but is much appreciated bythis judge.
  15. 15. He also might like an image that surprises
  16. 16. Many judges do not like to see print in aphoto, so it is best to avoid that.
  17. 17. It is hard to combine all the preferencesof the judges in one single picture, so it isbest to enter several different types andhope that something clicks with them.You can’t please everyone all of the time.
  18. 18. It is probably best not to load up a pic-ture with too much excess ambition -one simple idea executed perfectly is bet-ter than several ideas together in onephoto that are not done as well. Thiswill be shown later with flowers andlandscapes.
  19. 19. You want to expose your ideas to thejudges but not all crammed into a singleimage. Usually in photos, less is more.With men, less is less.
  20. 20. This lily lookslike a hooded co-bra. It might betoo simple an im-age to win a prizebut it shows mythinking, of aim-ing for simplicity.
  21. 21. This photo is brilliant! It captures an abstractidea in a profound way and yet it could not beany simpler. A work of genius!
  22. 22. You need totake an ax toall extraneouselements inyour composi-tion and sim-plify. Try to lookat your photosas if you werea judge who had never seen them before.What would your impressions be?
  23. 23. The judges will not necessarily seewhat you saw when you took the photo. Try to imagine a perspective that isdifferent from your own and then lookat your photos again with new eyes.
  24. 24. I think that this is a cute photo, but I can’tsee it objectively, because 2 of my grandsonsare in it. If I try to imagine that they are some-one else’s then I see that it is probably notsomething that I would enter in a contest.
  25. 25. The judges willbe casting acritical eye onyour photos.What you mayfind fascinating(Clinton’s catSocks here)may be just acat to them.
  26. 26. Humor in photos is risky. The judgesmight not get the joke, or appreciate it. Squirrels, flamingo cat and bee
  27. 27. Humorous photos are usually suspectedthese days of having been digitally ma-nipulated. I did this one of squirrels af-ter my bird feeder. One of the EXPOjudges would probably not like this.
  28. 28. I did no digital trickery with this one -just a set up in my back yard. This com-bines humor with a mini-story, which ishard to do. But the photo is not that in-teresting just on its own terms. Not agood EXPO candidate.
  29. 29. The effective use of color can be veryimportant in creating a photo with impact,but color alone is not enough. This com-position here is just not that interesting,with its repetitive horizontal lines. Gener-ally speaking, horizontals are dull.
  30. 30. Diagonal lines in print and images are dynamic
  31. 31. Here I combined color and sinuous shapes tocreate a photo with high impact value.
  32. 32. In my nighttime photo of Munich I also have col-ors and interesting shapes, making a good image.
  33. 33. “Concept” photos
  34. 34. This car is a non-starter and is not goinganywhere, and neither are most “concept”photos. It is hard to have the photo title doall of the work in explaining the “concept”you are trying to show. Next I show a flower example of a “concept” photo.
  35. 35. I entered this in the recent EXPO and did notwin with it. It is a pretty picture but lacks anycenter of interest. I knew that so I gave it a ti-tle—”Bud’s Evolution” to indicate that it showsthe progression of the buds from unopened totheir full glory. That makes it a “concept” photoand it fell flat with that. The photo has to bestrong enough without the concept and it wasn’t.
  36. 36. It takes too long, in my “A Long Marriage” photo, for peopleto realize that the reflections are switched. A bad choice.
  37. 37. This picture of mine—”Dancing OrchidLadies” is a concept photo but it is strongenough on its own to do well even withoutthe title and the concept.
  38. 38. This “concept” photo - ”Bug Sex”, whichI found on the internet, is interesting evenwithout a title or the sexual interpretation ofthe photo.
  39. 39. Backgrounds
  40. 40. You and the judges will probably notsee eye to eye about the merits of yourphotos. But you may have some will-ful blindness to some of your image’sdefects. Try, especially, to noticeweaknesses in your photo’s back-grounds.
  41. 41. Homeland SecurityA simple background highlights the main subject
  42. 42. The sky silhouettes the man and the nose
  43. 43. A bad photo—very confusing background. You can ignore this advice butyour EXPO results will suffer.
  44. 44. The use of black or a single color for thebackground brings attention to the main subject,reduces clutter and gives the photo more impact
  45. 45. A solid color background allows you to con-centrate on these seed pods without distraction.
  46. 46. A very simple background highlights themain subject, in “Orchid Man”, a past EXPO1st place.
  47. 47. Black felt makes a good background for flowers
  48. 48. Flowers are all about color and shapes, soyou don’t need anything else in the back-ground. Black makes an excellent back-ground that sets off the flowers very well.
  49. 49. The black shadow gives extra emphasisto the snowy white swan.
  50. 50. 1881 painting by Manet shows dramaticuse of black in an image.
  51. 51. In this Swiss night scene the black sets offwhat we want the viewer to focus on. That,the big ring of tiny lights, and the womanstudying the window display all direct ourattention towards the glowing scene inside
  52. 52. Hasta leaves, set off by black background.The liberal use of black in a photo allowsfor more color contrasts, simplifies thecomposition, and focuses more attention onthe main subject. Some examples follow
  53. 53. Morning glory, vine and single leaf
  54. 54. Calla lilies
  55. 55. More Calla lilies, with sinuousshapes and an interesting composition
  56. 56. “This Bud’s For You” - a very simplecomposition and an unobtrusive background.
  57. 57. Iris and leaves
  58. 58. “Flower Fireworks” - an EXPO 1st place
  59. 59. Too symmetrical Too flattened down Just right, and an EXPO 1st place.
  60. 60. Every spring skunk cabbages explode into amazing shapes. Itis hard to get the best combination of shapes and background.Some examples here are followed by an EXPO prize winner.
  61. 61. “Skunk Cabbage Ballet” - an EXPO 1st place
  62. 62. Composition
  63. 63. Usually it is not good to have the main center of interestbe exactly in the middle of the photo, but sometimes itworks well, like here. Every “rule” has exceptions.
  64. 64. A good composition—the bull leads us intothe picture and the man leads us out. Ouch!
  65. 65. You know that the judges will be critical of yourefforts, so try to be critical yourself first.
  66. 66. I like this photo and think that it is interest-ing, with the different shapes and textures.But two objects do not usually do as well asthree. A better composition would have beento have a 3rd pinecone added or somethingelse in the background.
  67. 67. A good rule is that three of anything ismore pleasing to look at and makes a bettercomposition than two of the same thing. Iwonder what they are smoking.
  68. 68. A single blossum, or three of them, is a goodcomposition but two or four don’t work as well.The Japanese, with their rock gardens, and ZenBuddhists figured this all out many ages ago. Who are we to dispute this?
  69. 69. If you do go with just two blossoms at least do nothave them on the same horizontal line
  70. 70. Two blossoms don’t work as well as three (the next slide) andhere they are on the same horizontal line—which is boring.
  71. 71. An EXPO winner
  72. 72. Three Calla lilies. When I took thisphoto I could see that the bright light-green shoot in the background definitelydistracts from the main subject. It needsto be toned down quite a lot to be lessobtrusive.
  73. 73. OriginalImprovedback-ground
  74. 74. I took this photo in Edinburgh, Scotland, andit is marred by the trash can, the distant build-ings, and the near foreground—all detract fromthe natural beauty of the scene. It is quite a lotof work to alter the photo to remove these ele-ments. A better taking position might improvethe shot. The curves and diagonals make a nicecomposition.
  75. 75. Landscapes
  76. 76. Landscapes that also feature people orevidence of people, like this photo I tookin the Czech Republic, are more interest-ing to look at and do better in contests.
  77. 77. The people can be in the far distance but it stillmakes for a better landscape photo to have them. A landscape with- out people tends to make a static picture, even with dynamic shapes like here.
  78. 78. In some cases, however, a landscapewould be improved by removing peoplefrom it.
  79. 79. These Swisslandscapes aremore interestingbecause of thetrails that can beseen, showing ahuman presence
  80. 80. An interesting landscape, evidence of people,and water make a nice composition in this color-ful Swiss photo I took from Lake Luzern.
  81. 81. The intense greens in these Swiss photos are almost not credible,but they are pretty accurate. The bottom image did well in EXPO.
  82. 82. Original photo above. Below is cropped version plus brightened up
  83. 83. I liked this Swiss photo but wanted to focus more on the church.
  84. 84. This “Swiss Church on the Edge” did well in theEXPO contest, with its combination of dramaticlandscape and the human element. The tiny whitedots on the right middle edge are sheep. I wantedto show more of the steep drop, as in the previousphoto, but by backing off more there would be asmaller church.
  85. 85. Too cluttered a scene—Heidelberg house pluslandscape. There is just too much going on here The house on the lower right is distracting and should be cropped out.
  86. 86. Simpler Heidelberg scene—house plus landscape
  87. 87. These principles of competitive photography are notthat difficult to learn. This is not hard material, unlikethe trick question above. It is a trick question be-cause they are all about the same distance, with C)Hafnarfjorour being just slightly closer, but only A)Reykavik is a true city. Very sneaky! Note the effec-tiveness above of the simple blue/ black backgroundin this photo.

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