My First Time… Entering Prints at a Fair

This year was the 103rd edition of the Sooke Fall Fair and it marked the first time I have entered prints in any competition.  While I entered many of the categories, I really didn’t know what to expect for results.  I was not disappointed.

Setting the Bar 

Next year I plan on trying to enter even higher calibre images in every category.  Besides meeting other photographers and those interested in photography in general, one of the best things about entering images in the Fall Fair was what I learned.

When initially reading over the rules for entry, I was concerned because they seemed quite complex and I didn’t know if I would interpreted them correctly.  Fortunately, one of the members of my local photo club had been entering for the last several years and clarified things for everyone.

The next concern I had was selecting suitable images for the various categories.  I believe I was fairly successful for most categories and after having seen what type of images did well, I now have a better idea of what the judges at this Fall Fair are looking for (or at least what they looked for this year).

seagull in flight drops a clam to break it open
The Flying Clam

My image of a seagull dropping a clam (to break it open on the rocks below) won 1st place in the Birds / Insects category.  A simple image, without much distraction and the subject took up a large portion of the frame.  This was something I noted in quite a few of the top images in other categories, as well.

BC Legislature building lit up at night
Lights on at the Legislature

I really like my image of the BC Legislature at night and entered it in the Architecture category, however, it didn’t receive any accolades.  It is a big picture / far back image, which is partially obstructed by the fountain in the foreground.  Again, the images that placed well were much closer / cleaner and focused more on the details.

Yet another thing I learned through this experience, was that I need to calibrate my monitor (a display calibration device is already on order).  The images on my monitor were bright and the colours bold… until I had them printed.  Then, with the exception of the black and white ones, they were dark, dingy and muted.  Since I didn’t have anything to calibrate my monitor, I adjusted the brightness of my monitor to more closely reflect what I saw in the printed images, then took an educated guess at the corrections and had the images reprinted.  With no time left for any more changes, and only one exception, I managed to get them very close to where I wanted (the lone exception, while still darker than I would have liked, was still close enough to earn an Honourable Mention).

Now that I have gone through the process of entering prints at the local Fall Fair I am glad that I followed through and I have much more confidence in entering images in higher profile events in the future.

2 thoughts

    1. Thanks, Bunty. I know what you mean about different judges, but this gives a bit of a baseline for what they looked for this time. I absolutely agree about shooting for oneself, however, when entering competitions I will be trying to select images I love that I think the judges will as well. Some of the winners were definitely not my style and I wouldn’t think of trying to change my style just to pllease someone else.
      Thanks again for your comments!

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