Friday, 21 March 2014

[IOM] Image of the Month, Creating the Image.

When I first started entering images in the Image of the Month via the Guild of Photographers, I entered images that I loved, that I knew that parents loved of their little ones. The ones that would sell.

However, as the months went on and it got harder and harder, you would question the judges choice, and it becomes very frustrating, I looked into it more.

I never thought, or even wished to enter Photographer of the Year, or come within the top 10 as I didn’t think it was possible with the amount of talent around (and I didn’t get in the top 10 so at least I knew!) but after my mentoring and joining buddy groups for Image of the Month – then it became clear, that the images you enter into the competition, are completely different almost to the ones that you photograph for customers.

Most photographers  “Shoot for dough, not for show” when taking client commissions, and sometimes you may have one or two images that jump out at you that you think may do well for the judges, then that is only really part of the process.

Images are entered by the end of the month, this image shown was entered for February – we wait until the following month, 21st, where we get our results.

Images are scored, depending your score depends if you get a bar, bronze, silver, gold, or the elusive platinum (that no one has got yet!) And then each bar is awarded a different “point” scheme, that works for Photographer of the Year, top 10, and the new Photographers Bar, where you have to get 27 points minimum throughout the year (for example a bronze image is 1pt).

This year, my aim, is to get the Photographers Bar, and maybe even another Gold image like I did last year!

But this is the process, that I went through for just ONE image (I enter 3) for Image of the Month.

My process always starts with picking an image that I think has some potential, and then make my edits, adding texture to some images, cropping and thinking of all the little things that the judges could pick up on, I joke that trying to figure out what the judges want, is just like trying to find out if there is life on mars, almost impossible but it doesnt stop us trying! 

Subtle changes start being made, border or more border, how close to crop, don't crop that close, make sure it looks ok, were are the leading lines.

Then a few more subtle changes, before you settle on your final image (the one on the right) before you then start asking your photographer friends, and the people in the Image of the Month Buddy Groups...And then sometimes its easier to start the editing right from the beginning.

This is the image I start with. The crop is straight out of camera, you can see her hand clipped, and a bit of her knee, and the chair behind her, but look at that little face! (and coldsore) doesn't she just look adorable?!

Next, I have already decided on my square(ish) crop from the origional time I posted it, cropping it closer to her hand and skirt, and making a bit more space for her head to tilt into, before adding a texture that I feel helps enhance the image (some textures don't work on images I personally find!)

Now, this is where the fine tuning of the image really starts, the whispy bits of her hair from her forehead are edited out, her cold sore has been removed, and the silver clip of the flower has been removed to make it flow better and nicer. Then, the background has been lightened up a little bit more too...

Before.... ta da! The final image to be submitted to Image of the Month.
This scored 75 Points in February IOM scoring me a Silver Bar.

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