It Happens for A Reason: Sidelight on HPA2006

Published date: 2006-08-10    Clicks: 281

The HPA2006 received 2,896 sets of photos, a total of 26,235 images, from 1,722 participants. The preliminary selection would weed out 2/3 of the photos and only 6,000 remain for official selection. To avoid being eliminated in the preliminary phase, it is important to mind some taboos of the competition. Here are the cases in which photos would definitely be eliminated:

Photos that did not follow the HPA rules;

Awarded photos of the past HPAs;

Photos with similar themes of the awarded ones in the past HPAs yet fell in a lower level;

Laminated photos;

Badly printed photos;

Computer-generated photos;

Photos of low level or that fails to conform to the HPA theme;

Photos that abuse color: to deliver computer-generated photos is forbidden, but it is feasible to process them with Photoshop. Some photographers tend to over-Saturate the pictures, which often makes the color unreal;

Over-sharpened photos: for similar reasons, over-sharpened photos seem unreal and would surely be rejected;

Photos that lack an obvious center: disordered composition is the taboo of preliminary selection. Traditional composition is not necessarily required, but it helps emphasize the theme and catches the juror’s attention instantly;

Photos with repeated images: similar photos would raise doubt over a photographer’s ability to choose a good photo and would be eliminated;

Photos in a set with widely varied levels;

Unnecessarily processed photos: some photographers are used to add artificial borders to their photos, which only made the photos look awkward. Unnecessary processing is definitely “suicidal”;

Photos added with words;

Photos with unsettling images: some photographers think bloody images as precious and having strong impact. However, many of the unsettling scenes are unnecessary and rather become the flaw of the photo.

So how to add to the odds of success? Here are some tips:

Simplified frames and outstanding themes: a reviewer observed that most of the important photos in history had simple frames and outstanding themes because the simplicity makes it easy to understand. Considering the time limit for the jury, simply framed photos are usually advantageous;

High quality processing;

Consistent color and style;

Concise introduction;

“Humanity” should be the primary concern: foreign judges often pay much attention to the “humanity” elements in a work. Human interest and human figure are usually required. The use of color and light should also be carefully designed since artificial photos may hit the taboo.


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