So, you have decided that you would like to submit some photos to the Magic of Light Exhibit at Image City. The first part of your process is to decide which of your photos you should submit. This is the most difficult part. Photographers enjoy submitting to this annual juried show either because they get great pleasure from having one of their photos on display or because they are hoping to win one of the three awards provided by Image City, Lumiere Photo, or Archival Methods. Regardless of your goal, think about choosing photos that seem to have a WOW factor that you believe will leave an impression.
As you look through your images, see which ones catch your eye and stand out? When you have selected an image that draws your eye, take the time to define WHY it stands out. Is there a strong emotion that pulls you into the image? Is the light simply amazing? Does the composition draw you into the frame? Is there a clear story that connects the viewer to the scene? Are you offering a unique perspective that might capture the attention of the viewer? Certainly each photo will not contain all of these elements, but keeping these questions in mind might help you to choose the photos to submit.
As you think about some of these questions, next concentrate on the technical elements of your image. Check your frame and background to see if there are any distracting elements that might pull the viewer’s eyes away from the amazing parts of your photograph. If so, can you remove these elements? Are sharpness, depth of field, light, exposure, color and other techniques used in a way that is effective for the subject? Last year I received an award for an image focusing on two ducks learning to swim in a pond. It was such a simple image and when I received the news about the award, I looked at the image again to see why it might have been chosen. I believe that the simplicity is what made it so strong. I had taken the time to clone out the little distractions, and it resulted in an image that was focused on just the subject, which made the light and overall effect that much more powerful.
Having an extra set of eyes on your work is never a bad idea. If you are having trouble choosing a photo, ask an opinion from a trusted person whom you believe will offer honest feedback. Of course, asking advice can be useful; however, in the end trust your own instincts.
Participating in the Magic of Light is an opportunity to evaluate your work, grow and progress toward the photographer you are meant to be. It is an excellent way for you to expand beyond your comfort zone and improve your craft. You can use the experience as a way to try new genres of photography or showcase your expertise in an area in which you are competent, along with potentially meeting new people at Image City Gallery. Winning an award is not a final destination. Even if your photo is not selected by the judges for one of the awards, having your photo on display for a month for others to view is a chance to showcase one of your favorite photos and to have fun in the process.