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Silver Award by Armand Sarlangue, Classic Landscape category, 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

I hear photographers saying that unless they use Photoshop, they could never win a photography competition. And I agree – but I think we are talking about two completely different things.

Generally when photographers complain about Photoshop, they’re talking about highly constructed composites or special filter effects. In the past when these techniques were used, they did impress the judges and won a lot of awards, but these days, overworked photographs can actually score less, not more.

When I talk about using Photoshop – or Lightroom or Capture One – I’m suggesting that every entry can be improved with a little post-production. You might just lighten or darken the image, or darken down a corner – the point I’m suggesting is that successful photographers do not rely on their cameras to deliver the final result. EVERY image can be improved or strengthened with a little post-production – just as we used to do in the darkroom when shooting with film.

The mark of a competent photographer is the appropriate use of post-production.

Entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

Silver Award, Landscape Category by Timothy Moon, 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

Photography isn’t like a horse race where it’s (usually) very clear who comes first or second. Photography is subjective. The judges express an opinion. First or second is a matter of preference as much as anything else.

However, the good thing about some photography competitions is you don’t have to get a place to be successful, you just need to earn a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on your level of experience.

This is the beauty of the Better Photography Photo of the Year competition because there’s no limit to how many awards can be given. If your photography reaches a standard, you get an award. It doesn’t matter if another photograph is better or not.

A photography competition lets you know as objectively as possible if your work sits up the top or has some way to go. Getting one or more silver awards in the Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards is the collective opinion of three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. Earning a bronze shows you’re on the right track; scoring a gold means the judges are jealous! And earning four silvers is an achievement!

Entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

Tuscan Trees, Gold Award, 1995 Australian Professional Photography Awards. You can also read about this image in Peter's new book, The New Tradition. Details on the www.betterphotography.com website.

Each year, in an effort to encourage photographers 'to give it a go', I repeat a competition experience I had years ago: The most important award I ever received was coming second!

It was back in 1995 when I aspired to produce great photographs like Doug Spowart, Rob Imhoff, Ken Redpath and John Whitfield-King. Of course I also admired the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn, but they were the international legends while Doug, Rob, Ken and John were the leading photographers in the AIPP.

And then at the end of the awards that year, I was standing on stage next to Tim Griffith who was the AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year. Was I bummed that I only came second? Hell, no! I was amazed that I was even on the same stage – that the judges put my photography in the same league.

However, second place wasn’t the real prize, it was the gold and silver awards for my four prints. Winning first or second is a preference and there’s only one of each, while gold, silver and bronze awards are a standard and there is no limit to how many will be handed out. It’s not up to the judges, it’s up to the entrants to reach that standard.

We all love receiving likes and hearts on Facebook and Instagram, but how does your work stack up when viewed by the more experienced eyes of judges? Earning a bronze award tells you you’re on the right track, a silver award is a real mark of achievement. And a gold award – I wish I knew how to get more of them myself!

Entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

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