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2017 Classic Landscape Category Winner, Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year: Peter Hill

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!

So, if you've been entering for a while, have you earned four silvers yet? Enter four entries and get a fifth for free. Perhaps this is your personal challenge for 2020?

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

2017 Exotic Travel Category Winner: Michele Palazzo, 2017 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

The Better Photography Photo of the Year Award is judged by the same three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography every year. All three of us have over 30 years’ experience as photography judges, all three have judged amateur and professional competitions, all three have judged internationally – and all three still enter photography competitions. And we’ve all won hundreds of awards over the years as well.

So why do we have the same judges each year? Surely there are other good judges? Why not mix them around? 

There are arguments for and against. An argument for using different judges is that the competition is less likely to become stale with the same ‘opinions’ every year, but a look at the variety of winners we’ve had over the years doesn’t support this.

In fact, one of the reasons we keep the same judges is to introduce a level of consistency – so as entrants improve from year to year, it is more likely to be because of their photography, rather than the opinions of new judges.

And the overall standard? I find that as judges we’re a little more lenient when it comes to bronze awards. If we see aspects of a photograph that are good, we’re likely to award a bronze as encouragement: you’re on the right path, but there is still room to grow. On the other hand, if you earn a silver, you’re on a par with how we judge at the professional awards. And those golds are every bit as good as the professional golds.

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

2017 Creative Flair Category Winner: Jean Wilson, 2017 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

I have yet to get four gold awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards. Every year, I pack away four gold prints and hope the judges agree with me.

They never have!

No matter how experienced you might be or how many awards you’ve won in the past, entering photography competitions remains an important part of our development as photographers.

My co-judges, David Oliver and Tony Hewitt, are also AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. They also enter APPA every year (well, except for this year because of Covid-19, but we did have the Silver Lining Awards instead). And we have a little wager on the side with the lowest scoring photographer buying lunch for the other two.

As judges, we think it’s important to know what it feels like to win and to lose. We all know what it’s like to get an entry with no award. We also remember what it was like to get our first bronze and silver awards. And the excitement doesn’t change with experience.

We’re realistic that winning a category or the overall competition is a matter of luck because we have no control over how good other entries might be. However, we can judge our success by how many silver or gold awards we get. At our level, we expect to get silvers (unless we’re testing something different, which is shorthand for saying we didn’t even get a silver)!

But what about you? How did you go last year and can you do better this year? If you get bronze awards easily enough, then perhaps your challenge is to get four silvers? Getting lots of silvers? Then welcome to the club in trying to get lots of golds. And if you do find the secret, please remember to share it with me!

Entries into the 2020 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 22 August 2020, so there's still time to enter!For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

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