We have just concluded our first photography contest here on DEDPXL and I’d like to once again congratulate Craig for winning!

Now that is all done I want to talk about photography contests, judging images, and opening a discussion about what your thoughts are about images you see that win or don’t win contests.

When I was in photography school I began volunteering for the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. They run one of the oldest and largest photojournalism contests in the United States. Thousands upon thousands of images are submitted each year in sixteen categories. I started as a student volunteer in one of the contest rooms running the projector and by the end of my ten years of working with the seminar I was on the board of directors and in charge of the entire contest. I saw the contest switch from slide projectors to going fully digital.

When I was a student I sat in the back of the room while the judges (award winning photographers and photo editors) sat in the front of the room and judged the different categories. It would take three days to go through all the categories and there were some days that went well over twelve hours of judging. I was in charge of keeping up with what images stayed in for the next round and what images were out. The world of photography was still a huge uncharted landscape stretching before me and I was always amazed by the quality of images submitted to the contest. I remember one image in particular my first year as a volunteer.

The category was Spot News and the image was of a fire fighter spraying water on a house engulfed in flames. The fire fighter was silhouetted against the flames. It was a gorgeous image.

Within two seconds of the image being projected on the screen I heard from the three judges up front,




I was flabbergasted.

“I’m sorry. Was that an out?”

“That was three outs!”

“This image?”

“It’s the only one on the screen!”

I checked the focus on the projector. Surely they were wrong. It was a fantastic image. I would have given a kidney or two to have shot that image.


I marked it out. That photographer had TWO SECONDS on the screen and it was OUT. Two. Seconds. Meditate on that for two minutes.

On and on it went. Kick ass images were getting booted out left and right. Within seconds of being shown at that! What heartless cynical bastards these judges were. They’ve been around so long they were just calloused to great photography. I was pissed off. Great photographs didn’t even get a measly five seconds on the screen. And some of the eventual winners? Really? I could have done better than some of those that won! They weren’t all that great. That firefighter image was awesome. It should have at least gotten an honorable mention.

That was my first year. It happened some more my second year. It happened less my third year. By my seventh year we had so many entries (thanks to digital submissions) that we had to cull the categories prior to the judging days or they would have been too large and we’d never be able to finish the contest judging.

I’d leave a few fire fighter silhouettes in for old times sake knowing they didn’t have a chance in hell to ever place. Do you know how many silhouetted firefighter images I have seen now in my life? Do you know how that is the easy photo to make? Most PJ interns can make that photo. That’s exactly the photo you expect an intern to make. If you show up at a house fire you get the silo shot. That’s the safe shot. It can run in tomorrow’s paper. But what else can you do there? How better can you tell the story? Can you find the unexpected photo at that house fire?

I sat in those judging rooms for ten years and then went to dinner with the judges each night and listened to them talk about the images they had seen that day. That experience is some of the best photography education I’ve ever had. I’ve since sat as a judge for the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar and a number of other photography contests.

Photo by flickr user Ada Be

Here’s what I’ve learned in some easy to swallow bullet points.

• Don’t shoot for contests. Let me phrase that another way. DO NOT shoot FOR contests. Shoot FOR you. Shoot FOR your client. Shoot for anything but contests. You are your best and worst judge and it is you that you have to beat each and every time you go out and shoot. I’ve met photographers whose sole purpose in life were to win some of these contests. They wanted the plaques and the recognition. Some did well. They shot for the contests and they knew what kind of stuff generally placed. Many others never got so much as an honorable mention. It’s nice to be recognized by your industry as being good at what you do but it isn’t the end goal with life. It shouldn’t be.

• Different judges = Different winners. Year after year I would see images that would have placed with last year’s set of judges that this year’s set of judges didn’t care for and wouldn’t even give an honorable mention for. There were some groups of judges who loved dark and gritty work. Some loved bright and colorful work. The fun times were getting two highly opinionated judges in the same room who were drawn to completely different styles of photography. Placing the top three images in a category could sometimes take more than an hour.

• You were >this< close to winning. 1,000 images are submitted to a category. That’s quickly knocked down to 100 images. That’s knocked down to twenty images. You have 1st, 2nd, 3rd place to pick and up to two honorable mentions. You have to at least get those twenty images to no more than five images. I watched judges go back and forth and back and forth on photos. Sometimes there was a quick consensus on the first place winner. That moves to the first position. Then debates and discussions go to the rest.

I’ve seen some judges fighting for an image to place second that ultimately… didn’t even get an honorable mention. Or only got an honorable mention. The two other judges would debate against the one long enough that they broke down and conceded to a different image taking second, or third.

Judge #1 “Ok, at least give me this image for third place and I’ll give the two of you that other image for second. I want it to at least place in the top three.”

Judge #2 “Yes, but what about this image over here. We haven’t talked about that one yet. I think that’s a solid third place because of the blah, blah, blah.”

Judge #3 “I agree with Judge #2.”

Judge #1 “Yeah. I see what you’re saying. But look at this image. Look at that light. Look at the color.”

Judge #3 “It needs a crop.”

Judge #2 “It’d be much better in black and white.”

I would keep track of some of these images and call the photographers after the contest and at least let them know that judge so-an-so was fighting like mad for their image. They were at 2nd place for awhile until they dropped to HM or dropped out all together. I at least wanted them to know that they had a fighting chance for awhile.

• If it doesn’t read as a thumbnail it’s not going to win. Easy enough to understand I think.

• You’re photo is judged in seconds. Either your photo grabs the viewers attention or it doesn’t. Remember too that if we’re talking about a contest then whoever is judging your work most likely has seen hundreds of thousands of images in their life. They speak photography fluently and can separate the wheat from the chaff in a matter of seconds.

A number of people commented over on YouTube that Meghan and I did not spend enough time on some of the images. Some folks thought there were some subtle details that we missed that would have possibly given some photos a fighting chance for the top ten. Nope. We missed nothing.

Yes. We knew those were people depicting jews during WW2. Yes. We actually debated the grandmothers at the computer picture for quite some time after that critique and went back to look at it. The Japanese tsunami warning on the iPad would have never ever ever ever saved that cafe image. Ever. Never ever. It would have never made the top ten no matter how subtle some though that detail was. The image, overall, was not done very well.

Remember that I was keeping up with the entries as they were posted. I had to collect them and prepare them for the critique. I had to cross check the screen grabs from flickr to those from 500px and G+ to make sure there weren’t duplicates. I had to go through a lot of exif data to check dates. I spent a lot of time with those images and have since gone back through all of them a few more times. Once we got to the critique I already had a top 20 picked in my head. Meg was seeing them for the first time and her selects and my selects were pretty even.

• You love it. Your clients love it. Doesn’t mean a judge will love it. There are images that you shoot for your client and they love them. They cry. They squeal with delight over the photographs. That’s awesome! Those same photos may never ever ever ever place in a photography contest. There are photos I have taken that I cherish and those are photos that I don’t think I’d ever put in a contest because they wouldn’t stand a chance in that arena.

• You could have shot a better image than the first place image. Yep. You sure could have. Many of you could have shot a better image than what won first place. Some of you did shoot better photos than the winning image. Guess what? Tough shit. I know. I know. I’m an asshole. Tough shit all the same. Craig won and you didn’t. Fair and square. We made up a contest. We put the rules out there. Everyone, for the most part, worked in those parameters and at the end of the day the top three rose and Sara spent a lot of time choosing from those top three. I bet you anything there was an image submitted for this contest she would have rather picked for first place. There is at least one image I would have picked for first place over Craig’s. There’s still one photo out there that I wish would have been in the top ten. I doubt it would have made the top three but I wanted it in the top ten.

Am I saying Craig shot a bad photo? No way. If you were paying attention you noticed that Craig had TWO images in the top ten! TWO made it in the top ten! I love his image but there’s another one that I love just a bit more. That’s me. Personally. I’m ONE person. Meg would not have picked this other image to be first. Caleb would have picked another one. You, dear reader, probably had another in mind if it was up to you. His image was good enough, though, to get in the top three from the popular vote and get through to Sara and he had tough competition at that point and he came out on top and I’m shipping $6,000 of gear from Capture Integration to him this week.

You see why you shouldn’t shoot for contests? It’s effing maddening.




Two of you were in the top twelve and didn’t make it to the top ten. Meg and I spent a looooonnnngggg time getting the top twelve to the top ten. Those last two edit decisions took the longest of the entire process. For me, the servant + girl photo that made the top three was the wild card image. Meg fought like hell to get that in the top ten. I was ready to ditch that one for another image but she convinced me to leave it to popular vote so I conceded. It’s a gorgeous image. I’d hang that on my wall. I really would. Do I feel the world had changed? Not at all. Meg did. I didn’t. Ultimately, Sara didn’t think the world had changed in that photo either and it didn’t win. It made the top three by popular vote though!

Am I happy with how this contest shaped up? Absolutely. I stand by the first place winner and all the very best to you Craig. You kicked ass. Many of you kicked ass.

Lastly… Lastly…

“Everyone is a photographer these days. They buy a nice camera and can get a decent photo and now they are a photographer.”

Really? Anyone still believing that bullshit myth?

We all have great cameras now. Any decent consumer camera produced in the last few years could have made the winning image.

It’s not about the gear is it? Not everyone is a photographer are they? It’s a lot of hard work isn’t it?

Is there anything else you’d rather be doing though? Not for me.


– The image above is being used under a Creative Commons license because I don’t have any firefighter images of my own to illustrate this article. The image was shot by Flickr member Ada Be.

Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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  1. Christian

    Zack & Meg,

    I am continually blown away by how dedicated your whole family has been to this community and I am so grateful that you keep churning out these contests and videos for us.

    Meg, as a side note, I love your insight in these things because it is really easy for us to become so enshrined in “professional” opinions that we become numb to what the rest of the world can see in our work. You are a great mirror to reality for all of us and I look forward to hearing your comments alongside Zack’s each time.

    Thank you both.
    Just thank you.
    (Thanks to the whole family really, y’all team effort the crap out of these each time!)


  2. Broon

    Hey areet Zack? areet Meg? festive tidings and all that jazz,

    So I`m here a third time in so many weeks, the first two times I wrote out in this box to comment but felt it too soon to comment about why I didn’t submit my image which was to add weight to all those who removed their big toe at the last minute to feel “safe” but for me it all boiled down to it just didn’t make the grade, my grade. If I`m going to submit an image I want it to stand amongst giants, for people to sit up and take notice of the creativity and for it not just to be a mediocre picture thrown in because it might stand a chance. Mediocre to me isn’t acceptable and if I`m not 110% happy with all aspects of the image its banished to the vaults never to see the light of day.

    I wasn’t going to submit an image for the sake of “trying” to say I did it because you know what I did, I took all the time allowed, completed the image but the end product didn’t make me moist its as simple as that.

    Now getting back to the short video above, I have to comment on the loose quote about people commenting that “Meg has nothing to offer to all these critiques” but actually she does and are we not all artists in one form or another? Meg is an artist in her own right and I believe that a different pair of eyes have a lot more innocence of clarity when looking at images that are meant to provoke thought whereas the photography community look at it in a totally different light. Images to me are Marmite you either like the image or you don`t and whilst I appreciate Wes`s image I kind of did and didn’t get the “world has changed” I sat for a while digesting it and the only liking I could associate it to was role reversal, powerful women, and of course the two Ronnies the worm has turned https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcMd1F1acSo&list=PL1DB02CB56C1C20C1

    In jest of course that is how I interpreted that image. I didn’t like the alien abduction, I appreciated the time and effort but it wasn’t to my liking. I actually voted for Craigs image I liked the tones, the lighting the old fella`s expression but for me it wasn’t the winner. If I really had to pick one out of the finalists it would be #1 and after reading about it, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at that image but that didn’t even make the top three!

    The image for me that had my immediate response of “wow” what a great concept was the take on the last supper but I was an in agreement that it wasn’t executed well, I dare say that if it had of been it would have been a contender.

    But this is it you see what one person`s rubbish is another persons treasure and that can be applied right here, we aren’t going to please everyone or be in agreement but we can chew the fat over a brew and that’s what makes us interesting race. What these assignments really mean to me are that I started off shite but progressed to where my last image produced a reasonable critique. I am improving in a hobby I have a passion for and this is what Dedpxl assignments were all about, making pictures that dont suck! So thanks Zack, thanks Meg for sacrificing your precious time away from work, family life etc etc. to put energy and critique into something that will surely become more challenging in years to come.

    Bravo and have a great Christmas and New Year

  3. Juan Lamus

    Thank you for pushing the community. Happy Holidays

  4. Brian

    Thanks so much being you and for being totally honest Zack. You bring more to the community of photography than you probably know. Blogs like this one are kind of priceless. I hope you don’t stop doing them anytime soon.


  5. Richard Wintle

    And another thank you and best wishes for the holidays from over here. I’m glad you showed us a couple of “almost top ten” images and thanks for the video narrative as well as the (pure gold) written piece. It makes a very interesting counterpoint to Sara’s discussion of her thought process about how she would have approached the contest.

    Thanks also for opening up the group for December – I’m curious to see what the assorted DEDPXLers (DEDpeeps? er… did we ever come up with a good name?) choose to submit.


  6. Michael Rapp

    Allow me pleas to chime in in the chorous of “thank you!”
    So thank you Zack, for bringing this contest to life and dedicating so much of your time and energy to the Dedpxl.community.
    Thank you Meg, for being you, and also for bringing exactly that to the table. No more, sure, but by absolutely no means an ounce less!
    The rest of the Arias gang gets a shout out too, for giving your parents the leeway to spend so much time with us instead of you (I realize that for a teenager the situation would receive greater appreciation the other way round).
    Although my image didn’t win I had so much fun making it and learned a lot from this beehive of information.
    Again, thank you, and don’t listen to the nay sayers!


  7. James

    Zack, if you haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink”, you should check it out. He describes what he calls “thin-slicing”. That’s exactly what is going on with those split-second judgments.

  8. John Grubb

    I have always followed your rule number 1. I shoot for me. That is why I don’t get anywhere with contests. I can go through my pictures over and over on Flickr and enjoy them just as much as when I first put them up. I guess my tastes are not inline with the mainstream. That being said, I still enjoy looking through other photographers work. I enjoy it a lot. But I won’t try to copy them.
    Another reason I don’t get far in some contests is because they are open to votes and have that ‘get your friends to vote’ button. As far as I’m concerned, these are not contests for photography, just who has the biggest facebook/twitter/etc. crowd following. I didn’t try out for your last contest as I’m more of a capture the moment or place kind of photographer and I’ve never really been much for setting up a photo base on a certain criteria. I tried it once for a band and their promo package but it’s not really my thing.
    I am lucky. I don’t have to produce photography to support myself which allows me to be totally free with my imagery. Maybe someday I will grow into that type of work but for now, I will enjoy what I shoot and not worry about satisfying a client or contest judge. 🙂

  9. Angie

    Thank you Zack and Meg for this post. The ending bits of the video really make me laugh and I haven’t laugh in days. Thank you for making my day.

    • vincent


      • Teige

        Slam dunkin like Shaquille O’Neal, if he wrote inimaortfve articles.

  10. David

    I was watching the judging process glued to the screen and found it extremely interesting. I don’t really get why people would find the judging to be unfair, the critique too short or whatever. There was a ton of great images there and a lot of not so great images as well. As for looking for subtleties, I think that if you have to look for a subtlety for the image to work that means it already doesn’t work. So I don’t know why somebody would spend hours to look for it if there are other images where it’s not necessary, which means those are already winning.
    But, critiques are great, it’s always highly educational to watch them. It teaches me something when it comes to selecting my own images after doing a shoot. Thanks for the great content you create and hope to see more of it.

  11. Jim Shaw

    “I” think both of you should be proud of what you have achieved . I can only imagine how many hours you have spent doing this or the time you could have spent discussing all the images you see. I have found your input enlightening and have learned much. Thanks to you both and Merry Christmas. Jim

  12. Ian

    Zack and Meg,

    Thank you for taking the time to give your final thoughts on the contest. I was happy with my image, after it didn’t win, I am still happy with it (boy in the window, mom crying on the stairs). I have even entered it into a few year end contests around the interwebs to see if it holds up outside of the “The World Has Changed” theme. I look forward to future assignments as the two I have participated in (this and the egg) were great learning experiences.


  13. Outis

    I found your blog too late to enter the contest, but if y’all host another one, I’ll be sure to enter. You know why? I don’t think I’d win, and I don’t even care about winning, but your critique would be like gold to me. I learned so much from watching the YouTube video.

  14. Ellen Ingram

    Dear Zack and Meg,

    I echo everyone’s thanks for all that you are doing for the photography community. I don’t know of any other venue, or photographer, who has devoted this much time and energy to the photography community. The value you add is immeasurable.

    Here are my thoughts about photo contests and the images I see that both win and don’t win. Until your post, I was really clueless as to how it all went down. I’ve entered a few contests (mostly multiple entries) and have had a few chosen, but I always walk away confused. I don’t know why my image was chosen and not others, especially since I thought there were some really awesome images (I guess it’s all relative). For me, the missing component has always been the lack of any type of feedback. I totally understand that no judge is ever obliged to provide feedback, because it would open up a huge can of unmanageable worms. After every show I attend, I always walk away asking why. Why did this one win and not the other one? What do the judges see that I don’t see? And the mega downer, will I ever be good enough? So here are some thoughts about feedback and why I truly appreciate all that you do.

    I became serious about photography after I retired 3 years ago and my goal, my hope and my desire is to push myself as far as I can go before the big Ctrl>Alt>Delete comes knocking at my back door. Time is not my friend. To that end, I was pleasantly surprised to find the DEDPXL Flickr group. Your comments, suggestions and feedback have knocked me upside the head and made me wrestle with issues and topics I would never have considered.

    I’ve been on the hunt for a venue where the feedback is real and the intent is to help each other become better photographers. I’ve participated in a number of critiques but the feedback always seems to drift back to a discussion about technique; the conversation remains safe so no one’s feelings are hurt.

    Personally, I know that if I don’t challenge myself, I will never grow, so here’s the problem. I am biased and I am my own worst critic. On one shoulder sit the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” triplets reminding me of all the things I did wrong. On the other shoulder sits my rat-faced demon who scratches at my self-esteem and continually whispers in my ear that my images suck. Most of the time I trudge through the quicksand of negativity getting sucked deeper and deeper into the mire of self-criticism and self-deprecation. I need an outside and objective cold-eye.

    Thus is born my desire for feedback from a community of serious photographers. On one hand I love kudos and praise, but what I want from my peers is to rip my work apart, be brutally honest, react to it, love it, hate, but please, please don’t be indifferent. Indifference is the death knell of creativity – the garbage pit of originality. If I become complacent, I will never grow. If I don’t push myself, I will never know where the journey down the rabbit hole could have, or would have led. And then the triplets will have won.

    For me, this is why participating in outside venue is so important. The DEDPXL community has been the only place where I feel like I’ve received valid and constructive feedback. The voices within this community ring of authenticity; providing honest, constructive feedback and I have gladly left my ego at the door (even though it screams ouch).

    Zack, Meg and everyone who contributes to the DEDPXL community, please accept my sincere thanks.


  15. Ray

    Hey Zack & Meg
    Good job. Really good job. I didn’t even enter but I appreciate your hard work, thoroughness and dedication. I also like it that you care enough to explain yourselves to those who don’t understand your decision or feel wounded because they didn’t win.
    That also annoys me too. YouTube is a tough audience but it annoys me that you feel you need to explain anything.
    It’s your contest, your rules, your decision. And by all accounts you agonised over that decision. It doesn’t matter if anyone disagrees. They are free to scare up some sponsorship and offer a kick-ass prize for their contest. They can make the rules and pick a winner.
    I loved Craig’s winning image. Congratulations Craig. Well deserved. I loved other ones too.
    Instead of wasting too many brain cycles explaining yourselves I would much rather see you recognise the wonderful job you have done, the inspiration you exude, and the contribution you are making to reduce the number of sucky images in the world.
    Enjoy your holiday break. You deserve it.
    Warmest regards and best wishes for the festive season.

    • Richard Wintle

      +1 to everything Ray said (sorry, lazy commenting, but sincere).

      One side effect of DEDPXL07 that I didn’t like so much was the shut down of communication on Flickr… of course we were all holding our cards close as you’d suggested, and there was no opportunity to post and discuss and refine images. I missed that aspect, which is I think the best thing about the DEDPXL Flickr community. In previous assignments there’s been a lot of great discussion, and many examples where people have responded to comments from the community, gone back to re-shoot, and come up with a better image. I get that the contest can’t be like that (well, it could, but it would kind of be against the whole competitive idea), but that whole month felt less like a community than previously. Ah well.

      On the other hand, the contest was a heck of a ride and a great way to cap off 2014, so thanks for that.

      Richard – proud to be among those who tried.

  16. Daf

    I very much appreciate many of the posts in this series both the critique and the competition. It’s sometimes hard to think what goes through a judge (or client’s) head by removing oneself from a photo. It would be great if more competition judges gave a mini critique.

    There’s a Big Portrait competition, largely in the UK, which is featured in the National Portrait Gallery called the Taylor Wessing Photographic portrait prize. Sometimes I think almost anybody could win it and am bemused by the choices – would love an insight into the judges views there. Being the technical sorts I’m curious to analyse it. (Would be interested to know what you think of them actually)
    So thanks for the input/overview.

    Watching the above video – I think it’s great to have Meg in the process – a different yet still artistic opinion/viewpoint.

  17. JL Williams

    This post was a wonderful reminder for me of why I hate contests and should never enter them. I don’t WANT to make photos that work as a thumbnail. I don’t WANT to make photos that can be digested in seconds. I realize we can’t get away with this in photography, but I admire the approach of painter Ad Reinhardt, who painted in nearly identical shades of black to force the viewer to wait for his/her eyes to adjust.

  18. Ved

    haha I’m loving you guys more and more. Loved that last 30 secs of the video. What idiot would say Meg isn’t relevant? Look at the points she’s making against Zack’s thoughts, you can’t deny the points she’s making and most importantly she’s bringing a non-photographer, a viewer, an art lover point of view which can be refreshing because sometimes if it’s just photographers in the room they can over-think and complicate some of the stuff than it probably really is. Love you Meg!

  19. Tyler Schmeling

    WOW! First congratulations to Craig for winning. Second, a big thank you to Meg for her time invested in this endeavor. Her comments are appreciated. Even though I don’t always understand them, the sincerity of them is hard to look past and photographers need to understand that Meg’s comments are indicative of what an art director may say. Zack, thank you for creating this forum where us dreamers can find purpose again. Caleb, you are not mentioned often here, but you are such an important part of this process. I thank you. If not for your amazing videography and first class editing skills, as an audience, we may have some pretty shoddy video to stomach. One suggestion, more outtakes, love those. Merry Christmas to the entire Arias and DEDPXL family. You have given me a gift with the honorable mention today. The image of the young kid with a gun at school was my concept from the start. The 3 year old in the image did an amazing job of holding still, (not an easy concept I’m sure you can appreciate). Great job to all of those in this contest and I am looking forward to next year.

  20. As the year ends, so does an era....

    Hi Zack, and thanks again for a really interesting, straight forward article.

    My take on photography contests, in the day of social media: It is a complete and utter rip-off. It is a way for publications to get free material, and loads of clicks. Really. I will give you an example:

    I entered a photo competition that ran over a year, for a very high-end travel mag with a name that sounds almost like International Neographics. I was picked “Editors pick” and featured on their website for a while, together with thousands of other entries. An absolutely massive part of the Int Neo website was dedicated to the photos and stories from these competitions. A few weeks later, I had another one selected, and featured on the website. Next to my shots were other shots that were good some that were crap, and some that were amazing. Most were not very interesting at all.

    And herein lies my point: the Int Neo guy sits on his ass, judges peoples photos at a rate of thousands per day, picks a few, goes home. It keeps the website running, and they dont pay a dime for the material. THAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CHEAPEN PHOTOGRAPHY! And nobody noticed me, nobody knows my name any more than they did before I entered the “competition” and nobody even congratulated me on being selected. Because you do not get notice in the avalanche of crap, no matter how good you are. Tell me one photographers name you learned from looking at competition entries? Exactly.

    Take a look at Ragnar Axelssons stuff: http://www.photobards.com/interview/ragnar-axelsson-10.html

    Does he shoot to get mentioned by Int Neo? No.He shoots to tell a story.
    We should all do that, and stop feeding clickgenerators.


  21. Brian O'Carroll

    These are my opinions – I’ve got bullet points:
    – You, Zack, are the only person out there who cuts all the crap – that challenges me and I keep coming back for it.
    – Meg you ROCK because… everything. You bring hope, insight, challenge, instinct and love to the discussions. IMHO ‘non-photographer’ is not the point… you’re an artist, you respond to the images as you and you’re not afraid. I’m listening.
    – The assignments that I entered improved my photography loads, mainly because of the critique discussions – I had tried to do the same thing as everyone else for that assignment then listened to all that feedback on just that topic with all those examples.
    – In this contest the judging was open and informative, the process was important, the entrants were valued and entering required meaningful work. It was great.
    – You do a range of things on DEDPXL and a contest of some kind is a good part of that mix. They don’t have to be regular or have big prizes… but you have to want to run them… I think you should do ’em when you want to and under no other circumstances.


    • Zack

      Thanks Brian!


  22. Rebecca Behrent

    The firefighter image is awesome, EXCEPT for the unsightly white mailbox in the foreground. And as I look more closely, the firehouse runs right into the front of it, as though the water is coming from the mailbox! And it’s right in the corner! My eye keeps going to it – over and over again! It’s SO distracting it completely ruins the image for me, as awesome as the rest of it is.