Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Using photography contest judging criteria to help photographers self-assess

Paris, Eiffel TowerMany photographers struggle to create an insightful set of principles to self-assess their work. Getting a critique from trusted photographers is an excellent idea, but without regular in-depth, honest image critiques of their own work, photographers will have a tough time improving and growing.

I offer for consideration, using the criteria photography contest judges use to assess images, as the basis for photographers to develop their own workable, rational approach to self-assessment.

When I began to ask colleagues for assistance, by having them critically assess my work, I found that they typically zeroed into the technical aspects of my images. While there is little doubt the quality of focus, bokeh, color, exposure, lighting, composition, etc. are important, I knew that there were other issues that should be included in any image critique. Over the years I developed my own assessment checklist.

Interestingly to me, many years later, when I began to be invited to be on photography contest juries, I found that my list and the contests' guidelines for judging entries were essentially the same. Therefore, for photographers serious about improving their craft today, rather than struggle to create their own checklist, I suggest using the criteria developed by photographers to judge work in photo contests across the globe.