How to Participate in a Photo Contest

You are an aspiring photographer and you want to receive recognition for your photographs. What do you do? Enter a photo contest! It is simple and easy and here is how you do it:

1. Do Some Research.
There are many, many types of photo contests on the internet nowadays so it can be a bit challenging to find the right one for you. The most important thing to do is to find your focus. Do you like taking photographs of landscapes? Enter a Nature photo contest. If you like taking portraits, then perhaps a Family photo contest is the contest for you. Some contests are not as straightforward and have a more complicated theme. For example, they can ask you to take images of events that tell a story about a current issue. Those types of contests require more conceptual thought, but it is a great opportunity for the photographer to think outside the box and really be creative with the topic.

2. Know the Costs.
Most contests have an entry fee that charges for each photo you submit, so be sure to check the cost of entry. Usually, the higher amount the entry fee is, the more significant the prizes will be. Of course, there are also many contests that do not have an entry fee.

3. Know your Competition and Rewards.
Most photo contests offer cash prizes, but there are many other prizes offered such as publication in a photography magazine, or product vouchers. It is good to be aware of how much the cash prize is because it gives you a sense of the level of competition. A photo contest with a cash prize of $10,000 is most likely geared towards professionals whereas a prize of $100 can be for anyone. It is up to you to judge what level you think you are at. A good way to get an idea of what you are competing with is to look at past winners and observe their pictures.

4. Be Confident.
It might seem obvious, but it is true! Choosing which photo to submit is the hardest step. Get opinions from friends and family to help you make the decision on which one you ultimately want to present, but also follow your own instincts. If there is one picture that catches your eye the most, it most likely has the same effect on others. Once you submit, it is all up to the judges from there. It is very suspenseful waiting for the announcement of the winners, but once you find out that you have placed in the competition, it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.

Awesome Nature-Landscape Photography – Getting the Correct Exposure is Essential

Getting the right exposure is essential to any quality nature photo.

Exposure is the amount of light that is let into the camera which contributes to the photograph that is recorded. A good exposure has the correct amount of light to produce a balanced shot.

Light is the key word here. Allowing the correct amount of light in can be tricky, but luckily our cameras have automatic features that measure it. Some cameras allow a manual feature which means we can manipulate the amount of light that reaches the camera. If we allow too much, the photograph becomes overexposed, meaning the image is too light and washed out. Details become hard to see in an overexposed picture.

To the same effect if we let too little light in, the photograph is underexposed. This means that the picture is darker than it should be. This makes the photograph look shadowy and gloomy, but underexposing is still better than overexposing. Why? Because the picture can be lightened later and the detail will still be there, whereas in an overexposed picture, details cannot be rescued as they were never captured in the first place.

Your camera will have a function to adjust the brightness. This is symbolized by the + or – symbol, normally allowing you to adjust the light by 3 stops either way. You need to do this before you take the image. So for example, you could take a photograph of a tree, and decide it is far too bright because of the sun. So you need to change the exposure to -1, then take the shot again and see if it has helped. If it is still too bright you could reduce it to -2 and see if the shot is satisfactory.

This is sometimes called bracketing. When you take the same shot but at different exposures from -2 to -1 to 1 to +1 to +2, this is bracketing. It gives you the option to choose the best photograph of the bunch.


Metering is the way that your camera decides on the correct exposure. The meter in your camera measures the amount of light in the area where you are taking the photograph. Ideally, the camera will pick up on a mid toned area that is neither too dark nor too light, so that the light is balanced. When you buy a SLR camera you will be given a few options on how to meter your images.

There is ‘centre weighted’ or ‘average metering’. This means that the camera will take an average of the light in the scene. Most cameras focus on the centre of the photograph, whereas some take into consideration the edges. Since the focus of a picture is generally in the centre of a frame, this produces a good overall result.

Multi Zone metering is also known as ‘Matrix metering’. This method calculates various zones in the scene to come up with the best exposure normally from several spots. Different branded cameras will differ in results.

Then there is ‘Spot metering’. With this method only a small area of the viewfinder is measured, typically a ‘spot’. For the best results, you should move the spot to a mid toned area so you get an even amount of light.

The advantage of spot metering is that it is very accurate and you can control it tightly. It is good for difficult scenarios, for example, when we have a bright beam of light, then very dark areas. Too greater contrast between dark and light confuses the camera. Average metering would presume that the whole scene was bright and meter incorrectly. With spot metering, we can choose a grey area so that the camera will not overestimate the light and compensate accordingly.

A good way to become familiar with spot metering is by choosing the function and pointing it at different areas of the same scene and taking the photographs. Then compare how choosing the different areas affects the finished picture.

Most professionals will choose spot metering for landscape photography as it gives greater control.

Where speed is important, Matrix metering is useful as there is less guess work involved.


Flash is commonly used with point and shoot cameras but is used with caution in landscape and wildlife photography.

Flash is normally attached to the camera body. When the camera detects low light, the flash pops up automatically, although you can manually adjust the settings so that it will remain down.

If you require more power, you can buy a separate flash head. This is common in press and fashion photography, where they spend a lot of time working at night or indoors and they need to be able to capture evenly lit images when there is plenty of action going on without any risk of blurring or poor lighting.

Flash is useful in a night time situation. If there is no other light source then you will have to use flash although you can use creative techniques like delayed flash to capture some movement and trails of light.

Overall though, the effect with flash can be harsh. It is also unsuitable for reflective surfaces like mirrors, as it will shine the bright light back into the camera. For landscape photography you need to know how to turn the flash off, especially if you are using a slow shutter speed for the specific blurring as the camera will automatically want to use flash.

Flash is useful in extremely dark situations as a fill-in light. This is called flash fill, and is used when you have a bright sun behind the subject and all that is left is the silhouette of the object. Using flash will put the detail back into the image.

The Secret to Great Floral Photos – Try a Nature Conservatory

If you are looking to capture some striking floral photographs, look no further than your local conservatory. Most large metropolitan locales can boast of an indoor conservatory, and even rural areas offer numerous hothouses or greenhouses. In the following article, you will learn why an indoor conservatory offers significant advantages over shooting floral images in an outdoor park or garden.

Great images start with great subjects

In the first place, the typical conservatory is filled with exotic, colorful flowers, many of which you will not find in the average garden. Tropical plants usually exhibit bold, intense colors, which can elevate a simple snap-shot into an eye-catching image. At the same time, flora from foreign lands is often formed in strange and wonderful shapes. So a good conservatory will offer up an almost unlimited array of vivid subjects.

Conservatories offer studio grade lighting

The next advantage is lighting. Oddly enough, most plants grow best in the same conditions that produce excellent photographs. Not every green house offers wonderful lighting, but the illumination in the majority of these glass palaces is terrific for photography. Often, you can get away without adding any artificial lighting. There is so much glass and open space that there is no need to fill-in the shadows with a flash. The abundance of shadow-free light can make anyone look like a professional photographer.

The flowers are arranged to look fantastic

If the conservatory you are shooting at is aimed at attracting the general public, you can expect that the plants will be arranged to compliment each other against an attractive background. This makes it simple to compose an memorable image, since the horticulturists have already laid out everything to look good. All you have to do is find an interesting viewpoint, and you can walk away with some seriously lovely photographs.

No need to worry about the wind

Finally, because you will be shooting indoors, there is no breeze to disturb the leaves and petals. I love capturing outdoor nature photos. But when you are trying to produce razor sharp close-ups, any kind of breeze becomes a frustration. You arrange the focus just right, then a cats-paw of wind comes up and shifts your subject.

Inside a conservatory, there are no sudden gusts, so the flowers remain stationary while you set up your shot. You can take all the time you want to compose your image, confident that the focus and subject will not suddenly shift.

Now that you know all the benefits a conservatory can offer, grab your camera, a study tripod and all your memory cards. Head for the nearest conservatory. I guarantee you will be happy with the results.`

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