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06/17/2009 09:32:34 AM · #1
I'm doing a little research and I'm wondering about the traits that the DPC community looks for in a winning photograph?

What type of photos do you see winning? Do you see any traits that seem to hold more weight than others (composition, technical, subject)?

Any insight would be appreciated!

Thanks!

06/17/2009 09:45:17 AM · #2
Don't judge all of photography by what flies here. What wins here is based on mass appeal. Sharp subjects, strong colors and contrast, lots of wow-factor. It has to be a simple composition with instant visual impact. Some subjects and treatments seem to pop up again and again because lots of people are impressed by it, and many people think they are ok enough to not kill it with low votes.

Stuff that has a more limited audience:
Street photography
Abstract
Humor
Blur
Anything that you have to think about and examine closely in order to appreciate it.

Message edited by author 2009-06-17 09:46:35.
06/17/2009 09:50:17 AM · #3
Yo -

Thanks, that's exactly the type of info I'm looking for. I've noticed that allot of small details are often overlooked in large competitions. The image needs to pop as a 100x100px thumbnail.
06/17/2009 09:54:51 AM · #4
Humour does very well here actually, if done right.

Just a few Blue Ribbon winners for example:

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06/17/2009 09:58:46 AM · #5
Originally posted by ifranz:

I've noticed that allot of small details are often overlooked in large competitions.

Exactly. It is difficult to please everyone, which is why I consider anything over a 5.5 as doing very well here. My own single ribbon winner is a 100% DPC cliche shot. It's good and I am proud of it, but I have done many others that I think are far better and more creative. However, there was something about those other entries that some voters disliked. This place proves you cannot please everyone. One has to learn how to interpret the votes and comments to determine if your entry really was lacking, or if you just entered something that has a narrow audience.
06/22/2009 07:10:11 AM · #6
For me, what doesn't rate highly are the images that don't seem to 'answer' the Challenge. If the entry is so obscure that only the title ties it in.... No matter how gorgeous or perfect the shot is, it loses points with me is I don't "get it". I prefer images that aren't so far out-of-the-box that at least I know that the photographer seems to have understood the challenge.

Second on my Low-Score-List is the tilted subject, as though by shooting a building or person at an acute angle will somehow make the image more creative. Having said that, there are times when doing so produces a truly dynamic result, but it has to be done just-so!

Lastly, even if the subject perfectly meets the Challenge, it gets low points for poor photographic technique. Over-Saturation, blown-out or too dark areas, unidentifiable bits and pieces of elements along the outside edges (very distracting, which should have been cropped out) will cause me to award lower points.

Message edited by author 2009-06-22 07:12:03.
06/22/2009 08:52:07 AM · #7

I vote almost entirely on my emotional response to an image.

Does it take my breath away? This can be because of technique, subject, presentation or unusual point of view.
Is it intriguing enough to make me want to spend time looking at it?
Does it make me smile?
Does it tell me a story?

For me, I think that emotion has more "weight" in the voting process:
Does it evoke an emotional response that makes me "connect" with it?

I rarely scrutinize for "photographic technique". Blown-out areas, dark areas, slight softness or even blurring all have their place in the right photograph, so I never discount these things.

I agree that, by and large, the dpc voting community looks for sharp, crisp, bright, strong contrast, strong colors and WOW. I have always found it disheartening that people don't really take the time to appreciate anything that doesn't fall into the "dpc trap".

Are there crappy photos at dpc - sure; there's crappy photos in my own portfolio! But a lot of the dpc voting public cavalierly relegates everything that isn't "eye-popping" to the crap category, and often, in the process, they miss some amazing stuff.
06/22/2009 09:02:21 AM · #8
Originally posted by LindaLee:

But a lot of the dpc voting public cavalierly relegates everything that isn't "eye-popping" to the crap category, and often, in the process, they miss some amazing stuff.

That's the nature of mass appeal. Sometimes it is not a matter of getting high votes, but in avoiding the low ones. Which is why it is important to interpret the votes and comments and not just look at the overall score.
06/22/2009 09:05:30 AM · #9
Originally posted by LindaLee:



I agree that, by and large, the dpc voting community looks for sharp, crisp, bright, strong contrast, strong colors and WOW. I have always found it disheartening that people don't really take the time to appreciate anything that doesn't fall into the "dpc trap".



Actually I've found this isn't true. While the large majority of the voters don't take time to look, a lot of people around here do, and those are the ones who make it worth sticking around.

You have to take your scores with a pinch of salt, but the comments, especially in the side challenges, are invaluable! I know there are bunch of folk here who take loads of time over the images, and I've received some great feedback as a result.

Message edited by author 2009-06-22 09:08:36.
06/22/2009 10:54:07 AM · #10
When I'm voting, my assessment is based purely on the impact the photo. Yes this is personal and subjective, but I believe it is how viewers see our art and it is the only perspective that is useful for a photographer they is trying to understand the impact of their work.

Analysis is useful, after the fact, to help understand why something works or doesn't, but I don't think the success of an image is based on a weighted matrix of artist characteristics.
06/22/2009 10:59:34 AM · #11
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Don't judge all of photography by what flies here. What wins here is based on mass appeal. Sharp subjects, strong colors and contrast, lots of wow-factor. It has to be a simple composition with instant visual impact. Some subjects and treatments seem to pop up again and again because lots of people are impressed by it, and many people think they are ok enough to not kill it with low votes.

Stuff that has a more limited audience:
Street photography
Abstract
Humor
Blur
Anything that you have to think about and examine closely in order to appreciate it.


I would also suggest that you don't shoot based on what you think will do good here. Find your own vision and share it. Some critiques will be way off the mark and some will be very useful. Don't take any advice as absolute, but do incorporate the ideas that work with your vision. Believe me when I say it feels a lot better to tank with an image you believe in than to tank with an image you didn't believe in but posted just because you thought if was good match for DPC.

Message edited by author 2009-06-22 12:14:39.
06/22/2009 12:04:33 PM · #12
Originally posted by ifranz:

...What type of photos do you see winning? Do you see any traits that seem to hold more weight than others (composition, technical, subject)?...


By popular appeal: postcards and candy, cliches, imitations, sentimentalities and, rarely, a photograph with salient qualities that does not demand any appreciative effort on part of the voter
Yes, images with obvious subjects, of familiar composition, form over content.
06/22/2009 12:21:38 PM · #13
I find that funny pics can do well, but they have to be done really well... a funny pic that is poorly done just won't cut it...
here's a funny one I did that did well:

.
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.

here's a pic with a good idea that did poorly... it's not the idea, it's more the quality of the end result... MANY people here are very technical and will chew you out for a poorly done photo from teh technical aspect...
.
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06/22/2009 03:34:54 PM · #14
I generally tend to vote if it provokes a positive reaction in me (this is my DPC side talking) - that is, its very pretty, it's inspiring, it makes me keep going back for another look, it makes me think "lucky b*strd, wish I had shot that", it inspires me to shoot something along the same lines..

Remember when voting most of us spend no more than 10 seconds looking at a shot, so any clever little tricks or hiddens gems inside the photo, or subtle references etc are usually missed on first viewing. DPC challenge photos are generally to photography what `pop music` is to music.. It has its place, and appeals to the masses, but lets not make it too clever as it will miss the target audience - you occasionally get a masterpiece slip through - but only occasionally. And like Pop music, you will find styles and subjects have popular times on here then fall out of favour for a while.

I guess its Pop Photography - and it certainly is one of my guilty pleasures.
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