Competitive photography – the analysis of a photo

Competitive photography, as any other kind of photography, is way to permanently record a single picture, using different methods and light. Recently, photo contests have gained a great attention among the community of photographers. No doubt that it’s a positive phenomenon because rivalry extends the scope of photographers’ activity, motivating them to develop their skills.

How to analyze a picture in respect of photo contests?

Upon the selection of available material, one should carry out an extensive analysis of taken photos in order to isolate the best ones according to, needless to say, jury’s subjective sense. When it comes to competitive photography, the subjective interpretation of the elements presented in the picture plays the most vital role.

When selecting or estimating the photos meant for the contest, the amount of material, which is to be analyzed, should be great enough, so you could easily choose the best works of art. However, you must remember that too many photos applied for the process of selection can make jury brush off those, which could have potentially won the contest. It does not happen because of incompetency or unreliability of the jury, but for objective reasons. In cases, where a significant number of photos has been applied for the contest, there’s a high risk of omitting some takes and unfortunately, most of the times it’s unavoidable. Lots of material make it hard to choose the best works of art.

It does happen that not the “best” picture wins, but the one, which has the “clout”. Such clout could be found in pictures, which carry great emotional value aimed at the viewer.

Understanding the message implicit in a photo is the key to analysis

It’s worth mentioning, that during the analysis of a picture, which in other words means photography, the sense of sight becomes the most important factor. It’s responsible for our very own perception of reality, including the reality presented in the picture. In order to fairly interpret a photographical record, one need to respect certain issues – things we see in the picture and how do we know it. First, start starring profoundly at the picture to feel its essence. A good idea – when there are several photos to look at – would be to place them in a spatial or tidal order. The purpose of visual interpretation of given material is to translate certain elements of the picture to the language of spoken, written or in other words, verbal communication. However, oftentimes it’s impossible to precisely convey what the picture presents visually because its richness and the possibilities of interpretation cannot be verbally expressed, or at least not fully. Understanding what is shown in the picture and what the author wanted to tell us is the key.

The sense of esthetics within the interpretation of a photo

The sense of esthetics is another vital element during the interpretation of a photo. However, one should balance it with the content of a picture. In the lump, when you’re governed only by the esthetics, you exclusively choose takes, which have the best esthetical outlook. Many substantively great but less esthetical photos could get omitted or underrated.

The model of photographical analysis

The basic model of the analysis has been presented by American anthropologists – the Collyer’s, who divided it into 4 stages:

  1. At the first stage, one has to see the presented data as a whole, profoundly looking for the patterns of similarities, analogy and diversity, closely describing own feelings and emotions, as well as, questions arisen from the data, which could be helpful within the next and more advanced stages of analysis.
  2. At the second stage one has to draw up the description of the whole material to become fully familiar with its general content.
  3. The third stage is called the structured analysis. Now we take a closer look at the material, bearing in mind the questions concerning the picture, which is being analyzed. Here, we compare the movements in the picture, estimate the distance, note all the relevant data, such as the number of people and items. The data could be plot out in a form of diagrams or charts, moreover, it could be used to make a detailed description for the other photos to compare with.
  4. At the fourth stage we carry out the deep-dyed analysis of the whole research material. Now it’s possible to locate every detail in fuller context, which determines the symbolism of the patterns made by those details. Place the photo in front of you and write down your conclusions – formulated under influence of the complete context.

Return to page: Online photographic guide

THE BEST PHOTO CONTESTS TO ENTER IN 2020. We have prepared this guide to the best photo contests in 2020 based on many years of experience with running a platform providing best photo contest news in the world.