These Hints and Tips are collected from the constructive and helpful comments made by the external Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union (LCPU) Judge on viewing our internal WDCC Photo Competition entries and are provided not as a comprehensive list of what to do and not do but as a guide for new Club members wanting to start putting in their own photos for Competitions.
Presentation of images is a skill which presents your images in a good light and protects your prints / enlargements from damage.
Example 1 - A 'double mount'
Any prints entered in a club competition must be mounted (but not framed!) using card of some kind. Mount board is a good choice and can be purchased from art shops. Ivory (off white) or black are good choices as most prints will not compete with either of these colours. The simplest mount is simply a piece of card slightly larger than your print that the print can be mounted on. Make it at least 1 inch larger on all sides and attach the print using spray mount or a little contact adhesive. To cut the card use a mount cutter or a steel ruler and a sharp Stanley knife. For example with a photo not for Club Competitions, a 7x5 inch print could be mounted on a 10x8 inch piece of mount card. However, if entering Club Competitions, the Mount must be the correct size - See the 'Competitions' page for details.
A window mount is a piece of card with a rectangular window cut out for placing the print behind. Where two window mounts are combined this is termed a 'double mount'. Example 1 shows a corner from a double mount of Ivory and Ivory card.
Example 2 - A double mount using contrasting colours
Here a blue toned print has been paired up with a double mount with an inner colour of electric blue. This brings out the colour in the image.
Note that larger prints generally do better in competitions.
Example 3 - Multiple images on one mount
This example has a card mount way beyond the L&CPU sizes, so would be too large for these competitions. Limits are imposed for these competitions as all prints need to be transported around member clubs in a box of a set size. LCPU mount sizes are fixed at 500mm x 400mm (very slightly smaller than 16"x12")
There is no reason why you couldn't make a collection of several prints and if sufficiently unique and interesting to a judge, could do well. Example 3 is a collection of still-life images from a bathroom. Be aware that collections of prints on a theme like this may well be judged on the 'weakest image' in the set, it just depends on the judge.
WDCC allows home printed and digital images to be entered into club competitions. These can be commercially printed (if a digital lab is used, prints and enlargements will be on normal photographic paper, giving a life of 15+ years) or printed on photo quality paper at home (generally with a more limited life).
It should not be forgotten that prints for which you no longer can find the negatives can also be scanned and printed, providing you are the author of the original image.
The use of a card mount when using frames can also improve presentation of images. For example a 7x5 inch print could be dropped straight into a 7"x5" frame. However a ready made card mount (available from photo processing outlets like Max Spielman and others fairly cheaply) can enable a 10" x 8" inch frame to hold a 7x5 print with a little more style. Ready made mounts can be purchased in a variety of colours.
Version dated May 2017
We will look to create our own video explaining how to create jpgs for submission to club competitions from various different pieces of software, but in the meantime the below video is a good starting point. Just remember to substitute 1024 for each instance of 1400, and 768 for each instance of 1050.
We usually hold four competitions each year and all paid up members are welcome to take part. Everyone goes into a single competition; we do not have elitist categories for beginner, intermediate, advanced etc.
Most competitions are on a theme, for example 'Blue', 'Dusk til Dawn' etc. Where a competition is 'Open', any image can be submitted. Generally the first competition for each club year is an Open category (to get the creative juices flowing!)
All our Competitions are for Printed (and mounted) and/or Digital Images which are projected onto a large screen (also known as PDI - Projected Digital Images). Our competition secretary or any of the committee can help if you have any queries about or would like to take part in our competitions.
The top 5 entries are scored, usually by an outside judge, who can provide positive feedback on each entry. Competition nights are very interesting for all members as the feedback usually includes hints and tips that everyone can benefit from (see below).
For this Club year the dates and subjects of the Club Photo Competitions are as follows (remember entries have to be submitted a fortnight before the actual competition):
Open - Completely free topic choice
Number - Your subject, main focal point, or key composition element should be a number (i.e. a numeral / digit - the numeral 3 would meet the criteria, but 3 sheep would not)
Glass - Your images should have something made of glass as the focal point, subject, or key element.
Autumn - Your images should invoke a sense of the season autumn.
Points are awarded for the top 5 placed images in each discipline, and for those commended by the judge. The scores for each club member from all the competitions during the year are totalled and the club member with the highest cumulative score is awarded the 'Photographer of the Year' Trophy at the AGM.
Check out the previous Warrington District Camera Club Annual 'Photographer of the Year' winners
For our Studio Nights, don't forget to bring along your camera as we will have something or someone interesting to photograph. No need for a Tripod either as the club has a number of flash heads, backgrounds, reflectors, and a radio flash trigger for use by Club Members at these evenings. The photo on the right shows our kit in action at one of our Studio nights.
Here are some sample photos from a few of our Studio Nights.
Emily by Lawry Simm
Charlie by Andy Gilbert
Charlie by Mike Lyne
Katie Anna by Mike Lyne
We host a number of studio nights throughout the year and we are always looking for interesting subjects.
In the past we have had a number of people join us on a studio or outdoor night in order to model for our members.
These have included:
Subjects can be of all ages and we have welcomed people aged 16 up to over 80, males or females.
WDCC make no charges for being a subject at our studio sessions and in fact pay your (reasonable) expenses and might be able to provide images and prints after the session taken by our members as a 'thank you'. If the session takes place in our studio it generally starts at about 6:45pm and lasts until about 9.30pm with a break in the middle. We meet on alternate Mondays throughout the year.
Alternatively, if requested, the Club can also arrange use of the studio at weekends or out on location by prior arrangement.
If you would like to find out more, please contact us through the "Contact Us" link on the "About Us" menu above.
Use the menu above to access our various galleries. We have a number of embedded Flickr feeds from various members, our own WDCC Flickr Photostream, Photographer Of The Year Galleries, and a selection of external galleries found under the "Other Galleries" Menu.
We are a small club of keen photographers, based in Warrington, Cheshire UK, who all want to improve our skills behind the Camera Lens. Modern digital cameras are portrayed in glossy adverts and shops as cheap, simple, easy to operate (just 'point and shoot') showing wonderful vibrant pictures that have pin sharp focusing and lovely composition. We enjoy those sorts of pictures and want to be more able, and skilled enough, to get close to that standard.
For some people, the reality of a new camera is nothing like those glossy adverts, the digital camera just becomes the means for taking a lot more poor pictures quicker and cheaper! If you want more than poor pictures from your camera, then we can help point you in the right direction. If you find you want to learn more, then please come back and join us!
We are not 'Camera Snobs' who insist you should have the latest and more expensive cameras. It's the brain and the eye behind the camera that can make the biggest difference. Understand your camera, know how it works, it's limitations, and how to compose photographs, and the results will be extremely pleasing. For that reason, we run a varied program throughout the year that includes lectures, practical sessions, social nights, competitions and many other activities.
Don't be put off by the thought of 'competitions', it's not mandatory to enter them! However, you can learn a lot from the photos submitted, hear the judges (constructive) comments, and learn from those for your own benefit. So, sit back and just look at the submitted pictures and after a while, you start to think "I understand what they are saying and I could take a photo like that". You've really got the bug then!
So, please browse around the web site and feel free to contact us using the "Contact Us" page from the "About Us" Menu on the top and we hope to hear from you soon.