Learning to Judge – Photo Competitions
Being a photographer with many years experience means that I am able to do a few extra things in my field beside taking photographs. Having done speaking engagements and workshops for a good few years, I decided to branch out into judging, as over the years I have tried nearly every style of photography (to see what I liked doing) and have learnt the techniques involved. At present, I have certainly chosen a few genres that I really love doing but I do have a broad appreciation for all styles (including some I would love to do but really don’t have the skill or time to do them) but this does mean that I can give feedback on other people’s images.
So last year, after being asked if I would judge a local club competition, I was invited to attend a judging course at the MCPF (Midlands Counties Photography Federation). Now, I’ve listened to judges for years and luckily I have taken notes (mental) about how they approach each picture and subject, and whilst not everyone agrees with what a judge says they generally do have some valid points, even if they are a bit extreme sometimes. This process, of listening to judges, has also helped me develop my career in photography as it allows me to critically examine my own pictures and then ignore those rules if I so desire (every rule is meant to be broken – unless it’s the law of the land – then you’re on your own).
Learning is a must and this day was no exception, from being able to ask etiquette questions (you can be too harsh as a judge you know), to meeting new people within your own field. One of the things the MCPF try to do is create consistency and a level of quality from all judges, from club to club. By attending and completing the workshop you can then be added to the approved list of judges, with which I am now affiliated.
This skill that we attain over the years should be shared to help others and this is just one of the small ways that I give back to the industry which has served me so well.