Any interest in an SDMB photography competition?

I’m a hobbyist photographer, and one thing that keeps me interested is the challenge that comes with working to a brief. To that end, I wondered about the viability of an SDMB photography competition. The way I’d see it working would be:

  • Once per month, I’d create a new thread for the monthly competition. There’d be a theme set by the previous winner.
  • Anyone who wants to take part would post their pic on the thread.
  • After three weeks or so, the thread would close for entries, and voting would open for the rest of the month. Not sure how this would work yet - I guess either a poll in the thread or SurveyMonkey or something.
  • At the end of the voting period, a winner would be announced. Winning would come with precisely zero material gain, but the winner would get a) kudos and b) to choose the next theme.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • To avoid clutter and make it easier to manage the voting, the monthly threads would be strictly only for posting the images themselves. There’d be a rolling companion thread for discussion.

The goal would be for an inclusive vibe that welcomes anyone who wants to have a go - no fancy equipment needed, all skill levels, and a supportive atmosphere.

Obviously, this will only work if people participate, so the first thing is to work out if there are enough folks who might want to take part. If there are, we can use this thread to agree some minimal rules (the fewer rules the better, but we probably need to agree some basics).

Well, first I’d have to learn how to post pictures here. Most places just have a one click to post while this place has you post on another site and link to it. Alas, so much to remember.

Yeah, first world problem. :slight_smile:

I’m in.

Excellent. That’s three of us - podium places for all! (I’m counting @Si_Amigo’s reply as a tacit yes. :wink:)

Do entries have to be taken specifically for the contest, or can we use existing shots from our portfolios?

I’d give it a try.

Great question. Personally, I think that we should allow portfolio shots, but set a time limit on it - maybe photos taken in the last year would be eligible? I’m open to debate on that point, it’s one of the basic rules we’ll need to agree.

People like me are no longer actively taking photos, but I have an extensive portfolio going back years. Perhaps there could be the occasional portfolio shot competition?

Sounds fun. But, I would suggest the age of the photo shouldn’t matter as long as the poster took it.

Great idea, I am in.

I don’t think there should be any restrictions as to when the photo was taken, as long as it was taken by the entrant.

Also, I’m not so sure having themes is a good idea. Seems like that would limit the number of submissions too severely. I foresee some contests with just an entry or two.

But I’m willing to go with the majority.


Thanks everyone. I’m really pleased by the interest shown. :grinning: I’ll try to address the points so far.

I’m not wedded to an age limit for the pics (as long as the poster took it, of course).

I do strongly feel that we should have a theme each month, though. It gives a bit of structure, and I’m hoping part of the attraction of this will be the opportunity for people to go out and shoot to a brief. It certainly will be for me.

That said, the themes should be set loosely and in such a way that it doesn’t exclude people. For example, “New York” would be a bad theme, since it would exclude most of us, but “cities” would be more inclusive. “Insect close ups” would be a bad theme because it excludes people without macro kit, but “animals” would be more inclusive.

On that note, I really want this to be open to anyone with an interest, and that includes people whose only camera is a smartphone, so I’ll be pushing back on themes that require specialist kit. That’s not to say, of course, that we can’t use fancy lenses and the like, but they shouldn’t be required.

It’s late here… tomorrow I’ll have a stab at drafting some basic rules, and we can go from there.

I’d be interested in doing this, and agree that a basic, but not too narrow theme is important to organize something that would happen monthly.

One thing I’d like to have included is rules on how much post-processing is allowed. With Photoshop abounding these days, I’d at the very least like to have disclosure on how much of it has been applied to an image.

Sure, I’d happy to try it.

It depends what the goal is. If it’s just to showcase photos that people have taken, then sure. But if it’s a participation event to motivate people to go out and take pictures, then obviously not.

Personally, I think it would be more fun to require that the photo be taken during the contest. But I can go either way.

I suspect that doing so would significantly lower the number of people who participate. Speaking for myself, I doubt I’d often make the time to go out and shoot something to meet the brief, but if I can search through a few thousand images I’ve taken in the past 20 years, there’s a fair chance I might find a few shots that would match the theme. Then my only question would be, are they good enough to post here?

I self-reported the OP to ask if organising this kind of competition is OK under the rules. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, but I’m lawful-good. :grinning:

I’ll go along with that. Thanks for getting the ball rolling.


… that’s me. So I’m in.

Yeah, that’s probably true of me too. And if I knew I had a recent photo that was a good fit for a theme, I would want to use it.


Is a month too long a time frame? Would 2 weeks be better?

If we can use any photograph we have already taken, I’d say two weeks is plenty.

Agreed. I got over 20 years of pictures I need to look through, so this would be a good excuse for sharing and weeding out. Some were taken with some decent SLR camera I had.