Photography Contest: Why I Chose The Winners
Gayl Punzalan, Creative Director, Blue Ink Media
Category: CLOSE UP
The little spider: The first question when judging a
photo is: did the participant follow the direction?
A lot of people might not agree with this spider,
but looking at the instruction: it should be xx
centimeters in size, and photographer has to make
it look big. This spider is I’m quite sure, some
centimeters small, and it looks gigantic in the image.
The other spider picture is okay, but there’s camera
shake when the shot was taken. Another is the bee
on a dandelion, which is also okay, but I would have
zoomed in 50% more to make the bee look big.
The runner up is a miniature of parked vehicles
in front of Pete’s. It’s not the best picture, but it did
follow the instruction. I had to give credit to the
photographer because I know in his/her mind “oh
this is small, and I can zoom in to make it big, that
it will look life-size.” Depth of field he/she used is
correct, and the angle is acceptable.
The honourable mention is a butterfly on a flower.
Again, if it were me, I would have zoomed in, about
70% more to get the face of the butterfly and a bit of
its wings – so I can adhere to the instruction. I like
the depth of field – the butterfly and flower being
sharp, and the background a bit blurry. I like the angle
too. I can imagine the photographer looking at the
butterfly and maybe took several shots and he/she
submitted the best angle you can get in that scene.
Just because these three were chosen, doesn’t
mean the rest is not good. When I judge, I pick about
half of all the entries, look at them one by one, and
ask myself, why is this better than the next picture.
There is a set of criteria I follow when judging:
1. Choosing the right subject
2. Effort of the photographer (carefully picking
where to take the shot from)
3. Sharpness of the image (no matter how wellchosen
the subject is, if your camera shook when
you took the shot, it’s not going to make the cut).
4. Angle – correct application of rule of thirds
5. Creative use of depth of field – should the
background be blurry or not?
6. Difficulty of shot – is the photographer lying down
when he/she took the shot? Or maybe he twisted his
body, arms, and legs just to capture this picture?
Good photographers are good judges of a scene. If
there’s no shot, don’t take it.
Category: BLACK AND WHITE
The Zion Grandeur – The black and white,
landscape shot of a mountain. Well, this is one
of those pictures where the photographer was in
the right place, and the right time. It’s probably
about 3 or 4 pm, blue sky, the sun is ultra-bright.
But then there are no burnt parts in the image -
meaning the shutter speed and the setting of the
depth of field is correct. Rule of thirds is correct,
image is sharp.
The runner up is a shot of a lake. I picked this
because of the image’s balance. While the focal
point is at the dead center, the photographer
compensates that with the horizontal island where
your eyes are led to. The subject is very fitting for a
black and white picture.
The honourable mention is called “Cuba”, and I
like it because of the leading lines, because of the
angle of the shot, and because the depth of field is
For me personally, photo judging is subjective.
Most judges, if not all, have their own influences,
tastes and feelings when deciding which photo is
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