New York Photo Festival Awards - Deadline and Tips

6pm EST is the new deadline to enter the New York Photo Festival Awards.

The 2011 edition of The New York Photo Awards features twelve category winners - including best fine art single, fine art series, documentary single, documentary series, advertising single, advertising series and photo book - one of whom will be selected for the Jury's Choice Prize, a $5,000 cash prize for best overall picture or series, presented by Persol.

As a former judge (2009) I'd like to share a few tips for preparing your entry. Of course judging is highly subjective and what each person will respond to is unique, but here are some basics to help you put together a good entry.

  • Know your judges (complete list here). Judging is highly subjective but being aware of the background and current job of each juror will give you some insight into where they are coming from.
  • If entering a single image, make sure you are choosing a truly unique and memorable image that will not elicit groans of "seen that before". There are so many visual cliches (check out Mike Davis' awesome blog post about avoiding cliche). Ask yourself the tough question: Is this really an original image? Am I offering the judges and public something they haven't seen before?
  • If entering a series, make sure your edit is TIGHT. Be ruthless with your editing. Show your edit to a few other people who will be honest with you. Photographers I work with almost always hold on to images they don't need. They have a personal connection to the image, or the moment in which it was made, that keeps them from being able to let it go. The judges are going to have a better impression of your work if they are left wanting to see more.
  • Make sure each image in your series offers something new and interesting to what you are saying. Often there is too much redundancy in people's contest edits. You aren't necessarily telling the whole story when you enter a contest. You are trying to put together an edit that will stand out with the judges and be memorable.

Remember, the judges will be looking at a lot of images. Do them a favor by showing work that is fresh, interesting, poignant, emotional, raw, subtle and unique.  Sounds easy, right?