Preparing Images for Competitions
The rules for entering digital contests are necessarily strict as the software use to run the competition requires all images to be saved in a particular format.
There are some key points which you need to consider.
Step 1: Make copy of the image before you start work altering it and save it with a different name so you don’t overwrite the original and ruin it.
Step 2: Complete any editing work on the full-size copy until you are happy with it.
Step 3: Make sure you follow the instructions on your software for saving your new image especially if you have been using layers. (See club website for software specific examples).
Step 4: Resizing: When resizing images (e.g. for display on a projector) some software may ask you whether you wish to ‘constrain proportions’ or ‘resample the image. If asked tick both.
Step 5: It is a good idea to put a thin (2-3 pixel) border around the image to frame it.
Step 6: Most clubs use projectors which recommend you save your image using the SRGB colour profile which is regarded as the best profile for viewing images on a computer screen or via a projector. If you are unsure how to do this there is detailed guidance on the club web-site, alternatively speak to an experienced club member or the Competition Secretary.
Step 7: Save the file using the naming convention Order No_Title_Member No.jpg
Bear in mind that an image that appears on your computer may show up very differently when displayed on a different computer or a projector. This may also happen when you print out an image, and its colour does not match how it displays on screen. If either of these happen please let us know so we can give you advice on how to get a better match. Also bear this in mind that we need a digital copy or all images entered into print competitions.
It is sometimes said that preparing images for print competitions involves extra expense and labour. Whilst true; this is often over exaggerated. The fact is that printing photographs on paper still remains the best way of preserving and sharing photographs. A properly printed and mounted image is also much more likely to bring an image to ‘life’ in a way that is not possible with digital images.
The key questions which arise for camera club members considering whether to enter print competitions are:-
- Can I use my own printer, and if so what printing paper should I use?
These days most home/office printers are capable of printing satisfactory entry level images for use in club competitions on ordinary photo paper, or on photo paper recommended by your printer manufacturer. Later as you become more accomplished you might wish to upgrade your printer and/or printing techniques to get even better results.
- How easy is it to get my image printed commercially, and how much does it cost?
It’s also very easy to get your images printed by third party commercial outlets locally or nationally via the internet see club website for details.
- What size of mount board should I use, and where can I obtain it?
The standard size used by most clubs for mounts is 50×40 cms and we recommend that that is used. DO NOT use larger mounts as they will not fit in the print boxes used for transportation. Even small images generally look better on a large board. Mount boards with or without pre-cut apertures can be obtained on-line or from reliable craft suppliers at reasonable cost. If you intend to use window mounts, it is best to get them cut to match the size of the print, rather than using a standard size.
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