We are very glad that the participants of the IX Photo Contest "The Most Beautiful Country" are actively sending their works. There are many unusual stories among them, which we are happy to study. And it is very frustrating if the idea is good, but the implementation does not reach the desired level. Therefore, we decided to summarize the mistakes of photographers and give recommendations.
The work does not correspond to the category, the topic is not developed
The experts should have no doubts about the genre of your work. If this is a landscape, then unnecessary elements, such as people, should be excluded from the shot (of course, at the shooting stage), since they can disrupt the holistic perception of the work and introduce signs of another genre. You need to independently determine the genre of your work and which contest category it corresponds to. It is not allowed to submit the same work in several categories at once with the hope that it will definitely become a hit somewhere (see clause 8.2 of the Contest Regulations).
Also, the works should fully develop the stated theme, and the main idea should be obvious. For example, if this is a picture of wild animals, then they should be vivid, eye-catching – their characters, emotions, behavioral features, and relationships with each other should be brought into focus. This is what determines the level of work and affects the assessment of the experts and the Jury members.
The picture was not taken in Russia
All photos must be taken on the territory of Russia. This is a mandatory moment, and this is clearly stated in the Contest Regulations (clause 8.1). Of course, in addition to obvious violations (hopefully unintentional), there are ambiguous situations. Therefore, the works that have passed to the final are subjected to a thorough check by our specialists (clause 9.9). At this stage, we request the source files (clause 8.12).
There are pets in the picture
Remember that the photo contest "The Most Beautiful Country" is dedicated to wildlife, so pictures of pets are not allowed to participate (clause 8.4). At the same time, they can be present in the shot, if they do not violate its semantic integrity, for example, in a portrait where the main emphasis is on the person (category "Faces of Russia" or "Men of Action").
A picture at a zoo
Despite the fact that wild animals can be found in a zoo, where conditions are created for them as close to natural as possible, we do not accept photos of animals in captivity (clause 7.1.1).
Also, in the process of shooting, it is not allowed to disturb the natural way of life of animals (clause 7.1.2 and clause 7.1.4), use live bait (clause 7.1.1), mislead the viewer, or distort the real picture (clause 7.1.3). In other words, only wildlife should be represented, without any interference.
However, there are exceptions for the participants of the contest "The Most Beautiful Country Through the Eyes of Children". Photos taken in zoos are accepted in the category "Animal World" (clause 7.2).
In any case, before submitting the works, the participant of the competition must make a detailed description of their work – in this way, they can check whether all the competition requirements are met (clause 8.5).
Low quality photos
A frequent and very unpleasant mistake is the blurring of individual elements of the image. As a rule, it is caused by haste during shooting, when the author does not have enough patience or experience to use the right settings. It might seem that the blurring is insignificant, but, unfortunately, our experts look very carefully at the technical execution, and blurry images are immediately rejected.
They also check whether the works meet the technical requirements (clause 8.7). JPEG format; for a camera, the size on the long side is no less than 2500 and no more than 5700 pixels; for a smartphone – not less than 1000 and not more than 5700 pixels.
When processing images on a computer, you should know when to stop. Using basic settings is allowed, but the photo must remain natural-looking (clause 8.10).
Panoramas obtained as a result of combining several images, as well as images taken using focus stacking, are allowed if they do not distort reality (clause 8.10).
It is not allowed to remove thematically relevant elements in the works, which may lead to a distortion of the meaning (clause 8.11).
All changes made by the photographer should be reflected in the description of the picture (see clause 8.10).
The author's name on the image
Many photographers place their name on their works in the form of watermarks. This is how they seek to protect themselves from copyright infringement. We consider it superfluous.
Watermarks do not provide special protection, and in the image they interfere with the holistic perception of the work. It causes visual discomfort during viewing, same as with text boxes, frames, captions (clause 8.9).
Also, after the end of the competition, the works of the participants can be used for printing photo albums, exhibitions, advertising the competition on the street and in transport. Therefore, we ask you to upload the work in proper quality right away.
It is for this reason that we do not accept screenshots, which, by the way, cannot have EXIF data (clause 8.9).
It is not allowed to submit those works that have already been submitted to the contest "The Most Beautiful Country" in previous years, especially if they reached the final or won (clause 8.3). Both the Jury and the audience want to see your fresh results.
And if your works did not make it to the final, then they had already received a certain rating. And it is unlikely to improve... On the other hand, every year photographers send new works – new locations, scenes, techniques. Old photos do not get better from this, their competitiveness does not improve.
You can fully familiarize yourself with the Regulations of the IX Photo Contest of the Russian Geographical Society "The Most Beautiful Country" here.