A Guide To The iPhotography
#POTD & #WeekendChallenge
To reward our 90,000+ students in the iPhotography community, the Course Tutors give out prestigious titles daily including; #POTD (Picture of the Day) or the #WeekendChallenge winning crown.
A lot of the students who receive the justified praise are not professional, nor even semi-pro; they are enthusiastic hobbyists who have a big passion for photography. It’s that burning desire to improve, create and be incredibly unique that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Maybe you’ve just joined iPhotography course, or you’ve been here a few months and wonder ‘how can that be me?’
Well, let us tell you…
We’ve put together this brief guide to explain what we, the iPhotography Tutors, look for when selecting a #POTD or #WeekendChallenge winner. After all, that’s what you came here for! Moreover, we’ll use some of the previous winners as examples.
Disclaimer – Now, we have to outline that if you follow these tips, it doesn’t guarantee success. However, it will quite possibly get you on the short list – surely that’s a step in the right direction?
How To Win a #POTD Award
Let’s start off with our regular #POTD award. On a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the iPhotography tutors search the student gallery for eye-catching photographs, insane imagery and inspiring individuality. On top of this, we do our best to drop in on the comments section and give you a big thumbs up or a few helpful tips on your uploads.
There are around 100 new images uploaded every day so you can only begin to imagine our choice! But that’s where you jump in and throw an encouraging/supportive comment to your course peer! 🙂
OK, what do we look for when choosing a #POTD?
Firstly, we LOVE, absolutely love seeing something different. Everyone has seen a picture of the Eiffel Tower, but seeing it upside down with a kid doing cool BMX stunts in front of it is bound to grab our attention! What we’re getting at is… iPhotography is designed to push students up, up and up outside of their creative boundaries. Individuality is the core value we keep the forefront of our minds. So, if you can show us a scene wildly different from the rest of the gallery – you will get noticed.
This doesn’t mean we don’t want to see your beautiful and extravagant wildlife, landscape, portrait and close-up photographs that grace the gallery every day – but just think what’s different about them.
It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to assume that your photo is sharp looking at it on the back of your camera. In fact, every picture looks in focus when it’s 3 inches wide! So before you upload your shot have a quick look – is it in focus where it needs to be? Are you sure?
The biggest killer of any good photograph is blurriness. An audience’s eye is drawn to contrast so if you have sharp (in focus) and soft (out of focus) areas on your photo it’ll be more eye-catching. Otherwise, if your picture is soft all over then it just becomes a blur.
Top Tip – On the other hand, don’t be so quick to ditch a technically blurred image – we love a rule breaker!
Can you tell the same story with fewer elements? Our eyes love to look at clean and simple designs. It’s said that less is more, and we agree; there’s no need to clutter your photograph with extra props or distracting elements that aren’t adding to it. So, when you’re looking through your viewfinder stop and think ‘What do I need in my picture?’.
Adjust your position, move some items out of the way, zoom in a little closer or just open the aperture to defocus the background. Don’t let a bad background ruin a good foreground.
On top of this, if it is your first time uploading to the gallery or you have branched out to try a new genre of photography – don’t be shy! We love seeing your creative journey, right from the beginning.
Keep It Level
This one is simple, yet overlooked. Wonky horizons are the second biggest killer of a photographer so don’t do it! There are easy ways of making a slanted horizon level – we’ve even got a blog about it. Your photograph shouldn’t be a Picasso where we’ve got to tilt our heads to understand the picture so make sure that the horizontal axis is balanced through your picture. Remember, this applies to portraits, still life and action shots as well as landscapes.
If you follow all these points, then you’re sure to catch our eye in the gallery. Even if the #POTD awards don’t come rolling in straight away, you will be an inspiration to your fellow students, gaining new friends, photography techniques and insider tips along the way.
How To Win The #WeekendChallenge
With our #WeekendChallenge, issued every Friday, the rules are simple…
Take the concept, theme or word, mix it up with your imagination and upload the fully baked results to the gallery by 9 am on Monday morning (GMT – UK time).
A lot of the same rules apply for winning the #WeekendChallenge so don’t dismiss them if you want to go for the big prize, but there are a few extra hints we can give you.
Top Tip – We see a lot of fantastic entries uploaded too late, so set your alarms and get it in on time!
A lot of the earlier rules apply for winning the #WeekendChallenge so don’t dismiss them if you want to go for the big prize, but there are a few extra hints we can give you.
Don’t Be Obvious
This is a simple tip – stay away from the example image. With every #WeekendChallenge we issue a picture to help you visualise what we had in mind for the challenge. However, more often than not some students fall into the trap of taking a very similar picture. Oh no!
We want you to use our example to inspire you, so use that picture as a starting platform to blast off from!
Use Your Knowledge
You’ve hopefully picked up a lot of useful information and understanding about photography during your time on the course so use it in these #WeekendChallenges. For example, our recent challenge winner Paul, the topic was ‘Suggestion’ and we liked what the lost £10 note suggested. It conjured up so many stories in our minds but also spoke to the inner photographer with his choice of a low angle, narrow depth of field and strong leading lines. Paul didn’t just tell the story well – he used his photographer’s eye to do so.
New Is Better Than Old
It’s easy to think ‘I’ve got to be in it to win it’ and though that’s true, however, you probably won’t get as far as you hoped with a 5-year-old photograph that kind of, sort of, almost, barely fits the #WeekendChallenge brief.
Understandably, spare time is very limited for everyone these days so 48 hours isn’t always a lot of time to go and take a brand new picture with a brand new brief and upload it in time! Of course, it’s completely fine to upload a picture you may already have but try to make sure it represents your photography skills rather than it just ticking a box! Therefore, all of our #WeekendChallenge’s are achievable around your home or town. Let your imagination loose on how you spin the theme, making it suit your free time/weekend plans to come up with a brand new photo.
What Do I Get For Winning?
So there it is, we’ve given you an insight into the iPhotography way of thinking!
Every winner of our #POTD prize picks up 75 points and the image gets a 24-hour showcase on the iPhotography dashboard as well as a social media post to our 10,000+ combined followers.
#WeekendChallenge winners pick up 100 points, a 3-day feature on the dashboard and that social media boost too! Remember, taking up our weekend challenges improves your photography and gives you automatic entry into our end of year Student Awards!
In the near future, we are also looking to add reward badges to your account whenever you pick up on of these prestigous awards which will permanently feature on your Course Profile page. They will be great collectables to showcase your achievements in the iPhotography community.
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iPhotography Course not only teaches you all the standard technical expertise, settings, skills, and special effects with your camera – but we also show you how to use these skills to develop your own individual style as a photographer.
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