GrandJuryWinner_400

Congratulations to our January-February Photo Contest Winners! The theme was “Public Displays of Affection.”

Theme: Public Displays of Affection
Inspired by the book: This Modern Romance
Guest Judge: Stephanie Williams

Comment from Stephanie:

”This was tough! A lot of good entries, but I went more with the “PDA” title for the winner – the public aspect. The winner is “Love is Everywhere” by Clark Anthony Capistrano” – Stephanie

Grand Jury Winner:

Love is Everywhere
By Clark Anthony Capistrano

People’s Choice Award Winner:

Peekaboo
By Melissa Richardson

Runner Up Winners

Gross Kisses
By Valerie Jo Adams

By Massimo Laurenzi


Thank you to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to enter the March-April contest!  Theme: Capturing Light

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Capturing Light

To enter Focal Press’s March – April Photo Contest, please click here.

The theme is “Capturing Light.”  The guest judge is Michael Freeman, author of the book Capturing Light.


Theme: Capturing Light

Inspired by the book: Capturing Light: The Heart of Photography

This contest is co-sponsored by creativeLIVE, so the prizes are bigger and better than ever!

Prizes:

  • Grand Jury Winner – wins a copy of Capturing Light, $200 worth of Focal Press books of the winner’s choice and $200 creativeLIVE credit.
  • Two Runners Up – wins a copy of Capturing Light, one Focal Press book of your choice and $50 off any creativeLIVE purchase.
  • People’s Choice – wins a copy of Capturing Light and $200 worth of Focal Press books of the winner’s choice!

About creativeLIVE:

creativeLIVE empowers you to unleash your potential by bringing the world’s greatest experts directly to you, live. Featuring workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, and crafting, creativeLIVE makes dynamic education accessible to everyone.

About the Book:

In almost all photography it’s the quality of light that makes or breaks the shot. For professional photographers, chasing the light, waiting for it, sometimes helping it, and finally capturing it is a constant preoccupation — and for some an obsession. Drawing on four decades of doing just this, Michael Freeman, acclaimed International photographer and author takes a simple but practical approach to reacting to, and capturing photography’s most important commodity.

Read an excerpt from Capturing Light: Magic Hour – Magic Colors


Guest Judge: Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman is a renowned international photographer who specializes in travel, architecture and Asian art. Freeman has released a total of 135 books selling more than 4 million copies. His professional shooting ranges from reportage to architecture and special effects. Hallmarked by a 30-year collaboration with Smithsonian magazine, Freeman is a veteran professional editorial photographer working for major international publications.

Click here for a list of Michael Freeman’s books.
Michael Freeman’s books are available outside of the US and Canada through Ilex Press.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


THE 2014 FOCAL PRESS PHOTO CONTESTS:

About Focal Press’ New Photo Contest Platform:

For this year’s photo contests, Focal Press has partnered with Viewbug.com. Viewbug.com is a beautiful platform and it is very easy to use, as you will see!

ViewBug is an online photo contest community that provides the opportunity for photographers to share photos with chances to win prizes. With ViewBug, everyone can get an opportunity to be discovered. Unlike other photography competitions, ViewBug makes the photography contests fun and social by providing prizes by the best brands in the industry and including the most influential photographers as judges. Participants can also help judges select winners with a social media voting tool. ViewBug provides a slick profile to showcase your photos and different memberships to accommodate any type of photographer.

2014 Photo Contest Structure:

• This year there will be 6 contests

• Each contest will run for 8 weeks

• Entries can be uploaded during the first 6 weeks of the contest window

• During the last 2 weeks of the contest window, the  contest will be open for voting.

Prizes:

The prizes are bigger and better than ever!  Check to see what the prizes are for each contest.

For each contest there will be:

• A Grand Prize Winner and 2 Runner Up Winners that will be chosen by our Guest Judge.

• A People’s Choice Winner for the photo with the most votes.

Winners will be announced within 10 days of the contest closing.

Rules:

Photos: Share your best shot that fits the contest’s theme. Be creative and original!

Limit: 3 entries per participant

Participation: You must own all legal rights to submitted photos

Photo Format: Color, Black and White, edited formats are accepted

Copyright: You maintain the rights to all of your submissions

Judging: The contest winner will be selected based on the creativity, originality and quality of the photo in accordance to the contest’s theme.

Promotion:  Focal Press would like to use the winning photos to promote the contests on our Focalpress.com website, our MasteringPhoto.com blog and our Facebook page. We will check with the winners for permission to use their photos in this capacity before posting.

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email [email protected]

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Dec_2013_Winner1_W

Thank you to author Brooke Shaden for acting as our guest judge for the December contest. The theme was “Seasonal Inspiration” sponsored by Brooke’s latest book, Inspiration in Photography.

First Place: “Spirits of Monsoon Playing”
by Abhijit Dey, Barrackpore, West Bengal, India

What Brooke had to say:

For the theme of “Seasonal Inspiration” I found this photograph to be spot on. It reminds me of being a child yet with the distinct feeling that I cannot fully relate: playing in mud puddles during the rainy season with my sister, yet this is a place I do not know, with people I’ve never met. The action of it is beautiful, the way the rain is captured. This picture contains one thing that I love above most else, which is joy in darkness – these boys take advantage of the rain and what it has to offer instead of staying inside or being blinded by the beauty of it. I love the connections between them, the way they all have the same goal. I love how immersed they are in the scene, completely unaware of a camera lurking nearby.

Second Place: “Way to Nowhere”
by
Anindya Phani, Beledanga, Kolkata, India

What Brooke had to say:

So many things about this image speak to me. The person walks away, no umbrella to stay dry but instead embracing the surroundings. The fog creates uncertainty – we do not know where the person is walking or how they are feeling. I love images where the face is hidden – it allows me to interpret the character in my own way, which may be different from what the photographer intended but makes for a more dynamic interaction. The bridge and the leading lines of the ropes draw me in, and I never want to leave.

NOTE: Brooke will be choosing another 3rd place winner since the same person cannot win twice in one contest.

Third Place: “Awakening”
by
Anindya Phani, Beledanga, Kolkata, India

What Brooke had to say:

There is much to love about this image, and what struck me instantly was the composition and color palette. The person in the image looks so small, while the world is so huge. I imagine it to be cold there, which adds to the intensity of the image. The water is blue while the sky is warm, and this seamlessly creates a dynamic that is both cold and inviting. We do not know what the person is doing: fishing, or maybe enjoying a boat ride, or even still, maybe transporting him or herself? The answer is unimportant, because a story is implied.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to enter January’s contest!  Theme: Public Display of Affection

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This Modern Romance

To enter Focal Press’ January 2014 Photo Contest, please click here to be redirected to our new contest platform.

The theme is “PDAs – Public Displays of Affection.”  The guest judge is Stephanie Williams, author of the book This Modern Romance.


THE 2014 FOCAL PRESS PHOTO CONTESTS:

About Focal Press’ New Photo Contest Platform:

For this year’s photo contests, Focal Press has partnered with Viewbug.com. Viewbug.com is a beautiful platform and it is very easy to use, as you will see!

ViewBug is an online photo contest community that provides the opportunity for photographers to share photos with chances to win prizes. With ViewBug, everyone can get an opportunity to be discovered. Unlike other photography competitions, ViewBug makes the photography contests fun and social by providing prizes by the best brands in the industry and including the most influential photographers as judges. Participants can also help judges select winners with a social media voting tool. ViewBug provides a slick profile to showcase your photos and different memberships to accommodate any type of photographer.

2014 Photo Contest Structure:

• This year there will be 6 contests

• Each contest will run for 8 weeks

• Entries can be uploaded during the first 6 weeks of the contest window

• During the last 2 weeks of the contest window, the  contest will be open for voting.

Prizes:

The prizes are bigger and better than ever!  Check to see what the prizes are for each contest.

For each contest there will be:

• A Grand Prize Winner and 2 Runner Up Winners that will be chosen by our Guest Judge.

• A People’s Choice Winner for the photo with the most votes.

Winners will be announced within 10 days of the contest closing.

Rules:

Photos: Share your best shot that fits the contest’s theme. Be creative and original!

Limit: 3 entries per participant

Participation: You must own all legal rights to submitted photos

Photo Format: Color, Black and White, edited formats are accepted

Copyright: You maintain the rights to all of your submissions

Judging: The contest winner will be selected based on the creativity, originality and quality of the photo in accordance to the contest’s theme.

Promotion:  Focal Press would like to use the winning photos to promote the contests on our Focalpress.com website, our MasteringPhoto.com blog and our Facebook page. We will check with the winners for permission to use their photos in this capacity before posting.


THE JANUARY 2014 PHOTO CONTEST:

Theme: PDA’s – Public Displays of Affection

Click Here to Enter!

About the Book:

In This Modern Romance, award winning photographer Stephanie Williams shares her approach to engagement photography, including her thoughts on the psychology of shooting and directing couples, current industry trends, and the use of blogs and social media. Discover photography tips on romantic styling, workflow, and branding that will help get your engagement sessions recognized by prospective clients and industry publications. Whether you are an aspiring photographer or established professional, this book is sure to inform and inspire your next photo shoot.

Guest Judge: Stephanie Williams

Stephanie Williams runs her own studio and blog, This Modern Romance. Her work has been featured on the cover of Pacific Weddings, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, Destination I Do, California Wedding Day, and Australia’s White magazine as well as in the pages of The Knot, Brides, Oui, Southern Weddings and numerous blogs and internet publications such as Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, etc. Stephanie was listed as one of the top 20 Destination Wedding Photographers in the world by Destination Weddings and Honeymoons. In 2011, Stephanie was honored as one of PDN‘s Rising Stars in Wedding Photography.

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email [email protected]

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On-the-right-track_E_FEAT

Thank you to author Harold Davis for acting as our guest judge for the November contest! The theme was “HDR Photography” sponsored by Harold’s latest book, Monochromatic HDR Photography.

General Comments from Harold:

Judging this contest was difficult because there were so many high-quality entries. In addition, HDR is a set of techniques—and neither a style, nor a specific genre of subject matter. This means that there was a great deal of variety in the submissions, and it is always difficult to compare apples to oranges.

So in order to judge the competition I primarily looked at three image characteristics:
- Artistic conception and photographic vision
- Effective use of HDR (and suitability to concept & vision)
- Technical execution and finishing

Based on these metrics, my winners are:

First Place: “On the Right Track”
by J.J. Guy Longtin, Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

What Harold had to say:

I am so totally in love with this image. Everything about it was done perfectly, including the title, the subtle HDR, and the gentle sepia toning. In terms of the artistic value of the image itself, this shows the majesty and power of photography when used correctly to take the chaos of a fairly everyday scene—railroad tracks and overhead wires—and turn this well-observed chaos into an orderly visual essay on the nature of choices, chances, and organization.


Second Place: “Abandoned”
by
Robert Coates, Mount Nasura, Australia

What Harold had to say:

While decaying buildings are almost cliché as HDR subject matter, this image is one of the best executions of the theme I have seen. The continuity from inner space to outer space is extremely well managed. From a technical perspective, halos can be a problem with this kind of subject, and these are entirely avoided. The exterior landscape has some interest on its own, but the nifty conflation of exterior space and interior space make this an extraordinary HDR image.


Third Place: “Rockport Reflection 2011”
by
Richard Tranfaglia, Southborough, Massachusetts, USA

What Harold had to say:

Rowboats and their reflections in a Maine harbor of course are a natural subject for color photography. This HDR image works to exaggerate the color, but not so much as to be offensive. In other words, the photographer has used a photographic and post-production technique (HDR) to enhance the natural painterly qualities of the scene that they captured.


Thank you to everyone who entered! Below are some honorable mentions chosen by Harold.

Don’t forget to enter December’s contest!  Theme: Seasonal Inspiration

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Ely Cathedral—for the excellent monochromatic HDR execution.

Toolshed—for the very cool rendering of translucent containers.

Badlands—for the abstract rendering of the Badland landscape, making it seem almost like fabric rather than hills.

Gardeners Reserve—Nice rendition of potentially troubling lighting.

Taajmahal—Excellent HDR rendition of a commonly-shot landscape without crossing the line to cliche.

Walk through old Panama—Courageous tackling of an extreme exposure problem.

Philadelphia Center City—Genuine HDR enhancement of an urban landscape from potentially over-dark foreground to background horizon.

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Inspiration in Photography

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

This month’s theme is “Seasonal Inspiration”  sponsored by the book Inspiration in Photography by Brooke Shaden.  What inspires you this time of year?

December is a special time of year.  For some it is wintertime – time to hit the ski slopes and enjoy hot cocoa by a fire while the snow falls .  For others it is summertime – time to kick back at the beach. December is also a time for all sorts of different celebrations.  Show us what you find inspiring during this time of the year in your own unique style.

About the Book:

In Inspiration in Photography, author Brooke Shaden—one of the most recognized names in modern art photography—introduces you to her creative process and reveals techniques and exercises that you can undertake in order to be inspired by your environment, everyday, everywhere. In addition to the exercises, you’ll learn how to compose, plan and shoot colorful, atmospheric, fairy-tale artistic photography, so you can adapt Shaden’s techniques and apply them to your own photographic style. This book provides the perfect balance of insight and instruction to help you find inspiration whenever you need it, and capitalize on it every time.

Brooke Shaden is our guest judge this month.

Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer and popular blogger living and working in the Los Angeles area where she runs photo workshops. Her passion lies in creating new worlds through photographs, a passion which was recently recognized by Academy award-winning director Ron Howard when he chose her work as part-inspiration for a short film in Canon’s Imagin8tion competition. Her vision extends beyond the realm of the camera, creating images that resemble paintings and speak of an era that is not our own. Each image is a story.

Inspiration in Photography is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

Outside of North American, Inspiration in Photography is available through Ilex Press.

Prizes:

First Place: Inspiration in Photographyand a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Inspiration in Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Inspiration in Photography

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email [email protected]

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Photoshop_W_1

Thank you to author Steve Caplin for acting as our guest judge for the October contest! The theme was “obviously photoshopped,” sponsored by Steve’s latest book, How to Cheat in Photoshop CC.

General Comments from Steve:

The quality of the Photoshop work in all the submissions was very high, with many outstanding entries. Ultimately, I was looking for the most powerful final image, irrespective of the amount of Photoshop trickery that went into its creation. My final selection is largely a matter of personal preference, but they all show serious Photoshop skills and a keen eye for composition.

First Place: “Missing the Last Train”
by Anindya Phani, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

What Steve had to say:

There’s a sense of loneliness and isolation here, with a strong composition that neatly contrasts the motionlessness of the man on the bench with the high-speed blur of the passing train. It’s also a perfectly crafted image in terms of lighting and arrangement; and the faraway look on the man’s face gives a real sense of his state of mind. Edward Hopper would have been proud of this beautiful image.


Second Place: “Drop Dead Gore-geous”
by
Jeremy Hochhalter, Timnath, Colorado, USA

What Steve had to say:
Whether or not you find the subject matter appealing, a huge amount of technical skill has gone into the creation of this powerful image. Everything has been thoroughly worked up, from the immaculate hair cutout to the torn skin, the vacant expressions, and such details as the skewed tiara, the loose strands of hair over the faces and the bloodied clothing. A real tour de force from a Photoshop expert.


Third Place: “Sway”
by
Carlos Bortoni, McAllen, Texas, USA

What Steve had to say:

I like the apparent simplicity of this image – a pair of jeans and a shirt blowing in the wind. But there’s just enough torso in that shirt to give the impression of someone inside it; the face is tilted back in a subtle scream. The double shadows on the sheet may be a shadow too many, which is what has pushed it down into third place.

Thank you to everyone who entered! See below for more honorable mentions and notes from Steve!

Don’t forget to enter November’s contest!  Theme: HDR Photography

NEAR MISSES:

Catching Planes: I’d like to see all the planes flying as if they’d come from the man’s hands, rather than clearly in the distance; and I’m not sure about the Oil Paint filter.

Egg Heads: A great idea, with many fine touches. A few of the faces don’t quite fit the angles of the eggs, though, and this rather spoils the illusion.

Kevin in Color: Clever and detailed work. But the man’s expression tells me nothing: shouldn’t he be reacting in at least a small way to this incursion of paint?

Power Surge: Beautifully rendered lightning, and a great original photograph. But I’m confused as to whether the lightning is coming from the electrical source or the sky: a stronger sense of origin needed here.

Behind Her: A great concept, artfully constructed. The lack of the woman’s feet is distracting, though; if you don’t have her feet in the shot, a cropped room would have worked better.

Metro Station “Fishing”: This was very nearly a winner – a great composition, and the couple opposite looking at the fisherman really make the image work. But the water doesn’t look like it belongs in the scene; try reflecting some of the lights in it for a more realistic appearance.

Abstract #2: I love the shapes here, but why is the image such low resolution? A piece of artwork like this deserves to be seen in sharp glory.

View Through my Window: I like the composition, but there’s no sense of glass in the window. Add any room interior at a very low opacity to make a reflection that will bring this image to life.

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Monochromatic HDR

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

This month we are exploring one of the latest trends in digital photography – HDR photography.   Two words that come to mind when describing HDR images are intensity and contrast. The process seems to breathe life into an image, giving it a depth that wasn’t there before.  We would love to see the results of your explorations with this process!

November’s contest is sponsored by the recently published book Monochromatic HDR Photography which explores the intersection between this and another popular trend of the digital revolution – black and white photography.

About the Book:

Monochromatic HDR Photography explains techniques for extending dynamic range, monochromatic conversion methods and best practices where the two technologies intersect. Since successful digital monochromatic image creation generally requires using the color information inherent in RAW exposures, most case studies will be presented in full color.

In addition, Monochromatic HDR Photography provides extensive coverage of the creative vision required to successfully create monochromatic HDR images and the workflow necessary to make art prints from this specialized image making technique.

Harold Davis is our guest judge this month.

Harold Davis is an award-winning photographer and digital artist whose work is widely collected. He is the author of many bestselling photography books, including Photographing Flowers, Photographing Waterdrops, and The Photoshop Darkroom, all published by Focal Press.  Click here for a list of Harold’s books.

Harold has been recognized as a Moab Master for his hand-crafted, fine art prints. His popular workshops are often sold out. You can find out more about Harold and his work at his website, www.photoblog2.com.

Monochromatic HDR Photography is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: Monochromatic HDR Photographyand a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: Monochromatic HDR Photography and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: Monochromatic HDR Photography

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email [email protected]

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FLASH_1_FEAT

Thank you to author Lou Jones for acting as our guest judge for the September contest! The theme was “flash photography,” sponsored by Lou’s book, Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at Lightspeed, Second Edition

First Place: “Splashing Strawberry”
by Roberto Roseano, Bergamo, Italy

What Lou had to say:
This is exactly what flash photography is for: to enhance the photographer’s ability to see and show things not only better but also what we cannot see with our naked eye.   Although this is probably a composite, marrying the stunning beauty shot with excellent flash usage and the very difficult stop motion/splash photography of the water and strawberry is flawless.


Second Place: “The Boatman”
by Sirsendu Gayen, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

What Lou had to say:
This unusual juxtaposition of flash with available light photography is taking it to the next level. Composition is very compelling even though symmetrical.


Third Place: “Dancer in Flight”
by Ian Bornarth, Alcadideche, Fremont, California, USA

What Lou had to say:
Using flash to freeze human movement is a traditional application. With the addition of the costume, extreme form and lack of background distraction, this image is strangely unique.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to enter October’s contest!  Theme: Obviously Photoshopped

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How to Cheat in Photoshop CC

The brand new contest location for the Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest is now open!

Enter your image here: Focal Press Monthly Photography Contest

The theme for October is OBVIOUSLY PHOTOSHOPPED sponsored by the book How to Cheat in Photoshop CC by Steve Caplin.

We are looking for photos where the “tweaks” may be slight, or they may be significant, but there is no way that they are “natural” – and the results are awesome!

About the Book:

In this comprehensive revision of the best-selling How To Cheat in Photoshop, photomontage guru Steve Caplin shows you how to get optimum results in minimum time, by cheating your way to success.

As a professional digital artist, Steve knows all about creating great work under pressure. In this book he combines detailed step-by-step instructions with invaluable real-world hints, tips, and advice to really let your creativity run wild. Fully updated to cover the latest features in Photoshop CC, this invaluable resource shows exactly what methods Steve uses to create his own stunning imagery used in advertising, publishing, and print media, in a project-based approach that is sure to improve and inspire your own work.

Steve Caplin is our guest judge this month.

Steve Caplin is a graphic artist, illustrator, and journalist who loves to create images that blur the line between illusion and reality. His satirical photomontage work has been commissioned by newspapers and magazines around the world, including The Guardian, Men’s Health, and L’Internazionale, as well as advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi. He is the author of many best-selling Focal Press books.

Also this month:

Enter our How to Cheat in Photoshop CC Contest!

Sign-up for a chance to win a one-on-one mentor session with professional, award-winning digital artist and Photoshop guru Steve Caplin, as well as other great prizes!


How to Cheat in Photoshop CC is available wherever fine books are sold or through your preferred online retailer!

First Place: How to Cheat in Photoshop CC and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Second Place: How to Cheat in Photoshop CC and a Focal Photography book of choice**

Third Place: How to Cheat in Photoshop CC

** Does not include Focal Encyclopedia of Photography

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

Email [email protected]

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