When is a 6 better than a 7 in Camera Club Competition?

Why would anyone ask this question?

The camera club to which I belong, Syosset Camera Club in New York, uses a rating system for our in-house competitions, from 6 to 9 in half point increments. Therefore a 7 is better than a 6, right? Maybe not.

Our club allows a ‘6’ and ‘6.5’ to be reworked and resubmitted in a future monthly competition. There is no penalty for resubmitting a reworked image. This rule is different from the rule which prohibits submitting an image into more than one category, even in different competitions. These rules apply to our club and may not apply to yours.

I am a big believer in competitions and critiques as a source of learning for a photographer. Many members are often upset when they receive a low grade on an image. After all, we spend a lot of time and effort in preparing our images and believe that our images always deserve a 9.

But let’s look at this another way and approach the comments of the judges and/or reviewers from an instructional standpoint.

Most judges give their honest opinions on how an image can be improved. I judge both competitions and critiques and always suggest how to make improvements in an image. It is not uncommon to hear watch the hot spots, the building edges are crooked, the image needs more (less) contrast, etc.…

Now let’s go back to the title question. Have you ever heard the judge say if you did this or that to the image it might get a 8.5 or even a 9, but as it is I’m giving it a 7. As a 7 you cannot rework or even resubmit it, but if it was a 6 or 6.5 you could incorporate the suggestions and make any other changes you want, resubmit it and possibly get that 8.5 or even a 9.

So, the answer to the original question, is yes, it is.  At least in my opinion.

If your club does not allow the rework and resubmittal of low scoring images, perhaps you should consider changing your rules and treat competitions as a learning experience.

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Alan Agdern
www.photoartbyalan.com

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