Pick A Photo, Please, Because I Can't!

Which Photo Should I Pick?

  • Assassin Bug

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • Feather Antennae

    Votes: 4 13.8%
  • Hoverflies Mating

    Votes: 9 31.0%
  • Stinky 1

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Stinky 2

    Votes: 11 37.9%
  • I wouldn't choose any of them to win a photo contest

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


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Oct 4, 2011
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The Beautiful Hills of East Tennessee
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Please help me decide!! I'm entering the photography contest at the local fair.
The first year I entered, 2011, I won three ribbons! Last year, I didn't enter because I waited too late; this is likely the last year I can enter as an amateur, since in about a month, there are going to be billboards and bus wraps all over town with MY images on them. :D
So, I'd like to get some entered, but I'm having trouble narrowing things down. And the deadline to enter is TOMORROW, Aug. 15 (that is, I have to have the entry form turned in; the photos don't have to be printed and turned in until September).

The maximum you can enter is 8 photos. Trouble is, I can't just pick my best eight bird photos and be done with it, because you can only enter ONE photo per category. So, ONE in the Bird category. I can potentially get away with up to three bird photos, because I have one I can put in the "Humor" category and possibly a couple I could put in the "Photo Decor" category, although I have photos I think would probably win out over a bird photo for that category.

Right now, I can't even narrow things down to the eight categories I'm going to enter--I've got it narrowed down to 13, so I'm going to have to eliminate 5 categories.
The categories currently being considered: Domestic Animals; Wild Animals; Birds; Insects; Flowers; Inanimate Objects; Reflections; Macro; Photo Decor; Architecture; Landscape; Abstracts; Humorous.

But for now, what I need help with is this: Which of these insect photos would you pick to enter in a contest? I can get my sister to help me with some categories, but she doesn't like to look at the bugs... :lmao:
Keep in mind, these are low-res web versions, and the photos will be made from the much higher-res original files.

1. Assassin Bug with Its Prey

2. Feather Antennae:

3. Hoverflies mating

4. Stinky 1

5. Stinky 2

One other thing to consider: The judges generally have HUNDREDS, possibly more than a thousand, photos to go through. So one thing I try to think is what might catch their attention long enough to stop on a photo and look at it.

Also: I regret that I could not include bacon as an option to my poll this time, but please rest assured that I am aware that Bacon rules! :lmao:
I'm totally with your sister on bug photos, but I had a look anyway. My first pick would be #3 because, after all, sex does sell, and it's also well-exposed and most of what's in the frame is sharp. My second would be #1 because, after sex, food probably sells best (also kind of an "action" shot).

I have one comment on both, however, which is that (to my eye) both look a little unbalanced, with too much empty space on one side (top of #1 and rt side of #3). I would crop some of that to make the images even stronger.
Thanks, all, for the comments and votes so far! Keep voting--this may just turn out to be one of those things where you don't really realize that you know which one you want until you put it out there for everyone else to choose. :lmao:
I'm developing a fairly strong feeling about which one I'll go with, but I might still be swayed by the vote.
Close between hoverflies mating and stinky 2. Since we can only choose 1, I went with Stinky 2.
Hoverflies mating... sex sells and it's fun ;)

I have to say your photos are really looking good. Nice work
Assassin bug1 and Feather antennae caught my eye - they have nice color esp. #1, are nice sharp images; I like the balance in each with a little tension to it. Those two kept me looking more than the others.

Good luck, a friend of mine entered a local fair too and got some ribbons, looks like you should do well (but I guess you never know with judges!).
Eeny meeny miny moe. Hoverflies having sex.:hail: IMO more of a rare capture and one capture that most probably never seen including me.
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I voted #1, but now I can't pick! I think I like that because it's sort of a different angel, I like that the background isn't the typical green or black when photographing bugs, I think that is different, which may get it noticed. But now that I've voted I think I want to change my vote to the maters or stinky 2.
Well, this has been almost NO help whatsoever. :lmao:

After I posted it, I'd pretty much decided which one I wanted to go with--Stinky2. But some of the comments then drew me back in to the hoverflies mating photo.

Stinky 2 *is* edging the hoverflies a bit so far...but still...

So, here's my thoughts. If anyone has anything they think I should add to the considerations, feel free to chime in!

1. The major thing I'm thinking about is the SPEED with which the judges go through these photos. They get 100s, maybe as many as 1,200 photos for this competition. Granted, I expect the Insect category to have far fewer entries than other categories, but still. There are three judges, and they make the decisions pretty quickly, so my guess is that any one photo gets a couple of seconds to grab the judge's attention.

With that in mind--
Hoverflies: It's bugs having sex. What's NOT to love about that? It's almost certain, I'd think, to at least make the judges stop and go, "hey, look, bug sex!" I think the black background really makes the insects stand out, and I feel like that may also give it an edge in gaining attention.

Stinky 2: The main thing this shot has going for it is the type of insect it is. Stinkbugs have been quite the news story around here the past two years because they have suddenly experienced some kind of population explosion--not only have there just been a LOT more of them, but they've been invading people's home (including mine) and so everyone is talking about them. And I feel like THIS is a look at a Stink bug like most people have never seen.
I feel like the stink bug might get the judge's attention even more than the hoverflies...but there are two things that bother me about the Stink Bug--the fact that the near antennae is oof, and those big, bright stubs on the sides of the twig, photo right. I tried burning them a little, and it helped, but I feel like it could still take away some from the overall photo.

The judging is based on--according to the rules:
1. Technical skills and correctness used to capture the photo, rather than Photoshop skills;
2. Composition
3. Relevance to the category

Both photos are entirely relevant, since the category is Insects. So that leaves composition and technical skills and correctness. And THAT leads me back to that oof antennae...But, I really LIKE the Stinky 2 photo the best.

One more day, then I'm just gonna pick whichever one is in the lead in the poll. Or the other one. :lmao:
Those same two items in Stinky2 bothered me as well. People expect shallow DOF in macro shots, so it is not a technical defect, as such, but still it is something that can be a little distracting. The Hoverflies image happens not to have anything significant outside the sharpness range. I still think it has too much space on the right, but that could be remedied easily if you agree.

As for stink bugs, they have been a problem here as well. As repulsive as they are in most respects, I always thought the shape and pattern of their backs was really quite attractive, so if I were photographing them this is what I would try to depict. Of course I don't have the patience or skill for bug photos (flowers and leaves are less creepy and move around less), so I'm not criticizing or disparaging your images in any way. The back is just what I think of as the part of this insect that I would be interested in having a closer, but not in-person, view of. I don't know if other people (like judges) might feel this way. I have long since given up trying to figure out what goes on in the minds of people who judge photo competitions (even though I've done a couple).

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