Contest Entry

May 09, 2016

Last week I posted an image on my Facebook page that I entered in a monthly real estate photography contest.  The contest runs every month with a different theme, and April's theme was master bedrooms.  Since the contest is open to photographers from around the globe the competition is fierce.  Photographs from Australia, Hawaii, California, Canada, and Europe are regulars in the contest.  I've been entering an image or two the last couple years as many times the jurors leave helpful comments about the images.

I had a good master bedroom photo from a property I shot in Greenville a couple months ago, so I did some extra editing to the photo and entered the contest.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the jurors had awarded the image enough points to tie for fifth out of 36 photos.  It was the first time any image I've entered had garnered any points so I was quite happy (both with the outcome and progress my style has made in the last couple years).

The composition was fairly easy and lighting the image was a two-step process.  The photo above left is lit almost completely by light from the window--I did use a flash to brighten up the shadows on the bed and nightstand on the left side.  The image on the right I darkened the windows by increasing my shutter speed and aiming the flash directly at the window.  I combined the two images in Photoshop so that only the darker window portion of the right photo was combined with the more naturally-lit photo on the left.  I then cropped the photo (to eliminate the distracting furniture on the left and right sides), and did some minor tweaking.  I was left with the image below:

A shot like this is more than adequate for a normal real estate listing, but for the contest I knew it needed more attention.  Jurors are very nit-picky so I tried to put myself in their shoes and dissect the image.  I knew a lot of things need to be cloned out to bring the image together.  So I put on my magician's hat and made the ceiling fan cords "disappear" as well as the ruffling under the bottom of the bed and the digital clock on the nightstand.  Lastly I removed some glare and darkened the window/curtains on the right-hand side.  See the short video below for an example of how I make things disappear.

After all that work, the final contest image was ready:

It took a lot more work than a standard image for a real estate listing, but I enjoyed the challenge of taking the photo to the next level and entering the contest.  I'm hoping to enter more images in the coming years.


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