Once again Lenzr photo contests are the perfect canvas for kids to get creative on otherwise boring Saturday afternoons in the middle of winter. Armed with a smart phone or digital camera, this website provides a ready made adventure for kids or anyone interested in improving their photography skills – collecting these pictures becomes a powerful photo scavenger hunt. Kids with cameras need a mandate and this website programs their minds in a mission to make memories.
There are nine challenges on the photo contest website this month and the competitions end on march 25th when the top ten user ranked images are judged, and the best photo in each contest is selected as the winner.
Each Lenzr Contest is a Unique Photography Exercise
The contests have a lot to teach both amateur and professional photographers.
The Lenzr photo contest Reflections in Pools is all about positioning. The cameraman must be aware of how to maximize a glittering reflection and how to capture the best shimmer and image as its reflected from the source. The prize is an Olympus STYLUS TOUGH-8800 underwater camera that any kid would love to have and use in the swimming pool at home or school. How does the reflection change our perception of the subject?
Still working with water, add some detergent and focus your camera on foam and bubbles. The physics of soap bubbles is amazing. Get close. Can you capture the majesty of the moment – soap bubbles don’t last very long.
The Soapy Foam and Bubbles photo contest yields a Sony laptop the the best photo courtesy of SilveRboard rigid foam insulation at which if you look close you can see is filled with millions of tiny bubbles wrapped in aluminum foil.
Long lenses capture beauty, wide angle lenses capture emotions.
Long lenses are designed for portraits, sports and nature photography. The first leg of the photo safari demonstrated how to make pictures more impressive by perfect positioning and getting close – those lessons were learned in shooting reflections and soap bubbles. Now let’s back away from the subject and still try and contain the same amount of details.
Put a wide lens on your camera (below 50mm) and this will force you to get into the action, and most likely your pictures will gain depth, details and emotions. Don’t hesitate to approach your main subject by less than 1.5m (5 feet). Sometimes the best pictures are up close and personal and full of lots of little details in the background.
Take a moment and read up a very famous picture of war photographer James Nachtwey, who would take pictures of soldiers with wide angle lenses while lying in their midst as they fought battles.
Can you get wide angle shots of Beautiful Factories full of dynamic details? Show off the intricate ionnovations of modern industrial centers, meat processing plants, chemical refineries, warehouses, shipping and receiving centers and even data storage terminals. The prize is an Apple ipad courtesy of this manufacturing software maker in Richmond Hill Ontario.
The Best Patio in Canada photo contest is also best accomplished with a wide angle lens, outside in the sun. Here there’s an emphasis on collecting an interesting horizon of some unique scenery or cityscape and patio furniture outdoor entertainment and people of course – puts lots of interesting characters in your pictures because people love to see people and search their faces and gestures for emotions – they seek the necessary clues to form opinions and build their own emotional response.
The Making Green Power photo contest is a third and final candidate for wide angle photo scavengers. Once again its necessary to show how the green power is being made and this is best accomplished by showing off a lot of the setting – wind farms should be accompanied by long grass and trees branches blowing in the breeze – solar power is best highlighted against a sun baked horizon and of course algae ponds and wood pellet plants would be wide angles of the processing plants
The prize is an The Escape 150 solar power kit that will collect and store 150W / hr courtesy of a solar power installation company and their dedication the Ontario microFIT program and the green benefits of sun money passive income streams.
Make your picture tell a story
A good picture tells a story on its own, if you add all the elements of the story to your picture’s composition.
A good story will usually need some background information, therefore chose your spot (just like back when you were trying to capture that reflection) in a way, that important elements appear either next to the person or clearly visible in the background.
Sebastiao Salgado is a masterful storytelling photographer. Have a look at his work. Every single shot tells a story. You need no text, no caption to understand the essence of the picture.
Taking pictures of people dancing is a terrific exercise for capturing human emotion. The People Dancing photo contest on Lenzr asks that you try and capture some sort of structured dance and these days that could be polka or waltz or swing or hip hop or jungle or even classical ballet. The prize in this contest is two pairs of professional dancing shoes from Marla Silva and her dancing classes in west Toronto.
The On Stage at Home photo contest concentrates storytelling skills as it asks photograpohers to take pictures of performances in kitchens, livingrooms, diningrooms, and garages – indoor photography for framing people performing in front of audiences and
picture- the photo contest rewards the best image with a large animal skin rug – it looks like a zebra buiut you can get cow or elk or buffalo of whatever you most desire to decorate the cement floors of a condominium or the wood floors of a warehouse lofe. This contest is sponsored by a veteran home stager and an expert in the Toronto marketplace. Brian Stirling is one of the Lenzr Judges in this month’s photo contests.
Research and experiment; get to know your subject in portraiture
Great portraits distinguish themselves by the fact that they distill down into one picture the essence of the subject’s personality. It’s the sole responsibility of the photographer to bring the whole personality in the face and the body of the subject. One way to do it, is to talk. Talk with the person while preparing a shot. Ask questions about his life, his preferences, his job etc. Go on discussing while you arrange the light, while you put in your film, and finally while you take the shots.
Don’t make a speech. Ask questions, and show your genuine interest in the person your taking a picture trough carefully listening to the answers.
The reality of the Up Against The Wall photo contest is that you have to concentrate your storytelling power on the subject in the foreground – the background will be a neutral element, a wall made of stone or bricks or concrete. With lighting you can add dimension to wall systems – show the cracks in the concrete or the paint peeling off the wood panels and wainscoting.
Juxtapose ideas outside the box
Finally when you have good skills as a photographer its easier to actualize good ideas. One of the best ways to tell stories in pictures is to contrast ideas.
Here’s the hardest photo challenge in February Lenzr matches that nicely illustrates the principle of juxtaposition. An Unlikely Marriage requires photographers think about the elements of their images. Can you put two polar opposites and make people pause and question their union? The prize is an Apple iPad courtesy of a wise marriage counselor that dispenses relationship advice and couples therapy from a cozy location on Queen St West in Toronto.
All nine Lenzr contests open on Feb 1st and voting begins March 15th 2011. The contests close on March 25th 2011 after ten days of voting to determine a top ten ranking in each category. The new Panel of Judges will determine the best picture in each category, and the winners are to be announced on April 1st 2011. Contests open to all Canadian age 13 yrs and older, so get your cameras out and go a Lenzr photo scavenger hunt for self improvement today.