I enter quite a lot of competitions, most of which I don’t hear anything from as my photos don’t get chosen for the finalists. There’s no problem with that, that’s just how these things work.
But one of the sites I am a member of – ViewBug – now does an interesting thing with competitions you enter.
To give you a bit of background before explaining what they do with the results you enter create a account, upload photos and you can then enter them into competitions to win various prizes from sponsors.
Before explaining these levels, ViewBug is not just about the competitions. There is quite a community of photographers there of all levels, each of whom can comment and give their own peer awards on any photos they see and like. You can take inspiration from the work of others and get some feedback on your own work as well. Users can even run their own challenges for other members – like the competitions but the only prizes are recognition and some rewards points that can go towards some additional perks.
There are 3 levels of user and corresponding competitions:
- Lite – the free one. No fee to join the competitions or for membership of Viewbug. No particular limitations other than a maximum of 10 uploads a week and you can’t enter the other competitions – this is my membership type.
- Premium – the cheaper paid for account. Unlimited uploads, entry to the Premium competitions, double allowed entries on the free competitions, plus various other perks
- Pro – the top account type giving access to all competitions, unlimited uploads, unlimited entries, and various other perks in addition to the extras in the Premium account.
More details can be found here: https://www.viewbug.com/upgrade
The competitions are all judged, but a large part of it comes from user votes. Photos are put forwards in groups of four and you pick your favourite two. This has some form of scoring system so you get the ranking of the photos in the competition. Nothing particularly new or unusual there.
So what do they do that is different?
With the results, you will get a weekly update for any competitions where the voting is still going, and then when the voting is over you get a final email saying the competition is closed and you don’t hear any more unless you are picked as a finalist.
Unusual, but still nothing new perhaps. The difference is that with these emails you get links to see how you entry or entries are doing in the competition. You get told if you are in the top 50, 30, 20, or 10 percent of the entered photos. That is quite nice to see (or at least it can be), but this is not the only thing they do.
More recently you also now get to see how many entries you have performed better than. This is a new feature, but one that I am (mostly) quite enjoying. As a result I thought I would start a semi regular feature showing how well or badly my entries have done.
But why have I decided to do this? A few weeks ago I had one of these weekly updates which happened to feature the same photo in three different competitions – the photo in question is the one I have used as the header image. Unfortunately I don’t have the email to check but basically the difference in the results was quite spectacular showing just how subjective these things can be.
Roughly speaking I think in one competition it was doing quite well, it was in the top 10% and was ranked ahead of somewhere round about 10,000 other entries. This was the first one I looked at and needless to say I was a bit chuffed with that result.
The second competition it appeared in I think I was still top 50% (just) and was ranked ahead of about 4,000 entries. Not as good but still quite pleasing.
The third competition was not so good. Not even vaguely in fact. This number stuck in my head. The same photo as the other two competitions on this occasion ranked ahead of only 96 other entries – the progress bar (which roughly indicates how far along all of the entries yours falls) barely showed where I was. Suffice to say I was not so happy with that one.
The other reason for my doing this is that I have got into the habit of entering the same photo time and again in different competitions as evidenced by the above same photo in three competitions – and these aren’t the only ones this photo has been entered for. I’m no saying I will use a different photo every time but I should try to vary it more than I currently do. There are always themes so I can’t use the same photo every time anyway, but with some photos fitting lots of themes it is easy to fall into the trap of not bothering to try something different. I am hoping that by doing this I will see myself using the same photo and push me to try something different.
The first set of update results I’m going to share was from 28 August 2015. There were 4 competitions in voting stages that I had entered so here are the voting results as it stood at the time in order on the email:
Mark of Time – a photo to show the passing of time. I went with this photo as I thought the passing of a river affects the land a lot:
And here was my current standing:
Ok, not the best start then. Why did I decide to share these results again? Never mind, on to the next.
Get Out – a photo showing a summer adventure. Admittedly I wasn’t convinced by this entry – it had to be photo of the outdoors but I didn’t consider having someone in the photo doing something. It was a mistake not to try and take a photo specifically for the contest but I decided to give it a go. Here was my entry:
Here was my current standing:
Perhaps not the best performance but I was happy with it – onwards and upwards.
Best Water Shots 2015 – as it sounds, you best shots of water. Here was my entry:
Here was my current standing:
That’s more like it – in with a good shot for this one perhaps if things continued to go well. Needless to say I was very pleased with the standing of this one at the time. So on to the fourth and final update from this email.
Basic Edits – again as it sounds, a photo with only some basic edits done to it. I knew what I wanted to enter for this one, I still consider this one to be one of my best photos even though this was from the first trip out with my HS20 after buying it. Here is my entry:
Here was my current standing:
Oh. Not what I had hoped for – perhaps I just view the photo through rose tinted glasses as I consider it one of my favourites or also very likely the competition was just too good. Never mind.
A bit of a mix of rank updates from this email as you can see. I’ll continue to share more as they come up. I have been a finalist once for a ViewBug competition (with the header photo of this blog as it happens) and hope I will get there again at some point in the future.