Become a Finalist or Winner in STF Awards

Becoming a STF Awards finalist or winner is something to be very proud of, below are a few tips to increase your chances.

Enter your best work. 

Only enter the photos which you feel are really great. If you have 10 photos of the same subject and moment in time, find the best one, edit it to your liking and only submit that one photo. Really focus in on what you love about the photo, and commit to it.

Submit your photos more than once. 

Since 2012 there have been many occasions when a photo has not been a finalist one month, the photographer has entered it again and it has become a finalist in a consequent month. We always have great imagery submitted into the awards, but some months are stronger than others. There are times when your photo would have been a finalist in a particular month, but you just happened to enter it in a very strong month.

This idea is pretty simple; try again. If you feel your image is really great, submit it again.

Tell the story of the photo. 

A story helps build emotion in a photo. When you are uploading the photo (or you can edit at any time), tell us about the capture. Tell about the subject, the location, the time of day, or any other thing that you like. Take your time when telling the story of a photo, a story can go a long way. 🙂

Refer to the 10 criteria of the STF photo critiques below. 

  1. Overall impact
  2. Composition
  3. Emotion
  4. Lighting / Exposure
  5. Originality / Creativity
  6. Difficulty
  7. Technical execution
  8. Color / Tone
  9. Subject matter
  10. Storytelling

These are the kinds of things the judges are considering when judging your photo. Do you feel like you have done a good job with some of these criteria? If so, it is a good photo to submit into the STF Awards. Remember, very few photos will score highly in all of these criteria, for most photos there are at least a few criteria that are not relevant.

Consider how your photo has been edited.

Most of the STF Awards winners have been edited to some extent over the years by the photographer. However if you look at the past winner, many of them don’t look super over edited. This is definitely a craft that can take a while to perfect, so don’t stress if you are not a master yet. 🙂 You certainly don’t need to be a master at editing images to become a STF Awards winner, and some images do not require any editing, but if you are really over editing your images, it may not help your chances.

We do except photos with cleaver editing/mixed media type effects, so don’t be afraid to enter photos that you have worked on in post for a while. What we are looking for mostly is editing that increases the impact of the photo, not editing that decreases the impact of the photo. This is a bit of a tough space to balance, and it is definitely open to interpretation, but we felt is was worth addressing.

Ask for feedback

If you feel like some feedback on your photos would be helpful, you can invite people to critique your photo. This is a STF feature that is super valuable. You can ask people outside of the STF product, or you could message another STF Member and ask them to critique your work. Remember to always be kind and gracious if you are asking another STF Member to give you feedback on your work. Asking for feedback from photographers you respect is usually the fastest way to improving your work and craft.