PHOTOGRAPHY: DPS Competition #3 2017

So, this coming Thursday will be the third monthly competition for my Photography Club.

I am in the Non-Advanced section and we have six rounds altogether. You can see my first two round entries HERE. My monochrome shots were deemed pretty weak last time with all three getting 16s, so while I hope to do better this time, these “competitions” are more about improving and learning than winning.

I can watch all the Youtube tutorials and follow all the Udemy courses (and I do) but entering these competitions is where most of my learning occurs. I always learn infinitely more by doing than just absorbing the knowledge intellectually. [Insert wise crack about Armchair Occultists here.]

Anyway, I’ll update this post with the results on Friday Morning, but in the meantime, If you want to see more of my photos check out my 500px profile.



“Bin” by Tommie Kelly

Beach Body

“Beach Body” by Tommie Kelly

Misty Coffee Shop

“Misty Coffee Shop” by Tommie Kelly



I See you

“I See you” by Tommie Kelly


“Pride” by Tommie Kelly

Night Air

“Night Air” by Tommie Kelly



Just got the photos back from the printers all mounted and ready to rock!

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography

Tommie Kelly Photography




So, the results are in and I received both my best and my worst scores to date.

The photo that came out the worst was “MISTY COFFEE SHOP” which scored an embarrassing 14. Now the way the scoring seems to work (to me) is that while it is ostensibly scored out of 20, the lowest mark I have seen anyone get was a 15. So, if you think about it, you are really getting marked out of 5 – with 15 being a 0 and 5 being a 20.

So, to get a 14 is like really, really bad. But that’s how it goes. I personally don’t feel the image was as terrible as all that – and my issue is that I don’t really know why it scored that bad so I don’t really know where I went wrong. The judge just didn’t like it and thought I should have cropped it more, which while somewhat helpful, doesn’t tell me too much. She said very similar things about “Pride” and then gave that a 16. So, I dunno what to do there.

I got my highest mark to date in the monochrome section with “I see you” getting an 18 – the other two (“Pride” and “Night Air“) both got 16s which is slightly disappointing as I was really trying to up my monochrome game. But I still have ways to go. My biggest problem is that the “rules” for photography are sometimes the complete opposite of the rules for drawing. In photography you are not allowed to have pure blacks or pure whites in your images and high contrast is frowned upon – whereas in say comic work, for instance, it’s the complete opposite. I have had many conversations with fellow artists about how to get the black ink blacker on the page and now I have conversations about doing the opposite.

My issue is that I really like solid blacks and whites – which is now known to me as “burnt out” – and it will be hard for me to get past this as I don’t actually like the look of what seems to be deemed as good monochromatic contrast. It just all seems boringly middle ground. BUT, and a big but, I am only into the photography game a few months – I am pretty sure I will look back at this with a more developed eye and understand why the “boring middle ground” is the way to go. Well maybe, we’ll see.

Bin” got 17 and that’s fair, unless you know the right half of the picture is a river (and how would anyone know other than me) then it just looks like boring black space. So, that’s good learning there – remember to always try to see the photo from the point of view of someone who has no idea of what the subject is. Seems simple but easily forgotten.

And finally coming to “Beach Body“, which scored a full 20 out of 20. The judge loved it and had some really nice things to say about the idea, composition, colours and crop. So I am delighted with that. This is my first full marks image and people in general seemed to really like it. It missed out of Photo of the Month, but placing in the top three overall is totally fine by me.

So, yea, a night of ups and downs and obviously being the person I am I am more mindful of the 14 than I am of the 20. Despite getting the 20, I come away generally disappointed as overall I didn’t do great. But this is what the game is and this is what I signed up for. The trick is to now turn that disappointment into drive and determination to improve for the next time.

Next Competition night is in January.



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