SDPUG Hosts Fairest of the Fair Judges

Written by David Delgadillo of Darkroomers Camera Club. Photo © David Delgadillo.

Stephen Burns’ group, the San Diego Photoshop Users Group, hosted a panel of San Diego Fair photography judges the afternoon of February 17th at the Art Institute in Mission Valley. Those judges were: John Watts, Will Gibson, Amanda Dean Dahlgren, Larry Vogel, Lee Kohse and Greg Klamt.Also on the panel were Exhibition Coordinator, Gene Wild, and Assistant Coordinator, Lois Fong-Sakai.

The well attended group of photographers came to hear of insights and practices to increase their chances of having print submissions accepted into the Fair. They were not disappointed. The judges were clear and candid about what it takes to get prints on the wall.

Their primary advice was to choose your photograph’s category wisely. You have to decide what is important in your image. Don’t call on the last day of submission to ask what category your print should be in. At times a judge may move it for you; but don’t expect it.

The next nugget is to have complete control over your craft. Art is not something that just happens to a person. Art is more than the sum of knowledge, disciple and creativity. Their recommendations for taking control include:

  • Select a Vantage Point for your photograph
  • Consider the quantity and quality of the Light with which is in the environment
  • Know your Color Theory
  • Consider watching for the (decisive) Moment
  • Study your rules of Composition
  • Other items to control are focus, pixelation, chromatic aberration and over-done HDR.
  • If you are photographing nature, the colors in your print should exist in nature.

Thirdly, remember that presentation is everything. A beautiful print is looses it gleam when poorly matted. Look at the image. Does it need to be small? Does it demand bigness? Again, the knowledge of your craft will guide you.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The San Diego Photoshop Users Group meets monthly at the Art Institute in Mission Valley. For directions, go to]