Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest Winners

A message from the judges:

The judges of the 10th annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest would like to extend our congratulations to everyone who participated. This year brought a bumper crop of beautifully composed and executed photographs and, as a result, we had to make many tough decisions.

In the end, we had to favor some images over others. We thought it would be useful to everyone to talk about some of the points that came up during our judging of the contest.

Editing: When an image didn't succeed, we often wondered if the photographer took any other shots of the subject. Successful photographers often try several points of view and pick the best one. Learning how to edit your work is as important as knowing how to use a camera. Since it's hard to be objective on your own, show your work to others frequently and gauge how they respond. You'll learn which images people are drawn to and, just as importantly, which images no one is drawn to. In time, you'll gain a better sense of your strengths as a photographer and this will help you when you select work to submit to contests and shows.

Cropping: Judicious cropping would have strengthened many of the images we saw. The world doesn't always present itself in perfectly rectangular compositions that just happen to match the proportions of your camera's viewfinder. If something doesn't contribute to your photograph's statement, don't hesitate to crop it out! Be especially wary of distracting elements around the edges that draw the eye away from your subject.

Sharpness: We saw some beautiful images whose only fault was poor sharpness. Sharpness isn't always the most important attribute of a photograph, but when texture or fine detail is critical to an image, lack of sharpness draws attention to itself. Learn how to focus accurately.

Print Quality: A few images could have benefited from better printing technique. If you don't have the means or ability to do your own printing, take your work to a good custom lab. Prints from a one-hour photofinisher are fine for proofing and editing; prints you submit as your best work deserve better.

Presentation:Don't take shortcuts with matting. Make sure that your prints are properly attached to the backing board so that they don't slide around. Keep your matting clean, simple, and functional. It should not detract from the image in any way.


We encourage all of you to participate in next year's contest. Get out there with your camera, do good work, and make our job as judges even tougher the next time around.

George Fry, professional photographer, 28 years.
Dave Hibbard, instructor, Pacific Art League.
Ellen Manchester, photography curator and editor.
Eva Soos, chief photographer, Palo Alto Weekly.

First-place winners in each category receive $250 in cash and a $100 gift certificate from PhotoTime. Second-place winners receive $150 in cash and a $100 gift voucher from UCSC extension Art and Design Department. Third-place winners receive $100 cash and a $100 gift certificate from University Art Center. Winners of the Youth Award will split a $100 gift certificate from University Art Center.

Photos that were chosen for exhibition

Peninsula People


First Place


Second Place


Third Place



Honorable Mention

Peninsula Images


First Place


Second Place


Third Place


Honorable Mention

Manipulated Images


First Place


Second Place


Third Place


Honorable Mention

Views From Beyond
the Peninsula


First Place


Second Place


Third Place


Honorable Mention

Special Youth Awards


Co-winner



Co-winner


Honorable Mention

Past Photo Contest Winners

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004
| 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 |1997