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Every year, the GTTP is running a Digital Photo Competition for Tourism learners in South African High Schools.
The purpose of the competition is to provide learners the opportunity to practice using visual tools to communicate with other people.
The theme of the digital photo competition is:
SOMETHING UNIQUE and SPECIAL IN MY COMMUNITY
The objective of the competition is to showcase something unique and special in the area that
will attract tourists to visit that part of South Africa.
You can take a photo of anything – a historic building, a natural feature, an animal, a tourism event or a tourism activity. The sky is the limit!
Remember to ask yourself the question:
Is this unique and special to my area and will my photograph attract tourists to our village, town or city?
What equipment to use:
You may use a digital camera or a cell phone camera.
GTTP ownership of your photos:
All photos that are submitted become the property of the GTTP, and if used in print or electronic media, the student photographer will be credited.
As we said before, your task in this competition is to create one photo that can be used to introduce a visitor to your community.
A word of warning: capturing this image will not be easy.
One big challenge facing people creating images is that their audience judges their efforts very, very quickly. According to one study by Google, it takes just 0.05 seconds for an image to make a first impression on a person, and sometimes even less. First impressions, especially bad ones, rarely change. This is important information if you are designing a website, for example – or entering a photo competition.
A second challenge is that now everyone seems to be a photographer, which means everyone is also a photo connoisseur and critic.
By one estimate, 880 billion photos will be taken in 2017, mostly by people with camera-phones and digital cameras. Some estimates are higher.
The enormous number of photos available to be viewed online provides you with an opportunity to explore good and bad photography and to learn from that investigation before you submit your own photo.
We suggest you take the following two steps.
Step 1: Make sure you understand your camera.
First of all, it does not matter whether you have a big expensive camera with many lenses or a small, inexpensive point-and-shoot. Skill and a good eye for a picture are more important. Both can be learned. Think of a sport you like: what is more important? Skill? Or equipment?
Your camera-phone, digital or film camera is just a tool in the same way that a wood chisel is a tool. Anyone can use a chisel, but only after practice can you use a chisel to make it do all that you need. So practice a lot before you choose a photo to submit.
Like any tool, it helps to know what your camera can and cannot do well. You know how to take pictures. However if you are like most people, you may not have invested much time investigating all the controls of your equipment. You can do this by taking many pictures at different camera settings. This will help you learn its strengths and weaknesses, and teach you to work with your camera’s strengths and avoid its weaknesses.
Reading books or online articles about photography and how to be a better photographer are always useful, and also fun, no matter how experienced you are. But the most useful thing you can do – as we said before — is take out your camera and practice, practice, practice.
Step 2: Look at other people’s photos.
We suggest looking at some of those 880 billion images.
Of course many of the images will be of interest only to the people taking the photos and not to anyone else. For those people, the quality of their photography is less important. You can learn from their efforts.
Billions of images also mean that many people are taking the same kinds of photo. For example, the artist Penelope Umbrico researching camera-phone photography in 2006 for one of her art projects found that the most common image tag or label was not “mother” or “baby” but “sunsets.” We have seen a lot of sunset photos submitted to this competition. None were memorable. Beach photos also are popular, and hard to do well.
So we suggest looking at as many travel photos as possible. You will be looking at pictures of sunsets, beaches, buildings, streets, houses, people, animals, planes, trains, boats. As you do, start thinking about which ones you like, and why. Think of yourself as a judge at a photo competition
We hope that after you review some of those 880 thousand billion images that you will know what travel photos engage you.
There are websites that share travel photos. For example, if you have a camera-phone, start by looking at www.flickr.com/groups/travelphonegraphy/ There are many other sites. Some online sites have groups that post images from specific brands of camera-phone, digital camera, and film camera.
And here is a quick tip: a carefully planned photograph is by definition is unlikely to be spontaneous. So include in your planning enough time to experiment taking the photograph from just the right position, and if possible experiment with different times of the day in order to get the light just right. Also pay attention to technical competence, which includes images being in focus, correctly exposed and not blurred because you could not hold the camera steady. If there is a horizon in your image, it needs to be level.
Then take your photos. Then pick the best one to enter in the competition.
You may not realise it, but you are an experienced consumer of images. You see images on social media, TV, in advertisements, in newspapers, magazines, brochures, on computers, camera phones, billboards, noticeboards, and emails. Some of those images engage your attention, many do not. Whether you win or not, this competition can help you understand better how one visual medium functions, and this knowledge will help you in your career.