Photojournalism Competition – July 16th, 2019


By Nan Carder, APSA, MPSA2, AFIAP

Entries due by: July 9th at 11:59 p.m. Enter here

The July 16, 2019 LPA competition is Photojournalism General. Our judge is going to be Nancy Lehrer, a wonderful photojournalist who specializes in street photography, which is a subset of Photojournalism. Some links to her work are:  and

The Lancaster Photography Association (LPA), the Southern California Council of Camera Clubs (S4C), and the Photographic Society of America (PSA), all provide competitions for its members that are reality-based. Reality-based competitions are different from pictorial competitions because reality-based competitions allow few modifications that do not alter an image. Pictorial competitions allow all post processing modifications that may or may not alter an image.

Actually, competing in the reality-based classes is easier, since the exhibitor should not be manipulating the image other than cropping, straightening, dodging (lightening),and burning (darkening). Exhibitors can do basic adjustments to the image (like straighten the horizon) so it looks like the image the photographer saw when they took the picture.

The most important thing that an exhibitor can do with any competition, is to read the definitions and requirements. If the exhibitor understands the concepts of what a competition is asking for, there is no reason why the exhibitor cannot do well. There is less subjectivity by judges in the reality-based competitions than the pictorial competitions.

Below is the Photojournalism definition for the Lancaster Photography Association taken from the LPA webpages. Entries are due July 9, 2019.

PHOTOJOURNALISM - Photojournalism entries shall consist of images with informative content and emotional impact, reflecting the human presence in our world. The journalistic (story-telling) value of the image shall receive priority over pictorial quality. In the interest of credibility, images that misrepresent the truth, such as those from events or activities specifically arranged for photography or of subjects directed or hired for photography, are not eligible.

Entrants are cautioned that the previous sentence includes any images that appear to be arranged or posed to the judges. Entrants are therefore advised that such images are likely to be disqualified or scored low.

More Reality Based Class Information from the LPA website:

  1. Alterations: As with all reality-based divisions, (Nature, Photo Travel, and Photojournalism), techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable modifications are the removal of dust, scratches or digital noise, restoration of the existing appearance of the original scene, sharpening that is not obvious, and complete conversion to grayscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not eligible. All allowed adjustments must appear natural.
  2. Note: “Restoration of the appearance of the original scene” may include techniques such as HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning provided they do not alter the contents of the original scene and the result looks natural.
  3. Borders: Borders are optional, but must be 3 or 4 pixels in width and must be white or a shade of gray.

Here is some other important information to remember. This competition is Photojournalism General, so any PJ subject matter is allowed (including Human Interest):

  • Story, Story, Story: The story is the most important part of the image, and emotional impact helps (especially for human interest). The judge and viewer should know what the story is that the maker is trying to communicate. Crop out distracting or confusing backgrounds if possible.
  • Even though this is more about the story, it is important to have good pictorial quality. If the subject is out of focus because the shutter speed is too slow, the image will not do as well as the image that has the correct shutter speed, and the image is in focus.
  • No arranging or posing is allowed. An example is asking the subject to smile and or wave at the camera. In some images, the viewer cannot tell if the image has been set up, so many times the image will receive a low score. If in doubt, it may be best not to enter the image.
  • No manipulations allowed other than cropping, dodging, burning. Images that may have excessive saturation, and what is stated in “Note” etc., may not be DQ’d but may be low scored.
  • It is always safest to not have a border, but If a border is added, read the rules on what is allowed.Action images work very well, including rodeos, air shows, surfing, volleyball, etc.
  • Other images that can be used can be photographed at birthday parties, parades, disasters, and people in every-day life which includes street photography.
  • Keep it sweet and simple!

Included for viewing in this LPA issue are the recent S4C Award winning images from the 2018-2019 end of year competition. Winning images always help the viewer understand the subject matter. Study past winning images in LPA, S4C, and PSA competitions.

Everyone should have images from a family event, the AV Fair, or any activity that the photographer has attended. Straighten out those horizons when necessary, crop to get the story, resize the image, and submit! This is a competition that all LPA members should enter.

If anyone needs any assistance or information please contact

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