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The future of the Image Quest contest

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TwoWheels, Nov 3, 2015.

Tags:
  1. I'm not interested and don't really care. It's not my thing.

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  2. The duration isn't right. Run it more/less frequently.

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  3. Make it easier. The themes are too hard/obscure/confining.

    5 vote(s)
    22.7%
  4. Keep it going with no changes. The people who don't participate are deadbeats and don't matter.

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  5. Change the rules or nature of the contest. Comment below.

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  6. Other. Comment below.

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  1. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    We've had the Image Quest contest running for a few months now. Initially we had good participation but the last few contests have had very few entries. As someone who was involved in getting the original one started, I'm curious why the numbers are down. Have people just lost interest? Is there an issue with the way the contest is set up? Rather than have it fade away, I thought I'd put up a poll and try to get some input to see if there's still interest and what, if any, changes need to be made. What do you think?
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I did not vote because I have no idea what the Image Quest Contest is.
     
  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I won't call anyone a deadbeat or say they don't matter. I think a no change choice without the judgement would have been nice.

    Rule changes might be in order. Rule 3 states the intent is to get people out shooting.

    3. Since the intent of this challenge is to get people out and shooting, entries should be shot during the time-frame of the challenge (i.e. no searching through back catalogs for images that match the theme.

    Perhaps the intent could be to have fun and share our photographs. That could allow any photo that fits the theme regardless of when it was taken be submitted.

    It could be about photography instead of u43 and drop rule 4.

    4. Since this is a Micro Four Thirds forum, entries should be shot with a Micro Four Thirds camera.

    I have a slight preference for an "any photo from any system that fits the theme" contest.

    Let's not get hung up on the equipment and just have fun.

    Fred
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    My humor is sometimes a little sarcastic and it clearly wasn't apparent here. I had no intent to be unpleasant. I'll edit it if I can.

    Some good thoughts and ideas...Thanks for your input.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    I have missed a few contests recently but that was entirely due to personal circumstances, I just didn't have any time for photography. So I can't really draw any conclusions from my own experience about why numbers generally are down.

    There have been quite a few themes around intangible concepts and these can be quite challenging. I am not saying that "challenging" is a bad thing but perhaps too many abstract themes in a row could lead to numbers dropping. The very first "my town" theme was probably accessible to most people and maybe mixing in a few more concrete themes would help.

    Possibly the "M43 only" rule could be relaxed. A couple of times I have been about to submit a photo that fit well with the chosen theme but realised I had taken it with my mobile phone. The "laughter" theme is an example, I did take some shots of my children laughing but they happened when we were doing mundane daily activities when I didn't have my M43 camera with me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I agree that entries shouldn't be limited to m43 gear, but they still should be taken in time frame of the contest - otherwise it will become contest of who's portfolio if bigger.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  7. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    That is useful feedback. It goes without saying that if people don't know about the thread/contest, they won't participate.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    I think I agree with that, although I could possibly be persuaded otherwise. It seems to me that if we can share a photo taken at any time, any given contest thread is really much the same thing as any other thread in the "Images to Share" forums. I enjoy participating in those threads too, but I see the Image Quest as something different because someone who is just starting in photography can easily compete with someone with a portfolio spanning decades.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Problem is that because there are so few posts in recent contests, the thread falls off radar in Recent/New posts.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Also, iirc, only some of them have been featured on the home page (I do try to nominate all of them, but it would be good if others do as well).

    I haven't entered Spooky as I haven't shot anything spooky lately, but I am keeping my eyes open.

    There were a couple that were a bit obscure.

    Perhaps adding the word 'contest' or 'challenge' to the thread titles would draw more attention... 'quest' is less obvious imho.

    Thanks,
    Barry
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    351
    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    The contest deserves a 'sticky' position at or near the top of the page. I've not been aware of them still running.

    Maybe we should all pay £1 (dollar, Euro etc) via PayPal to enter with the winner picking up half the take as a prize and the other half going to cover running costs for the site.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I would like to participate more. I just haven't had the chance to shoot for the subject. Also, I didn't realize it was time to vote last time. I just missed it.
     
  13. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    I like the contests and have participated in a few, and intended to participate in more, but the last few have either had a theme that didn't fit my style of shooting (e.g. "laughter" when I rarely shoot people and the people in my family are camera shy) or I simply didn't have time, which is the primary reason. My image output overall in the last 2 months has way below normal due to being very busy. FWIW, I like having a theme that challenges me to try other styles of photography, but finding the time to challenge myself this time of year can be its own challenge. In general, though, I think the themes that are most accessible to everyone are either very broad and can be interpreted in many different ways OR themes that utilize a particular camera technique or feature (e.g. multiple exposure or long exposure) that can have a wide variety of subjects. I do like the rule that the photo has to be taken during the contest period, even if on occasion I had the perfect photo that didn't qualify for that reason.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  14. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Yeah, I think one of the recent ones didn't have a "last call for votes" announcement.

    Barry
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    So the key themes see to be the following:
    • Make it more visible.
    • Maybe open it up to non-m4/3 cameras.
    • Maintain the requirement to have the photo taken during the contest period.
    • Make the themes broader / more accessible
    I'll chip in two additional thoughts/questions: 1) Should we have the contest run on a monthly schedule just to keep it easy and allow plenty of time to shoot/edit a photo? That would avoid the issue of not being aware when it closes. 2) Should we have a theme at all or just call it a monthly photo contest where people enter their best shot regardless of the subject matter? I enjoy the monthly "Five Favorite Photos" thread and don't want to infringe on that. It would also be changing the original intent of the "Image Quest" threads but it's another way to do it.

    What do you think?
     
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  16. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    @TwoWheels@TwoWheels,
    I prefer to keep a theme, but monthy, or bi-weekly, would be fine with me.

    Your bullet points are great.
     
  17. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Same here ... in my view it really needs to be managed by the winner ... the early challenges I participated in had regular participation by the person who was running it, they posted heads-up about voting etc. It helped keep the thread alive and simply acted as a reminder.

    As to the current contest, being in Australia we don't celebrate Halloween as such and so finding a "spooky" theme is that bit harder, well all to much for me in fact, so I simply decided to pass this time round.

    I suspect that that there will be challenges that work for some and not others so participation will vary on that point alone.

    On the more recent comments:

    (1) My vote is for photos within the period; it should be about going out and taking the photo;
    (2) Monthly sounds good [clear easily understood deadlines].
    (3) Personally as this is a Mu43 forum I prefer the restriction on using only MU43 equipment.


    Andrew
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  18. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    I would rather keep the theme, but going to monthly would be easier to remember and would make it more likely that I would find time to enter.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. NoSeconds

    NoSeconds Mu-43 All-Pro

    I reckon the Image Quests are great... but...

    While I like the impetus to "get out and shoot" I live in the middle of nowhere and some of the themes can be restrictive. I also get hung up on the "quality" of my recent work vs some of my older stuff that I'd like to enter instead but it doesn't fit the rules...

    I also think expanding it out to a monthly thing is a good idea, it's not always possible to meet the two week deadline when things like work and life in general keep getting in the way...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    I like the monthly idea. If we said that the closing date for submission would always be the last day of a calendar month it would be easy to remember, especially if we made it part of the standard format of the thread title, e.g. "Image Quest #12 November 2015: "(theme)". Then we could allow a couple more days for voting and a few days after that for the winner to post a new thread. The winner would then not be under too much pressure to post the new thread immediately - I suspect that at the moment it sometimes ends up being a bit of a rush to try and get two weekends included within the contest duration. With a full month to play with, a day or two either way at the start would not really matter. So overall I would favour a fixed deadline for submission, but a bit of flexibility for both the current and previous winners in how they time things over the following few days.

    On your second question I would favour sticking to a theme. Apart from overlapping somewhat with other image sharing threads, a disadvantage I see of a "your best shot" approach is that people are likely to wait right to the end of a month before submitting, hoping they take a better photo before the end of the month. That would probably mean the thread going dead for most of the month and add to the problem of lack of visibility. Of course this applies to some extent to a themed contest too, but I think it is a bit easier to decide earlier on that you are not likely to take another photo that is both "better" AND fits with the theme.

    We should probably add a couple of hints to the contest starter (i.e. previous month's winner) in the standard thread starter post: post a link to the new thread at the end of the previous contest, post a reminder a few days before the submission closes, and another shortly before votes close. Picking up on a point Barry made, perhaps also a reminder to nominate the thread to be featured on the home page at some point. I don't think the latter should be done too early as a thread with no photos does not look good on the home page - perhaps leave it to the winner's judgement as to when there are enough photos to make the thread look appealing, but still enough time left to attract new entrants.

    Perhaps the contest starter could be encouraged to optionally post one or more photos of their own in the first post of the tread. This would NOT be an entry to the contest and could be taken with any camera at any time - the idea would just be to illustrate the theme and make the thread more visually appealing (related to two of my previous points, that the thread might go "dead" for a while as people won't want to submit too early, and that a text-only thread looks bad if nominated on the home page). The contest starter could of course still submit a contest entry later on in the normal way.

    I realise all the above is adding a bit of work to the "prize" of winning the contest, but here again I think the one-month idea works well, over the course of a month most people could probably find time for these little things, none of them would have to be done at one specific time. I do have the impression that (as Aushiker said) contests where the winner has been closely involved have had better participation. That is not meant as a criticism of other winners, the somewhat random scheduling we have had up to now probably makes it harder for people to coordinate with other aspects of their lives.

    Although I earlier said I might be in favour of allowing photos from any kind of camera, I would see this as less of an issue if I could plan around a monthly schedule, so I am fairly neutral on this - maybe if we move to a monthly contest we should leave the other rules unchanged to see how we get on. The level of constructive participation in this thread suggest there is still a reasonable level of interest in the idea.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
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