Using workshop created images in camera club competitions

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#1
Hi All, my first post here although I have been referring to the wealth of information stored & created here for eons!

I'm seeking opinion on the use of camera club members that attend photographic workshops/ tutorials and then submit some of those images into club/ external competitions. At our club we see a lot of this. A member will pay considerable money to attend a workshop and the standard of these images can be very good so they score well in competitions. Conversely the "normal" standard of their work can be quite at odds with these images, shall we say quite poor.

A club member that seeks out locations/ ideas etc and creates their own composition, edits their own pictures and then submits them can feel quite cheated when their images don't quite have the "Wow" factor and score less.

So is the use of "assisted" images fair in these circumstances? What do other clubs do or say about such matters?

Thoughts?
 
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#3
Most club rules state that submitted images should be entirely the photographers own work. That is all very well but the interpretation of that is open to question.

Imagine attending a workshop on portrait photography. The person running the workshop sets up a background and lights as well as providing a model. He runs through various lighting set ups and students take turns to attach the flash trigger to their cameras. At the end of the day it is quite possible that all the student has done is to press the trigger.

Is that their own work?
 
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#4
Most club rules state that submitted images should be entirely the photographers own work. That is all very well but the interpretation of that is open to question.

Imagine attending a workshop on portrait photography. The person running the workshop sets up a background and lights as well as providing a model. He runs through various lighting set ups and students take turns to attach the flash trigger to their cameras. At the end of the day it is quite possible that all the student has done is to press the trigger.

Is that their own work?
But also consider a "wildlife workshop" where a guide has taken you to a hide, and from there you create everything else, such as the crop, timing, lighting etc. I did a photo day at BWC but my shots were quite different to most peoples, because I had either longer or shorter lenses, and was prepared to lay on the ground etc to get a different POV.

Swings, roundabouts and lengths of string......
 
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#5
Understood. There are grey areas. I get that. That's why I'm asking. It depends how much tuition you get from the person running the workshop.

So where do you draw the line? How do you police that or write a rule for it?

ATM we ask that members consider the question and ask themselves "Is the image entirely my own work?". Did you set up lights, did you receive instruction on suggested speeds/ aperture/ ISO? Did you edit the resulting image yourself etc etc?
 
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#6
The student still has to set the camera up and press the trigger at ‘the decisive moment’. If they don’t, no photograph....
I go on workshops, to be amongst like minded people and practice my craft. If I get some good images I use them in club competitions. There is nothing in our rules against that.
 
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#8
This debate came about partly because a judge made some remarks about an image of a Kingfisher. The image was of the Kingfisher fully submerged underwater with a fish in its mouth. It was a great picture. However it could only have been taken in a studio. It was taken side on through a clear glass side of a small tank of water. Bait was used to attract the birds and they dived in to catch the fish. Lights, tank etc all set up by the studio. Students connected up a slave unit and pressed the shutter button at the right moment.

The actual involvement of creating the image was, in his opinion, negligible and that simply paying to acquire great photographs in such a manner is not in the spirit of the competition rules.
 
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#9
Most club rules state that submitted images should be entirely the photographers own work. That is all very well but the interpretation of that is open to question.
I think that appears to be the concern from a few people at different clubs, the rules where it is included means different things to different people and gets people annoyed. We run model workshops and have been asked on numberous occasions from people attending if they can enter them in club competitions. It is not our place to say, we have not made the rules but in a lot of cases, everything has been set-up for the photographer and all they have to do is click.

We like to think most people take on the technical set-up and could replicate it but ti is clear that some people are happy to pay their money, come along for a weekend and click the shutter and that is it. On the rare occasion we have been asked to judge club competitions, it has been made clear that we would not judge any image taken on our workshops.
 
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#10
This debate came about partly because a judge made some remarks about an image of a Kingfisher. The image was of the Kingfisher fully submerged underwater with a fish in its mouth. It was a great picture. However it could only have been taken in a studio. It was taken side on through a clear glass side of a small tank of water. Bait was used to attract the birds and they dived in to catch the fish. Lights, tank etc all set up by the studio. Students connected up a slave unit and pressed the shutter button at the right moment.

The actual involvement of creating the image was, in his opinion, negligible and that simply paying to acquire great photographs in such a manner is not in the spirit of the competition rules.

So it probably wasn't a wild bird either........ it doesn't appear ethical in any way really.
 
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#11
This debate came about partly because a judge made some remarks about an image of a Kingfisher. The image was of the Kingfisher fully submerged underwater with a fish in its mouth. It was a great picture. However it could only have been taken in a studio. It was taken side on through a clear glass side of a small tank of water. Bait was used to attract the birds and they dived in to catch the fish. Lights, tank etc all set up by the studio. Students connected up a slave unit and pressed the shutter button at the right moment.
I would honestly doubt that it was taken in a studio, though undoubtedly it was an 'assisted' photograph, i.e. likely taken in the wild, with a baited tank in the area of a stream and camera remtely controlled (similar to a goalmouth cameras at a football match).
It could be likened to the winner of the 2019 Countryfile Competition, which was a Harvest Mouse inside a partially eaten applem clearly a 'contrived' shot ... but do the rules preclude this type of shot?
Or do the rules state that such photos must be 'declared' i.e. acknowledged and declared by the photographer at entry to the competition?
 
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#12
I think that appears to be the concern from a few people at different clubs, the rules where it is included means different things to different people and gets people annoyed. We run model workshops and have been asked on numberous occasions from people attending if they can enter them in club competitions. It is not our place to say, we have not made the rules but in a lot of cases, everything has been set-up for the photographer and all they have to do is click.

We like to think most people take on the technical set-up and could replicate it but ti is clear that some people are happy to pay their money, come along for a weekend and click the shutter and that is it. On the rare occasion we have been asked to judge club competitions, it has been made clear that we would not judge any image taken on our workshops.
Thanks for that info. As you say, not for you to decide on club rules. It is very interesting to hear though that, in your experience, some people are merely intent on paying to acquire "The Image" that will score them a 10 at a club competition regardless of whether they have any idea whatsoever of how to use their camera to get such a shot.
 
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#14
I would honestly doubt that it was taken in a studio, though undoubtedly it was an 'assisted' photograph, i.e. likely taken in the wild, with a baited tank in the area of a stream and camera remtely controlled (similar to a goalmouth cameras at a football match).
It could be likened to the winner of the 2019 Countryfile Competition, which was a Harvest Mouse inside a partially eaten applem clearly a 'contrived' shot ... but do the rules preclude this type of shot?
Or do the rules state that such photos must be 'declared' i.e. acknowledged and declared by the photographer at entry to the competition?
Thanks. You may well be correct regarding the studio set up. Perhaps, as you say. it was an assisted shot.

What do the rules state? Normally the extent of them is that the work should be entirely that of the photographer.

Requiring a declaration of such shots would at least be a start.

It comes down to a moral judgement/ decision. Can you put your hand on your heart and say that you would have been able to acquire that image unaided?
 
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#15
It comes down to a moral judgement/ decision. Can you put your hand on your heart and say that you would have been able to acquire that image unaided?
Again it's not quite so simple.
Would photographs taken in/from a hide be excluded? (Many don't have a hide).
Would photographs where some bait is provided be prohibited? (Wild birds fed at an RSPB/WWT Reserve).
Would photographs taken on an arraged safari be excluded? (Plane to Africa & safari jeep).

"Moral judgements" are fine but not everyone has the same moral standards, so who decides?
 
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#17
Again it's not quite so simple.
Would photographs taken in/from a hide be excluded? (Many don't have a hide).
Would photographs where some bait is provided be prohibited? (Wild birds fed at an RSPB/WWT Reserve).
Would photographs taken on an arraged safari be excluded? (Plane to Africa & safari jeep).

"Moral judgements" are fine but not everyone has the same moral standards, so who decides?
I don't disagree. They are similar examples to ones that we have already discussed.

Presumably the committee of the club will decide and include a rule in their handbook. As I alluded to earlier. It's difficult to police any such rules. Obviously the discussion above regarding people that just want to pay to get "the picture" and have no interest in how they get it technically is one extreme. The opposite is the person that does entirely their own thing from start to finish. In the middle are such examples as you have given.

What exactly determines assistance with a picture? Paying to be taken to a location? Paying for models? Being shown how to set your camera?

At the end of the day is it "fair" that the picture of the Kingfisher underwater goes into a competition up against another Kingfisher taken by a solo photographer unaided in a wood?

This is why I posted, asking for opinion. It would seem that the split is akin to other discussions on the matter. It's a "Marmite" split.
 
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#18
Hi All, my first post here although I have been referring to the wealth of information stored & created here for eons!

I'm seeking opinion on the use of camera club members that attend photographic workshops/ tutorials and then submit some of those images into club/ external competitions. At our club we see a lot of this. A member will pay considerable money to attend a workshop and the standard of these images can be very good so they score well in competitions. Conversely the "normal" standard of their work can be quite at odds with these images, shall we say quite poor.

A club member that seeks out locations/ ideas etc and creates their own composition, edits their own pictures and then submits them can feel quite cheated when their images don't quite have the "Wow" factor and score less.

So is the use of "assisted" images fair in these circumstances? What do other clubs do or say about such matters?

Thoughts?
As a camera club Judge myself I HATE this with a vengeance - GRRRRRRR :bat::bat::bat::bat::bat:

But - I have to judge what's in front of me, that's what the CC asks me to do, so the problem lies with the club rules (and the honesty of the entrant) rather than the judging

Dave
 
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#19
Just as with grey imports, indeed ...
Slightly off topic! :LOL:
At the end of the day is it "fair" that the picture of the Kingfisher underwater goes into a competition up against another Kingfisher taken by a solo photographer unaided in a wood?
It can be yes ... the photo of the Kingfisher in the wood may well be far superior in every way to the 'aided' photo.
As long as it is declared and within the rules, it is for the judge to decide on which photograph is superior.
 
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#20
As a camera club Judge myself I HATE this with a vengeance - GRRRRRRR :bat::bat::bat::bat::bat:

But - I have to judge what's in front of me, that's what the CC asks me to do, so the problem lies with the club rules (and the honesty of the entrant) rather than the judging

Dave
Thanks Dave. I presume that you are alluding to hating workshop images?

Again, I agree with you that the club is at fault in allowing the image submission.

It's a difficult subject and I can see why clubs do not want to upset people by banning them. Membership numbers could be diminished.

A tough one...
 
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#21
Your question is certainly “food for thought”, our camera club does have the statement the image must be your own work but everyone’s interpretation of “own work” and what you had to do to achieve the finished result could be called into question. The recent winner of our club wildlife competition was taken at a paid activity and shot from a hide. Other images in the same competition were from areas specifically setup to facilitate the best “out of camera” image. Possibly not for wildlife but one of the aspects I enjoy about photography is the setup of the scene to produce the end result but using my own ideas.
 
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#22
Slightly off topic! :LOL:

It can be yes ... the photo of the Kingfisher in the wood may well be far superior in every way to the 'aided' photo.
As long as it is declared and within the rules, it is for the judge to decide on which photograph is superior.
So you are they guy that has waited patiently for hours in the woods for the Kingfisher to arrive and you score a 9. The person that has paid to go on a workshop where everything is laid on a plate gets a 10.

Fair? Happy?

Most clubs do not require a declaration of workshop pictures. That would be a step in the right direction imho.
 
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#23
Your question is certainly “food for thought”, our camera club does have the statement the image must be your own work but everyone’s interpretation of “own work” and what you had to do to achieve the finished result could be called into question. The recent winner of our club wildlife competition was taken at a paid activity and shot from a hide. Other images in the same competition were from areas specifically setup to facilitate the best “out of camera” image. Possibly not for wildlife but one of the aspects I enjoy about photography is the setup of the scene to produce the end result but using my own ideas.
Thanks, could you elaborate please? What do you mean by setting up for best out of camera image?
 
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#25
So you are they guy that has waited patiently for hours in the woods for the Kingfisher to arrive and you score a 9. The person that has paid to go on a workshop where everything is laid on a plate gets a 10.

Fair? Happy?
I don't see a problem!
I could argue it's unfair because the winner had a 600 f4 lens costing £10k whereas my lens was a consumer zoom costing £500.
Surely it's making the best photo from whatever circumstances you have available to you, so that the judge is impressed with what you have presented ... otherwise it could seem there is a case of 'sour grapes'.

I should add that I don't belong to a camera club (threads like this do nothing to encourage me to do so!) and that I have only ever entered one competiton (at the request of a magazine editor) and I came 3rd. :)
 
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#26
Most clubs do not require a declaration of workshop pictures. That would be a step in the right direction imho.
Absolutely, although it can't be policed, and depends on honesty. And people who are greedy to win, might not always be honest ... as has been shown before.
 
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#27
It could be that camera club competitions are a silly idea anyway .. in fact the term 'camera club' is a bit of a giveaway ... what happened to 'photography'?
 
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#28
I don't see a problem!
I could argue it's unfair because the winner had a 600 f4 lens costing £10k whereas my lens was a consumer zoom costing £500.
Surely it's making the best photo from whatever circumstances you have available to you, so that the judge is impressed with what you have presented ... otherwise it could seem there is a case of 'sour grapes'.

I should add that I don't belong to a camera club (threads like this do nothing to encourage me to do so!) and that I have only ever entered one competiton (at the request of a magazine editor) and I came 3rd. :)
OK. I asked for opinions and that is one!

Personally I don't believe that the cost of equipment should be considered. There are people at our club that have those kind of lenses and they also occasionally get annoyed when workshop pictures beat them!
 
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#29
OK. I asked for opinions and that is one!

Personally I don't believe that the cost of equipment should be considered. There are people at our club that have those kind of lenses and they also occasionally get annoyed when workshop pictures beat them!
and therein lies the problem, there are differing opinions ... you think you are right and I think I am right.
If the club arranges the competition it is for the club to set the conditions/rules and for the judges decision within those rules to be respected.
 
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#30
and therein lies the problem, there are differing opinions ... you think you are right and I think I am right.
If the club arranges the competition it is for the club to set the conditions/rules and for the judges decision within those rules to be respected.
Yes there are and, no, I'm not expressing that I am right and that you are wrong at all. I have my opinion and I am looking for other views. If there are convincing reasons one way or the other I'm happy to accept a different POV.

I totally agree that it is for the club to set the rules of the competition and that judges can only judge within that framework. I opened up this to a, hopefully, wider audience as we are discussing this with a view to amending rules to account for the fair majority view.
 
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#31
Thanks, could you elaborate please? What do you mean by setting up for best out of camera image?
I mean having a setup where everything is geared towards the best shot, similar to what is sometimes provided near a paid hide, like reflection pools for squirrels etc
 
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#32
I mean having a setup where everything is geared towards the best shot, similar to what is sometimes provided near a paid hide, like reflection pools for squirrels etc
Thanks. I see.

So the question to be asked then is exactly how much did you do towards creating the image? (Hypothetically) If you found the location, set up the props, set your camera etc then it would seem to be your creation. However had you paid to go to a workshop where that was all done for you and all you had to do was sit and wait for any wildlife to appear having set your camera to some recommended settings then perhaps it wouldn't be considered all your own work?

Not a dig at you at all, merely trying to establish an understanding.
 
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#33
I've read this with interest. Replying as someone who has never been to a camera club or entered any camera club competitions (and never will due to threads like this)...

If you're getting 'beaten' by images made on a workshop, get out there and practice and practice until you improve to a level where you're 'competing' and 'beating' said images yourself instead of complaining about it on the internet. Surely you'd take even greater pleasure 'beating' a workshoppers image if you worked even harder to do it.

Competition is all relative anyhow, as one judges brilliant is another photographers trash. Opinions are like arseholes and all that jazz.
 
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#34
Reading this thread is confirming exactly why I stopped even trying camera clubs - way too many of them (in my experience across NE & NW England & Ireland) have too many members taking life way too seriously.
 
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#35
I've read this with interest. Replying as someone who has never been to a camera club or entered any camera club competitions (and never will due to threads like this)...

If you're getting 'beaten' by images made on a workshop, get out there and practice and practice until you improve to a level where you're 'competing' and 'beating' said images yourself instead of complaining about it on the internet. Surely you'd take even greater pleasure 'beating' a workshoppers image if you worked even harder to do it.

Competition is all relative anyhow, as one judges brilliant is another photographers trash. Opinions are like arseholes and all that jazz.
OK. Another aspect to the discussion. Yes, absolutely, good point, well made etc. No sarcasm intended.

For a lot of people, some have even said so above, club competitions are a way of getting feedback on the standard of your photography from a respected person such as a judge. The competitive side of it is added fun/ interest. So imagine that you've given it your best shot and you get a lower score than someone that "bought" a picture.

It's like anything else in life, football, motor racing etc. all anyone wants is a level playing field to compete in.

You take a good picture btw. You'd do well in competitions!
 
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#36
I’ve not been a member of a camera club for about 7 years now, but as I do talks at clubs I do tend to visit their websites and see examples of members work.

Now, I know the square root of sod all about nature photography but I have started to see work from shoots organised by Time Line Events. For those who don’t know about them, they arrange events at heritage railways, aircraft museums and other such places where they employ re-enactors, smoke and lighting to produce some very dramatic and authentic looking scenes. I’ve been to a couple myself, and while I’ve enjoyed them, I realised that the creativity is mostly down to the organisers. Of course you still have to set your camera up and may have to wait your turn among the 50-70 other participants to get the exact composition you were after, but you will get a very good photograph. You can still foul things up - I did - but there’s enough opportunity to try and try again and you’ll normally get something usable unless you’re completely incompetent.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it’s a good, if somewhat pricey, way of getting some dramatic photographs in places that you’d otherwise be unable to arrange on your own. But I’d personally feel somewhat aggrieved if I was in a club and an image I’d created was beaten by an image taken on an event like this, and given how many people attend these events I imagine that a fair number are making their way into camera club competitions.
 
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#37
OK. Another aspect to the discussion. Yes, absolutely, good point, well made etc. No sarcasm intended.

For a lot of people, some have even said so above, club competitions are a way of getting feedback on the standard of your photography from a respected person such as a judge. The competitive side of it is added fun/ interest. So imagine that you've given it your best shot and you get a lower score than someone that "bought" a picture.

It's like anything else in life, football, motor racing etc. all anyone wants is a level playing field to compete in.

You take a good picture btw. You'd do well in competitions!
They didn't 'buy' their photo though. They paid for the experience, yes, and for the tutors knowledge, of course, but to say they bought a photo is a bit much. I run landscape workshops, yet I have never once told someone to take an image a certain way. I guide them to a location, they listen to what I have to say about composition of course (and everything else that goes along with a workshop depending on their level of experience) they're paying me for that, however, I personally never tell them to use X,Y,Z, because although I've taken them to a location and helped them understand composition, I really do like them to make their own image from the locations I take them to, and then I'll give them my input on what they create.

So to say that because someone was on a workshop means that the image is nothing at all to do with their own work, from my personal point of view (maybe other workshop leaders do do all of the work, I wouldn't know) and the way I run my workshops, it certainly isn't the case.

I can see why people like to get feedback to judge how they're coming along in their journey, so can see that side of it I guess...but then does that feedback turn into something that you're creating to please a judge rather than yourself? Another can of worms for sure.

Thanks for the compliments, much appreciated.
 
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#38
I run workshops and some customers aren't very interested in doing anything for themselves. They ask where they should stand, what lens they should use, how their composition should look, what aperture they need, etc etc. What they end up taking is my photo. Not that I mind that at all, but I've seen a few such images then entered into competitions which I think is a bit cheeky.
 
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#39
I’ve not been a member of a camera club for about 7 years now, but as I do talks at clubs I do tend to visit their websites and see examples of members work.

Now, I know the square root of sod all about nature photography but I have started to see work from shoots organised by Time Line Events. For those who don’t know about them, they arrange events at heritage railways, aircraft museums and other such places where they employ re-enactors, smoke and lighting to produce some very dramatic and authentic looking scenes. I’ve been to a couple myself, and while I’ve enjoyed them, I realised that the creativity is mostly down to the organisers. Of course you still have to set your camera up and may have to wait your turn among the 50-70 other participants to get the exact composition you were after, but you will get a very good photograph. You can still foul things up - I did - but there’s enough opportunity to try and try again and you’ll normally get something usable unless you’re completely incompetent.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it’s a good, if somewhat pricey, way of getting some dramatic photographs in places that you’d otherwise be unable to arrange on your own. But I’d personally feel somewhat aggrieved if I was in a club and an image I’d created was beaten by an image taken on an event like this, and given how many people attend these events I imagine that a fair number are making their way into camera club competitions.

Spot on! This is happening a lot. Judges are generally very diplomatic but make comments alluding to having seen the exact same image at several other clubs previously. It appears to be a win at all costs mentality. Personally I cannot see the point. The satisfaction level of producing such an image is minimal.


They didn't 'buy' their photo though. They paid for the experience, yes, and for the tutors knowledge, of course, but to say they bought a photo is a bit much. I run landscape workshops, yet I have never once told someone to take an image a certain way. I guide them to a location, they listen to what I have to say about composition of course (and everything else that goes along with a workshop depending on their level of experience) they're paying me for that, however, I personally never tell them to use X,Y,Z, because although I've taken them to a location and helped them understand composition, I really do like them to make their own image from the locations I take them to, and then I'll give them my input on what they create.

So to say that because someone was on a workshop means that the image is nothing at all to do with their own work, from my personal point of view (maybe other workshop leaders do do all of the work, I wouldn't know) and the way I run my workshops, it certainly isn't the case.

I can see why people like to get feedback to judge how they're coming along in their journey, so can see that side of it I guess...but then does that feedback turn into something that you're creating to please a judge rather than yourself? Another can of worms for sure.

Thanks for the compliments, much appreciated.

I politely disagree. I do think that in some cases it is "buying" a picture. Not in your workshops maybe and good for you.

In some cases though I would imagine that it's in the best interest of the crew running the workshop to ensure that people go away with a great set of images regardless of their skill level. Otherwise the repeat business would dry up. Look everyone has to make a living and everyone has to learn.

All I 'm saying is go on the courses, learn the skills, put them into practice another day and use THOSE images for your competitions.

I run workshops and some customers aren't very interested in doing anything for themselves. They ask where they should stand, what lens they should use, how their composition should look, what aperture they need, etc etc. What they end up taking is my photo. Not that I mind that at all, but I've seen a few such images then entered into competitions which I think is a bit cheeky.
Exactly. This is happening very often now hence the ongoing discussion.

Thanks for the replies. Well these three posts pretty much sum it up don't they? How coincidental that they are posted one after the other.

People are all different , obviously, some will just want to "pay" for the picture and others will be happy to be with like minded people and do their own thing.
 
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#40
Thanks for that info. As you say, not for you to decide on club rules. It is very interesting to hear though that, in your experience, some people are merely intent on paying to acquire "The Image" that will score them a 10 at a club competition regardless of whether they have any idea whatsoever of how to use their camera to get such a shot.
I'd say it is all about 'acquiring the image' for some people for sure. We've had a couple of high respected and well-know photographers/speakers/judges on the UK amateur club system that even knew specific shots they wanted because they had seen similar shots from our workshops before and they had scored highly.
 
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