The Average Suburban Dad

My self-assigned spot of the internet where I wax lyrical about ... err ... stuff.

25 July 2022

Post 254 / The Average Suburban Dad / 2022-07-25
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This post was pulled from the archives after the great web server crash of 2023.


If you have been around here for a long time you will remember the image of Batman that won a Bronze with Distinction award in an international portrait competition. It was the only image I entered and the first time I had entered the competition.

I entered again. And again, only one image. But I did something with this image that I would be prepared to say that less than 0.1% of the participants would think of doing. And the other 99.9% would be physically ill at the thought of doing so.

I entered it completely unretouched.

The photo you see (minus the crappy compression the internet and platforms do to photos) is the photo as it came out of the Nikon Z9. To be fair, the image had to be resized to meet the competition requirements, but I swear on my Nikon Z9 that not a single adjustment slider was touched. My wife can also confirm this although she says nobody cares, but for my own integrity, I needed someone else to see.

I’m too scared to admit this in the competition Facebook group as I feel I stand a real chance of being banned or labelled “unprofessional” for having the audacity to do such a thing! These are people who spend weeks agonising over an entry and whilst I respect their dedication to the art form, that’s not for me. Even my wife said “Do so at your own risk” when I asked if I should reveal this in the Facebook group.

To directly quote from my last competition post:

“My biggest belief around photography is that you only need to please one or two people. Yourself, and if appropriate for the image, the person paying you. Although I have always gone and watched photography awards being judged and/or displayed to see the amazing work, I’ve always known the majority of the images were taken specifically for the awards. I’ve never entered for this reason. Plus, I’ve never been one to Photoshop an image within an inch of its life as is often the case with award images. I have full respect for those who choose to enter these awards. Your work is stunning and I believe way out of my calibre. But still, I’ve never had the interest or desire to enter myself.”

I had completely forgotten about the entry and only remembered when I saw a post about results being available.

In complete honesty, I expected this image to bomb and score in the “approaching professional standard” level, which is competition talk for “This sucks”. But, to my delight, I achieved a Bronze with this image. I’ll happily take a “professional standard” award for an unretouched image any day of the week! There are thousands of edited images that score lower each year.

It’s nice to know that my constant effort to get an image “right in the camera” is producing award-winning results. I’ve had this approach to photography for as long as I can remember and always preach it when asked for advice.

This portrait was made as part of a “from arrival to image selection” ten-minute headshot photoshoot for the roller derby league my wife belongs to. This was not shot with any intention of submission but when I saw it on the monitor, I knew I wanted to buck all traditions and give it a go.

If you never hear from me again, the Portrait Masters found out and have had me “taken care of”.

As always, it’s been great connecting with you and I look forward to doing so again shortly.