Salon Photography the Myths and the Musts

The first YPS Meet for July on Saturday the 2nd was on Salon Participation. The meeting was participated by 50 photographers. We had renowned photographer A K Raju to make “General Points” and YPS President and Judge in many salons to make “Major Points”.

Speaking first A K Raju explained that Salon participation in the early years gave him lots of learning and sense of achievement. He  spoke about some of the important aspects that judges look for in Salon pictures that photographers must aim to achieve. Some of the points made are:

  • Interesting Subject – Pictures that portray pictures of interest always won awards despite their technical qualities.
  • Uniqueness – Judges look for uniqueness, implementation of new ideas, unique angles and something that differentiates itself from others on the same subject.
  • Believe in your photo – Do not be disheartened and throw away a picture just because your picture was rejected in a Salon. Many times a picture that was rejected in a Salon could win major acclaims in other Salons as it had happened to A K Raju many times.
  • Do not be swayed by the Judges and presume Judge X likes a particular genre of pictures etc.

Satish spoke at length about how to participate in Salons and showed some of his works that won him awards in Salons.

He mentioned that the first thing that the photographers should do is to respect the rules of the Salon.

  • Read the details about the Salon Completely, rules of participation, eligibility criteria, important dates related to the Salon etc.
  • Understand the theme of the Salon and categories under which pictures are requested. Do not submit pictures not belonging to the category as the pictures may be rejected even if they are the best
  • Most salons do not allow names to be printed on the face of the picture to maintain anonymity. Read the rules of the Salon and accordingly prepare your pictures.  Most Salons also stipulate that the title and name be mentioned in the back.
  • Similarly some salons require you to mount your picture on a base and some do not. Follow those guidelines.
  • Print the pictures for the Salon. Many important photography labs allow you to sit with them to choose the right adjustments before printing.
  • Bring out the best of the mood in the picture by proper processing. Salons make a differentiation between processing and manipulation. Most Salons allow pictures to be processed. Processing means cropping for composition, adjusting exposure and colors, vignetting, burning, dodging and similar basic processing. Manipulation means adding and hiding elements in a picture. Over a period of time the rules have evolved and rules are different from Salon to Salon. Photographer must read and be familiar with all the rules of the Salon. YPS Life Member Madhusudhana Rao has nicely captured the discussion on this in his discussion topic Is processing an image allowed for a Salon?

He went on to show some of his class leading pictures that have won awards. He mentioned that some of his best pictures are made as casual shots during his travel as he never stops shooting and shoots from morning till night.