Judging for the NC 4-H Congress Photo Contest is performed by NC State University Communications. This department is staffed by communications professionals who are accustomed to creating and/or using photographic images as part of their own work. Below is a listing of the criteria the judges use when choosing the winners of this contest.

Relevancy to Category Topic - Is the photo an obvious illustration of the category in which it is entered? If the picture doesn’t tell us, does the information on the entry form make it clear how the subject fits the category?

Composition / Arrangement - Are the objects in the photo arranged in a meaningful, pleasing manner or are they haphazard? Did the photographer use the best angle or otherwise interesting perspective?

Focus / Sharpness - Is the object of the photo in focus? If not in sharp focus, does it appear to be an intentional effect to enhance the image in some artistic way?

Lighting - Did the photographer use proper lighting of the subject matter? Do any extremes of darkness or brightness lend to or detract from the image content?

Creativity - Does the photographer show some creative thought or original idea in the making of this image? Is the subject something unusual or is the content of the photo presented in a way we haven’t seen before?

Categories for the 2014 contest include the following:

4-H in Action: We’re looking for pictures that show us what happens at 4H events throughout the year. The key to winning this category is the action. We want to SEE what’s happening. If it’s a judging contest, we want to feel like we’re right in the middle of the action. If it’s meeting with legislators, then we want to feel like we’re so close we could shake that person’s hand. In other words, we want the photographer to get in close and show us what really happens when 4H’ers get together for an event or activity.

Nature’s Beauty: Nature’s Beauty is always our biggest category. We had close to 100 entries last year in this category alone, so competition is fierce. Winners in this category are ultimately chosen because they exhibit superior technical skill, move in close to the subject and capture something really different. Some show beautiful things such as sunsets and flowers. Others create beauty from something unexpected (mushrooms, a turtle having a snack, a dragonfly with torn wings.) All contain strong composition, nice light and sharp focus on the subject.

Silhouettes: Interpret this category any way you like. We'll be looking for creativity and originality in the content of the photos, as well as good technique. We want to see visual, graphic images in this category.

Please remember to submit your entries NO LATER THAN May 14, 2014.

We’re looking forward to another great group of photographs to judge for the 2014 Contest!