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4-H Photography Contest Judging

en Español

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Judging for the NC 4-H Photography Contest is performed by NC State University Communications and CALS Communications. These departments are staffed by communications professionals who are accustomed to creating and/or using photographic images as part of their own work.


Information 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 special effect to enhance the image artistically?

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 2023 contest

4-H in Action:

Show us what happens at your 4-H events. The key to winning this category is the action. We want to SEE what’s happening. If it is a judging contest photograph, we want to be 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. The judges want the photographer to get in close and show them what really happens when 4-H’ers get together for an event or activity.

Nature’s Beauty:

Show us what beautiful in nature mean to you! It may including habitats, landscapes, the sky, land, and water, along with the inhabitants of our amazing planet! 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, steam rising from a stream.) Make sure your photograph contain strong composition, nice light and sharp focus on the subject.

Special Effects:

Create photographs that have special effects either by snapping a photograph of a convex or concave reflection distorting the image or positioning the subject to look as if a tree branch is growing out of their ear. Create a Multiple Exposure of a single subject by repeating itself several times in one frame. Take a photograph where everything is blurred except a focal point by attaching the camera to a moving object or create an image of your friend holding up a building with the palm of their hand with placement of the subject and location of camera. Play with digitally enhancing a photograph by adding colors, lights, or distortions to the original picture to create special effects. Have FUN with this category! We look forward to seeing your entries!

Resources for you to take the perfect picture:  

Please remember entries must be submitted electronically by your 4-H Agent/PA  NO LATER THAN August 17, 2023. 

4-H Professionals, Click HERE to submit entries.

The judges are looking forward to seeing your hard work as you capture inspiring photographs for this year’s Contest! All the BEST!

Please contact Peggie Lewis Joyce with questions or concerns.