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Ponderosa’s Elliott Douglas named Photographer of the Year

Mountain Vista and Brighton photographers are runners-up in fourth year of award

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2016 CSMA Photographer of the Year

1st Place – Elliott Douglas / Ponderosa HS (see his portfolio here)
2nd Place – Katie Pickrell / Mountain Vista HS (see her portfolio here)
3rd Place – Kiana Gomez / Brighton HS (see her portfolio here)
Honorable Mention – Chris Wagers / Fairview HS (portfolio here)
Honorable Mention – Mackenzie Brockman / Chaparral HS (portfolio here)

Comments from judge Michael Ciaglo, photojournalist at the Houston Chronicle
Michael formerly was at the Colorado Springs Gazette, and is a graduate of Monarch HS. He also was our judge in 2015.

Once again, I was blown away by the quality of photos coming from photographers in high schools across Colorado. There were photos submitted here that I would want in my own portfolio. First place stood out immediately with a great edit of images. It had the fewest pictures of the top portfolios but sometimes less is more. I have always been told to only show my best work because you will be judged by your worst picture. This portfolio didn’t have one picture I didn’t like. The pictures have big emotion, interesting moments and great composition.

The second place portfolio has one of my favorite single images in the whole competition. The softball photo is just fantastic. Reaction photos in sports are hard to get but more often than not usually tell more of the story than action photos. This picture has both and is framed to draw you into the moment. The whole portfolio has some very creative pictures but could have been edited to get rid of some images that don’t stand out as much, such as the basketball coach photo.

Third place has a great collection of images that show a slice of high school life. From the pep rallies to the quarterback and cheerleader, this has it all, and it was all shot well, too. This portfolio also has too many images though. I would edit out the ones that don’t stand on their own. If I can’t tell what’s going on in the photo, I would consider taking it out.

Overall, I think all the photographers showed great skill and a willingness to seek out good pictures. I think everyone could benefit from editing his or her portfolio tighter. Don’t be afraid to show other people you trust your work and ask them for an honest critique. Most of the sports photos could also be cropped tighter. I want to see the action; there’s no need to keep the edges if it doesn’t add anything to the picture. Congratulations again to everyone and keep shooting!

From Jack Kennedy: Please note that the comments go beyond the quality of the images, and get into how to create a great portfolio. This is a valuable career skill and a real world exercise in editing.

Want to continue the discussion with Michael? His email is [email protected] and he would be glad to expand on his advice and answer other questions on journalism.

See the top portfolios at the CSMA Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chspa/albums

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Ponderosa’s Elliott Douglas named Photographer of the Year