Tips for a Successful Awards Entry
Photos tell the story, and you have between 12 and 15 opportunities, depending on the entry, to impress the judges with both words and photos. Make each photo count. Submit the best photos possible. Hire a professional photographer or take a class in landscape photography. Following are some helpful tips for a successful awards entry:
- Make sure pictures are free of visual distractions (toys, hoses, litter, trash receptacles, etc.).
- If stone surfaces are wetted for the photo shoot, be sure they are evenly wet.
- Do not submit close-ups of flowers, leaves, butterflies, etc. This would be a wasted shot.
- Be sure to photo document any site difficulties mentioned in your description.
- Don’t rule out taking pictures on overcast days. This is a great time to take photos because colors are more saturated and there are no shadows.
- Give a freshly completed project a few seasons to mature before submitting it for an award.
- If possible, have the designer accompany the photographer on the photo shoot to ensure the intent of the project is captured.
- Try not to capture issues such as a sick plant or a tree showing decline in project photos.
- Take before and after shots from the same vantage point.
- If night lighting or holiday lighting are part of the photo, be sure there is enough lighting to show the project.
- Begin and end your submittal with a “wow” photo.
- Make sure the job site is tidy in any photos showing projects in progress.
- Make sure company name and logo are NOT visible in photos.
- Keep bed lines sharp.
- Make sure mulch is evenly distributed, consistent, and the correct depth, and does not encroach on walkways or stepping stones.
- Check turf shots for consistency of color and texture and for the presence of weeds.
- Make sure trimmed shrubs are uniform in appearance.
- Use props (e.g., dishes, candles, and bowls of fruit) when showing outdoor furniture to make it look inviting.
- Remove spent flowers, dead leaves, leaves on turf, random weeds, and make sure everything is freshly swept, trimmed, mowed, wetted, etc.
- Include shots of a project from different seasons.
- Have someone who is unfamiliar with the project proof the submittal to ensure it makes sense.
- Be concise with the verbiage, especially with special features, obstacles, timelines, etc. Avoid overly dramatic language.
FINALLY, be sure to submit a COMPLETE entry! Common problems that occur each year –
- Missing Photo Release form
- Missing Design Image on the CDs for a Design/Build entry
- Missing Checklist (initialed on all listed requirements)