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Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition Details

Application Instructions and Requirements

  1. Entries should be appropriate for all ages to view
  2. Entries must be of subjects within or related to the City of Bellingham
  3. Photos must have been taken between Jan 1, 2014 and May 1, 2015
  4. Entries will only be accepted between Mar 1st and May 1st of 2015.
  5. Entries must not have been entered in any previous Essence of Bellingham competitions
  6. Photos may be enhanced to compensate for technical quality and esthetics but should not be “doctored” (e.g. adding objects that were not originally in the picture).
  7. Do not include photographer signatures or logos on the images submitted to facilitate an unbiased jury process.
  8. A minimum resolution of 2300x1840 pixels is recommended but not required.
  9. A limit of 5 photos may be submitted for each competitor with each photo only being entered under one photographer classification (e.g. you can enter a photo under amateur and one under professional but not the same photo under both)
  10. Complete a Photographic Materials Use Agreement for your entries (required for mail-in entries, otherwise agree to terms when filling out online entry form)
  11. Photographer must own all rights to any photographs entered in this competition as well as have model releases when appropriate (see guidance on model release forms below)
  12. Submission of an entry to the competition automatically constitutes the acceptance of all conditions set forth in the above rules.
  13. Incomplete entries will not be included in the competition
  14. Winners will be notified in June.
  15. Complete an online entry form for each photo submitted or;
    Mail an entry form (PDF) for each photo, a Photo Use Agreement, and a CD with the images to:

    Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition
    Shannon Taysi
    210 Lottie Street
    Bellingham, WA 98225
    or contact at 360-778-8360 or

The deadline for entries is 4:30 p.m. on May 1st, 2015 (post marks will not be accepted, all entries must be received by deadline).

Entry Forms and Publications

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the number of entries limited to only five per person?
We know it is hard to choose, especially when our community is so photogenic!   In the past participants have been allowed to submit 10 entries. In past years, we received almost 800 entries, which is wonderful! But that also is 800 photos we had to accept, sort, categorize, and jury. Due to budget and staff reductions, we reduced the number of entries we have to organize and manage behind the scenes so that we can reduce the staff time devoted to those tasks during these times of limited resources.

How much "altering" is "too much"?
There is a line that falls somewhere between eliminating red eye and adding a building into a street scene where one  does not really exist. Finding and describing that line is challenging! Photos submitted should be a truthful representation of whatever happened in front of the camera during exposure. Of course, photos may be cropped and dust spots removed. They may be enhanced to compensate for technical quality and esthetics, such as through filters, adjustments to color, brightness and contrast. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single "High Dynamic Range" image are acceptable. But there comes a point when too much processing changes the photo into a painting or graphic art. That's not what this competition seeks. You also should not add objects not contained in the original photograph, both to retain its historic value and its connection to reality. When you compare your original to your altered photograph, if it looks completely different, or if the cool blue sky is now hot pink, or if it was a picture of Lake Whatcom at sunrise and now it has people or a full moon in it…we're sure it is lovely but you have gone too far for this competition.

Please contact Shannon Taysi with additional questions about the competition.

M 8/4/2015

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