September Challenge FAQ
So you’re thinking of embarking on the September Challenge? We’d love to have you.
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below before starting, and for anything else please get in touch!
1. What is the September Challenge and how do I take part?
The September Challenge is a fun photography challenge which first started in 2013 and has been growing ever since. We take photos throughout the month based on a list of themes, 3 themes per week, one photo per theme. The photos are then shared in our friendly Facebook group, You don’t have to share them if you don’t want to but personally I find that the best part of the challenge is to share photos and to see everyone else’s interpretation of the theme each week.
We will be choosing themes to leave a bit of room for interpretation, you can apply them as literally or as loosely as you wish. I also encourage everyone to interact and comment on other photos, and make newcomers feel welcome. Here are our themes for Week 1:
2. I am a complete beginner/I am scared, should I still I take part?
Absolutely! One comment I hear a lot, online and offline is “I feel intimidated, everyone else is better than me”. Many people feel that way, regardless of their actual level. Remember that:
- We all have to start somewhere… There are lots of experienced photographers in this group who will be happy to answer your questions and help you improve, especially if you had a vision for the shot which you didn’t quite manage to achieve. I won’t give any constructive critique unless you ask for it though, so when you post your shot, if you’re not quite happy with it, feel free to ask what you could have done differently to get the result you wanted.
- When shooting on a theme, great ideas are more important than perfect technical execution. So it doesn’t matter if you don’t have amazing skills or expensive equipment, as long as you enjoy getting creative!
- The more beginners enter, the more it will encourage other beginners to enter too.
- It’s virtually impossible to create a masterpiece every day, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t give up if you don’t have a brilliant photo on a given day. The most important is to take part and have fun! The “Best Of 2016” is just that, a Best Of. So don’t let this intimated you, I am sure that if we only took the best couple of photos you’ve taken across a whole month they would look fab too 🙂
You could take this opportunity to try new things, get inspired by others, try taking “that shot” you’ve been meaning to try for ages but haven’t got round to shooting yet.
If you’re one of the more experienced photographers and don’t mind sharing some tips, people love to see “behind the scene” pics showing how your photo was achieved, so if you remember to do this, you could take a quick iPhone shot to show your set up. Please don’t feel like you have to do this, it’s just a “nice to have”.
3. What equipment do I need to enter the challenge?
All you need is a camera, even a phone camera can do the trick. If you own a DSLR I would encourage you to shoot with it, especially if it has been gathering dust. If you’ve done my photography course this is the chance to play with aperture, shutter speed, composition if you’d like to.
4. Is the challenge free to enter?
Yes it’s completely free to enter, and is not restricted to participants of my photography course, so if you know someone who would be interested in taking part, feel free to invite them, the more the merrier!
5. Do I win anything if I complete the challenge?
Well.. there are no actual prizes but you will be covered in glory 😉 Seriously though, you will get a huge sense of achievement and a cool set of photos you may otherwise never have taken. How’s that for an incentive?
6. Where do I post the photos?
Now this is an important one and I find myself repeating this a lot especially at the beginning of the challenge. The photos are shared in our Stephanie Belton Photography Training group on Facebook. Please don’t post photos in the main timeline of the group, or as comments to other posts. I will create an ALBUM for each theme and the photos need to be added to the relevant album. This is the best way to make sure that no photos get lost down the timeline as it makes it much easier for everyone to browse through all the photos for a particular theme. If you can’t see this and you’re on the Phone or Tablet please download the Facebook App instead of going through Safari/Chrome. Here are some instructions if you’re on a computer:
Step 1: Go to the group page and press “Photos” on the left menu:
Step 2: Click the “Albums” tab and then click on the relevant album, e.g. “Theme 3: Vantage Point”
Step 3: Click on “Add Photos”
If you’re using a phone instead of a computer, go on the Facebook App, find the “Stephanie Belton Photography Training” group page, click on the Info button on the right below the main cover pic and then scroll all the way down to “Photos”. Click on the “Albums” tab, select the relevant album and click “Add Photos”.
7. Some people add a watermark or title to the photo, how is it done?
You don’t have to do this, but if you wanted to add text to the photo you can do this with a phone app such as Snapseed, or on the computer with Picasa or Photoshop for example.
8. I am not on Facebook, can I still take part?
The best part of the challenge is the interaction so I would strongly recommend joining Facebook to take part. Alternatively you could use other social media such as Instagram and use the #sbphotochallenge hash tag.
10. Can I enter a photos I have taken in the past if it fits with the theme?
Ideally no, the photo has to be taken during that particular week, that’s why it’s called a Challenge 😉 It’s a bit unfair to others and defies the purpose of the challenge to enter images from your “back catalogue”.
12. I am concerned about privacy, can I still enter the challenge?
Although we have a really friendly private Facebook group, the group has almost 500 members so if you’re concerned about privacy I suggest you don’t enter images you wouldn’t want shared with a wide-ish audience.
13. I want to improve my skills, do you offer photography tuition?
Yes I do! I am based in St Albans and offer one to one photography tuition as well as group courses, you can find more information here: https://www.stephaniebeltontraining.com/
Any other questions? Get in touch with me via the group or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org