The Photo That Won the “New Life” Contest

by | Jan 19, 2018 | Recommendations

The “New Life” Shoot to Serve photo assignment was a very popular one. As you can see below, there were quite a few photos submitted!

Which one would you choose as your favorite? Ben, over at Sharpening Character was the judge for this contest, but it’s interesting that the winning photo he chose wasn’t necessarily his “favorite” picture. He chose the picture that best fulfilled the purpose of the project he was working on.

That’s something worth considering. Just because a photographer is an expert in his field and creates amazing, stunning pictures, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he will be successful in an occupation of photography. Yes, high impact, high quality, emotionally stimulating, color popping wow photos will win the contest of popularity and certainly heighten the chances of a photographers photos being beneficial to a client, but that’s all secondary to the most-important purpose of actually meeting the photography needs of the client.

Let’s read Ben’s comments on the submissions made for this assignment and learn what we can about the less glamorous side of photography: shooting to meet the specific needs of a client.

Thank you all for your help, everyone!


@elianafranzenburg submitted photos of flowers and a baby goat, and though I do favor plant and still life over animals (more on that later), both flowers felt too mature a subject to suggest the idea of new life and both had a much darker tone than what I was looking for. The photo of the baby goat, while being super cute (loving those baby animals!), was destructively edited with a heavy vignette and monochrome filter. While I can often work around a monochrome photo, the heavy vignette immediately disqualified that photo from being used.

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@mcjmcjnetzero-net submitted quite a few photos of seedlings and I loved them! I felt the subjects were good and conveyed the message well, BUT while I love them on their own, they did not work well at all with text. Somehow, just putting text on these photos “cheapened” them… Besides that, none of the photos worked from a design point of view as I had issues with cropping, trying to fit portrait photos into a 3:4 widescreen format, or simply finding a way to put text in the center of the photo without destroying the visual balance… Again, I really liked these photos, but I just couldn’t get them to work.


@frazer-family cannot be thanked enough for adding a whole ton of cuteness to the VPO and for submitting so many different photos! More submissions usually means there is a higher chance that I can use one of your photos, but sadly this wasn’t true in this instance….I’m not an animal hater, but I quickly realized after trying out some of these photos that I could never use any photos of baby or adult animals in VersePics. The reason I say that is because our eyes are drawn to other eyes, or at the very least, other faces. When I look at the photo of the cute bunnies in the basket, I’m going to spend about 90% of my time looking at the cute bunnies’ faces and about 10% or less of the time noticing that I really like how the grass and the small basket work together to build a compelling backdrop for the cute bunnies! (Have I said “cute” enough for you yet?) We are drawn to look at other faces, that’s perfectly natural and I don’t have a problem with that, but that fact frequently poses a problem when designing a VersePic. When we can see a face or when something is facing us, we look for it, we are drawn towards that and when I’m trying to put text in the center a photo with an animal or person’s face in it, I’m not only competing for attention but often losing the battle! Additionally and more importantly, while I crop at a 1:1 and 4:3 ratio for VPs, on a phone, what you actually see is a much narrower 9:16 ratio or the even narrower and increasingly more popular 9:18 ratio. Because of this, everything important in a VersePic needs to be visible within those narrow ratios, and nothing looks quite as bad as seeing text on a person or animal’s face or just seeing part of a face cropped off awkwardly….So, as much as I wanted these photos to work, they didn’t work out well…


I really appreciated @rejoiceevermore submitting some photos, as one of his sessions at a family conference I attended was actually the inspiration for us to start creating VersePics in the first place! I felt both photos were a bit too subtle for me, though. The one with the corn, while still logically fitting the definition of new life, l felt was too subtle in its meaning, as I wanted something that immediately felt “new” and alive. The second photo of the butterfly felt too subtle in that the subject in the photo needed to help the concept of new life across is obscured by a very low aperture…


I always appreciate @jamesstaddon stopping by with a submission! The photo, however, again dealt with the subject of seeds to bring across the idea of new life which wasn’t what I was looking for.


@creative-click-photography instantly stole my attention when she submitted so many different raw photos and with some seriously stunning shots of blossoms! There were so many great options to choose from, most of which could have worked in some form or another, that I really had a lot of difficulty choosing which one to use! The gorgeously “bokeh” background, the feeling of depth that comes with a small aperture, the bright greens and pinks, the photos really were everything I had been looking for!…so, you know, Caitlin’s photo was chosen!


Don’t forget to check in on the next VPO, and as always, thank you for your support in this ministry and may God bless you!


VersePic Director



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