Matt Payne Photography Blog: Judging Nature Photography

April 11, 2022

Judging nature photography competitions is often a controversial subject among the landscape and nature photography community. Why certain photographs are chosen over others is often a subject of great passion and debate among those that enter competitions. As such, I thought it would be fun to chat with someone who has judged A LOT of competitions to get their perspective.

A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.

This week on the F-Stop Collaborate and Listen podcast, I was joined by a German nature photographer, Sandra Bartocha. Sandra is the 1st Vice President of the German Society for Nature Photography, otherwise known as the GDT. She is a well-established nature photography judge, having judged several competitions, including our very own Natural Landscape Photography Awards. Sandra's photography has a unique look and feel that is difficult for me to describe to viewers, and as such, she has differentiated herself in our crowded field of nature photography - a topic we cover at great length in today's podcast.

On this week's episode, we discuss:

  • Sandra's journey into nature photography and how she has been able to create unique and compelling work,
  • How getting involved in photography organizations can improve your work,
  • What Sandra looks for when she judges nature photography competitions,
  • Why people should or should not enter photography competitions,
  • How to think about entering a photography competition,
  • How we can differentiate ourselves as photographers,
  • Her new book project, Rhythm of Nature,
  • And a lot more!
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.

Other topics discussed on the podcast this week:

  • Support the show on Patreon.
  • Support Sandra by purchasing her new book, the Rhythm of Nature.
  • Gary Randall & Alyce Bender Caddo Lake Workshop.

Here is who Sandra recommended on the podcast this week:

A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
limestone coast, European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Baltic Sea n the background, Jasmund National Park, Ruegen, Germany, Ancient Beech forest UNESCO World Natural Heritage

Over on Patreon, Sandra and I have a wonderful conversation where we examine gender and race equity in nature photography - so if you're not supporting the podcast on Patreon, and this topic is of interest to you, you might want to check it out. For just $5/mo, you can support the podcast on Patreon and gain access to hundreds of hours of bonus content.

A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.

I love hearing from the podcast listeners! Reach out to me via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter if you'd like to be on the podcast or if you have an idea of a topic we can talk about. We also have an Instagram page, a Facebook Page, and a Facebook Group - so don't be shy!

Did you also know we have listener after-parties on Twitter Spaces? This is a great opportunity to interact with other listeners, guests, and the host (when I can) regarding your thoughts on the episode.

A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.

We also have a searchable transcript of every episode!

Thanks for stopping in, collaborating with us, and listening. See you next week.

P.S. you can also support the podcast by purchasing items through our B+H affiliate link.

Please find a transcript of today's episode below:
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.
A photo from Sandra Bartocha, who recorded a podcast with us to discuss judging nature photography competitions.