Monthly Archives August 2009

Photo by Tyler Stalman A couple of weeks ago, we had a party here in Calgary. Which isn't so out of the ordinary – we have quite a few parties. This one was special though. We had more iStock members together in person than at any other time before. There were more than a hundred of us: photographers, videographers & illustrators, from as far away as Argentina, South Africa, and Russia. People came to meet our staff, see our office, and have a few beers and laughs in person with the people they spend so much time with online. For the most part though, people came to work. They came to shoot, create, and talk about stock images. We'd organized a solid weekend for them, with a full squad of art directors, stylists and models, plus lots of time for talking and teaching with…

iStockphoto COO, Kelly Thompson!  Scott's out of the office, but he asked me (Brad) to let you guys know that Kelly will be tomorrow's guest blogger.  I've read his post, and he has a peek into a very special event they held recently that sheds a whole new light on micro stock photography that I've never even thought of!  Swing by tomorrow and see what Kelly has to share.

Today I’m going to give my personal favorites in a bunch of different categories, from images that didn’t become one of the finalists or the Grand Prize winner, but I felt were so great that they deserved some recognition as well.

Here’s what so amazing to me about all this. If the winning images you saw yesterday, and here today, were entered in a regular photo contest, none of us would blink an eye—-a great image is a great image. But most contest allow you to choose any photo from your entire lifetime of shooting, or perhaps any photo taken in the last year, or any photo in a particular category. But in this case, here’s what the photographers were up against.

  • They were not able to choose the location (it was chosen for them).
  • They were not able to choose the time of day (it was chosen for them).
  • They were only able to shoot for two hours.
  • They shot in the light that was there. They couldn’t go back later (or earlier) in better light.

Yet they came away that images that are inspiring, creative, and in many cases, breathtaking! That’s what makes this so special. Two hours. That’s it. And look what they came up with! To me, that makes these images, and the ones chosen yesterday, all the more amazing.

Before we get to seeing some images, there were some recurring themes in the types of photos that where picked by local winners, and went into judging to become finalists. For example, there were:

  • Lots of HDR shots
  • Lots of shots of other Photo Walk photographers
  • Lots of shots of reflections
  • Lots of shots of homeless people
  • Lots of shots of children
  • Lots of bees landing on flowers
  • Lots of people seen through store windows
  • Lots of Bridges
  • Lots of Churches (inside and out)
  • Lots of shots of statues and art
  • Lots of shots of stairs
  • Lots of train shots

Anyway, it gives you an broad view of what people wound up shooting a lot of.

The images that follow are my favorites that didn’t make their way into the prize category, but are nonetheless deserving of recognition:


This was incredibly hard. Even harder than I thought.

Last year it was really tough coming up with my finalists and winner, but this year’s judging was more than just four times harder—not just because four times as many people participated—but because the sheer quality of the shots this year was just over the top.

There were so many amazing, intriguing, fascinating, and just fun shots, that it made going from nearly 900 shots down to 10 finalists and one winner incredibly challenging. But, instead of keeping you waiting; let’s get to the winners, and we’ll talk more in a moment.

First, the 10 finalists (who all win the following prizes):


OK, folks, here we go (listed in no particular order):

Another photo retouching controversy popped into the news this past week over a recent Self magazine cover featuring singer Kelly Clarkson. The article I saw showed the Self cover, and then a shot of Kelly during a recent daytime concert. (An example from People magazine's Web site is shown above, but it's been picked up by about every media outlet now). Here's a link to an article that showed the same two shots I originally saw. The concert shot of Kelly was particularly unflattering, and looking at the two side-by-side makes it pretty obvious the cover photo had been retouched. In fact, Lucy Danziger (the Editor-in-chief at Self) reportedly admitted that the cover shot had indeed been retouched, (like all cover shots of all similar major magazines---it's not a big secret---they all do it). According to the article, here's what Lucy was quoted as…