Student Design Competition Q&A: The Photos

Q.jpgOkay, so I saw the post on where to get the copy for my Student Design Competition entries. But what about the photos? Where do I get them?

A.jpgThe imagery for your competition entry can come from a number of sources.

If you enter in the Entertainment Category, you have to create you own photography or illustrations. So ideally, you or a photographer friend could shoot photos specifically for your design (check out Luke Shuman's 2011 winning entry and Paul Johnson's 2008 winning entry who both did just that).

Or perhaps you could illustrate it or create a photo-collage or photo-illlustration ... sometimes those options can offer more creative opportunities than just a photo. 2011's winning entry by Melanie Teppich used a photo-illustration, and Raul Aguila's 3rd-place entry (scroll to the bottom of that link) also used illustration.

For all the categories other than Entertainment, original photography and illustration is encouraged as well. But you could also search for cheap images on microstock photo sites such as istockphoto, Veer's Marketplace, and Shutterstock. (There are many others as well.) There's even some free stock photo sites, one being stock.xchng. Most of the microstock sites let you buy low-resolution images for just a few bucks, and low-res is okay for our purposes as long as it prints out well on your printer. (No blurry, fuzzy or pixellated images please ... while that won't instantly disqualify you, it definitely puts your entry at a disadvantage.)

Whether you use one of the above options or you find images elsewhere that you want to use, you MUST include credits on your layouts. Typically that is a photographer name, but sometimes it may be the agency/source you got it from, or it may be the specific web address where you found it.

You can put this credit information in the margins near the gutter, or you could put it in small type elsewhere on your spread ... check out how professional magazines do this to get some ideas. You could also list the photographer's name as a byline like the story author.

No matter where your images come from, the source info must be included. And remember that this info should be considered a design element and not just a requirement. These are things that designers have to deal with everyday in the real world, so we want to see how you could handle it too.

Still have more questions on this or another topic? Check out the official competition rules and details here, or email us at
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