MIPA’s Photography Challenges are designed to help media programs develop and grow their photography skills. All MIPA member programs are invited to participate. There is no entry free, although MIPA may limit the number of entries each member program can submit. (See rules.) Participants receive feedback from our team of challenge coaches.
Each participant will earn a MIPA Photography Challenge badge. MIPA’s Photography Challenges are not traditional contests with placed winners. However, our coaches may select outstanding examples of work for Special Recognition.
Follow the directions of each challenge carefully. Each challenge has it own, unique instructions. Staffs may participate in any single challenge or all of them.
Photography Challenge: Joy
- Challenge period: Nov. 19-Jan. 21, 2022
- Entry deadline: 11:59 p.m. Jan. 21
Select three photos taken during the challenge period that fit the contest theme of “joy.” Photos may be taken by different photographers, using any kind of camera (cellphone, DSLR, etc.), and may show any kind of subject matter as long the images relate somehow to the theme. All images must be student work, and while all photographs should be publication worthy, publication is not necessary. Editing of images – including cropping and any alteration of color or content – must follow journalistic standards. (See rules below.) Limit 1 entry per MIPA member program.
How to Enter
Use the challenge entry form to submit the following:
- The photographs, as a JPEG files.
- The names of the photographers.
- Captions that follow journalistic standards to explain the content of each photo and identify key subjects.
- A short written statement (this can be an informal list or just a few sentences) by the photographer(s) that explains:
- The subject of each photo (i.e., What did you photograph?)
- The camera used, including lens and other equipment, and shooting conditions (inside/outside, lighting conditions and challenges to composing the photo or achieving its technical quality) (i.e., How did you go about making the photograph?)
- Why the photographer took the shot and what they like about it
It should be clear from the photographs, captions and written statements how the images fit the challenge theme.
You also will need the email addresses of the photographers so they can get their digital badges. (We prefer personal emails for students because a growing number of districts block access for outsiders, like MIPA, to email student accounts.)
Entry FormSubmit Your Entry
Homecoming Photography Challenge Rules
- Limit 1 entry per MIPA member student media program. Your entry is 3 photos. Renew or Join
- Entries must be submitted to the contest entry form as directed.
- Entries may be published by MIPA in its newsletter, online or via social media.
- Photographs may be edited to correct color balance, exposure, etc., and may be cropped from the original photograph. Editing should follow the ethical standards of the National Press Photographers Association: Editing should maintain the integrity of the images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
- Photos must have been taken during the challenge period by student members of your staff. They do not need to be published, but should meet your standards for publication.
- Entries that violate MIPA’s Copyright & Plagiarism Policy are not eligible for special recognition.
- Images used in Photography Challenge entries remain eligible to be submitted in the Individual Category Contest, as long as they meet all other requirements of that contest.
As you select your photos, look for variety – both in the events, activities and subjects photographed and in the artistic choices of the photography. Our challenge coaches may consider each photo individually as well as how well they work collectively.
Good captions and the thoughtful photographer statements help our challenge coaches focus their feedback by giving them some of the story and thought process behind each photo.
What makes a good caption?
A good caption accomplishes four main things:
- Explain the action.
- Name the principal subjects.
- Tell readers what’s newsworthy about the photo (ie, what’s the news?)
- Note the importance of any details in the photo.
Captions can come in various styles and forms, and different publications may have their own preferences. (A few different ways to write captions are noted in the handouts below.) A traditional news caption often has two sentences.
- Typically, the first sentence is written in present tense and describes what’s happening in the photo.
- The second sentence is written in past tense and provides added details and context about the story being reported.
In writing or editing captions, you should answer yes to these questions:
- Have you used the present tense? Use the past tense when adding background, not describing action.
- Have you used the active voice? Passive-voice writing is weak writing.
- Does the caption identify clearly? Never leave out someone who figures prominently in the photo.
- Does it tell when?
- Does it tell where?
- Does the caption contain all the important information? For example, does it give the score of the game, the status of the patient? Give the reader context to understand the larger story.
- Are names spelled correctly?
- Is it easy to read?
- Have you eliminated clichés?
- Have you weeded out needless adjectives and adverbs?
- Have you explained all mysterious objects or circumstances?
- Have you gone beyond the obvious? It is the job of the caption to supply information that is not obvious from the image.
More caption writing tips
Homecoming Photography Challenge
- Challenge period: Aug. 1-Nov. 15, 2021
- Entry deadline: 11:59 p.m. Nov. 15
Showcase how your staff covered homecoming 2021. Select three photos taken during the challenge period that help illustrate the variety of homecoming activities at your school (spirit week, float building, parade, pep assembly, the game, halftime, etc.) Photos can be taken by different photographers, using any kind of camera (cellphone, DSLR, etc.). All images must be student work, and while all photographs should be publication worthy, publication is not necessary. Editing of images – including cropping and any alteration of color or content – must follow journalistic standards. (See rules below.)