Tasha Ramstad Photography (11.03.10, 3:00 AM): Looking forward to seeing the finalists Michael! And a huge thank you for putting this contest on. So many of my friends have already benefited from your school website....so let's get the word out.

Rose (10.27.10, 5:34 PM): I think after further thought about my comment I have changed my mind. I think with how narrowed the contest becomes with the multiple levels that it is fair - however, I still prefer a set apart panel of judges. But in terms of this contest, I am okay with how it is set up. Good luck to all the contestants! I am looking forward to seeing the finalists' photos.

Christine (10.27.10, 11:26 AM): I think the rules that are laid out THIS time are what need to be followed. I see people loose credibility when changing the rules after they are posted. I personally agree with the fact that many times it comes down to a popularity contest and from an artistic standpoint that might not be the BEST.

Indiana Rottweiler (10.27.10, 8:21 AM): I have no entries in this contest. With that being said I would like in the future to see guest judges make the final decision.

Michael Andrew (10.27.10, 3:11 AM): Cant we all just get along? ;)

Mark Iuzzolino (10.26.10, 6:05 PM): Well, when I entered my comment I never thought it would cause such a discussion. My intent was not from arrogance, not based on whether I have many or few family and friends, not even based on whether I would win or not since I doubt I will be a finalist. Also if my photo was a finalist, I would only rely on the forum's votes since that is what I believe is right. It was just a thought about how things happen on the internet and for Michael to consider it. That's what a forum is all about, open discussion and freedom to express your opinions and ideas respectfully. How some come to the conclusion that this is wrong or evoke negative comments in someone's direction because of a simple comment is beyond me. Good luck to everyone.

Christine (10.26.10, 3:39 PM): The rules for the contest are already defined and WERE defined BEFORE entries were submitted. If you didn't like the rules than you didn't have to submit. These are all valid points and there is enough 'weeding' of the images prior to the 'public' voting portion anyways. With the overwhelming response I don't think NOW is the time to revise the rules. Maybe things to consider for next year.

Gary Nelson (10.26.10, 5:03 AM): I have submitted a few images into the contest and I have a question: How can someone possibly "cheat" their way into being a finalist? If I am understanding correctly as explained by Michael, it just isn't possible, so the argument that a "bad image" would win on popularity just isn't valid.

Mike Cruz (10.26.10, 4:31 AM): I am really grateful to have this opportunity and I thank Michael for being generous about the whole photo contest. MA is a living inspiration to all of us. People are just raising their concerns and I think there's nothing wrong about it. The fact is, online voting can be easily cheated (especially if there is a big prize involved). I personally think, that final winner should be the best picture and not a popularity contest. It is better to foresee this now rather than raise it up later ion after the winner has already been decided. If Michael decided to have the final judging based on online votes, so be it, and people should respect that. I think, it's not bad that people are voicing their opinions and trying to help out make this contest fair for everyone. We have to accept the fact that online voting can easily be cheated in one way or another. This is the same thing happening in facebook contests, people sending messages to all their friends to "Like" their picture for them to win. Just my 2 cents.

Shane R (10.26.10, 4:11 AM): wow... the arrogance of some comments here, if you take a step back and look it this, what some of you are suggesting is that you believe you should win. No finalists have even been mentioned yet, so why do so many people feel as if they are being "cheated"? BTW-Michael didn't charge anyone to enter. He has spent a ton of time organizing and funding this, he should be able to set the rules (which he did before anyone even entered) and judging as he sees fit, His explanation makes sense to me.

Rose (10.26.10, 3:44 AM): I agree that I think reader voting always ends up being skewed. I think it is not a bad thing to have friends and family vote, but I have seen a huge number of contests where friends, family, and duplicates of the two (whether by creation of new emails or whatever other means) have resulted in a win. =/ It should be up to a panel of impartial judges, not open to a realm of the internet so prone to cheating.

Steven R. Hazlett (10.25.10, 11:59 PM): Either way, this has been fun, thanks for doing this Michael

Steven R. Hazlett (10.25.10, 11:58 PM): Im really worried about the public voting - it can easily be cheated

Michael Andrew (10.25.10, 6:18 PM): First let me say thank you for all of your inputs. They all have merit. I did not come to this system by chance: Last year's voting was done on a mixed percentage of votes, as MIke C noted. One problem with this was I just knew too many of the entrants who ended up winning and I felt that there was a problem with being completely impartial, even though I was not trying to. I would prefer to have absolutely no say in the final winners in order for me to be completely fair. As far as someone winning on votes from friends and family over the rest of the voters, this is a bit of a stretch, there were over 2200 entrants, and about 3 thousand who read the blog everyday, and about 5,000 unique visitors every week, plus we also have to remember that every contestant has family and friends as well. What I am saying is, unless someone has a good 6,000-8,000 friends & family they can get to come to the blog and vote for their image, chances are it's not going to make that much of a difference as Tom pointed out. By the time the finalist get to final voting, all of those images will be very high quality as they have gone through 2 rounds of pro judging already. Will friend and family voting help? Only if it is extremely close between 2 finalists. Lastly, one of the main reasons I am putting this on is to get people excited and involved in Photography. It is quite expensive if you consider all the time and money I am putting into putting it on (just add the costs of the Cameras I am giving away for starters- this is coming out of my own pocket). I would like to do better and better at it each year, and eventually give away several SLRs, lenses, computers, etc. I want it to be just AWESOME. I tried to get several sponsors this year, but because of so few entrants in last years contest (250) - very few companies wanted to sponsor it. What this means is I have to pick up the costs of the prizes. If we have more people interested, more people enter, then sponsors will come on board. More contestants = more prizes. The only way this will happen is if we get the word out. Allowing blog readers (all of them, regular as well as new readers and friends and family) will allow more people to get involved in the process. In any event, I will seriously consider revising the rules for the main division- lets do a test with the Cell Phone Contest first and we can see how it goes.

Mike Cruz (10.25.10, 4:28 PM): Mark does have a very valid point. In the age of social networking, it's easy to garner votes... My suggestion is that, there should be some sort of percentage criteria, i.e. 40% online votes, 40% guest judge's vote and 20% Michael Andrew's vote. By doing so, online readers can still participate; Because any finalist can just ask his facebook friends to vote which is unfair. People tend to do this specially if there's a price involve, so to be fair, putting a criteria of 40%-40%-20% will determine the best image and NOT those with a lot of facebook/twitter friends.

pranita (10.25.10, 4:04 PM): Excited to see all the contest photo entries.

Tom (10.25.10, 12:52 PM): First off, it's already in the rules and it is Michael's call first, then judges, then public. So by the time the public votes only the best photos will be able to be voted on anyways. Some crappy photo is not going to win because they have the most friends. And, we all have family, and friends so it's no disadvantage to anyone. Plus, there are only a handful of judges, what if they disagree? Alot of people read Michael's site and only a handful will make the finals. The rest of us who don't make the cut will probably do more voting than friends/family. I think it would be cool to vote even if I don't make the finals.

John Scott (10.25.10, 11:56 AM): I have had the same concerns as Mark. Maybe I'm confused, but I thought initially you would narrow down the top picks from each category and the judges would make the final decision. With that many excellent entries it will not be fair to add friends and family votes into the mix. It should come down to close analysis by impartial, qualified professionals who know what to look for in a quality image. I hope you will reconsider.

Diane (10.25.10, 11:30 AM): I totally agree with Mark. It should be decided by the judges and not friends/family!

Lambton Middlesex Wedding Photography (10.25.10, 11:07 AM): That is a HUGE number of entries Michael! Not really suprising - but I'm sure quite an overloading sight when you saw your emails rolling in the last day :D Enjoy sorting :D

KA Schmidt (10.25.10, 10:37 AM): I agree with Mark I. Using reader polls to do the judging is inherently unfair. What some contests do is devote one portion of the contest to being judged by readers. That's OK, but let non-partisan judges with a photography rep do the real decision making!

JaY (10.25.10, 10:26 AM): What is the matter Mark, you dont have that many friends? I do agree with you but its already been put in the rules. If that is the case, I lose!

Mark Iuzzolino (10.25.10, 10:10 AM): Michael, if you don't mind, I'd like to make a suggestion. My experience with contests when you allow voting on blog, the owner of the photograph can get lots of help from asking friends and family to vote for their entry. I'm not accusing anyone of being dishonest, but it happens because people will do almost anything to win. I feel the judges you selected have enough experience to do the job fairly and accurately. I'm just saying...

Mao Chang (10.25.10, 7:11 AM): that's awesome would love to the see photo of the entries...

cha (10.25.10, 6:45 AM): i can't wait to see the pictures:)

jun (10.25.10, 6:41 AM): heeeeh...finally..its an updates!