Went through 2 sets today. It took an extremely long time and it broke my heart to not advance so many, but I need to get to about 40-45 for semi finalists, and about 15 for finalists. It is getting harder and harder.

Some insight I want to give here:

With Portraits and Animals I am looking for the following things:

– Exceptional Technical Skill
– Emotional or otherwise engaging. If I can feel the energy the person is giving off, or feel like I know them- its a good pic. The little brunette girl with her arms folded is a great example.
– Something Different, something that tool creative energy.
– Sharpness in the eyes. (It isn’t always necessary, but if the portrait is the type that suggests the eyes should be sharp, they should be very sharp.

Many of the semi-finalists do at least one of these things very, very well.

Finalists will do 2 or more of these things very, very well. Contest winners typically do all of them very well.

Congratulations to everyone. Fantastic work, including the ones that didnt make it. There were nearly 1000 images in portraits so to make it to the top 40 or so is an accomplishment!