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Photography Tips for your Design Award Entry

The following are some tried and true ways to help ensure photographs you enter in the FSPA Design Awards will truly show off your work and catch the eye of our panel of judges.

  • Determine from the beginning what the impression is you want to give about a particular installation. This will impact the setting, the lighting, the angle and just about every other aspect of the photo shoot.
  • Take a few moments to view the prize-winning entries from previous FSPA Design Awards. You’ll gather ideas on how to present your entry in the proper manner. Industry or trade magazines are also excellent sources for shots of other award winning spas and pools.
  • Be sure to take advantage of any natural surroundings, such as a body of water or a grove of trees that can provide a beautiful backdrop for the setting.
  • No matter how attractive the home adjacent to the installation might be, don’t let it become a distraction from the pool or spa itself.
  • Allow ample time for trees, bushes, plants, and flowers to grow and mature before selecting an installation to shoot. (This is the reason why FSPA allows entrance by installations as much as two years prior to the competition.)
  • While the time of day is important for setting a particular mood, make sure there’s adequate light to highlight the installation. Avoid shaded areas as this can make it difficult to see important features.
  • Be sure to highlight the interesting aspects of the installation – be it the handcrafted tile work, a rock waterfall, special lighting, or a vanishing edge.
  • Ask yourself the following question, “Does the photograph give a good representation of the pool’s/spa’s shape and size?” The entire pool or spa should be shown in one photograph.
  • Every attempt should be made to eliminate electrical wires, telephone poles, trees, fences, etc. that might block the view of the installation.
  • Make certain the pool or spa is clean both inside and out, and that the surrounding area is neat. Keep all maintenance equipment and toys out of the photo. If practical, items such as gas grills, carts, and excess pool-side furniture should not be included in the shot. If you are unable to remove them, make certain they are in good condition and properly arranged.
  • Do not photograph any aspect of the installation that is in disrepair. Cracks, bubbles, delamination, etc., will affect an entry’s chance of being selected.
  • Photos should not depict food, beverages of any kind, or people in the pools or spas. While it is tempting to want to show your customers enjoying their facility, they are a significant visual distraction from what it is that the judges will be looking for.
  • Common sense should also rule in determining what photos you will submit for the judges to review. If something seems out of place to you, count on it appearing that way to a panel of judges.

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