There are just a few days left for amateur and professional photographers to submit their best photo to an annual contest sponsored by the Burbank Public Library and Friends of the Burbank Library.
While people focus on finding and editing the right photo before the Saturday deadline, a longtime judge of the competition reminded contestants to also pay attention to the simpler details, such as presentation or making sure the photo is the right size.
"When you're submitting your photo, there are specific rules about the size," said John Dlugolecki, a local photographer who has been a judge for the competition the last 10 years. "Please read that before you turn it in because it just breaks our heart to just have to [disqualify] a photo ... because it's the wrong size."
He added that presentation of the photo when it is submitted — which usually involves using a colored photo mat — can make or break the aesthetics of a photograph.
Dlugolecki, who has been a professional photographer for over 30 years, said that judging many of the library's photo contests has taught him how important and how easily overlooked presentation is in the competition.
"Matting is a category that we give points for as part of the overall score," he said. "But, boy, there are so many times where we just stand there and wish that the photo was on a black mat or a white mat."
As photo technology has improved and become more accessible to people over the years, Dlugolecki said those advancements have exposed more people to photography as a hobby or even a profession.
During the contest several years ago, Dlugolecki said he was impressed with one of the photos the judges received, and which they initially thought was some type of architecture taken from a strange angle.
"We thought that maybe it was taken at the Broad Museum," he said.
Days before the announcement of the winners, Dlugolecki reached out to the photographer and asked what the photo was and how it was captured. He found out that it was a photo of the luggage compartment in an airplane and was taken with a smartphone.
Dlugolecki said the level of talent seems to be getting better with each passing year. Some of the photos the contest receives are obviously taken by amateurs who need some time to hone their craft. However, many recent submissions have blown him and the other judges away.
"Sometimes we look at a photograph and say to ourselves, 'We wish we could shoot like that' or 'I don't think I could have shot that,'" Dlugolecki said.
Those who are interested in submitting a photo to this year's photo contest can visit burbank.lib.ca.us.