Bill Luster, chairperson of the annual NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical program, reminds photojournalists that the entry deadline for the 2004 NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical competition is December 28, 2003, and that's quickly approaching.
Luster has seen a lot of proposals during his stewardship of the Sabbatical. "The good ones stand out immediately. A lot of people get tossed out of the competition early because they have not followed the rules, because they have not done enough research, and because they have poor photographs -- and especially poor captions -- in their proposals."
From his years of stewardship of the Sabbatical, Luster offers his personal lists of do's and don't's for entering the Sabbatical:
Read and follow the rules. Do not send your entries on a CD. You must send prints or printed material that does not exceed 8 1/2 x 11. Copy machine prints and materials are encouraged, as are duplicate slides.
Have a well-researched proposal on the topic "The Changing Face of America." Back up your proposal with facts and figures. Clearly show the reason why this proposal follows the Sabbatical's theme, and how your photographs will enlighten readers about the subject.
Provide details on how you plan to execute the project. If possible, present a budget plan on how you will spend the $15,000 stipend that comes with winning.
Have portfolio photos that exhibit excellent compositional and aesthetic quality and commitment to content.
If you have already started shooting on the proposal topic, be sure to include these pictures in your presentation.
Proofread the proposal. Grammatical errors and misspellings convey sloppiness. From the judges' perspective this competition is about 75 percent proposal oriented and 25 percent photo oriented.
Write thoughtful captions for your photographs. Include the basic necessary information as well as any additional information that will enhance the caption and the judges' understanding of your images.
Make the deadline. No entries will be accepted after the deadline of December 28, 2003.