Posts in category Photography

Winners announced for the Great Shot Photo Contest, Fall 2016 edition

headerWe are pleased to announce the winners of this fall’s Great Shot Photo Contest. For the first time, entries were accepted in two categories: sports and school spirit. With more than 1,500 photos submitted, narrowing down the winners was a tough task for our panel of judges.

Below are the winners. Click here to view a slideshow of all our winners.


First Place- “Hold Your Breath” by Gabrielle P., Allen High School, Allen, TX

Second Place- “Out of the Trap” by Kayleigh M., Texas High School, Texarkana, TX

Third Place- “Air Interception” by Kim H., Lecanto High School, Lecanto, F L

Honorable Mention- “Cass Tech Wins Out Cold” by Lauralyn T. – Cass Technical HS, Detroit, MI

Honorable Mention- “Lucky 23” by Amy D. – Desert Edge High School, Goodyear, AZ

Honorable Mention- “Bring ’em Out” by Amy R. – Giles County High School, Pulaski, TN

Honorable Mention- “End in Sight” by Emary S. – Mansfield Legacy High School, Mansfield, TX

Honorable Mention- “Backstroke” by Racheal S. – Texas High School, Texarkana, TX


School Spirit

First Place- “Horns Out” by Gabriel Z., Magnolia West High School, Magnolia, TX

Second Place- “Paper Parade” by Karly R., Pascagoula High School, Pascagoula, MS

Third Place- “Powderpuff 2016” by Margaret G., Maple Lake High School, Maple Lake, MN

Honorable Mention- “Cheering On the Dogs” by Tony J. – Carthage High School, Carthage, TX

Honorable Mention- “Between the Bows” by Lindsey B. – Cedar Park High School, Cedar Park, TX

Honorable Mention- “We’ve Got Spirit” by Monika S. – Claudia Taylor Johnson HS, San Antonio, TX

Honorable Mention- “Husky Nation” by Austin M. – Horizon High School, Scottsdale, AZ

Honorable Mention- “Those Cats are Wild” by Meredith W. – Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA

Honorable Mention- “Fantastic Fans” by Jada S. – Mansfield Legacy High School, Mansfield, TX

The Great Shot Photo Contest is back

25Oct16From the triumph of the last-second win to the screaming frenzy of fans, the Friday Night Lights are the perfect backdrop to capture moments for our semi-annual Great Shot Photo Contest.

What’s New? This year we’ve doubled the contest! Students and advisers can enter photos in two categories – school spirit and sports. We’ll feature entries on social media throughout the contest and photographers can win up to $500.

When does it start? The contest runs from Nov. 1-18 on our Facebook page. Photographers can enter three photos per day; entries should include a title and the photographer’s contact info. Photos taken by advisers can be entered, too.

Your opinion matters! Photographers and yearbook staff members also have an opportunity to vote for their favorite entries each day (Go to our Facebook page, select the Photo Contest tab, then Gallery).

REMINDER FLYER: Here’s a flyer to hang in your room to remind photographers to enter. #balfourgreatshot

Fall Sports Photo Tips


The game-winning touchdown. The kill that sends the team into a screaming frenzy. The forehand smash that makes it game, set, match. Being in the right place at the right time can make or break your sports photos.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the sport, how do you know where to stand? Or what lens to use? Some tips for fall sports:

Football – Near the line of scrimmage is a good place to start. Whether you’re on offense or defense, if you pre-focus on the quarterback and stay with the ball, you’ll get running and passing shots, and eventually tackling photos.

Volleyball – If you line up along the wall on the opposite side from your team, you’ll get great straight-on shots of kills and blocks. By standing dead center along the back wall you can pre-focus on the middle blocker before the point starts. Plays at the net, from the left to the right side of the court, will be sharp.

Tennis – With most matches played during the day, you won’t need an expensive fast lens. You will need a good zoom though, one that preferably reaches 200 to 300 mm. If there are bleachers, take advantage of that location to get great shots at the net, doubles teams’ talking and after the match handshakes. For shots at the baseline, it’s ideal to stand at the back, between two courts. This allows you to shoot two matches simultaneously.


For more suggestions, what lenses and settings to use, see our guide to fall sports photography.

Picture Perfect Opportunity



With hundreds of students filing through one location in one day, Picture Day is the perfect opportunity to snag some extra coverage for the yearbook.

Just think — in one day, you could knock out all of the people section coverage. It’s an ideal way to ensure you get other kids in the book — the ones not involved in clubs and sports. You could:

  • Ask poll questions
  • Ask questions for fun sidebars and secondary coverage
  • Take candid pictures
  • Take fun mugs for sidebars

It’s also an opportunity for the yearbook staff and the Journalism students to hone their interviewing skills. And it’s a great chance for photographers and photojournalism classes to capture the day and snap profile shots and mugs.

See this checklist for some suggestions on how to prepare for Picture Day.

Stop the action! Give spring sports your best shot


Stop the action

To transition from poorly lit gymnasiums to sunny outdoor venues, turn down your ISO and crank up your shutter speed. Student photographers will often set their cameras in full automatic mode or in a preset labeled “sports” or “action.” While these may work sometimes, it’s best to go semi-manual in aperture priority mode with the lowest f-stop selected, like f2.8 or f4.0.

Think about location. Read More »