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Contest roundup

The Microsoft Future Pro Photographer contest is a doozy. You could win a $20,000 grand prize plus a digital workflow package which includes a Dell Precision workstation, a Canon EOS 30D, a Corbis portfolio review and a lot more. Or a $2,000 prize in three categories: Nature & Landscape; People & Portraits; and Fine Art. The $2,000 prizes also include the digital workflow package sans portfolio review. Deadline is May 31.

If food is your thing, the Seeds of Change photography competition is for you. The competition theme is “Feed Your Imagination” and has three categories: food and people; food for thought; and food, glorious food. The first place prize is £10,000. Deadline is June 30.

Finally, military veterans have a chance to jump start a photography career by winning a photography franchise! TSS photography is going to give away a franchise worth $20,000 to the winner of their nationwide essay contest.

Weekend assignment: Introducing the weekend assignment

The weekend assignment is a weekly (well, that’s the plan) prod to get out there on the weekend and put into practice what you’ve been reading about. The idea is simple: reading about technique is pointless without practice. My hope is that the weekend assignment will not only help you improve your photography but also give you some creative ideas to focus on each weekend to help you make fresh images.

This week we’ve covered indoor portrait lighting, learning how to simplify your compositions, and making abstract photographs.

If you shoot indoors, get someone to pose for you and try the window lighting technique described in indoor portrait lighting. Or try your hand at making an abstract photograph. The ideas in each of those articles are easy to put into practice regardless of what you may be shooting this weekend. Try to keep them in mind while you shoot.

Have a great weekend!

Update: Over the course of the weekend and next week, post your results for this assignment here. Share a little about what you tried and how you think it turned out. Thanks for the suggestion, Dave!

Reader mail: How do you get good portrait lighting indoors?

Lighting is obviously an essential element of photography. Making photos, after all, is about catching those stray photons that bounce off of the world in a creative way. Reader Cory asks, “How do you get good portrait lighting indoors?” Getting good lighting can be tough in any situation but indoor lighting can be especially tricky. Normal indoor light levels are fine for eyeballs but are usually pretty low for a camera. So what’s an indoor shutterbug to do?

Read more…