The CEDIA Awards: Photography

Ed Wenck | Feb 12, 2019

This post is part of a series on tips and advice to make your CEDIA Awards entry stand out.

Entry into the CEDIA Awards means you’ll be submitting photos of your project. What are the judges looking for when it comes to those pictures?

Joel Silver of the Imaging Science Foundation, who will again in 2019 be part of CEDIA’s judging panel, tells us, “First of all, can I tell how the equipment was integrated? How easy it is for me to walk into that project and take it over? How well are things laid out? How well can it be maintained? And that doesn't require artistic photography. Do we have a good-looking room where the equipment is nicely hidden from a design standpoint?”

“You have to be neat, accurate, artful and simple,” Silver says.

But make sure that the judges see that brilliant cable management you’ve painstakingly installed. Silver says, “I can’t begin to tell you how aggravating it is when we’re provided pictures of the front of the equipment rack — and none of the rear. It looks like it should be wonderful, but there is no picture of the rear.”

Geoff Meads (now with Presto Web Design), also a once-and-future CEDIA judge, concurs. “As judges we have a rather difficult situation where if we don't see it, we have to assume it wasn't done. If we don't see the back of the rack picture, we assume it's not labeled, it's not wired correctly. If you want us to realize that this was done beautifully, appropriately, and according to your best practices, then let's see some evidence of that.”

Another potential misstep: “Double check what you're actually sending in,” cautions Meads. “We’ve had a couple of situations for the last three or four years where we've had an equipment list for a media room or cinema room sent in that didn’t line up with the photos. We're seeing equipment that was put in early in the installation and maybe found to not quite right and later changed, or there was a mid-project change of heart. And so we end up with a bill of materials which says one thing and a rack image that shows another.

“I'm sure it's not on purpose. No one's trying to mislead anybody. But we have to assume something is wrong there.”

And what about taking photos during the rough-in stages? Would the judges recommend taking pictures as you go along?

“Absolutely. Give us plans, give us layout,” says Silver. “Show us how you put it together neatly. Show us the stages. That way I can virtually be on the job site with you during its evolution and I think that's very impressive when I see that come together nicely.”

And lastly, notes Silver, the photo budget doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. “Photos are easy with an iPhone in your pocket. The iPhones a strikingly beautiful camera and you have it with you.”