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What is the Dean of Students Photo Contest?

The Dean of Students Photo Contest is an annual, cash-prize contest for BYU students. The contest is an opportunity to showcase students' creative talent and to contribute to the look and feel of the Wilkinson Student Center (WSC). Students submit photos in categories related to various aspects of student life. The photos are then judged by a panel of students and administrators. The winning photos are hung in the WSC with a brief description and the photographer's name. The 2022-2023 Dean of Students Photo Contest will be open from Monday, October 31st, 2022 at 8:00am to Sunday, January 29th, 2023 at 11:59pm.

Contest Information and FAQs

  • To submit your photos for consideration in the contest, please follow the guidelines below:

    Who is eligible to enter?

    • The participant must be a student currently enrolled at BYU in order to be eligible to enter. 
    • Students who graduate in December 2022 are eligible to enter so long as they submit their photos prior to graduation. 

    When to enter?

    • Submissions will be accepted from Monday, October 31st, 2022 at 8:00am to Sunday, January 29th, 2023 at 11:59pm.  

    How to enter?

    • Photos must be submitted as jpeg files. 
    • Only one photo per category will be accepted for the 2022-2023 contest. Therefore, each student may submit a total of FIVE photos.
    • Photo submissions must be labeled with the student’s name and category as the file name.
      • For example, if the student’s name is 'Jay Smith' and they are submitting a photo to the 'Student Portraits' category, the photo should be titled “jaysmith_portrait.jpg.”
    • Please submit a submission form for each photo you are entering into the contest. This means that you can submit a total of five submission forms.

    Categories:

    • The five categories are listed and explained below in the section labeled "2022-2023 Categories."
    • Students may submit one photo per category.

    Rules and Suggestions for Submitted Photos:

    • All aspects of the BYU Honor Code must be followed in photo submissions. Please make sure that the subjects within the photo follow BYU dress and grooming standards (i.e., no beards). This is rarely an issue; however, submissions have been turned down on occasion.
    • The photo must be taken by the person that is submitting the photo to the contest. In the case that a photographer is doing a self-portrait or needs to be included in the photo, they need to be the person that is setting up the shot and camera.
    • Photos should be student focused. Photos do not have to be on BYU campus or in BYU apparel but should show an aspect of student life. The importance of including a student subject in the photo has increased as the contest has continued to grow. For example, a photo of students hiking is appropriate, but a landscape photo without any people would likely not score as well in the judging process.
    • Photos may be edited to a reasonable degree (i.e., color, contrast, lighting, etc.) Drastic alterations (i.e., addition of individuals, removal of significant portions of the photo, etc.) are generally discouraged.
    • Color, black and white, sepia, etc. photos are acceptable.
    • Photos should be high quality, meaning that the photo can be blown up to a larger size without pixelation of the image content. Ideally, photos should try to be around 3000x45000px (this is not required, but please be aware of how the photo might look if it is made larger).  
    • Preference will be given to candid photos (except for portraits). 
    • Photos are not required to have been taken within a certain time frame or at a specific location; however, recent photos are preferred. For instance, photos do not need to have been taken within the 2022-2023 academic year or on BYU campus. 
    • Photos from the previous year’s contest may be resubmitted.
    • All photos should be taken in a manner that follows best safety practices for the activity.

    Additional Information:

    • For your information, all submitted photos may be utilized by the university for various needs (i.e., websites, conference rooms, etc.). 
    • The Dean of Students reserves the right to deny any entry. 
    • Winners will be informed via email and invited to an awards luncheon in March to receive their award. 

    Thank you for your submissions!

  • There will be three cash prize winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) and three honorable mentions (4th, 5th, and 6th place) selected from each category. This adds up to 15 total cash prize winners, and if including honorable mentions, 30 total winners in the contest.

    Students can win up to one cash prize (either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in one category), one honorable mention, and the Best of Show award.

    The prize values for each category are as follows: 1st place receives $475, 2nd place receives $350, and 3rd place receives $150. Because 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place is awarded per category, this adds up to 15 total cash prize winners. The Best of Show winner will receive an additional $125 prize.

    See the section below titled “Judging Process" for more information on the judging process and the Best of Show element.

  • All photos submitted by the deadline (January 29th, 2023 at 11:59pm) will be reviewed by teams of employees and students. Judges will score the photographs in each category according to the criteria noted below:

    1. The photo is compliant with all aspects of the Honor Code. This criterion is binary, meaning that photos that do not comply with this rule will not be considered.
    2. The photo matches the feel of a student center (i.e., the photo is student-oriented). Photos do not have to be on BYU campus or in BYU apparel, but they should show an aspect of student life.
    3. The photo has appropriate exposure. Photos should have ideal brightness, including appropriate levels of detail in both the shadows and highlight areas.
    4. The photo is not pixelated. Photo pixelation should not inhibit a viewer’s ability to see the content or cause a lower quality appearance in printing. Winning photos will be printed at 2'x3' so photo submissions should be able to be blown up to that size. It is recommended that photos be around 3000x45000px to avoid the issue of pixelation.
    5. The photo has appropriate composition and focus. The arrangement of the forms within the photo should be pleasing to the eye and follow the rule-of-thirds, unless for a specific artistic reason. Focus should aid in framing the photo with intentional choice of which objects are sharp and which are blurred.
    6. The photo is relevant to the category. Preference will be given to photos that fit the category description.
    7. The photo is memorable. Photos should stick out among the submissions. Submissions are encouraged to be artistic, creative, and showcase the photographer’s style. Memorable photos may contain content that is especially beautiful, emotional, thought-provoking, etc.
    8. The photo follows all the listed submission rules. Photo submissions that fail to follow rules will be disqualified. *This criterion is binary, meaning that photos that do not comply with this rule will not be considered.
  • The judging process is intended to focus on how photos capture the student experience. Students who submit photos will be ineligible to participate as judges. Judges score photos based on the criteria listed in the "Judging Criteria" section above. Due to an increase in submissions over the past years, the judging process has been changed for the 2022-2023 Dean of Students Photo Contest.

    Judging will be divided into the three stages as follows:

    1. Judging teams will be created from volunteers from partnering offices (both students and full-time employees) and other judges as invited. The teams will be assigned a category and trained on the category description, submission rules, and judging criteria. As they view the submissions within their category, they will select their top 20 photos.
    2. The top 20 photos from each category will be sent to the Student Friendly Committee and other invitees (such as members of the BYUSA Presidency and other students). This panel of judges will then score the photos in each category on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the highest score possible. After judges submit their scores on a 1-10 scale, the scores for criteria number 2, 6, and 7 will be weighted to be worth 1.5 times as much, as these criteria are particularly important to the contest’s purpose. For example, if a photo was originally scored as a 10 for criterion 6, then that score will automatically be increased to be worth 15 points.
    3. The scores will be aggregated and judges will review the photos and break any ties. The top 30 photos (6 photos per category) will then be eligible to receive the Best of Show Award. Once voting for Best of Show ends, the final rankings will be revealed to the winners via email.

    The Best of Show Award:

    • The Best of Show will be determined after all of the photos have been judged and scored. Once the judges have identified the top 6 photos per category, resulting in a pool of 30 photos, these photos will be eligible to win the Best of Show award. In an online survey, students will be able to vote for their favorite 3 photos out of the top 30. The photos in the survey will not be organized by category, and the photographers will remain anonymous. Contestants can expect Best of Show voting to occur in February, and the survey will be advertised through various Campus Life social media channels and the BYU student-wide email. The Best of Show winner will receive an additional $125 to their other placement award.
  • The Dean of Students Office and Wilkinson Student Center Services started the Dean of Students Photo Contest to celebrate the student experience and student art in the Wilkinson Student Center (WSC). In an effort to reduce the amount of random landscape artwork in the building, over one hundred pieces of artwork were removed from the WSC walls in 2017-2018, targeting works that did not relate to BYU or students. This created a need for new artwork/photos and the Dean of Students Photo Contest was started to fill the void.

    Fall semester of 2018 was the first year of the annual Dean of Students Photo Contest. Since then, student participation has contributed to almost one hundred new photos now displayed in the Wilkinson Student Center. We look forward to another year celebrating student work by showcasing photos that embody student life here at BYU.

  • Most photos are on the third floor surrounding the Terrace, between Women's Services and Resources and the BYU Store. Additional photos are on the second floor, placed between the CougarEat and the Ballrooms and around the East Lounge.

    Winning photos for this and upcoming years will be placed in available spaces throughout the building.

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Contact Us

Dean of Students Office
deanofstudents@byu.edu
(801) 422-2731
3500 WSC

Click here to send us an email.
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Stay Updated

Click here to sign-up to receive updates about the contest and reminders about important dates!
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2022 - 2023 Categories

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Student Study & Experiential Learning

The college experience is full of late nights in the library and studying hard to graduate. This category strives to capture students' efforts to better themselves as they gain more knowledge and experience in their various fields of study.

Photos should feel relatable to students and may emphasize their everyday efforts to pursue higher education. Consider images of students studying on campus, participating in activities for their major/minor, engaging in experiential learning, etc. We would love to see the ways that people apply their skills practically through internships, personal projects, etc.

Tip: Visit BYU Experiential Learning & Internships to see how you can get hands-on experience as a college student.
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Student Adventures

Take your camera with you on your next adventure! This category captures photos from students adventuring both near and far. Consider pictures of students’ road tripping, sightseeing in a city, studying abroad, experiencing new cultures, enjoying outdoor activities (such as skiing, longboarding, rafting, playing pickleball), etc.

All participants should follow appropriate safety protocols for the given activity. The focus of all images should be students rather than scenery.

Tip: Need help getting started? Learn more about the programs, services, and opportunities offered by Student Wellness, BYU Intramurals, and Outdoors Unlimited.
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Student Unity & Belonging

This category features the diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, life experiences, and perspectives of the student body. Consider taking pictures of cultural celebrations, national holiday festivities, or other activities that bring unity to diverse people.

Tip: Get involved with the various clubs on campus that highlight different cultures and interests! Also check out the Student Connection & Leadership Center, Multicultural Student Services, International Student & Scholar Services, Women's Services & Resources, and the Office of Belonging for events that bring the campus community together.
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Student Service

This category includes pictures of students serving students, their community, and the world at large. Whether volunteering at a food bank or simply weeding a neighbor's garden, we want to see how students engage in service. In line with the motto “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,” photos should call attention to student efforts to improve the world around them.

Tip: Check out the Center for Service & Learning (Y-Serve) and the Student Connection & Leadership Center (SCLC) for amazing information on service opportunities for students! Also see the Ballard Center for Social Impact to see how you can make a change in the world.
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Student Portraits

As President Worthen has said, "the students, are the Y—meaning that you are both the reason why we exist as a university and, for those with whom you interact, the embodiment of what BYU stands for."

This category includes portraits of students and is meant to highlight the importance of each student here at BYU.

Portraits generally prioritize the head and/or face of the photo subject. Images for this category do not need to be candid.
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Category Guidelines

Students may submit ONE photo per category, adding up to FIVE possible submissions total per student.
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Dean of Students Photo Contest Winning Photos
2021-2022
2020-2021
2019-2020
2018-2019

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