There’s an interesting debate going on in the Fashion Contest Fan Favorite Voting Discussion thread at the official forums and I just felt like I had to comment on it.
Basically the debate is whether people should be voting for the screenshot (the pose, outfit, setting, etc) or just base their votes on the outfit.
Here are some key points from different users who argue that the whole screenshot is important. Fleurlis says “For example even though your outfit may be wonderful and unique if you take a screenie of it in a barren area where there is not much going on and nothing to really express the theme you are trying to produce then it takes away from the experience of a themed outfit in action for the role it was made for.“ Bucaneve says “Some outfits are indeed thought of with that purpose in mind, so it would take away from them not to consider how well they blend in with what’s around them.”
Regarding the idea that the outfit is important it seems that many people are focused on the wording that this is a Fashion contest, and not a screenshot contest (which they have had many of those before). And as far as other Fashion contests go, Valkrist points out that in past Fashion contests there was specific wording regarding taking your screenshot as ‘action shots’ or in certain types of setting, and that kind of wording is absent in this contest. Marguerita also says “I just have some difficulty with some screenshots, because it is not the outfit that is the center piece, but the area around and this contest was more about fashion. But this does not remove any beauty to their outfit.”
Now in my opinion, I think the main focus of the contest (seeing as it is a Fashion contest, not a Screenshot contest) should definitely be on the outfits. But at the same time, no mistake should be made that setting and composition are not important. If you are submitting your outfit to a contest where you know tons of others will be submitting as well, always try and take the best possible screenshot that you can. This includes the lighting on your character, the colors in the background, the theme of the background and how those three things work with or against your outfit.
Using examples from the Fan Favorite Polling selection, I think that Screenshot #1 does a very good job of matching the outfit to a setting.
And I think the outfit in Screenshot #5 is really awesome looking… however since the character is just standing in the Bree Homesteads, it makes it less epic than if she were standing, for example in Mirkwood or Moria, places where a lore-master with a covered face and an epic battle-cat would make sense.