We want our submitters to have the best chance to be recognized for their hard work and outstanding projects. Below are a few tips, tricks and links that we recommend reading to help you prepare your online submission. Following these guidelines will help ensure that your submission has the most impact during the judging process. While we can’t guarantee that your project will win, this information is intended to help you draft a more complete and successful submission.

Keep Your Narrative Points on Point

Narratives have strict word limitations and it can be challenging to describe a project in the alloted space. While you may want to create a flowing elegant description of your project, consider using bullet-point style phrases instead of complete sentences. This will make it easier to cover all the judging criteria.

Use Adjectives & Superlatives Selectively

It’s easy to use lots of flowery, descriptive words to evoke emotion in your narrative, but they eat up the word count. As they say, ‘A photo is worth a thousand words’, so let your photos speak to the judges; don’t depend so much on adjectives and superlatives. If you don’t cover all the required criteria in your narrative, all those snazzy words won’t mean a thing.

Exterior Photos & The Blue Hour

Every project doesn’t have the luxury of affording a professional photographer to produce stunning imagery but there is no reason you can’t do it yourself. For exterior shots, use a tripod – and a remote if your camera supports it. It is optimal to shoot exteriors during the Blue Hour – which starts about 20 minutes after sunset and lasts about 30 minutes as well as in the morning about 45 minutes before sunrise. The subtle ambient light from the sun below the horizon creates the best balance for striking photos that highlight your lighting design.

Interior Photos & Fill Light

Unfortunately, many professional photographers will use fill light if there isn’t a good balance of illumination in the space; their goal is to create a bright, uniform shot for the architect – not capture the depth and drama of your lighting design. You can spot fill light by the abnormal shadows or unusual intensity of light in the shot. If you find this to be a problem, try capturing interior shots on your own. Use a tripod and a camera with a shutter you can control. Any of the current DSLR cameras on the market can help you capture a fantastic shot without fill light.

Score Cards & Additional Links

The IES website provides additional information to help guide you during the submission process. You can see Frequently Asked Questions, read up on the Procedures & Rules, and view the judging score card for each award category. CLICK HERE to visit the IES National website and check out these additional resources.