A well-presented entry packet is the key to standing out to the AREA judges. Make sure that your presentation binder is as impressive as your finished project. In your binder, you should include your project information page, printed photos of the project, and a photo CD with digital photos of the project. In a separate envelope, include the completed entry form, homeowner’s affidavit, and photographer’s release.
Typewritten entries are preferable, as they are easier to read. You may use additional paper for the project information section if needed.
Following are a few tips for creating a winning entry packet:
Tips for Writing a Winning Description
- Include plenty of details in your project description, including the size of the project, cost, materials used, etc. Be specific about the work done: Were cabinets replaced? New appliances brought in? Energy-efficient windows or insulation installed? New flooring put in?
- Address the purpose for the work done. Was space added to accommodate a growing family? Was the home made handicap-accessible for a homeowner with limited mobility?
- Discuss the challenges of the existing space and how your work improved the space or met a particular need of the homeowner. What were the homeowner’s goals for the project, and were they accomplished?
- If possible, take “before” pictures of the project (or check to see if the homeowner has before pictures) as well as pictures while the work is being done to include with your photos of the finished project. Before and after shots are helpful as they will assist the judges in understanding the total scope of the project. Match the before and after shots to make it easy for the judges to compare the steps of the project.
- Each entry should include at least two photographs that show an overall view of the project and any key features and details. A maximum of twenty (20) photographs are allowed for each project entered.
- Let your photography tell the story. Text or diagrams can be used to support the photography and provide additional information on the more interesting aspects of the project. If you reference photos in your text, please number each photo for clarity or provide a short caption.
- Make sure your pictures are high-resolution (preferably 300 dpi) and large enough to show details in print as well as to reproduce for video without becoming blurry. Photos that are 8”x10” are an ideal size.
- Many entrants choose to hire a professional photographer for their entry photographs. Using a photographer who knows about proper lighting and equipment can be a great investment for helping to show your project at its best.