The seventh annual Most Beautiful Baby Contest starts in just a few days. I was thinking that maybe you need to know more about what goes on behind the scenes to put this together.
In November, we began contacting prize sponsors for the contest. We first contacted prize sponsors from last year. Most of them donated something again this year, but a couple decided to pass. Then we began contacting new area businesses who might want to be a part of the contest advertising.
See, we are offering to feature their company’s logo on all our advertising, which includes posters, mailers, online ads, and much more. This is normally quite a value just to have their logo in front of so many readers. But when it is also associated with a fundraising effort, it gives them just that much more of an emotional boost.
So, starting January 15, we start taking portrait sessions of children from six months to 30 months (2-1/2 years). The objective of a minimum and maximum age is that we want the baby to be able to sit up, and most kids can by or before six months. And the maximum age keeps this from being about all the cutesy things that older children can do. The age range kind of keeps it all fair among children who still have baby cheeks and surprise in their faces.
So, throughout the next 45 days, we take pictures of kids. Usually lots of them. And over that time period, that’s all we focus on. We continue to promote the contest, too.
One important element is our contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Of the session fees, about 40% goes to St. Jude. This is an ongoing donation made with each new session. This year, we’re going to try to make those donations in the name of the parent and/or child, in addition to our name.
When the parents preview the images, they also select ONE image to submit for the contest. We do not select the picture; the parents do. And we save an unretouched (we might clean up minor skin issues) copy of that image for submission to our judges.
At the end of the contest, we put all of the entries online for our judges in a private directory on our website. Each of the judges (usually 3-4 judges, all are hand-selected by Diana and I, and are completely unrelated to the contest, the parents or children involved) assigns a first, second or third preferred selection to the images they see. The accumulated value of the judge’s selections are tallied up and the image with the highest total is the winner. The next highest four are assigned second and third place, and two honorable mentions.
Then we start assigning prizes to the winners. And finally, we start calling the winners.
So, now you know. The contest always results in a lot of fun, great images, and some really happy contestants.
Do you know someone who has a beautiful baby? Of course you do. Tell them to call now, 304-263-3100. The entry fee/session fee is $35 for a 30-minute session. If they want a full session, it’s only $15 more (which includes more time for more outfits).
See you soon!