2018 International Photographic Competition

The International Photographic Competition (IPC) just ended and I wanted to share my experience.  The IPC is a fierce competition  where photographers from all over the world compete for a coveted place in the Loan Collection – the best of the best! There are 2 intense rounds of judging that anyone can watch in person or live online.  A panel of jurors select the top images from thousands of entries each year.  The standard they use is called the 12 Elements of a Merit Image:

  1. Impact
  2. Technical Excellence
  3. Creativity
  4. Style
  5. Composition
  6. Presenation
  7. Color Balance
  8. Center of Interest
  9. Lighting
  10. Subject Matter
  11. Technique
  12. Story Telling

This year there were 5,077 images entered, 2622 of those were “merit” images scoring an 80 or above, and 513 images “went loan” and will be featured in the Loan Collection book by Marathon Press.

This was my third year entering, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have a handle on how it works.  Last year I got a bronze medal, meaning all 4 of my images merited.  I was hoping to get the same this year, but alas I got 3 out of 4.

Here are my entries:


“Oh So Grand”

Score 80.

Originally entered in a state practice competition, it scored an 81. I got feedback from the judges, made some changes to the crop, clarity, and presentation, and it scored a point lower!

This was taken (you guessed it) at the Grand Canyon in April when I was there with my mom. I was at this spot for about 3 hours waiting for sunset, watching the light creep across the canyon. Beautiful!

0.6 sec
ISO 100
Natural Light

Image2 - Sealed


“Rub-a-dub-dub Two Frogs in a Tub”

Score: 81

I’ve been photographing amphibians for a few years now. It’s been a fun project, and I decided to enter one in IPC in 2016 and got my first Loan Collection Image! I knew I had something special at that point, so I’m still working on my frog collection.  This is Rico and Keith, 2 pet tree frogs belonging to my cousin’s kids.

1/160 sec
ISO 400
Natural Light


“Workshop Daydreamer”
Score 84.
My only “human” portrait to merit in a competition. Also my highest scoring image ever!

This is Bill Mayes in his workshop in Brevard, NC. Bill ran a summer camp – Camp Deerwoode – for boys here from the 1960’s to 1990. My husband (also Bill) went to camp here for many summers and eventually became a Junior Counselor. Last fall we stayed at Deerwoode and I got to see the magical place for myself.

While the 2 Bill’s were catching up, I worked a lot of different angles to capture a portrait. I love the sense of place and his organization.

1/100 sec
ISO 1250
Natural Light



“Gently Down the Stream”
Score 78

This one did not merit. In retrospect, I think the title was maybe not a great one for this very contrasty image. Or maybe the judges didn’t like the composition.

This was taken in Gatlingburg, TN along the Roaring Fork Nature Trail.

2 sec
ISO 100
28 mm
Natural Light

I’m already working on my 2019 competition images and trying to challenge myself to be more creative!  Congrats to all the photographers that entered this year!


Sarah Goldman is a photographer in Charleston, SC.



Folly Beach Family Photos | The Tommeraasen Family

The Tommeraasen Family spent a week on Folly this summer, journeying from the great state of Iowa.  I always feel a special connection to Iowa since I was in The Music Man in high school, which takes place in the fictional town of River City.  There’s a song called “Iowa Stubborn” that lists a bunch of Iowa towns: Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, Clear Lake.  Now, I don’t know where these towns are, but regardless, I kind of feel like I’m from Iowa. Ha!

The Tommeraasen’s were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with their kids and grandkids and I was thrilled to spend the evening with them!  How cute is 4-year-old MaKenna?  She was giving me some super sassy looks.

Folly Beach Photographers (64)

Folly Beach Photographers (65)

They saw the shark photo on my website and had to have one of their own!  These always crack me up.


Sarah Goldman is a Folly Beach photographer.

34 West Theater | She Drives Me Crazy

34 West Theater just wrapped their 90’s hit She Drives Me Crazy.  For me, a teenager in the 90’s, it was a fun, nostalgic romp down memory lane!  It was described as “Friends Meets Seinfeld” and did not disappoint as a fan of both. 🙂  Next up is the 80’s show Uptown Girl which opens September 14th.  Go see it!

Charleston event photography (2)


Sarah Goldman is a photographer in Charleston, SC.

Family Beach Session Contest!

Summer is coming to a close, and we’re all thinking about school supplies and cooler weather. To mark the end of the season, I’m giving away a beach session to one lucky Charleston family!
dad with his 2 sons at the beach
The session can take place at Folly Beach or Isle of Palms.  The winner will be chosen at random on August 18th and contacted via email. To enter the contest, fill out the form here:
feet on the beach
and Good Luck!

Folly Beach Maternity Session | Dennise and Mitchell

As I write this blog post, Dennise and Mitchell are snuggling their new arrival, baby Ryker!  I’m so excited to meet him tomorrow for his Fresh 48 session.

You may remember this family from their cotton field session a couple years ago: https://sarahgoldmanphotography.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/sunset-cotton-field-photo-session-southcarolina

For their maternity session, they came to see me in Charleston for a session on the beach.  We met at the east end of Folly Beach to capture some photos of this special time in their lives.  Stay tuned for baby photos soon!

couple sitting on a dock folly beach sc

Sarah Goldman is a photographer in Charleston, SC.

A South Carolina Lightning Storm

I am not a “gadget” person. Not with scuba gear, not with computer stuff, and not with camera equipment, but one item I really want is a lightning trigger. A lightning trigger senses a bolt of lighting and then takes a photo. It’s really hard to photograph lightning otherwise. Ever since high school meteorology class and seeing the movie Twister, I’ve wanted to be a storm chaser! There was a nice storm near my house last week so I grabbed my tripod and did some long exposures. I was lucky enough to capture a few bolts.  So much fun!!  I see more “weather” shoots in my future.  🙂


Sarah Goldman is a photographer in Charleston, SC.

Family Photos on the Farm | Wilcox Family

The Wilcox Family met me at our family farm, Fox Trot Plantation, for some family photos.  Baby Emma was 8 months old, sitting up, and overall being ridiculously cute. 🙂  Our flock of chickens even came out to visit with them at the end of the session!

family standing under pecan tree on south carolina farm


Fox Trot Plantation is a private family farm in Calhoun County, South Carolina.

Sarah Goldman is a family photographer in Charleston, SC.

Small Town South Carolina | July 4th

I love a small town Independence Day celebration.  I grew up in Pickerington, Ohio where we had a big parade from the high school, through the Olde Village and ending at Victory Park where the marching band would perform patriotic songs and local dance studios would perform.  There were rides, fair food, and a fish fry.  My dad would get up early on July 4th and drive our van down to Victory Park where he would park at the top of the hill – saving our spot for the fireworks display later that night.  Needless to say, I am still sentimental for a small town celebration. Our farm is close to Elloree, South Carolina, and we’ve spent several years commemorating our nation’s Independence there.

joe miller park in elloree july 4th celebration

Sarah Goldman is a photographer in South Carolina.

Downtown Charleston Maternity Session | Ruth

In March I met Ruth and her family in Washington Square Park in downtown Charleston for their family maternity session.  Baby Sarah arrived earlier this month (stay tuned for photos…)  I love late March sessions because the azaleas are at their peak!

family photo in washington square park


Sarah Goldman is a family photographer in Charleston, SC.