Leo Palmer is the chairman of the Royal Photographic Society panel for distinctions in Travel Photography and has been advising on awards for many years. When he visited us, he talked about a successful picture. His main points were:
- successful pictures have a number of characteristics:
- personal vision and interpretation;
- catch the eye and have lasting impact;
- portraits (people or animals) and pictures of people should tell a story;
- learn how to
- use focusing, aperture, shutter speed to make the subject stand out;
- make the best use of light (such as cross lighting often seen early or later in the day);
- take RAW files and use software to get the most out of the picture by enhancing the subject;
- keep the subject matter simple and eliminate distractions.
At the Seminar for judges the NCPF held on 22nd February 2016, the lead speaker Richard Speirs, talked about the national trend in evaluating photographs. He stressed heavily that a good image will always create an emotional response and that judges should weight their evaluation of pictures as follows:
- how the photographer communicates an idea or feelings 50-60%
- the content of the picture 30-35%
- construction (composition) and technical skills 10-15%
In summary, a good photograph is one where the photographer brings out the best of what they photograph. The choice of format is also important - does it enhance the picture? People are very comfortable with the newer 16:9 format as well as the older ones of 3:2 or 4:3. Square is also in vogue at the moment!
A picture that shows a
- high level of communication of feelings and related content, and evokes a strong emotional response by making the viewer think will be rated highly;
- a high level of technical skill but little communication and content will score low marks.
Can we use this information to make successful pictures?
Ask yourself first, have I chosen and presented the content of my picture to communicate my feelings clearly; and secondly, does my picture lead to an emotional response, that is will the person looking at it think deeply about it?