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The Art of photography, the true key to taking a great prize winning picture, is to transform your snaps into photographs - not too difficult with a little thought, practice and study - and then transform your photographs into pictures. This is far more difficult. You have to respond to your subject, take something from it, personalize it and the make an innovative and imaginative image. Sounds too tricky? Well its not because we can all do it and here are a few tips on how . . .

  1. Don’t be overly worried about your pictures being technically perfect. It’s the content that really counts not how pin sharp or critically exposed the image is. Obviously there are limits!

  2. Composition is nine tenths of your picture’s beauty. Make it all balance in your frame - so its simply nice to look at - and be careful with distracting things in the background.

  3. Photograph things you love (or hate) so you get a strong response in your subconscious. This is sure to show in your pics. Point your lens at your favourite things.

  4. And this is an important one . . . DO NOT worry about how big, flash or expensive your camera is. Cameras do not take pictures - people do! You could take a brilliant photo on a mobile phone if you were in a better place than a professional with mega-bucks of gear.

  5. Don’t be lazy - if you are lucky to be in the right place at the right time and you can see a great opportunity in front of you don’t just snap away. Look for the best angle, wait for the best moment, use your luck to try something new.

  6. It’s the result that counts. I’m not saying cheat but if you can improve your image on the computer then have a go because you are trying to create something perfect and to ever come close you need all the help you can get.

  7. Make sure you focus on the categories set, that your photos reflect the competition’s subjects. The worlds best picture of a footballing Polar Bear dancing to the Sex Pistols in the Trevi Fountain will not win!

  8. Your photographs don’t all have to be nice - sometimes getting a response from your audience can mean challenging images, pictures that make us think and this is a very valuable part of  photography.

  9. Take loads of pictures. The moment will only happen once, there is no rehearsal, no second chance and in the digital age it costs nothing to blast off lots of frames. And don’t spend time reviewing and deleting ‘in the field‘, concentrate on taking pictures . You can do all the rest when its all over and you’re at home having a cup of tea. Or Coffee!

  10. I would end by saying ‘Good Luck‘ but in truth of course there is none out there. Taking really good pictures can be hard work or done in a casual moment, its never the same twice. It can be frustrating or exciting or rewarding. As a judge I always look forward to seeing the images because I know there will be some that will make me go ’Wow‘, so come on, rise to the challenge and show us what you can do!


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