WHAT THE JUDGES LOOK FOR
Balanced subject matter
Composition must be pleasing.
Before firing off the camera – arrange the shapes within the rectangle
Triangles within the format – even landscape can be made up of triangular areas
The Focal Point – the important area – best placed on one of the thirds –
Noughts and crosses rather than the single cross
Sometimes symmetrical works well – boring if used repeatedly
Dense dark areas best placed at the base of any composition
The point of interest or Focal Point needs to be sharp to draw the attention
In general views a person, animal, building or tree must be sharp.
It then stands out against the secondary areas.
In close-ups of people, animals, birds etc eyes must be sharp. In flowers the stamens need to be sharp.
Most modern cameras have automatic focus so this isn’t generally a problem unless the camera focuses in a narrow central area and the subject is offset in the format.
This has to be emphasizing the Focal Point. Often more interesting if it is side lighting or even back lighting rather than flat, over the shoulder lighting
Misty scenes might not have a lot of light but are great when a small shaft of light comes thru or else a very dark tree silhouette brings the necessary contrast.
Judges used to be concerned with over or under exposed photos – too light or too dark, but with modern cameras this is seldom a problem, unless you choose to manually set the shutter speed and aperture setting.
Refrain from including everything in the format – keep it simple for greater impact. Check the background always – it is just as important as the subject.
Beware of very light bright background poles or other objects – shiny things are distracting – car hub caps etc. or windows.
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