Thoughts on judging a photograph

At the Ted’s Hedda Morrison Print Portfolio Trophy night our guest judge David Paterson spoke about what he looks for as a judge in photography competitions. David is experienced as a judge with the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers. He also regularly enters work in State and National AIPP competitions. Here is a summary of David’s thoughts.

Judging a Photograph: What do I look for?

Composition and Image design – is the photo well composed and has thought been applied to the design of the image?

Exposure – is there detail in both the highlights and shadows? Does it have a good tonal range?

Focus – has the focus been placed in the areas and how well has this worked?

Colour/Tones – is the colour and/or tones correct?

Lighting – how well has the photographer used the light?

Posing and Styling – does the posing suit the photo?

Attention to detail – is there anything within the photo that should have been removed or not photographed in the first place?

Post Production – how well has the post production been handled? Sharpening?

Printing – is the print of a professional standard? Right choice of paper?

Presentation – how well has the photo been presented, matting?

Images that are more highly awarded may include…

Communication and Narrative – does the photo tell me a story and/or communicate the authour’s intent?

Imagination – thinking outside the square

Innovation – is this something new that gets me excited?

Visual and emotional impact – does this photo affect me emotionally?

Timing, anticipation – the decisive moment!

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