2020 Photographer of the Year: Tips from the winners
Earlier this year, we asked some of our 2019 Photographer of the Year category winners to share their tips for a winning portfolio.
Anthony Lawrence, Overall winner, 2019 Photographer of the Year
First, really strive to be different. Your work must stand out to catch the eye of the judges, and your portfolio must be your best images.
At the very least, they must be cleverly cohesive and evoke emotion. The judges must be able to interpret the theme, the intent of your images and establish a positive connection when viewing them. Research previous winners, and if possible familiarise yourself with the portfolios of the judges that are photographers to get a sense of their own work.
Alice Marriette, 2019 People and Portrait Photographer of the Year
My main tip would be to really think about your submission as a whole and don’t just randomly pull together four of your best photos. You want your portfolio to tell a story, not just within each individual image, but across the images and you also want there to be consistency in how you shot and edited each image.
Don’t be afraid to be different – original images, when done well, are always going to stand out against the rest.
Ethan Mann, 2019 Wildlife and Animal Photographer of the Year
The portfolio layout of the Photographer of the Year competition allows photographers to explore and tell stories with more detail than single image competitions.
The competition gives photographers the opportunity to be critical of their work in selecting the set, though the action of selecting four images to tell a story is rewarding in and of itself.
Regarding the Animal and Nature category specifically, I think a winning entry is one that evokes emotion and connection in the viewer. Broadly, a set of images that explores an animal or nature with specific composition type, lighting method or style. Personally, I prefer a series not entirely shot from a single interaction, but one that explores animals or nature in beautiful light with creative compositions.
A winning entry does not need exotic species or locations. A portfolio shot close to home can be a breath of fresh air.
Luke Fazekas, 2019 Travel Photographer of the Year
Clear the clutter, consider what is within the frame before you shoot.
Spend time on the streets. You will start to notice authentic photo opportunities as well as anticipate what might happen next i.e. the perfect shot!
Seek feedback from others. Sometimes the photos you disregard might actually appeal to a wider audience.
If submitting a series or portfolio, make sure each image fits within the theme you are depicting and keep everything in the same orientation and aspect ratio.
Allen Koppe, 2019 Black and White Photographer of the Year
The difficulty is creating imagery that fits the criteria of the competition and then, importantly that attracts the judge’s attention.
Firstly, always read and understand the specific requirements of each competition. If the competition requires a portfolio then it is important that your entries reflect a cohesive series of pictures.
Consistency is the key, so don’t mix colour with black and white, try and keep your aspect ratio the same and most importantly maintain a consistent theme within your imagery. When taking your pictures keep in mind that the image you are taking may be viewed by a panel of judges!
Take your time, look into the scene and find a subject of interest. Think about it, should I lower the camera angle and get more sky, or move a touch to the left, should I come back in the morning when the light will be at a better angle?
There’s so much to consider, but by spending a little more time and taking these considerations into account your pictures will improve and give you a better chance of standing out from the crowd and attract the judges attention.