If you want to jump to an all new level of proficiency with your photography, it pays to pay attention to the masters and the consistent award and contest winners… then do what they do.
Success leaves clues.
Recently, the selection of the “Military Photographer of the Year” was made. Congratulations to MSgt Jeremy Lock!
Here’s an interesting thing, in watching news reports about him, I learned that he has won this award for six consecutive years! Now THAT is an example of someone who has mastered the finer points of what it takes to create the “wow” factor and win contests!
Winning six times in a row – Military Photographer Of The Year – made me sit up and take notice. There are thousands of military photographers!
I mean – anyone could accidentally get “THE” photo that wins all the contests in any particular year… but to win six times in a row clearly indicates that it isn’t an accident and he has tapped into what people want to see!
In an interview, he was asked what he looks for in a photo – he said the two main things he looks for is:
1. A face
2. A story.
He wants his viewers to connect with his photos and one way to do that is by showing a compelling face. It could be cute (they showed a photo he took of a little girl playing in a puddle of water) or tragic – (they showed examples of wounded soldiers). Whatever… as long as there is a compelling face.
It wasn’t done by him, but how many of us can forget the enchanting eyes in the famous “National Geographic” cover photo of an Arab woman? By the way – she was tracked down for an interview several years later and it turns out that she had no idea that she was world famous! That is a good example of a compelling face!
Then he said that he looks for the story telling elements. What one shot will immediately tell the story of what is happening?
Several famous images – that immediately tell the story – come from the Vietnam era…
Remember the Buddhist monk that set himself on fire in protest of the war?
How about the young girl – nude – running down a dirt street, while burning with napalm?
These are images that immediately tell the story.
You can do the same thing!
It seems to me that if looking for these two elements can propel him to worldwide fame – six times – if we look for the same elements it could propel us to the top of the local photo club contests… or at least get your friends and family to say, “Wow, you did that?” when they look at your photos. And that IS what you got into photography for, isn’t it? For more information, check out the photo resources box!