Presenting a Standout Entry
We have put together some quick tips and tricks to assist you with presenting your best work yet.
Frame your Image
Most digital cameras have a display mode which will allow for a 3 x 3 grid to be displayed on the screen. Use this
display to frame your shot and to ensure that levels or uprights in the subject matter are maintained. Ensure that your images
are taken in Landscape orientation, especially your “hero shot” as this is the image that will be displayed on large screens
at the Awards Presentation if your entry makes it to finals.
Shutter Lag fix
Many ‘point-and-shoot’ digital cameras suffer from shutter lag. You can overcome this by pre-focussing the
photo by depressing the shutter button to the halfway point while framing the shot.
Magic Hour Focus
When taking photos the professional photographer will often refer to the ‘magic hours’ which are the early
morning or the early evening hours. These are times when natural outdoor light is soft and ‘harshness’ of the
midday sun can be avoided.
Digital photos taken inside with the camera’s flash on can often produce flat, one-dimensional images. If
possible don’t use your flash but compensate with shutter speed or aperture setting.
A tripod will overcome the ‘shakiness’ that can be experienced when the shutter speed is slowed down otherwise
try bracing yourself against a wall or other solid object to achieve stability.
Show the Light
If light is low look at bringing in light, either natural light by opening workshop doors or blinds or artificial light to
highlight the focal point of your shot.
Colour recalibration to adjust the effect of artificial light will likely be needed as fluorescent light will add a bluish
tinge to photos while a tungsten or incandescent bulb will add a yellowish tinge to the photo.
When taking photos outside look at adjusting the white balance in your camera. This can be done by setting the
camera to ‘cloudy’ even if the sun is out. This change will provide a ‘warmer’ image with more vibrancy to the
colours which will appear richer.
Flash for Outside
Consider using your flash for outdoor shots even when bright sunshine is evident. The flash can lighten harsh
shadows and reduce the effect of shadows.
Try to avoid distracting elements in the background of your composition. Busy patterns, moving objects or
people detract and draw attention away from the subject matter.
For those images that need to be taken at night, ie. Illuminated categories, a tripod is a ‘must’. The flash will have
no noticeable effect if the subject matter is out of the flash’s range. A slow shutter speed is also a must. Odd as
it may sound, setting your camera’s white balance to daylight will give you richer colours. If possible take your
nighttime shots in the first half-hour after sunset for the best-illuminated sign photos.
Learn how to correctly crop your image so the focal point is the main feature. Be aware that when you crop you
will reduce the pixel count on one or both boundaries of your image. So if you are planning to crop your image,
set the size to more than 5 megapixels. It is easier to reduce a 12-megapixel photo than retake the shot if it is
below the specification required.
The quality of photography affects the chances of a successful entry. Judges are always considering both the
composition, the orientation and the quality of the image. The image should express professionalism and quality. So don’t
overlook the value of those close-up shots that highlight the detail of the work that was involved.
Quality images only.