with refinement in one or more of these
three areas: posing, lighting and post-production technique. “My encouragement
is to focus on your weaknesses and not
your strengths. If you have posing down,
and your lighting can be improved, work
on that. If your lighting and posing are
there, but your post-production can be
improved, dedicate yourself to growing in
that area!” This is some of the best advice
I’ve read in a long time.
Rangefinder’s editor-in-chief, Jacque-
line Tobin, says: “I’m always struck,
and happily surprised, by the originality
of image submissions we receive in an
industry glutted with the same scenes
frame after frame. Some may wonder
how many ways a wedding photographer
makes the rings stand out or hangs the
bride’s dress somewhere other than a tree
without those shots getting stale and old-
looking… I’m happy to report that every
year we see such unique ways to make
these scenes fresh and modern. I’m also
impressed by how real the emotions are
and how well they are captured—seeing
a tear run down a groom’s face or an em-
brace between a bride and father never
gets old but instead draws me right into
their world and gives me goose bumps
every time. That is the power of photog-
raphy and of this competition!”
Finally, I’d like to add my own
thoughts on the process. There is one
common mistake I think every photog-
rapher makes: being too emotionally
connected to the image. When we take
pictures, no matter how good we are,
we are living through that moment, and
sometimes that jades our judgment. All
too often as I was looking at images, I
could almost see a photographer think-
ing, “Isn’t this a great moment of the
bride crying?” However, they failed to
look at the entire image, forgetting to ask
the following questions:
• Is this a great composition?
• Is it properly exposed?
• Did I crop it correctly?
• Did I take the time to retouch perfectly?
• Is this the best image I have?
While our clients may have loved the
image, that doesn’t necessarily make it a
The second piece of advice I can of-
fer, from a judge’s perspective, is to ask
yourself these questions: “Does this
image make me feel something? Does
it make me pause? Will it make them
stop?” Seriously, take your entries, put
them in a gallery with 250 other entries,
and see if, when you scroll through them,
they make you stop in your tracks. Ask
your friends the same thing. That’s how
all contests and competitions are judged.
Your image is among thousands of others
being critiqued; you must force the judge
to stop and look!
If you do that, I guarantee you’ll have
an image that gains you points toward
your Honors of Excellence. (See where
you stand at wppiawards.com.)
from the cubicle
#MYPICRFWPPI IMAGE OF THE MONTH
My image this month is from the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. I was
fortunate to be able to join a wonderful conference given by a company
called Easywed. I was with them in December as well, and they are working
to put together a nice little community. They have helped bridge the gap
for WPPI, and I cannot thank them enough. I’ve been so inspired by this
group of photographers who are excited to learn, and be part of WPPI.
Look out folks: about 100 new Chinese photographers signed up with us,
a talented bunch who I think will be representing in our upcoming competitions. I’d like to personally thank Shuo Han and the lovely Fiona (Ting
Ruan) for their hospitality. I’d also like to thank Alex Pan for being such
a great translator during the print competition, and Danny Dong for his
tireless translating as well, making the language barrier an effortless gap.