NAPCP Judge Sara Brennan-Harrell's Tips and Advice!


NAPCP Judge Sara Brennan-Harrell's Tips and Advice!

NAPCP is currently hosting it’s bi-annual International Image Competition. Selecting images for submission is critical and can often times be an overwhelming process for our members. We’ve reached out to our distinct panel of judges for expert advice on what they look for specifically in an award winning image. Next up the wonderful Sara Brennan-Harrell of Whitebox Photo!

There are so many things that have to come together to make a great photo, but these three things really stand out in my mind.
Composition– I believe that composition is the most important aspect of a great photo. Three people can take a photo of the same exact subject and the photographers choices about the point of view and how they use the rule of thirds, and the way they compose the photograph can make the three photos of the same subject so different. I love an interesting point of view or a fresh perspective on everyday things. To be able to show your own view of the world through a photo is what speaks to me about photography. I am not a very “technical” photographer. I would consider myself more of an experimenting artist who shoots from the heart, but the one rule of composition that i do use a lot is the rule of thirds. I notice that i am drawn to photos that make good use of the rule of thirds.
Emotion – My favorite thing to photograph in the whole world is the human face. The face can tell so many stories and can make so many amazing expressions. I love photos where you can feel the joy radiating from someone’s smile or you feel all warm and fuzzy because you can sense the love between a mother and child. Capturing the exact moment of an emotion happening always produces an amazing image. Human nature is all about connecting. Capturing the story of an emotion makes the viewer connect to your photograph.
Just the right amount of post processing– In today’s day and age I feel like a lot of a photographer’s artwork is in the post processing. It is so hard to teach someone to do photoshop because every image is different, every lighting scenario is different, every skin tone is different and you as the photographer have to decide what to enhance, what to change, what to leave alone. There is such a fine line between a great job with post processing and overdoing it or not quite making the magic happen (mostly overdoing it). I look for post processing that enhances the photo in a positive way without going too far and making an image look fake or forced. When you are retouching think to yourself, how will this photo stand up to the test of time? I try to keep my retouching clean and simple. I want my images to look “classic” 20 years from now not like they were a part of a fad. All I am saying is a little dab will do ya!
I am so excited to be a judge this year and i can’t wait to see everyone’s entries!
Thanks Sara! Members, be sure to submit your favorite images here by August 22nd!

Alice Park
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