Helpful Tips & Advice from Competition Judge Tim Walden!


Helpful Tips & Advice from Competition Judge Tim Walden!

With the Image Competition in full swing, we asked our judges to share some of their expertise with our members for submitting the very best images.  Here is some excellent advice from Tim Walden:

When evaluating photography I like to compare it to standing on two legs. As we stand equally on our two legs, they keep us balanced and  strong. If we stand on one leg, we easily lose our balance and tumble. Similarly, in photography we must stand on two legs. Those legs are technical excellence and creative artistry. Creative artistry will define you as an artist, provide uniqueness and a special place among other artists. It’s how your work will be remembered.  However, your imagery must also be technically excellent or you’ll find it’s a facade and it will crumble.

So, with that said, I look for four pillars which are all cornerstones of a great image; two of them on the technical side and two on the creative. On the technical side, I look  first for beautiful lighting that draws you to the subject and features them. Lighting that enhances the mood and never distracts by being too contrasty or too flat is perfect. Lighting can, and should, provide depth and help us to feature the textures and shapes in our photographs.


Next, would be the pose. I use this term even for non‐posed images (or candids) and it speaks more to the arrangement of the subject(s) and can either flatter or distort them. A perfect pose or perfectly timed candid will support the expression, the environment and mood the maker desired while always making the subject look their best.



On the creative side I look at the composition of the image. Is it unique? Maybe long and thin to be different or square because this fits the environment and elements in the image. Does the composition help share the message of the maker? The composition is critic to the story. What parts you leave out and what parts you include are important decisions when composing the perfect photograph.


Finally, I evaluate the mood and emotion of the image. This is, to me, the most critical element as it causes the viewer to linger, to draw conclusions and to see the depth of the story in front of them. It can be in a mother’s touch, the closed eyes of a dad embracing his child and in the expression(s) of each person included as they must fit the mood. Mood is the magic that take s a nice image, an image with technical excellence, and places it above and beyond the others. Did you leave the viewer of your image different than the way you found them when they stop to see your photograph?



Crystal James
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