2014 Sony World Photography Awards Judge shares what he’s looking for in this year’s competition


You have seen the call for entries to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards but how can you make sure yours is the photograph that the judges choose?  WPO gives you an exclusive insight into the thoughts of our 2014 Honorary Jury members and exactly what they are looking for in an award-winning image.

This week, WPO interviews jury member Guy Harrington of Soho Management.

In your opinion, what makes an award-winning image?  What key elements will you look for in the entries to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards?

An image has not only to be beautiful but have something to say to be truly award-winning. It needs to be artfully constructed and technically well executed but it also needs to go beyond this – beyond being something pleasurable to look at in a decorative way – it should provoke, educate or entertain as well.

Of course there are many ways to provoke, educate or entertain so the things I will be looking for are innovation, humour or revelation.

What practical tips can you give photographers entering a competition for the first time?  Is there anything a photographer should avoid doing?

To achieve an award-winning image along the lines laid out above, the picture must be technically well executed and artfully composed, and then going beyond that the photographer needs to ask if the picture is going to appeal just to themself or to a greater audience. For this reason pictures of your cat or your grandmother will fail if they are just nice personal mementos, but may succeed if they can grab the interest of a larger audience as well, if they go beyond being personal mementos to making a broader statement.

What are you hoping to see in this year’s entries?

I want to be shocked or amazed, amused or educated – to see things I haven’t seen before.

Why do you think it is important for amateur and professional photographers to enter their work into competitions?

For the amateur it’s a learning process that mimics being commissioned. You are working to a very loose brief, but you are attempting to impress others rather than just shooting for yourself.

For the professional it is of course a chance to achieve greater exposure for your work, and therefore generate more work, but it is also a chance to ‘commission yourself’ rather than working to a brief you have been given by a client.  Done correctly that can be creatively very liberating.

Ready to enter the awards? Click here to learn more and submit your photographs today.


Reprinted from WPO Press Release



© Balazs Gardi, Hungary, 2nd Place, People, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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