‘Mind and Heart’ in Judging Practice

Mind and Heart

Mind and Heart

Another excerpt from my recent Australian Judges Workshop Tour. The title of the presentation that underpins the ‘training’ and I believe, clearly illustrates exactly what the knowledgable, skilful and ‘trained’ judge should apply in the common sense of the process. Of course this requires that the judges have studied and researched beyond their practical skill base to ensure they can fairly address whatever may come in front of them. Many years ago it was easy for one to describe themselves as a photographer in a given discipline. But this is 2015 and needs must if one is to survive as a professional photographer. The ability to shoot pretty much whatever is before the lens perhaps makes us ‘jacks of all trades’ but it does not follow that we may be masters of none.

The essence of great judging is “Mind & Heart”. I was asked recently by a very knowledgeable and talented photographer who is now involved in judging, “When should I disregard the ‘rules’ and let my instincts take over when I feel I am looking at a great image that breaks rules?”. My answer to him was simple…

Use your mind to assess the Technical elements that are essential in the creation of a photograph.

Use your heart to ‘feel’ the image, see the stories, bathe in the light and if it stirs your soul, regardless of any so called ‘rules’ into which you have been indoctrinated over the course of your photographic career…

Score high, award originality, outstanding creativity and celebrate a fantastic image. As judges, in an instant you can make a photographer or break their heart. Such are the responsibilities we face and endure.


Live Wedding Workshop 4th July – Image Selection Session

Fun and games at the reception - Darren Powell taking centre stage!

Fun and games at the reception – Darren Powell taking centre stage!

I am absolutely delighted with the hard work put in today (4th August) by my “Fab Four” photographers ably coordinated with the Lightroom and In Design skills of mentee, Barry Paffey, the father of the bride. Each photographer contributed an enormous amount to the success of the day, expanding their knowledge and skills under real and trying conditions. My thanks to Mark Varney, Darren Powell, Gulam Nabi and Tim Henniker-Parker for putting their hearts and souls into this workshop. I’m sure the couple will be delighted with the results, they have been so far.

Finally, huge thanks to Album Epoca from Riccione, Italy for putting to work their team of designers to complete and deliver the albums. Without their support this workshop would not have been quite the same. For more information on Album Epoca’s fantastic products please visit www.albumepoca.com

The 'Cheese' Cake at Natalie & Steve's Wedding 4th July 2015

The ‘Cheese’ Cake at Natalie & Steve’s Wedding 4th July 2015

4th July LIVE WEDDING WORKSHOP – Darren Powell Photographer shouts out

The perfect Cheese Cake

The perfect Cheese Cake

When I first saw the opportunity to take part in a live London Wedding Workshop, my first thoughts was one of excitement. I go into every Wedding with one simple aim and that is to improve on my last Wedding. The chance to work with 3 other photographers and Martin Grahame-Dunn seemed like a fantastic opportunity. I knew It would allow me to see how others worked, but more importantly observe how other members of them team went about structuring their Wedding day coverage and got their images.

On reflection of the day, I got more that I could ever have hoped for. I got to work with some great people, observed how other photographers worked and more importantly saw an expert in his field at work.

If you ever get an opportunity like this, please ensure you take it! Staged training courses are fine, but learning in a live environment not only pushes your beyond your capabilities but ensures you actually get to go through the emotion of a real day. What a ‘Top Day’, and hugely educational. I can’t wait to see the finished album we have produced!

Darren Powell – Photographer and participant 4th July 2015 “LIVE” Wedding Workshop.Natalie4th July Wedding

Online Portfolio Appraisals – Limited Offer!

Film Strip of 4
Have you been frustrated by the lack of success when entering photo competitions? You keep entering awards & competitions and not getting the results you wished for. Ever wondered why some photographers have a monopoly on winning competitions. Or is the world of awards nothing more than a murky secret?
Here is your chance to discover the ‘mysteries’ of how an image is marked by the leading judges in the world of professional photography via the medium of 1:1 ONLINE portfolio reviews by Martin Grahame-Dunn.
The format is very informal and questions are invited and expected throughout. If you would like to see how your image will fare in a competition, you will need to book a session, download the ‘join.me’ app and send a folder of images at 1000 pixels at 300dpi to Martin. A one hour session is only £40 until August 1st 2015. Contact Martin now on 07854 249710 or email at mgrahamedunn@mac.com

Two Programmes at the Click Group Spring Seminar 18th & 19th May 2015

11260943_10155591661950541_8092569441439532678_nLooking forward to the Click Group Spring Seminar for the next few days during which I shall be making two presentations. A great opportunity t0 network, educate and inspire on May 19th & 19th after returning from a very successful trip to the Photoworld Dubai exhibition.

Click Group, the brainchild of photographer and entrepreneur Charlie Kaufmann, is a leading light in lead generation, distribution and fulfilment in the UK. For further information please visit http://www.theclickgroup.co.uk

Masterclass Lighting Workshop – 23rd April – Leamington Spa

3 keysMasterclass-Banner

This  inaugural Masterclass Workshop 23rd April at Victoria House, 59 Willes Road, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 4PT is designed to examine and implement ‘best practice’ in professional portrait studio lighting. The course will cover ‘Low Key’, ‘Mid Key’, ‘High Key’ and a glance at ‘Beauty Lighting’ for good measure. How often have we been told to simply place your lights at position ‘X’ and at forty-five degrees and it will be OK? What does this mean and why? I will take the myth and legend out of studio portrait lighting and cut to the chase with a common sense, practical approach that will be understood and above all, a workable solution.

Who should attend and why? 
This is an ideal course for those wanting to firmly establish and understand lighting techniques for consistency and profit in a successful professional business. The term ‘Studio’ can mean any location in which we set up a controlled lighting scenario so this will work particularly well for those who work in clients homes or other non-permanent situations. This is the ideal “Pop Up Studio’ scenario.
The Workshop will run from 9.30am until 5pm. The day will be split into 4 sessions with Q&A to finish. Every delegate will have access to educational materials at no extra charge.
Workshop Fee: £60.00
A light lunch and refreshments are included.
To book your place simply email: mgrahamedunn@mac.com with your request and we will take it from there.

Discussion: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

This question has recently been posted on a Facebook wall and I’m guessing to gather information in an attempt to improve standards. My basic answer has been posted so I want to share it here on my blog before following it up at a later date in more detail. It really does mesh well with my current series on International Judging and Scoring Systems…
“First, You get yourself a proper ‘qualified’ Mentor with a range of experience who will encourage you to never forget the core skills essential to ‘best practice’. You’ll haunt the halls of Art Galleries and immerse yourself in Art Books. You will disregard the so called ‘Rock Stars’ of photography who are more intent on selling rubbish to complete their inaccurate messages motivated by self glorification and economics. You’ll hang out with other creatives to gain inspiration. You’ll enter reputable awards where you know it’s fair and the briefs are properly explained and where the judges represent the very highest standards of professionalism and behaviour and who give of their knowledge selflessly. And finally, do not believe YouTube content and other online ‘resources’ which are either considered the whole truth or the font of all knowledge! And that’s just a start!!!”
As it is, the entire question is a minefield and for the newcomer or aspiring professional alike I will endeavour to expand on this and freely offer the best advice I can. Watch this space!