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It’s certainly been an interesting start to the year (in a variety of ways!) and we rounded February off with a bunch of jolly students visiting from one our local FE colleges.

It was great to see their energy and enthusiasm for photography.

They listened politely to my ramblings on cameras, photographic theory & lighting and then we set to work with each student on some small “still life” sets for which they had conceived, designed and brought all the required props & background materials.

The day finished with a series of portraits for which one of the students sat as the “model” and another was responsible for hair and make-up.

Each of the girls will write up their experiences and thoughts of the concept, design and photography process as part of their assessments.

It’s encouraging to see so much talent coming along and feeding into the creative industries.



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March was quite a busy month at Cheese HQ!

Most notably, I was proud and privileged to be invited onto the judging panel for the "North West Professional Photography Awards 2016”.

The other two judges specialise in: social, wedding, portrait and fashion photography. That left just me as the alleged "expert" in advertising and commercial photography.

Clearly, I always feel a complete fraud being described as an expert in anything. However, over the years I've been fortunate enough to be on various regional awards judging panels and even, the National awards on a handful of occasions. Somehow the organisers are under the misapprehension that I might have learnt something from the past 30 years working as a photographer so, I’ll let it slip…

The big questions are: where does one start when assessing an image and what are the most important characteristics one should look for?

You could say that photography is a language, always shifting and playing with different meanings. Nuance & subtlety carefully shift emphasis but so can brute force and vibrancy. Ultimately, it's all about the context of what are we trying to convey and who we are hoping to communicate with.

Photography and the perception of what makes a "good" photograph also changes in a similar way to which language evolves (I recall my father-in-law grimacing when someone used the word "massive" to describe something that has no "mass" e.g. a massive sale or massive congratulations and yet the new context of the word has entered our collective psyche with barely a second thought)

Photographic styles follow cyclical fashion trends, like politicians, and today's penchant for blurry edge, shallow focus, crappy colour, hide any lack of photographic skill or judgement (anyone ever heard of Instagram?) will soon be replaced by the full focus, colour correction of yesteryear. Well, it's also possible that the rules of grammar will be back on the school curriculum...

Back in the real world, over the past few weeks we’ve been working with jewellery designers, injection moulding engineers and food manufacturers to name a few. Each group has a different take on “what makes a good picture”.

Most clients appreciate a well composed, well lit and “in focus” image as a baseline. However, the approach and the emphasis is often subtly different. Technical images, for example, are often intended to show precision and detail although food, at the opposite end of the scale, is often softer, more delicate, more friendly and inviting.

So, the answer to the question “what makes a good picture?” is…..

… depends!
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