Oct 012013

I bought the latest copy of National Geography Magazine yesterday, its collector addition where it showcase the best photos taken by their top Photographers. While going through the photos, I realized obtaining or taking a winning photo its not complicated at all. There are thousand and thousand of article and tutorial of  guiding you ways and mean of how to get your own masterpiece (winning photo). But the truth is, the matter is very subjective and its highly depends on the Judge judging the photo. However, while I was browsing through the various winning photos in the magazine, and with my experience, I realized all of these photos had ONE THING IN common.

And that one thing is “They are story telling photos that bigger majority of population around the world dont see it on their daily lives”. But not seeing it, doesnt mean its not there also. Hence your job as photographer, is to find photos that you believe that its unique to most of people, something when you shows them, they will go “WOW. Here are some points to help you out


(1) Angle:

A normal human being vision of look is standard. So if you show them photos that goes against their direction of vision, it pose as an interesting perspective. Which leads us back to the main reason why PHOTO WIN, because different angle, falls in line of many people don’t get to see that type of photo, its unique to them, even if the subject in the photo in their back yard.


Leica M9, Leica M9-P, A:1.4, S:1/1000, ISO:160

Leica M9, Leica M9-P, A:1.4, S:1/1000, ISO:160


(2) Undiscovered Places

Find place where still not discovered or not many people know about it. It could in your VILLAGE or TOWN, who knows, only you would know. The Idea still stands, show us something that we the VIEWERS would find it unique.Places such as Africa, Vietnam, small villages in India etc. Avoid touristy places, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids etc. But if you have to travel to those areas, than atleast show us something different than any other photographer has done, research the web and see what angle and ways other photographers took and try to do it differently. Below photo is of the Famous Treasury in Petra, but to make it unique I have introduced a Jordanian Guard and I asked him to look towards the Treasury. This photo won 2nd Place in one of the International Photo Contest

Nikon D3S, Nikon 14-24mm, A:8, S:1/125, ISO:200

Nikon D3S, Nikon 14-24mm, A:8, S:1/125, ISO:200


(3) Powerful Story Line

And the last element is the story line. Show us something we as human can relate to, the more we can relate  to it, the more the photo is a winning photo. Especially, if we relate to it to a point  it changes our lives or gave us a new perspective towards how we deal with this world we are living in. Again it falls within the same principle I mentioned about “Bigger percentage of Population don’t see it on their daily lives”.

Leica X2, A:2.8, S:1/40, ISO:160

Leica X2, A:2.8, S:1/40, ISO:160


I believe the above three element is good enough to explain my point. At the end of the day, follow this ONE BASIC rule. Show us a Photo that you believe its unique and bigger majority of population around the world don’t see it on their daily lives.

Let me know what you think about the articles and if you have  any question to explain this article further, I am more than happy to help. Your comments are always appreciated



  6 Responses to “How to Take Prize Winning Photographs”

  1. so true.. 🙂
    guess, we can’t have a better explanation of winning photos..it touches our heart

  2. Glad you liked it, I try to make it simple and straight to the point.

  3. This months Nat Geo edition is a photographers collection edition!! I saw it coming last week..and was waiting for its arrival, I downloaded the digital version, its amazing! shall go and get the print version also.
    And about awarding winning photos, you’re right, the photos which tell a story and touch your mind and soul are always winners, even if it dint win an award, more important is the win the viewers attention and thought over it.
    Thank you Salim for your reviews and articles.

  4. very useful, thanks

  5. Perspective and story are everything. You did a great job in showing examples!

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