EEF Photography Competition judge Robert Lea shares his tips for winning

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Be different, be interesting and produce as professional an image as possible.

I am not a photographer, so what do I know? But as a longstanding judge of the annual EEF manufacturing photography competition, I know the sort of images we are looking for.

We, the judges, look for different things. Coming from a newspaper I often bore my fellow judges by saying such and such an image would look great in The Times but this or that just wouldn’t get past my paper’s picture editors. Many of the winning entries find themselves on the walls of minister’s offices and boardrooms, so entrants should be looking to impress.

There is a danger that people consider photographing a manufacturing environment or manufactured product as humdrum.

Over the years our winning photographers – professionals, amateurs, young snappers – have produced images which are anything but.

The photographs that really work in the manufacturing environment are often those taken from the unlikely angle, the unexpected eyeline or from the place where the visitor wouldn’t ordinarily be.

Those that often get on the long list are those with the splash of colour or of light and shade especially when photographing in black and white.

And needless to say those that get on the shortlist are the best:  that is the subject is centred, the horizon is horizontal, there is nothing that detracts lurking on the border or in the background. In short, they are professionally presented.

One word of warning, though. The professional photographers on the judging panel can spot photoshopping from a hundred feet and entries which have been fiddled with immediately hit the cutting room floor.

Good luck.

Author

Robert Lea is Industrial Editor of The Times and a longstanding judge on the annual EEF manufacturing photography competition.

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