These sessions are a kind of prep for your submission to the RPS judges in application for one of their two diplomas. Although I am nowhere near making such an application, I went along with a friend to see what I could learn – and it was a lot.
This was the first time I had considered work in a panel – a set of either 10 or 15 shots. Panels are judged on colour and patter, depth of field, good positioning, portraits and still life. The important thing to me was to see how a good panel of photos came together, portraits balancing landscapes, colours blending with their neighboring photo and giving the panel a kind of flow. I’ve never looked at my own work in this way.
The judges had some good suggestions about presentation of photos, A-4 for the photos with A-3 mats, always print on the same brand and quality of paper. Matte is good for some portraits, glossy for landscape.
They stressed the need to pay attention to printer quality. Most home printers reproduce colour poorly and vary the quality so the suggestion was to use a good, professional printer. This emphatically did not include Jessops.
Examine your prints very closely for noise and for blown highlights. If they are present, re-do them if possible or discard the print.
When shooting swans or other white birds, shoot on a cloudy day. Otherwise the white will blow out. When composing your shot, pick out one object to be the focal point, then build your shot around it. If you are planning a shot at a specific location, go on the internet and study other photos of the place to get an idea about when the light will be most suitable for your shots. And finally, if you are shooting landscapes, be prepared to get up and out when nobody else wants to.
All good advice and especially pertinent for me right now since I will be joining an exhibition very soon. I intend to print out my panel of submissions, examine them carefully, have them printed professionally (I found a printer!) and mount according to instructions.
And thanks to the RPS for a good day.