I had the pleasure and the honor of being chosen as one of the curators for the fearless awards
collection 43. Being a judge is always a huge responsibility: for some colleagues the contests are
simply a game to prove themselves but for others they are also a business strategy they base their
I think one of the main features of my photography is being fun and I was very happy to be one of
the two curators of the “FUN” category.
To judge in the most correct and accurate way possible, I dedicated two full days to the whole
process. Firstly I selected the photos that I thought deserving of being chosen, looking at them
carefully one by one, then I made a second round after a certain time.
In the second phase I reviewed the choices I made to be 100% sure.
I decided to write a few words hoping that this can help in the future choosing the photos to be sent
to the contests.
Technically correct photos
It seems trivial and obvious but sometimes it may not be. In some of the photos I saw, I found
errors in cutting and framing. If the scene and the moment represented can be interesting but, for
example, a foot, a hand or sometimes even the head are cut from the edge of the frame incorrectly,
the photo immediately loses its value and strength. A judge is very attentive to these compositional
elements. During the shooting phase, a back or a side step can make the difference.
Humor and fun
The photos that I was called to judge belonged, as already mentioned, to the “Fun” category. In
some cases I found a little obvious humor or that tells nothing of what was happening at that time.
What is fun for the photographers who took the picture may not be understandable for those not
In my opinion what makes photo of this type strong, is the contrast of situations between two or
more elements, something unexpected that can involve and tell the viewer a little story.
Often the most beautiful photo can be the one made a moment before or a moment later to the
I have absolutely nothing against posed photos, studied or built but when they are realized, they
have to be perfect. Having almost total control of the situation, there must be no technical errors or
disturbing elements that could penalize it in a contest.
I have sometimes found “stretches” to make a picture more characteristic or different from the
others: we must be very careful not to overdo it, less is more.
One thing that I do not like is when I find photos clearly copied by “famous” shots by other
colleagues. Copying to learn a technique or understand the realization of a shot that we like, can
help to grow as a professional photographer, but sending a photo copied to a contest for me it’s a
mistake. Often, if not always, the judges know the photos previously awarded and therefore will not
take into account a shot already seen.
Try and try again
A not awarded photo could be deemed to be an awardable photo in the future. Each judge judges
based on his taste and the sensations that a certain shot convey. If you believe in a photo, my advice
is to try to send it again, it could find the favor of the judges in a subsequent contest.
In order not to be too influenced by the subjective value that sometimes we attribute to a photo,
confronting with other colleagues could help a lot. Collaborating is fundamental in our work and
even in this case, a sincere opinion by a colleague could make us understand what works or not in a
In general there are some photos that can be beautiful and interesting, but because they lack of
something more, they are not suitable for the contests.
Obviously, everything written above is nothing more than personal opinions, dictated by my way of
conceiving wedding photography, my experiences and my taste.
I only hope they can be of some use to those who approach the contests world for the first time or
who are curious to know how a judge might think.
* the photos of this article have been awarded in past fearless collections