No short sighted judges. Steven Galvin 5 March 2021

Review: Ilkley Camera Club 5 March 2021

No short sighted judges at Ilkley Camera Club. Members gain insights into great photography from a respected competition judge.

During the Covid pandemic there has never been a more important time for keeping in touch with friends and to care for our well being. Ilkley Camera Club has been successfully meeting online by Zoom to offer encouragement to members and share skills and advice.  As part of a varied programme of activities the club holds regular competitions to help members improve their photography with the help of experienced and well trained judges.  So what are the secrets of competition success?

Last Friday, 5 March 2021, the club welcomed competition judge Steven Galvin who holds the distinction of being a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society.  His two hour presentation offered an insight into what judges look for in a great image.  

He began by recognising that people enter competitions for many reasons, but focused on the motivation to improve our image making and gain satisfaction from our photography.  However, Steven warned that entering competitions can bring out the worst in people especially when they don’t like the feedback – some judges, he said, are branded, “short sighted bumbling idiots who like the sound of their own voices”, but hopefully not this one.

For anyone who wants to become a competition winning photographer here are some of his tips.

Judges look for two main aspects of a photograph, the technical and the creative.  The first is to ensure that the technical presentation is of good quality, for example, that the image is sharp in the right places and the exposure is good.  A photo will be discounted if it is unintentionally blurred or over exposed.  A flat looking image, he said, wouldn’t score many points so look for good light. Good use of colour is also important and can make the photo engaging. Composition skills are very important, so look for techniques like the rule of thirds, rule of odds and leading lines.

Once the technical aspects are covered off, Steven said the next step is to make sure the image has impact and expresses something personal from the photographer’s perspective and experience, “there is no formula for a successful image, the rules are there as a suggestion. It’s important to define your style and cause a visceral reaction. You’ve got to approach the subject in a unique way.  Go for impact if it’s going to score, make sure it has the wow factor”.

The presentation by Steven Galvin was well received and will provide many valuable talking points for 2021 and hopefully some fresh photos to judge as we emerge from lock-down. 

Ilkley Camera Club is currently meeting via Zoom on Friday evenings at 7.30pm. For more information visit the Club website at or their Facebook page,

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