2022 Summer Quarterly Competition

At a well attended evening at Ruthrieston Community Centre, the competition was judged by Graeme Youngston. He did a brilliant critique and has the rare ability to make us all believe we are really good photographers and with a bit of thought about aspects of our images we could be even better. How refreshing compared with judges that make you want to throw your camera in the nearest river!

There were some excellent photos entered in the competition and as usual we all had different opinions as to which was the best. In the crowd vote of 9 people, we chose 7 different winners between us!

He started the evening letting us know what he looks for as a judge.  There are some really good tips here as to how to improve your photographs


  • Might seem obvious but  a lot of our shots aren’t entirely sharp
  • Perhaps easier to see when a print isn’t sharp rather on a screen
  • Using wide apertures can be a problem
  • Sometimes the photographer isn’t going for sharpness of course e.g.ICM
  • A poor processor or a very big crop can make image a bit fuzzy


  • Separates a snap from a proper photo ; composition represents the photographer taking charge of the camera and the scene rather the other way round
  • Best done at the photographing stage although of course cropping can be done later.
  • Staple of photography clubs : rule of thirds ;leading lines and framing.
  • Nothing wrong with these rules but can get a bit a predictable if one doesn’t try different approaches as well.
  • Try taking from a different perspective/angle

Michael Freeman has written two books on the subject of composition.

  • Creating order out of chaos – put some structure to what we see. Impose your vision on the picture
  • Directing attention to the subject – make some elements of the photo stand out and others recede. Trying to persuade the viewer to see what you see.
  • Creating interest – attractive or maybe edgy

 what do judges say ?don’t want to see the same thing over and over again


  • Vital if you want to get your photo to achieve it’s full potential.
  • The best camera in the world doesn’t have the dynamic range of the human eye.
  • A way of emphasising your subject from it’s background. E.g. new tools in Lightroom
  • Fine balance between processing enough and overdoing it.
  • Can get away with over processing a bit in colour but not in B & W

The Correct Exposure

  • Subjective of course to quite an extent
  • Should shadows always have details ?
  • Blown out whites – what’s your opinion?

Neatness and Order

  • Tidying up the image , making the image as simple as  possible with the minimum of distractions.
  • Removing things at the corner of the frame or things that take the eye away from the subject. Everything in your frame should be a deliberate choice.
  • Identifying the important elements and make sure they are all separated e.g. fast flowing action. A good example of this in this competition.
  • Compositional housekeeping  e.g. straightening things up etc

Advice from David Hockney

The one cardinal rule of photography is that when you pick up the camera and look at things through it you are very, very deeply conscious of edges.”

  Whatever you include in the central part of the image is held there by the  borders of the frame.

  Compose from the outside of the frame inwards and not the other way round.

What is this picture about?

  • What is the subject of your photo? If you are not certain then no one else will be
  • What does Lightroom tell us ?
  • Is there a there a message?
  • Is it clear?
  • Be selective, only include what adds to the composition, and leave out what detracts, anything that draws the eye away

Graeme went on to critique the photos and award the first place, two joint second places, two highly commended and two commended.

It was a very enjoyable evening.

Here are the results:

Judge’s First Place

– Dave Lynch Boddin Limekilns

Judge’s Joint Second Place

– Annette Murty: A Windy beach at Bamburgh

– Colin Barclay Herd Groyne Lighthouse

Judge’s Highly Commended

– Dave Lynch Corgarff at Night

– Trevor Stuchbury Burning Cars

Judge Commended

Eileen Rodgers Lights out at Marischall College

– Lynda Gordon All fluffed up

Crowd Vote First Place

– Mike Murty Alpine Church

Crowd Vote Second Place

– Annette Murty Male Demoiselle

Crowd Vote Third Place

– Lynda Gordon Don’t mess with me

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