50 Top Tips to Winning Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers 2022 (part 2)

For close to a decade and a half, Capture magazine has been on a mission to help discover Australasia’s very best emerging talent. During this time, the competition has uncovered and helped boost the careers of countless emerging photographers from Australia and New Zealand. Now in its 14th year, the call for entries for Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers 2022 is closing soon. Final deadline is 20 February.

Click here to link to part one of this story.

The judges

Helping decide the winners, place-getters, and Top 10 and Top 20 entries across the nine categories is no easy feat. As such, we rely on the wisdom, experience, and expertise of some of the world’s very finest photographers and industry experts. With such impressive credentials, our judges are suitably qualified for the important role they take on. But don’t take my word, scroll down and have a look at who was on board to help judge the 2021 competition. Stay tuned to learn who's on the panel for 2022.

Feedback matters

Each year, we ask the judges to provide feedback and constructive criticism on the categories they judged so that we can share this invaluable information with you. It’s not designed to provide a warm and fuzzy feeling, but instead be helpful to those about to enter the competition.

While the tips are broken down by category, the advice is likely to be applicable across multiple genres of photography.


Winning advice


26. Simplicity and balance were strongly evident amongst the more stand out entries.

27. Too many folios were versions of the same location, rather than a common approach across different locations.

28. Far too many entries were diminished by simply presenting exactly the same scene three times. Successful portfolios displayed consistency across the set, but invited the viewer to engage with each image individually as well.

29. If you’re going to enter a portfolio from a single location (especially if it’s all from the same photoshoot), then ideally you want to introduce some diversity in angle, perspective, and thought process, or technique to diversify the set.

30. Too many mixed vertical and horizontal which detracted from the idea of a folio.

© Julien Visse. Top 10 (Landscape) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.
© Julien Visse. Top 10 (Landscape) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.


31. I found many of the submissions that contained a group of images with an obvious cohesive approach to be the more memorable.

32. Being creative with your thought process and then being able to carry that through is what makes a great image.

33. The portfolios that caught my eye were well constructed and cohesive either through storytelling or the ability to aesthetically bring images together. There were a lot of submissions that had a mix of images that didn't work together as a portfolio and may have done better as stand-alone images.

34. The folios that really stood out presented with a genuine sense of innovation through an exploration of a concept or a theme. While technique is important, the ideas behind the images are often what makes them most memorable and compelling, and what can tie them well together as a folio.

© Gemma Wouters. Top 10 (Open) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.
© Gemma Wouters. Top 10 (Open) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.


35. I would caution against overuse of HDR and other post production effects that overwhelm the image. I prefer portraits that either push the boundaries of composition, light, and emotions, rather than portraits which rely on special effects or post production techniques. Images with character, soul, great visual qualities and a sense of mood are what make for winning portraits.

36. I was looking for cohesive work across all three images submitted. In many cases there was a fantastic image, but it could not be considered because the other images were too similar or not as strong.

37. Concept is just as important as the image itself. Photography is about storytelling, conveying an idea.

38. The top portfolios showed a cohesiveness, not just in subject matter, but in tonality and composition. They were thoughtful images that made me stare deeper into the work.

39. When photographing children, ensure they are comfortable and willing subjects.

40. No tricks. The more honest, the more direct, the better.

41. Take your time, connect with the subject, look for the moments in between.

42. Pictures with people in them aren’t necessarily portraits. A portrait is more than just a pictorial representation of a person.

43. A successful portrait gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the subject, adds dimension to the subject’s story and gives the viewer pause, forcing the viewer to linger on the portrait and want to know more about the subject.

© Claudia Caporn. Top 10 (Portrait) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.
© Claudia Caporn. Top 10 (Portrait) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.


44. The most fundamental function of the medium is to engage a viewer with something valuable to look at. Clear narratives, sometimes bold, sometimes subtle, using photographic craft to communicate a story.

45. Many entrants would do well to ask the questions, “What story do I want to tell?” and “Does this picture succeed in telling that story?”

46. A single image needs to be impactful right away. Images that tell a story or have a subtle narrative will always get my attention first.

47. I tended to lean more towards images that felt genuine, unique, and sparked curiosity.

48. For me, it’s all about the composition. If it doesn’t work upside down, don’t enter it.

49. I look for individuality, for a sense of humour, a uniqueness in subject matter, or a different way to view a subject.

50. Visual impact is important to catch the initial attention of the judges, reinforced by the use of excellent camera craft and technique. Beyond this, it was the images that presented with a significant level of visual communication, emotion, and originality that really stood out from the rest. Bold, simple design, striking use of colour and well-thought-out compositions also moved a number of images right up to the top of the category.


© Ruth Woodrow. Top 10 (Single Shot) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.
© Ruth Woodrow. Top 10 (Single Shot) – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021.


Click here to link to part one of this story.

2021 judging panel

Abigail Varney – abigailvarney.com
Adam Ferguson –adamfergusonstudio.com
Adrian Cook – www.adriancookphotography.com
Alex Cearns – www.houndstoothstudio.com.au
Anthony KcKee – www.anthonymckee.com.au
Art Streiber – www.artstreiber.com
Ashley Gilbertson – www.ashleygilbertson.com
Belinda Richards – www.frogdogstudios.com.au
Cade Martin – www.cademartin.com
Daniel Berehulak – www.danielberehulak.com
Ed Kashi – www.edkashi.com
Gary Knight – www.garyknight.org
Greg Gorman – www.gormanphotography.com
Ignacio Palacios – www.iptravelphotography.com.au
Jason Ierace – www.jasonierace.com
John Gollings – www.gollings.com.au
John Stanmeyer – www.stanmeyer.com
Leah King-Smith – staff.qut.edu.au/staff/l.king-smith
Michael Cook – www.michaelcook.net.au
Michael Grecco – www.michaelgrecco.com
Mridula Amin – www.mridulaamin.com
Paul Hoelen – www.paulhoelen.com
Paula Bronstein – paulaphoto.com
Ponch Hawkes – www.ponchhawkes.com
Rachel Mounsey – rachelmounsey.com.au
Randal Ford – www.randalford.com
Renée C. Byer – www.reneecbyer.com
Richard Wood – www.richardwood.co.nz
Robert Coppa – www.robertcoppa.com
Sally Brownbill – www.thebrownbilleffect.com
Sarah Rhodes – www.sarahrhodes.com
Sean Izzard – www.seanizzard.com
Steve Wise – www.27creative.com.au
Tajette O’Halloran – www.tajetteohalloran.com
Tim Griffith – www.timgriffith.com
Tony Hewitt – www.tonyhewitt.com
William Long – www.longshots.com.au


Click here to check out the stellar panel of judges for 2022.


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