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Editor's Tips

The Contest is now closed for entries, but our Editor’s Choice judges have given some top advice on improving your photography and refining your approach to covering stories. Read on for insight and knowledge...

A great portrait is one that intrigues me and makes me want to know more about the sitter. I like to ask, 'who are you really'? The subject should feel in the moment, involved with the process. A great portrait stays with you years later.

How important is lighting and eye contact?

Light is vital of course but it can be natural or a complex studio set up. It depends on how the photographer likes to tell his or her own story. Eye contact can give an image intensity but it can also make it dull and predictable and I love the unexpected moment.

Do some poses work better than others?

The less boring poses work best! The pose needs to be either appropriate or very inappropriate to give the picture some edge. Always ask yourself, ‘who is this for?’. I am not keen on people cut in half by the edge of a table. But I like poses that challenge convention.

Colour or black & white? What has more impact?

Both are fabulous in the right hands. I love the powerful gritty black and white of Jacob Aue Sobol or Anders Petersen and the beautiful gentle colour C-type images of Tim Richmond. You need to know your materials, how to use them and what you want to convey.

Wide angle or close up for portraits? What is more effective?

I would not advise using wide angle for portraits. I love an 80mm, which is so natural. Can you improve on the human eye?