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Musician, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Fujifilm X-T3, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/350 second, ISO 160

As we all get better and better at the technical side of photography, it's the small details that make the difference. David Oliver, Tony Hewitt and I judge at the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards each year and we often see entries that are technically proficient, but emotionally lacking. What do I mean?

Take this example of a musician in remote Khiva, Uzbekistan. Obviously attired to impress the tourist market, unfortunately recovering from a broken arm (you can see his cast), he had an incredibly expressive face. If I timed the exposure correctly.

With a little more experience these days, I find myself waiting for multiple opportunities. First, I need interesting subject matter. Next, I want good lighting. Add in an appropriate background and then I ensure there's nothing distracting around the edges of the frame. All this happens in a fraction of a second and, with practice, is easily controlled, but I have no direct control over my subject.

And this is where you find the difference - the gesture or the expression that takes a competent 'capture' up to a more desirable, expressive moment. Once I have the technical side nailed down, I'll then shoot as many frames as it takes to get that difference. And because I don't necessarily know when my subject will make the 'best' gesture or expression, I shoot lots of frames. It costs me nothing except time at the other end when editing my work and choosing the best frame.

So, when entering photos into a competition, don't just look for technical perfection, also look for a gesture, an expression or an emotion that lifts your image out of the ordinary, even if just a little!

We have a short period of grace accepting LATE entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards, but this time entries fully close on 21 August 2019, so while the 'every fifth entry' free option may not be available, there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!