By Carol Shields, in Atlanta, GA

Congratulations to the winners of our first monthly photo contest. And thanks to everyone who submitted an entry. We received an excellent selection and were really impressed with the quality of the images. So keep up the good work!

You can take a look at the winning photos, here:

** First Place goes to EP for “Coffee with a View”:
** Second Place goes to mgbjay for “Visually Repaired”:
** Third Place goes to petdcat for “Coffee in Hoi An”:

So what made these three shots shine above the rest? Well, let me explain:


This scenic image is a great shot for many reasons. First and foremost, technically it follows the three cardinal rules of photography – it’s crisp and sharp, the horizon is straight, and the exposure is right on target.

More importantly, the image is successful as a pleasing composition for the viewer. The vista is beautiful. The image is split visually into thirds – the foreground, the lake, and the mountain ridge in the distance, which also gives depth to the shot.

The main subject, the two people, is off center, but they are very distinct and clearly silhouetted. Even though the actual coffee mug may not stand out, the image brings the viewer into a serene moment – a quiet, peaceful moment with a beverage, near the water’s edge. This shot is very appealing to the eye and also evokes emotion. It would be a good, saleable image not only for the travel market, but possibly for the medical market as well.


This image is successful because of its simplicity, which can state a message clearly for the reader, depending on how it is used — whether in an editorial or a commercial ad. The image is not busy with lots of items to distract the viewer’s eye.

The advantage of creating an image in black and white is that the viewer looks more at the content of the image. Color does not create a distraction in this image except to draw the eye to the main subject — the brown foam on the coffee.

The use of strong side lighting adds strong contrast for interest and the black area to the left of the frame gives an editor room to add type. Market possibilities for an image such as this include medical as well as lifestyle publications.


We critiqued this photograph earlier in the month (see archived issue: How to Add Action to Your Photos) and chose it as one of this month’s winners for its strong travel content. This image is successful not only because the composition is clean, simple, and crisp, but because it shows a typical slice of life in Hoi An, which is appealing when selling travel images.

The blur of the people in the background have created a bustling street, yet there is a quiet moment for a beverage in the café. This image is of an area of the world where photographs do not come freely and would sell best to travel publications and editorial magazines whose articles include areas in the Far East.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This