Tricks of the trade

Here are three more commercial and art photographers revealing their aesthetic and technical secrets – the methods they use to make their work stand out

Achim Lippoth



This image of a young Hindu boy is a result of a recent personal photography project in Sri Lanka. I had the opportunity to observe a religious family ceremony that was initiated by the parents and executed by Hindu priests, the purpose being self-purification and salvation.

What technological and aesthetic techniques did you use to achieve visual punch?

I chose a very narrow depth of field to bring the viewers’ attention to the boy’s face and the strong expression of his eyes. I did not use a complicated light set-up so as not to disturb the private ritual. I felt it was important to give a true insight into a mostly unknown world with different customs and values. The ritual may seem shocking to Western eyes, but it is a part of everyday life in this Hindu culture. 

What makes one image more arresting than another?

You have to be able to catch the right moment and to see the extraordinary. Pictures that tell a story are always special. Every photo is a new challenge to create something new and special.

The world is saturated with photographic imagery. How can photographers make their work stand out?

You have to develop your personal style. I’m very happy when people recognise my signature, but I am always looking for new narratives to fully address diverse aspects of themes that interest me.


Julian Calverley



This picture was made when we were driving between locations. It was a cloudy day and we passed a field that had the huge water-sprinkler system running. The sun was about to break through so we quickly set up the camera through the window of the Land Rover. With each pass of the sprinkler we quickly wound the window up to avoid the shower – a classic example of making the most of an opportunity.

What techniques did you use to achieve visual punch?

Technology plays a large part for me, but many of the camera and filter techniques I use when shooting are the same as during the film age. I know an image is right when it feels right. It’s a gut instinct. As a general rule, if an image looks good at 2 x 3cm as a preview on a digital camera back then it is highly likely to be a successful image. Often when standing in a landscape you can feel the elements coming together – the ever-moving clouds and play of light, and how they can change a scene. The drama of an interesting scene in changing weather can be extremely exciting. Photography is so immediate, sometimes too immediate, which is another reason why I find post production so appealing, as it is another way to craft a picture.

The world is saturated with photographic imagery. How can photographers make their work stand out?

Avoid trends, find your voice and then be true to it and do what excites you. In many respects you have to make pictures for yourself, not for other people. It’s a never-ending and sometimes lonely journey that should be fuelled with as much personal work as possible.


Ray Massey



This image is called Lemon and Lime, and was taken for This Water advertisement by Gallery Network.

Which techniques did you use to achieve visual punch?

Reality. Most of my liquids are shot for real and are assembled in post production, rather than illustrated using CGI. My model-maker and sculptor Donald Owen carved the faces. His forte is communicating humour and emotion.

What qualities make one image more arresting than another?

Apparently un-retouched humour and the ridiculous.

Is it possible to make a photographic image ‘stay’ with the viewer?

For me, enduring pictures that depict a haunting reality tend to be from reportage. National Geographic’s Indian girl with red headscarf, or the black-and-white Vietnamese girl running from Napalm towards the camera have both stayed with us.

The world is saturated with photographic imagery. How can photographers make their work stand out?

In the face of advancing technology, rageddy-assed reality with all the warts will be king.




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