Ask an Agent / LPA Futures / What the Judges Were Looking For

Document type 800 800 Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column that answers all your questions about the business of photography.

Recently I was interviewed by Alice Widger from Metro Imaging about our LPA Futures 2013 competition, along with 2 of the winners, Holly Pickering and Roman Sakovich. LPA Futures is our  biennial competition to find emerging photography talent, judged by industry experts in case you didn’t know!

You can see the interview below. But I thought I’d give you a fuller version of my thoughts to one of Alice’s questions as it explains what we generally look for in any photographer that we are considering representing.

‘What were the judges looking for this year and what made the winners stand out? Alice Widger. Metro Imaging

I believe they were looking for someone who potentially might be commissioned for a commercial campaign but also someone who offers something a bit different.

Easier said than done. The creative in an agency needs to love the work, and the marketing director at a blue chip company or global business needs to feel confident that they can endorse their brand.

In my experience, photographers who succeed in this area have a recognisable or 'signature' style and a strong voice. They need to have a good eye and be technically faultless, but successful commercial photographers also have a certain something that makes their photography memorable, whether that's defined by an aesthetic or a subject matter, or both.

It’s equally important that their photography evokes some kind of emotion or aspiration. At the end of the day commercial photography helps sell products and services by communicating a brand story or message.

This years winners really did stand out. I remember sitting here with 30 shortlisted form the original 156 thinking how on earth are we going to choose just 5 and my feelings were echoed by the other judges.

With 300 images ( each entrant  was asked to submit a folio of 10 images) it just had to be someone that offered something distinctive, something that didn’t just blur into the 1000’s of other images we were looking at.

It’s quite interesting really, as that’s how it works in the real world when art buyers and creative see so many images everyday, it’s got to be something that registers in the memory.

In the end the photographers that were chosen just literally had work that stood out from the rest.

Take Gerwyn Davies-  quite frankly I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like his before,  his work is really striking and creative, he’s a bit left of centre. I actually woke up in the night after the judging thinking about one of his image of a man in a bright green knitted suit! GerwynDavies_036 © Gerwyn Davies

Oliver Haupt has such a strong mood to his work, very slick, considered and atmospheric. foto1120b © Oliver Haupt

Michela Nale has a body of gorgeous, playful portraiture and fashion based work. _MG_2814 © Michela Nale

Holly Pickering’s work is natural, tactile and fresh. She presented a very consistent body of work whether the subject matter was food, interiors or flowers. HPICKERING148 © Holly Pickering

And Roman Sakovich, his images of people and urban landscapes have a really unique, austere, almost Soviet aesthetic to them. 19_dsc4622 © Roman Sakovich

And I suppose what’s also really interesting is these 5 are so incredibly different from each other (and any of the photographers I represent)  yet I would say all have massive potential to really make some waves in the world of commercial photography.

Watch this space!

Many thanks to Metro Imaging for sponsoring our LPA Futures 2013 exhibition and for making this video (click HERE to watch).

I’ll be getting back to all your general questions about the photography business next month, so please keep them coming to