What photo competition judge James Eckersley is looking for

Family Holiday Photo Competition Judge, James Eckersley tells us what he is looking for in the winning photo.

Meet the Competition Judge

James Eckersley

James Eckersley, author of The Last Few, has work displayed in the permanent collections of The National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Collection. Here he shares his tips for taking great photos and his own favourite holiday snaps.


Photographing family and friends

Photographing at any time, but particularly while on holiday, gives us a unique record of people we love. This has to be the most important use of photography, leaving us with a lasting legacy of truly happy memories.

Taking great holiday shots doesn’t require expensive equipment or any in-depth knowledge. You simply need a few pointers, an eye for detail and a bit of luck!


Tell a story

Family Photo Competition

Try to capture the atmosphere of your family holiday. Avoid over-directing each shot by lining people up and asking them to smile. Instead, allow events to unfold naturally and photograph quickly and quietly. The results will be far more honest.


Look at the background

It’s easy to spoil a great shot by not concentrating on what’s going on behind your subject. Position yourself carefully and look at every corner of your frame. Avoid unnecessarily distracting backgrounds by throwing them out of focus using a small depth of field.


Use the light

Family photo Competition

Think carefully about the light in your photograph. What impact is it having on your subject and could you use it more effectively? Experiment shooting into the sun. Use some white card as a simple reflector to fill in unwanted shadows. Use your car headlights to illuminate your subject when shooting at dusk.


Click here to enter the Family Holiday Photo Competition