Photo Face-Off: Some Tips from an American Professional Photographer

You probably know about professional photographer, Justin Mott, from Photo Face-Off, which is shown on Tuesdays on HISTORY Channel (Starhub channel 401) – yes, that’s the reality TV competition that showcases photography like you’ve never seen it before.

Photo Face Off is the photography reality show of a lifetime.

Photo Face-Off is the photography reality show of a lifetime. (Credit: HISTORY)

Facing it off against a professional photographer for the trip of a lifetime

In this show, contestants from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand face off against professional photographer Mott – and the winner receives an all expenses paid trip to New York and a trip to the Canon Photo Clinic in Japan.

Mott was in Singapore to give photography tips

Last Sunday, Mott, an American who is based in Vietnam, was in Singapore – to drum up some publicity ahead of the Photo Face-Off finale, which takes place at 10.30pm tonight.

Mott, who has had his work published in renewed publications such as The New York Times, TIME Magazine and Forbes, gave some interesting photography tips at a workshop during the weekend. He was there with Tan Jia Jun, who is the Singaporean contestant in the TV show.

With Photo Face Off's resident professional photgrapher, Justin Mott.

With Photo Face-Off’s resident professional photgrapher, Justin Mott.

Some Photography tips and tricks

A few of Mott’s tips and tricks about photography are highlighted below:

  1. Tell a story with your photo

Mott feels that every photo should tell a story. When you look at a photo, it has to mean something that will compel the viewer to want to find out more about it, rather than simply being a static photo.

  1. Lighting

According to Mott, good lighting is important in capturing that perfect shot. However you need to teach yourself how to understand and recognise what is good lighting and then know how to apply this to your photographs for a great picture.

  1. Use manual mode

Many photographers may take the lazy way out by setting the camera on to automatic mode so that they don’t need to think. But the only way to improve and grow as a photographer – is to set the camera to manual mode. By doing this, you will find yourself in a completely new world of creativity and new options that the automatic mode does not give you.

  1. Composition

Composition is also very important. Do not simply take out the camera and shoot the first angle that you see. Instead, stop and think of the best angle to take your shots. Compose your shot in a unique way to show people something that is familiar, but at the same time, use an angle that is unique.

  1. Capture the moment 

Being able to capture the perfect moment also separates a good photographer from an average one. To do so, Mott says you should spend time with your subjects and get to know them, rather than shooting from afar. Get your subjects to trust you and use that to capture the perfect moment, such as when they are feeling completely at ease and comfortable with your presence.

  1. Include a person in your photo 

According to Mott, having a person in a photo brings out the human element and this helps to add expression and a story moment to your shot. Otherwise, the photo will look very static, still and lifeless, even though it may technically be a well-taken picture.

  1. Assign yourself personal projects

To improve as a photographer, Mott advises you to assign yourself personal projects, that is, shooting something that you are curious about. You should find a story that you resonate with and tell this with photographs. This project need not be many light years away from home though – in fact, it can be done in your own backyard.

By doing so, you will grow and gain experience as a photographer. Do not shoot things simply because you think the picture may win an award, as it will not help with your personal growth in this art.

If you are still hungry for more photography tips from Justin Mott, catch the finale of Photo Face-Off today at 10.30pm, on the HISTORY Channel (Starhub Channel 401). There will also be an encore telecast on Thursday (October 30) at 11pm.

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