Elements That Make an Award-Winning Photograph

The world is a beautiful place, there’s really no point in denying that fact. So much to see and experience, yet most people go through their entire lives never noticing the world around them, not completely in any case.

But there are a few who can see what others cannot. What’s even more interesting is that these people manage to capture the wonders of this world or the beauty of a singular moment with their cameras. Yes, these are the photographers who are not well-known by the general populace as much as some insignificant celebrities but for those who appreciate photography, they are true geniuses.

The people who award masterwork photography can recognize the value and the effort it took to make such a photo. But what makes an award-winning photograph? Well, that depends on the circumstances, but let’s go over some of the elements required to make such a photograph to begin with.

The subject

The most important factor that makes award-winning photographs is the subject itself. Some photography competitions will be very specific about the subject in each category. Looking at things objectively, there’s always some subject for awards regarding just about anything. The best casino operator 2023, for example, wins the award for being the best overall operator during the competition where their performance is evaluated based on specific criteria.

In contrast, an award-winning photography revolves around the subject that is striking in some way or invokes certain emotions when being looked upon. An image of a landscape must portray not just the beauty but the serenity of the place through the image, even though the viewer is just looking at the photo. On the other hand, an image of a person must resonate with their feelings and show the viewer what that person is feeling, even though it’s just an image.


Composition is yet another essential element of every award-winning photograph. Experienced photographers know how to use the right angle, forms and lines to make an ordinary photograph stand out in some unique way.

So ordinary becomes unique with the right technique, highlighting what the photographer wanted you to see or feel by looking at the photo they decided to take at that moment. In other words, you’re able to see the bigger picture rather than just an image. The right composition, therefore, makes a photograph different from the others in one way or another.


You can’t make a great photo or even a good photo without proper lighting. That’s just the way things are with photography. Whether you use natural or artificial light for your photograph doesn’t really matter, as long as you use it properly. A photograph of a natural landscape becomes even better when the light is right.

There are only a few seconds of opportunity to make a landscape stand out during the day so photographers must know how to make the most out of that moment. That being said, photographers can take dozens of photos in that moment and maybe be able to use one. If not, the process is repeated the next day until they get it right.

So simply snapping a photo of something beautiful isn’t enough to make it award-winning. It takes much more effort than that, which is why some photographers spend days taking a photo of the same landscape so that they can utilize natural lighting the best way possible.

Closing words

An award-winning photograph is one of a kind image that is able to resonate with people in some way. Making such photos takes time, effort and processing so that it can portray the story that the photographer was trying to capture in the best way possible. An image that leaves viewers in awe is on a completely different level than an image that people consider nice.

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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