FANCY yourself a bit of a photographer? Handy with your smartphone camera?
The Leader is looking for the best and brightest photographs from the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival from our readers.
The competition is open to residents and visitors alike, with some great prizes up for grabs for the photos our panel of judges decide are the top shots.
First prize is a Samsung Galaxy Notebook 10.1 16GB Wifi and second place a Panasonic Lumix 14.1MP Super Zoom camera.
With acclaimed country photographer John Elliott joining The Leader’s senior photographer Barry Smith, the two judges have more than 60 years of festival photography experience between them.
So what’s the secret to a great festival shot?
Mr Smith said he was looking for photographs that depicted the atmosphere of the festival, the colours and the characters.
With 34 years at the helm of The Leader photography department, he said he’d seen it all, from buskers to bootscooters, performers to campers. He said the best subjects were people and to keep an eye peeled for the life of the party.
“You’re always looking for those characters among the crowd, then it’s time to pick up your lens and go for it,” he said.
Mr Smith said capturing young whipcracker Nathan on Peel St yesterday was a simple case of deciding to pull him out from the background with a long lens and get down on his level.
“I just came across Nathan on the street and thought what a great shot that would be,” he said. “I used a long lens to bring him out of the picture, a fast shutter speed to capture the action and dropped the crowd out of focus in the background.”
Mr Smith said news photographers worked from dawn to dark and often didn’t have the luxury of picking the perfect light conditions.
“Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got. Knowing how to use existing lighting to your advantage is key and can often make or break a photo,” he said.
Although Mr Smith works with his trusty Nikon, he says expensive equipment isn’t necessary to get a great shot.
“Know what you have and how to use it,” he said. “Play around with your equipment, decide what look you want and work towards it.”
Mr Elliott said his tips were simple: head out with a fully charged battery, an empty memory card and an open mind.
“Most importantly take lots of shots.”
Best of the Fest entries can be emailed to email@example.com or dropped into The Leader front office at 92 Brisbane St.
Entries close at 5pm on Monday.