Year after year, thousands of photographers gather together for the Canon PhotoMarathon in a bid to shoot a winning photo. The participants may find it challenging trying to complete all three themes within an allocated time, but the judges don’t have it easy either! With Canon PhotoMarathon XVI Singapore 2018 (CPMSG2018) just a few weeks away, we go behind the scenes to speak to our three judges and find out how they’re preparing for the big day. Who knows? You may even be able to glean some tips.

Jayaprakash Bojan

Leaving behind suit and tie in big corporations, he chased after his wildlife photography passion and was named 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Jayaprakash, also known as JP, hopes to create awareness about conservation efforts through the power of storytelling in his photography. In the same vein, he will be on the lookout for such storytelling in the upcoming competition.

Jayaprakash Bojan

Hi JP! Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am a full-time photographer, teacher, speaker, and also brand ambassador for an NGO driving conservation efforts in Borneo.

Winning the title of 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year was a pleasant surprise to me. The photo of an orang-utan crossing a river got close to 2.5 million likes on Instagram and I received thousands of messages and emails from people across the world, telling me how the picture touched their hearts and impacted them.

Currently, I’m completing my book on primates from across Southeast Asia. I’ve also just completed a small project for NatGeo Singapore, launching soon.

EOS 5D Mark IV | f/5 | 1/2000 sec | ISO 1250

How do you feel about being a judge for this year’s competition? 

I am super excited and can’t wait for the day. I’ve been a Canon user for about 8 years now. Ever since I started pursuing photography seriously, my Canon kit has never let me down on the field. I was able to achieve several awards and publications around the world because of it. As Canon has been part of my journey from my days as an amateur to this day as a judge, you can see why I am so thrilled about this event!

What are you most excited about for this competition?

I have seen the images from the last few years and I have to say, the standard and quality of images have been pretty high. I am really excited to see what the participants can bring to the table this year. I am sure they will surprise us with something new and creative.

EOS-1D Mark IV | f/4 | 1/3200 sec | ISO 1000

What are some of the qualities a CPMSG2018 winning photo should possess?

I think the key here is to show us something new that we have not seen before; a new perspective, a new angle, a new idea, a new story. Though it’s a photography competition, it’s not just about making beautiful images. I am also looking for pictures that can connect with an audience and tell a story. A photograph that can connect with people is what stays in people’s mind for a long time!

Any tips for our Canon PhotoMarathoners?

It’s hard to prepare for a contest like this since we do not know what the themes will be. But considering how we have a dusk challenge for the first time, I would probably be out every evening practising my skills and shooting during those dusk hours if I were a participant.

Teoh Peng Kee

Peng Kee is a Malaysian photographer who knows Canon inside out. With over two decades moving from being a sales manager to being a consultant and trainer for Canon, he has honed his photography skills and understands the whole spectrum of the brand’s experience. He now runs his own specialised unit and has his eye on photographers who can balance both technique and aesthetic.

Teoh Peng Kee

Could you tell us more about the work that you do, being an author, judge and speaker, as well as what projects you are working on right now?

I operate my own EOS Boutique which specializes in the Canon EOS System that provides imaging-related services and solutions to clients, including serious amateurs, professional photographers, local publishers and others. I’ve also judged in numerous past photography competitions, such as Maybank Photography Award 2013, the”Photo Face-off” reality show, and Canon PhotoMarathon Sri Lanka 2017.

I like to go on photography expeditions every year, and with those photos I’ve taken, I would share them in workshops and seminars, including the EOS Masterclass training program and the Canon Student Projects, where I teach photography university students. I’ve also compiled tips from my expeditions and produced a coffee table photo book, and I’m now working on a new one to be published in the near future.

EOS-1D X Mark II | f/6.3 | 1/80 sec | ISO 12800

How do you feel about being a judge for this year’s competition?

I am honoured to be one of the judges for CPMSG2018. I look forward and am excited to see some creative works shot by photographers in Singapore. The biggest challenge for me being a judge is that I have to shortlist the best photos that fulfil the criteria in a short period. I hope that the participants can utilise their camera’s features to give their best shot and to create an outstanding masterpiece that attracts our eyes.

What are you most excited about for this competition?

I would like to see how photographers fully utilise their gear and camera settings to create their own masterpieces while meeting the requirements of the challenging topics within the given limited time.

EOS-1D X | f/3.5 | 1/160 sec | ISO 5000

What are some of the qualities a winning shot should possess?

A winning shot should have two key elements. First of all, I’ll look at the technical quality of a photo, including lighting, focus, composition, colour balance, and others. Secondly, I’ll consider the creativity of the shot, and whether they are able to capture the right moment inventively and convey a message, story or mood that fits the theme.

Dionna Lee

Having won us over with her unique brand of style, look and playful imagination, Dionna is creating serious impressions on major A-list clients. She’s never one to follow conventions and is looking out for equally creative photos at CPMSG2018.

Dionna Lee

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your current projects?

My name is Dionna Lee and I run a creative studio, OOOZE, with my partner Sean Ashley. Together, we create images, art and work on design projects.

We are currently working on a couple of commercial assignments, photographing products and liquids, while also designing and building sets for them. We are also working on an exciting collaboration with a local fashion brand to design a couple of ready-to-wear and lifestyle items. This collection will be revealed in a few months’ time.

EOS 5D Mark III | f/9 | 1/160 sec | ISO 100

How do you feel about being a judge for this year’s competition?

As a Canon loyalist, the feeling is surreal and humbling. I also feel especially spirited to be representing millennials and women. It speaks so much for a leading corporation in making the consideration to engage the younger generation. I feel so energised being able to contribute and have a voice in this year’s competition.

What are you most excited about for this competition?

It will be interesting to witness all the creative stories and perspectives from all these photographers. Seeing that there has been so much new talent these couple of years, I’m looking forward to viewing all the entries along with my fellow judges.

EOS 5D Mark III | f/13 | 1/200 sec | ISO 100

What do you think makes for a winning shot?

Storytelling and a new point-of-view are always foolproof, I’m looking forward to seeing how participants approach the themes. To me, going the opposite route of what everyone is doing will always be attention-grabbing.

Do you have any tips on what the participants can expect?

Be true to your own visual aesthetic. Let your own intuition speak and a reflection of yourself will be shown in the images you create.

Ready to show us your creativity and photography skills? Sign up for CPMSG2018 here now!

First published: Canon EOS World

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