Renowned professional news and sport photographer Richard Austin has been working at the top end of the newspaper and magazine industry for over 30 years. Known for his creativity, and adorable photos of Pennywell Farms miniature pigs, we were thrilled when Richard agreed to be one of the judges for the annual South West Lakes and South West Water ‘Love your Lakes’ photo competition.

Are you interested in photography but feel you need to brush up on your skills? Richard has put together some top tips to help you capture that winning photo competition entry…..

An added bonus of photographing the South West Lakes can be some of the country’s spectacular bird and animal life visiting the lakes and adding to creative landscape photography. Combining the two in one image is something I like to create when the opportunity comes along.

Judging the South West Lakes photographic competition for the past 4 years I noticed that a very high percentage of entries are of sunrises and sunsets – Admittedly they do make great pictures but take another look at your images, life on the lakes is not just about water reflections of the sun coming up or down.

I work on a tried and tested formula of foreground, middle and distance in your image and if you can find a point of interest use it and try not to have your horizons dividing the image in half – Two thirds up or two thirds down is a good start. The sky also plays a big part in a landscape and with editing tools you can find hidden detail in the image which needs revealing using your editing software.

Exposure can be difficult, a bright sky will result in an under exposed foreground, so take several frames. For iPhone users tilt the phone down, cropping out the bright background. There is such an array of different contraptions created to capture photographic images, it’s difficult for me to offer advice for iPhone photography and then in the next breath about a hi-end pro-digital camera.

Both pictures are examples of my own technique used in landscape. Foreground, middle and distance.