February Competition: Results Portraits

It has been a pleasure to be asked to judge for the Camera Club, the standards are high, and hopefully my observations and comments will be received as constructive. It is worth saying we all see different things in photographs, part of what makes us very individual and my comments are purely my views.

I have commented on all photographs in the experienced section, but sadly ran out of time to do the same for the other sections, but believe me it was not because I give them less consideration.

Beginners.

Diane Steve Holdsworth. How Do I Spend Those Millions Bill Wraight. How Long Do I

Have To Smile Lorraine Wraight. Now Where Are My Sunglasses Bill Wraight.

What If Lorraine Wraight

3rd Place ‘The Little Princes’ Steve Holdsworth

Tells a story, is truly a photograph for keeping and looking at in the future to recall memories, if this photographer was at my talk on portrait photography they may recall I said portraits are all about creating memories, and I think this is what this photograph is all about. OK to be constructive the faces are a little blown out, as are the whites of the shirts and flowers this could be corrected in a number of ways, firstly in camera by stepping down the exposure compensation (normally a button on the top of your DSLR Camera), if the flash has as adjustment to reduce its power, or in post production, (you do not need Photoshop, there are many downloads on the web that will do the job) .

2nd Place ‘Shep’ Steve Holdsworth

I like this for a number of reason, it is sharp in the portrait with a very slightly out of focus back ground, there is a good distribution of colour and if you want to believe it you might think Shep is having a little smirk at the photographer. As a constructive comment I would recommends the photographer repositioned themselves so as to create a gap to the left of Shep so it looked as though Shep as looking into the photograph instead of filling the frame.

1st Place ‘So Many Memories’ Lorraine Wraight

Bags of expression, I can feel the character coming out of the photograph at me, the photographer has captured this by keeping the tones almost mono, the reflection of flash in the eyes helps to brighten them and I believe in the title. If you believe the photograph tells a story, then you as the viewer are drawn into the photograph which makes it powerful. If I were to add a constructive comment it would be that the hands could have a little post production of dodge and burn to lower their strength, something that maybe an experienced photographer would do, but an excellent beginners piece of work.

Intermediate

Happy Couple Keith Dawson. Lynsy Andy Cambell. Mathew & Jordan Andy Cambell.

My Two Gwynn. Smiler Gwynn. The Winner Gwynn.

3rd Place ‘Gracie’ Andy Cambell

The eyes make this photograph, they tell a story and you could melt into them, I said it in the beginners section with ‘The Little Princes’the photograph tells a story and this is a memory in the making, who would not look back at this photograph in a number of years without a fond memory, which is what I believe is one on the true qualities of portrait photography. To get a little technical, the background is too sharp and could do with taking out of focus, and a vignette would take the photograph to the next level but still a worth 3rd place.

2nd Place ‘Windswept’ Keith Dawson

Nice natural portrait, true to its title of windswept, I believe in the photograph when I read the title, so important that the photograph tells a story which this one does. Love the out of focus back ground and the simple white jumper with the blond hair. Obviously not a staged photograph more ‘an on the spot’ opportunity photograph. However, the glasses concern me a little and maybe if there was something positive reflected it them (a view of some kind for example) they would become so much more important in the photograph, but there is the debate between a non staged photograph and a planned staged shot. We could debate this for some time but must always accept the two are very different types of photograph.

1st ‘Masked Lady’ Keith Dawson

Love this, seems to have all the elements I look for., If this photographer was at my Portrait presentation they certainly took note of my ‘eyes and teeth’ comments.The subject has a sparkle in the eyes, great smile, nice twist to the head. The background it softly out of focus and the black costume is broken up by the red lips. Not a lot more to say other than a worthy 1st place.

Experienced

This has been such a hard section to judge as there is quality in every entry and all the photographs are strong contenders, I would like to say there are all worthy of commendation, but select I must, so I have reviewed all ending in my personal favourites and given the reasons why.

A person’ Helen

Like the idea of the Vignette and the plain background, managed not to capture a shadow, could be a little sharper and needs a sparkle in the eyes to lift it to the next level.

Barcellona’ Flavio Zorn

Nice try, portrait looking at a portrait and those who know me know I love pop art but somehow this is not working for me because I am not sure which part of the photograph I should be looking at, the portrait on the wall or the model who is the subject, I would like to see more of the person looking and clearly make her the subject of the photograph.

Blue Eyes’ Alan Hillman

Slightly out of focus, and red eye in the childs right eye, the idea was good but needs attention.

Carnival’ Wendy Kerr

Nothing wrong with this, street photography, strong colours, tells a story, would most likely have been placed if the competition was not so strong.

Cheeky’ Alan Hillman

Shares the same issues as ‘Blue eyes’ there is a touch of red eye on the childs right eye and the focus could be stronger.

Codfather’ Alan Sheridan

Strong colours, slightly out of focus background, pity about the ropes, I know they are there and you cannot remove them for the photograph, but in post production you could have taken them out. Nothing wrong with it but I do not think it is memorable enough to be in the top three.

Costa Rei’ Flavio Zorn

It is all about position for me, the subject is looking out of the photograph and not into it, If the subject was repositioned to the left under the umbrella and a pop up flash used to brighten the face I think it would be a far better photograph.

Gordon’ Alan Sheridan

I like this, if you had moved him slightly left you would have concealed the persons head behind totally, pity about the brown beam running across the photograph, could you have repositioned to avoid this or have taken it out in post production.

Jadis’ Laura Woods

I can see what the photographer is trying to achieve, and much as I like the idea I feel the eyes are wrong, there is as nice crop, the colours work but the eyes have been taken a step too far for me.

Just Married’ Tony Jones

Nice effect with the colour wash, cropped to loose what I expect is a person on the right, maybe better to have changed the angle to lose that person or have asked them to move, I personally would have tried to bring detail back into the sky as it looks very washed out. I would also have experimented with colour popping (this is where you reintroduce the colour to a specific part of the photograph) in this case I would have either gone for the umbrella or the grooms button hole.

Larger than life’ Carol Sheridan

Like the idea, for me there is too much background, I personally would have cropped both sides to make a tall thin photograph, which I believe would have added to the overall effect, keeping in the chair and the lighthouse which I think are excellent props.

Living on a prayer’ Carol Sheridan

Model (and dog) positioned well, nice point of interest but somehow not a complete photograph for me.

Lubina’ Flavio Zorn

Maybe the photographer should have cropped this, I get the idea of the very distorted background, but for me there is too much of it which detracts from the model, I think the effect could have been maintained with a crop which would also have made the model a stronger feature.

Marcia’ Wendy Kerr

Nice colours, nice suttle use of lighting to highlight one side of the face without making too strong a point of it. Captured the eyes and teeth I go on about, I think repositioning to the right so the model looks more into the photograph would have improved it.

Mr Sandman’ Helen

Good photograph, well thought out, sharp, and for me the vignette makes the photograph. Would have been up there, if the competition was not so strong.

Mr Twigg’ Helen

I suspect I know who took this, as with another of your entries it is sharp, the model well positioned, love the mystery in the eyes, and love the shadows created by the hat which for me adds feeling to the photograph, background nicely taken out of focus all round a good photograph.

Musician’ Wendy Kerr

Model is looking in the photograph, there is a nice use of shadow, good strong face features an all round good photograph which on a different day would have been up there but competition is very strong this month.

My Princess’ Tony Jones

It is all in the eye of the beholder, I see the story the photographer is telling, it is a ‘keeper’ style of photograph, one for the family album all round a nice photograph, I love the eyes, personally I would have cropped hard to the face as it has real character and for me would have been a stronger photograph, but I fully accept the photographer may want to tell a different story and the dress is to them is an important part of that story.

Put the camera away Mum’ Joanne Clezy

Nice use of black and white, good position of model who is looking into the photograph, for me the bench is distracting, maybe reconsidering the positioning of the model would have overcome this.

Ros’ Alan Hillman

Real soft studio look, nothing wrong with that, could be considered a very nice photograph to hang on the wall, indeed the photographer has implied this with the frame. Nice reflection in the eyes but much as I get the soft look I think this photograph could take being a little harder.

Stalion’ Alan Sheridan

Clear, sharp, well positioned, nice photograph, I think I would have cropped out the sides to give a long thin photograph which in my opinion would have added more impact, but a great effort.

Sweetdreams’ Joanne Clezy

Not sure what post production software the photographer has used to air brush the face, (I use portrait professional), however for me they have gone a little too far and the models nose has been somewhat lost, so for me to soft. After saying that a great concept and I would think great photographs could be achieved working with this model.

Three Amigos’ Laura Woods

The more I look at this photograph the more I see, the little girl looking away with those questioning eyes, the attention of the German Shepard and the ‘so what’ expression of the Lab. Nice family photograph and one to keep, for me it could use a bit of cropping, it certainly tells a story.

Paulna’ Laura Woods Highly Commended

Whatever she is selling I want to buy it, lovely photograph, great use of soft light, it is the type of photograph that draws you in, I can see this in a Sunday glossy selling something. The eyes certainly have it.

Jim’ Keith Vincent Highly Commended

Like the feel of this photograph (that assumes photographs have a feel) but I am sure you get my point. Sharp, nicely positioned, and great use of mono and post production, I can see this hanging on some ones wall. Lovely work.

Hmm I wonder’ Joanne Clezy Highly Commended

This was a serious contender, lovely and sharp, subject is looking into the photograph managed to distort foreground and background, there is a real story within this photograph.

Tunisian Troglodyte’ Keith Vincent Joint 3rd Place

Not sure about the title, a Troglodyte was a cave dweller presumed to be prehistoric.

OK the photographer is forgiven for the title as this is such a strong photograph. It is a play on a single hue, except the hankie in his top pocket and string on his hat, very cleaver, the photographer got their subject to look away and not directly at the camera. The subject projects depth of character with his lined face just an all round good photograph and worth of a joint 3rd.

Sleeping Beauty’ Tony Jones Joint 3rd Place

I have said before that in my opinion Portraits tell stories and create memories, this certainly lives up to expectations, obviously an opportunist photograph, but captured some charming little details that tell a story, note the fingers in her mouth, the half worn off tattoo transfer on her arm. Well lit, although in my opinion the lighting could be as little more subdued which would add some enhancement. If this were my photograph I would probably have cropped it a little and added a vignette, but still worth a joint 3rd place.

Best Side’ Carol Sheridan 2nd Place

Initially, unsure if I should include this in my top three as is it a Portrait? I know there was Shep in the beginners, (you remember Shep), but that was beginners where we can allow more flexibility, and (Stalion in the experienced was not a top 3). However, this is such a great photograph it had to be included for 2nd place. Lovely colours, see the detail in the feathers, nice out of focus background and that eye just looking at you, so full of expression, assuming eyes have expression, but you know what I mean. If I were sorting out by back catalogue with a view to deleting photographs to make space and came across this it would be a ‘keeper’ great work.

Checking Facebook’ Keith Vincent 1st Place

A lot of effort has gone into the set up of this shot and the lighting of it, it looks simple, but to achieve the subtle lighting as if reflected from the phone would have taken some effort. The photograph is sharp, with the background (which I suspect is a professional studio) taking nothing away from the subject who is dressed in a single colour which adds strength to the moody atmosphere of the photograph. I suspect this is one of many shots taken during a studio session, but in summary, a well thought out and lit staged shot a worth winner in its class.

Overall winner, think I will take a pass on that, there is just so much quality across the three categories, but I would go back to one of my early comment that we all learn from each other, so guys talk to each other and, share ideas as this is what makes a good club a great club.

Steve Goldsmith