31 July 2012

24 hours to Tulsa

24 hours to Tulsa and to the  2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize deadline.

How do you create a prize winning portrait in less than five minutes?
Follow these four simple tips:

1. Use f1.4
2. use a Russian Tilt
3. Shoot in black and white
4. Ask your subject to wear a hat
5. make your subject's face the lightest part of the frame

Enter HERE for your chance at the AU$5000 First Prize

Photo: Dale Neill
Model: Pam Jackson
Location: UWA Portrait Workshop

One Small Photograph of You

With a little over 24 hours left in the Fremantle Portrait Prize I was thinking what's this all about?
We have received 516 truly amazing images from Israel to Italy, Hungary to Bangladesh, London to New York plus a few dozen from Australia as well.
So what's it all about? How many stars in the skies? What is one third of infinity and does the light really go out when you close the fridge door?

For me, portrait photography is about relationships; its about communication; its about moments of kindness; its about recording a  split-second in history; its about love. I'm convinced that taking a photograph is an act of love.

And, if the love in your life disappears you still have that one small photograph.

Your last chance now to enter the 2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize. Even if you don't win the AU$5000 First Prize or the Pearl Bracelet from Cygnet Bay Pearls you may just win the heart of the one you love.

Listen to Ringo Starr  'Photograph'

29 July 2012

The 'A' Team

Someone asked me the other day 'Who's behind the Fremantle Portrait Prize?'
Well, its pretty simple - a group of photographers from Western Australia who thought the time was right to give birth to a major Cultural and Photographic event open to all photographers.
We wanted to provide a forum to display some of the world's finest photography with the minimum number of rules and restrictions.
We also believed it would be good thing to let powerful portraits do good for the community - so all funds raised go to charity - the Arthritis and Osteporosis Foundation of Western Australia.
The deadline is 1 August 2012!
Our team of three eminent judges are sharpening their pencils.
By this time next week the top sixty entries will have been selected for exhibition.
L-R Dale Neill, Lawrie Beilin, Peter Ramshaw, George Woodward, Abigail Harman, John Quintner, Sandy Chaney, Ivor Metlitzky, Krissie Grech (model)

  • Professor Lawrie Beilin AO, Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Western Australia 
  • ·         Dale Neill BA, Grad Dip Ed Tech, Cert Photog, Master Photographer AIPP 
  • ·         Sandy Chaney, Photographer and Administrator  
  • ·         George Woodward B.Sc, ARPS, DPAGB.  
  • ·         Dr John Quintner MB, BS, MRCP, FFPMANZCA, Rheumatologist    
  • ·         Ivor Metlitzky MSc. BSc(Eng) 
  • ·         Abigail Harman Grad Dip Photog (MSU), Cert Photog (Cambridge)
  • ·         Peter Ramshaw MCSE, webmaster

24 July 2012

Candid - Unaware

One of the most common types of travel portraits is the Candid Unaware. 
This is when the subject(s) is totally unaware that you are taking their photograph. They are not posing for you; you are not communicating with the subject is any way.

Photographers often use longer telephoto lenses for Candid Unaware shotsPersonally, I prefer a 50mm Prime Lens - its faster, sharper, smaller and lighter (in weight and on the hip pocket). Some street photographers work in the Candid Unaware mode, while others will approach their subject ever so fleetingly to create a connection.

Karnac Temple Egypt 2008; Fuji S5 Pro, 1/6000@f4, 50mm f1.4 Nikkor, 400ISO

Candid Unaware shots have the particular advantage of capturing like as it really is. The photographer is merely a recorder of events and is operating in a photo-journalistic framework. However, it may not be as innocent or objective as some would have us believe. By varying the camera height, choice of backgrounds, waiting for changes in light quality and facial expressions the photographer has the power to alter perceptions. With a little thought you can choose to make your subject either a hero or a villain.

Enter your favourite Portrait photograph in the Fremantle Portrait Prize for your chance to win AU$5000 cash First Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012.  Enter early and avaoid disappointment by being caught in the log jam in the last couple of days!

22 July 2012

A New Slant

Geometry students know that the longest distance in  rectangle or square is across the diagonal. It stands to reason if you want to maximise the size of your subject in the frame, use the diagonal.

We've previously alluded to the particular advantages of shooting portraits in either 'Portrait' or 'Landscape' format. Some photographers refer to a 15 degree tilt when shooting as a Russian Tilt; designed to give more energy and dynamic appeal to the subjectWhen you go the whole way and use the diagonal you're really employing more like a 45 degree tilt.

(Fuji S3 Pro, 160 ISO, 1/125s @ f11, 12-24mm Nikon lens, single Elinchrom 100 flash.)

Another reason to use the diagonal is simply uniqueness. When judges are looking at several hundred images, half of which are 'Portrait' format and the other half are 'Landscape' format a 'Diagonal' print may just stand out from the crowd that little bit more. It simply puts a new slant on an old topic.

Enter your favourite Portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize by no later than the 1 August 2012 for your chance to win AU$5000 cash First Prize.

17 July 2012

Tell me a story ....

A few years ago I was a participant in a group exhibition that hadn't gone all that well. Despite a record number of people viewing the exhibition, sales were down and so was the gallery owner's face. However, one photographer had sold ALL their exhibited images. The gallery owner commissioned an independent art expert to analyse what went wrong.

The expert's analysis was detailed and comprehensive but the single telling factor was that the images did not hold the viewers attention for more than a few seconds. Successful images, she explained, often had a narrative or story telling component. They held the viewer's attention; they asked the viewer to question the relationship between individuals and physical components; they drew the viewer into the image. In short: They told a story!

The story you design may be real or fictitious. It doesn't matter. Just as a  book can be fact or fiction, so can a photographic portrait. Using lighting and placement, the photographer can create 'heroes' or 'villains'. Press photographers do it almost every day of the week. Cast a face in deep shadow and you create mystery and intrigue. Use soft, subtle 'butterfly' lighting and an air of innocence surrounds the subject.

Enter your favourite portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash. Entries close 1 August 2012.

16 July 2012

59 Seconds

59 Seconds
.... for Better Portraits

  1. Use telephoto in preference to wide-angleKeep lens above subject’s nose height
  2. Subject-background distance greater than subject-camera distance
  3. Focus on the eyes
  4. Kids – get down to kid’s level physically and mentally
  5. Shoot for a black and white image
  6. Choose a great background
  7. Become a student of light and use ‘Rembrandt’ lighting
  8. Get couples/groups to interact with each other rather than you
  9. Photograph your subject with their most treasured item
  10. Use Auto-Bracket
  11. Create an Environmental Portrait
  12. Choose Aperture Priority and use wide open aperture

Win $5000 cash!  Enter your best portraits in the Fremantle Portrait Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012.

10 July 2012


Whether its advertising or competition the impact value of the image is imperative. The initial 'wow' factor on the reader or the judge needs to speak in volumes. It needs to grab attention and demand that you look closer.

Imagine you area  judge visiting an exhibition where there are two or three hundreds prints hanging. From a distance, if one image catches the judge's eye and makes an impact it means it is already part way there. 

Both the physical size or the image and the 'close-up' play apart in creating that 'Wow, look at me' factor; so does colour. Of course, if your subject has unique dynamics - tattoos, purple lips or gold teeth then that's a bonus.

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash!
Entries close 1 August 2012.

04 July 2012

Mayor Brad Pettitt supports the FPP

Fremantle punches above its weight when it comes to artists, musicians and photographers. The City of Fremantle supports the Fremantle Portrait prize and last week Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt met members of the Fremantle Portrait Prize committee.
First Prize is $5000 cash
Click here to enter.
Entries close 1 August

02 July 2012

Mill Point - playing with Music

Stringed quartet Mill Point will entertain guests at the opening of the Fremantle Portrait Prize at the Moores Contemporary Art Building on on 5 October 2012.

For information and entry please click here.

Entries close 1 August 2012

01 July 2012

Portrait Tip - Playing with Light

The word Photograph has Greek origins and literally means Light writing or Writing with Light. many photographers become so concerned about their subject's appearance or about what shutter speed they are going to use they forget the most important element of all - LIGHT!

In this image of the farmer and his wife, my location was the shearing shed and my light source was side light through an open door. The light source is at right angle to the subject. However, the key element I attempted to achieve in this juxtaposed portrait was to invite the wife to step forward into the shaft of door light to make her the 'hero'. And to keep the husband in subdued light to maintain his 'villainous' image. It was just a matter of one step to achieve the lighting effect.

Some of the key elements to consider:
  1. Is there sufficient light to get a sharp image?
  2. Is the light modeling the face (light, shade, light, shade)
  3. Is the light stronger on the face than the background giving separation
  4. Have you matched light quality with subject? eg avoid harsh lighting on a baby
Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize for your chance to win $5000
Entries close 1 August 2012