27 June 2015

Tip No 4 - Add Emotion

Although this is Tip No 4, it should probably be Tip No 1.

The single biggest factor that will elevate your image asa finalist is to add the element of EMOTION.

Too many photographers think that if they secure the services of an attractive/interesting subject, arrange quality lighting and produce a pin-sharp image with an expensive camera they will automatically guarantee a top ten finish. Its not true.

'Dragonfly' Family Portrait - Nikon D700 1/60@f16 800ISO 50mm Nikkor lens. 
Portraits involve making images of human beings; living, breathing human beings.
Humans have thoughts, feelings and moods - all expressed as emotions.
Too many photographers either intentionally or unintentionally seek to hide emotions.

How do you express emotion in a portrait?
  1. Facial expressions - in particular the eyes and mouth
  2. Body language - gestures, body angle, reaction to a stimulus
  3. The surroundings can contribute
  4. Add a second person - interaction
  5. Add a dog or cat (or any animal!)  - interaction
Entries to the  2015 International Portrait Prize close on 21 August 2015. It costs just AU$20 to enter and there's AU$12,000 in cash and prizes. For full details click FiPP2015

If you want to learn more about Portrait Techniques and Photographing Faces click HERE for details of the UWA Extension photography workshop.

16 June 2015

Brrrrrr! Twirling for FiPP2015


Braving the breeze fresh from the Indian Ocean I met up with Community Newspapers journo Jess Nico and photographer Jon Hewson. 

French dancer Yamina from Beleza Entertainment braved the elements and stopped the traffic in South Terrace. Using the  East-West Trading Company in South Fremantle street murals as a backdrop, Yamina twirled for the cameras. 

Yamina from Beleza Entertainment twirling for Dale Neill. photo Jon Hewson
All for a worthy cause - the 2015 International Portrait Prize and the Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia.

 Community Newspapers are generous sponsors of the 2015 Fremantle International Portrait Prize. Read  Jess Nico's story in the Community Newspapers.

Photographers everywhere are invited to enter the 2015 Fremantle International Portrait Prize. Click HERE for details. AU$12,000 in cash and prizes.

15 June 2015

Portrait Tip No 3 - 2015

What is the difference between an Environmental Portrait and a Head and Shoulders (H & S) Portrait?

The H & S Portrait

Dale Neill © 2012 Margaret Halsmith
There's an old saying
'If you look like your passport photograph you are probably too ill to travel'

Photos used for identification on Driver's Licences and Passports are almost always H & S portraits, albeit very unflattering ones. Typically, they have plain backgrounds and if there is any surrounding material it plays little or no role in the portrait. The person's head and shoulders occupies 70%-90% of the frame.

One would hope that your H & S portraits are of higher technical quality and aesthetic value than a passport image!

Here are three tips if you are choosing to do a H & S portrait:

  1. Show human emotion - sadness, happiness, tears, laughter and so on
  2. Achieve superb technical quality - full highlight and shadow detail, quality lighting
  3. Special features - show the subject's freckles, sparkling eyes, weathered skin, bushy eyebrows

The Environmental Portrait

In an environmental portrait the person occupies a much smaller percentage of the frame (somewhere between 5% and 25%).  The rest of the frame is the narrative or the story-telling part of the portrait. It's a huge advantage to have the narrative parts of the image working in your favour. Every element should be helping to tell the story of your subject.  Here are three tips for completing an Environmental portrait.
Dale Neill © 2013 Potato farmer and his son Turkey

  1. make the narrative elements replace the title. eg place the farmer in a farm environment
  2. make sure your subject is still the 'hero' in your image
  3. use landscape format
For your chance to win AU$12,000 in cash and prizes for your best portrait visit the FiPP2015 website.

Learn more about photographing faces at a UWA Extension Photography Workshop.