Last week we held the 1st internal competition which was a themed print round for Natural Light Portraits. Last night we had the review evening.

The image that finished in 1st place was

1 (32) Old Man On Train – Steve Bexon Scores 12.29 6 15

I 4.08 1 5 C 4 1 5 T 4.21 2 5

Followed by

2 (43) Summer Haze – Phil Mallin Scores 10.96 8 14

I 3.38 1 4 C 3.75 3 5 T 3.83 3 5

Then in joint 3rd

3 (4) At A Glance – Jules Holbeche-Maund Scores 10.92 6 14

I 3.63 1 4 C 3.54 1 5 T 3.75 2 5

3 (25) Young Hot Lips – Mike Dawe Scores 10.92 6 15

I 3.5 1 5 C 3.63 2 5 T 3.79 2 5

 

What makes a good portrait well there are several things to consider

Eyes – If you can see the eyes they give you a connection with the model so these (at least the closest one) need to be in focus and often they seem better if at a slight angle.

Background – Needs to be non distracting

Colour – Look for natural skin tones

Light – avoid bright sun light as this can lead to harsh shadows on face and the eyes being dark

5 (41) From The Depths – Jules Holbeche-Maund Scores 10.83 5 15

I 3.75 1 5 C 3.54 2 5 T 3.54 1 5

6 (1) Alex – Phil Mallin Scores 10.71 5 14

I 3.54 1 5 C 3.63 1 5 T 3.54 1 5

6 (20) Thats Not The Shoes – David B Crowson Scores 10.71 5 15

I 3.5 1 5 C 3.67 2 5 T 3.54 2 5

You may wonder about the title of this image well the young lady was doing a photoshoot in a park in Leicester when spotted by the Author who asked if he could take some snaps. When finished he showed his results to the photographer whos comment was “Bit That’s Not the Shoes” turned out he as a student doing shoe design and had been photographing her feet.

8 (29) Alpine Guide – Peter Lawrance Scores 10.52 5 15

I 3.72 1 5 C 3.44 2 5 T 3.36 2 5

9 (5) Beth Of The Belles – Steve Bexon Scores 10.38 5 15

I 3.5 1 5 C 3.29 1 5 T 3.58 2 5

The microphone gives context but by being placed slightly to one side isn’t obscuring the mouth.

10 (36) Red Deer – Chantal Cooper Scores 10.33 7 15

I 3.5 1 5 C 3.29 1 5 T 3.58 2 5

Nice non descript background but the print was slight darker on the doe.

11 (39) Can T Have My Ball Please – David B Crowson Scores 10.13 5 14

I 3.29 1 4 C 3.42 2 5 T 3.42 1 5

The red collar adds a bit of impact

12 (18) Seal Pup – Chantal Cooper Scores 10.08 5 15

I 3.25 1 5 C 3.5 1 5 T 3.33 1 5

The background in this image has an added texture but its well balanced in colour and works well with the pup

13 (40) Headmaster – Ian Waite Scores 10.04 6 13

I 3.21 1 4 C 3.5 2 5 T 3.33 2 4

By blurring the background using a small f number / larger hole has lead to a shallow depth of field which has resulted in the background being less distaracting

14 (9) Devon Farmer – Peter Lawrance Scores 9.92 5 15

I 3.36 1 5 C 3.32 2 5 T 3.24 2 5

The print was a little dark and the white balance slightly off but the face had character.

15 (27) The Posturer – Margaret Waterson Scores 9.68 4 15

I 3.08 1 5 C 3.24 1 5 T 3.36 1 5

Nice autumn colours.

16 (31) Harley Man – Martin Allen Scores 9.67 4 14

I 3.38 1 5 C 3.21 1 5 T 3.08 1 4

It was felt that this image over performed probably due to the character of the rider but the print has technical post production issues including a halo around the rider showing poor selection  showing the author has darkened that background. The tight crop has lead to the brightest part of the image the headlight being cropped at the bottom and the bright sunlight has left the face in harsh shadow.

17 (16) Ripley – Alan Wardropper Scores 9.42 4 13

I 2.96 1 4 C 3.33 1 5 T 3.13 1 5

Taken outside the curve theatre the horizontal lines force you to focus on the face. Possibly the uniform and hair could be darkened a little more using curves as their competing with the face.

17 (13) Lewy – John Smith Scores 9.42 5 13

I 3.04 1 4 C 3.21 2 4 T 3.17 1 5

Nice monochrome image showing that’s helped to show the “attitude”

19 (35) Peek a Boo – Trish Rudin Scores 9.38 4 14

I 3.08 1 4 C 3 1 5 T 3.29 1 5/p>

Saturated purple background is slight distracting

20 (34) Looking To The Stars – Alan Wardropper Scores 9.21 5 14

I 2.96 1 5 C 3.21 2 5 T 3.04 1 4

21 (22) What A Gentle Smile – Mike Dawe Scores 9.17 5 14

I 3.13 1 5 C 2.92 1 5 T 3.13 1 4

The tight envelope crop doesn’t work and your pulled to the top left by t he bright parts of the brolly.

21 (17) Ruby – Rob Jones Scores 9.17 5 14

I 3.17 1 5 C 2.83 2 4 T 3.17 2 5

Could have done with just a tag more space on left to center the image and give space around the face. But its a face with character.

23 (23) Michael – Rob Jones Scores 9.08 5 13

I 2.79 1 4 C 3.13 2 5 T 3.17 2 5

Background being in focus is distracting and the two bright highlights top left needed to be cloned our. The author has however nicely controlled the exposure and avoided burning out the highlights on the forehead.

23 (3) Army Sergeant – Paul Steans Scores 9.08 6 13

I 2.92 1 4 C 3.04 1 4 T 3.13 2 5

Background provides context and by darkening it has made it less distaracting, Bright / harsh sun light though has given shadow issues on face.

25 (6) Caspar – Margaret Waterson Scores 9.08 6 14

I 3 1 5 C 3.12 2 5 T 2.96 1 5

 

This image goes to prove you don’t need an expensive camera as it was taken on a mobile phone just needs a little more contrast probably could achieve this by adjusting the levels sliders and the vignette that was used on the print could do with a larger feather

26 (26) Alpaca – Geoff Whitelocks Scores 9 6 12

I 3.08 1 4 C 2.8 1 4 T 3.12 2 4

Tight crop but you can see the character

27 (11) Engine Driver – Ian Waite Scores 8.92 6 12

I 2.88 1 4 C 3 1 4 T 3.04 2 4

harsh light

28 (28) A Swan Landing – Loz Waterson Scores 8.88 3 14

I 2.76 1 4 C 3.04 1 5 T 3.08 1 5

  

28 (15) Nicaraguan Girl – Geoff Whitelocks Scores 8.88 5 14

I 2.88 1 5 C 3.04 2 5 T 2.96 2 5

 

The eyes are a little soft and the hat being so bright distract a little from the face. The vignette however does help.

30 (8) Denise – Dave Carter Scores 8.88 6 12

I 2.96 1 5 C 3.04 2 4 T 2.88 2 4

Harsh bright light on background is distracting could possibly crop the top or darken it.

31 (24) In Reflection – Robin Astle Scores 8.84 4 14

I 2.84 1 4 C 2.8 1 5 T 3.2 1 5

Cropped too tight ? Probably OK at top as it looks intentional but should have avoided just trimming the chin.

32 (14) Mu – Dave Varnham Scores 8.83 5 12

I 3.13 1 4 C 2.71 1 4 T 3 1 4

The framing of the print just cropped the foot

32 (2) Archie – Trish Rudin Scores 8.83 5 12

I 2.79 1 4 C 3.08 2 4 T 2.96 2 4

  

Some felt  the background although blurred and giving context was still distracting. Horse though is fully of character and his full attention is on you.

34 (19) Spanish Dancer – Roger Leck Scores 8.42 5 13

I 2.83 1 5 C 2.75 1 4 T 2.83 2 5

 

Background Distracting

35 (12) Helen – Robin Astle Scores 8.32 4 14

I 2.64 1 5 C 2.88 1 4 T 2.8 1 5

 

harsh lighting has led to the eyes being in shadow and caused the model to squint

36 (37) Mr Balloon Man – John Smith Scores 8.13 5 12

I 2.88 1 4 C 2.58 1 4 T 2.67 1 4

Distracting background and needs the balloon hat not to be cropped

37 (10) Down But Not Out – Md Trigg Scores 8.08 6 12

I 2.54 1 3 C 2.88 1 4 T 2.67 1 5

 

38 (42) Miss Piggy – Paul Steans Scores 7.88 4 12

I 2.54 1 4 C 2.58 1 4 T 2.75 2 4

39 (33) Ava – Roger Leck Scores 7.83 4 14

I 2.63 1 4 C 2.75 1 5 T 2.46 1 5

Focus soft especially around the eyes and a slopping horizon

40 (38) Contemplation – Dave Carter Scores 7.79 3 13

I 2.46 1 5 C 2.75 1 4 T 2.58 1 4

Distracting background due to large depth of field, lack of eye contact means you don’t connect as well with person

 

40 (21) The Entertainer – Martin Allen Scores 7.79 4 12

I 2.67 1 4 C 2.88 2 5 T 2.25 1 4

Harsh light has lead to dark shadows and colour / white balance issues

42 (30) Young Mother And Child – Md Trigg Scores 7.54 3 12

I 2.5 1 4 C 2.58 1 4 T 2.46 1 4

Distracting background, flat colour and slight distorted feel / perspective due to looking up

43 (7) Dancing In The Street – Loz Waterson Scores 7.48 3 12

I 2.4 1 4 C 2.48 1 4 T 2.6 1 4

Is this a portrait ? Well it is a group portrait but owing to the composition you haven’t really got a single point on which to focus also bright red bus although providing impact is competing with the dancers for your attention