I had the honor of proctoring (i.e. reading scores for) the Portrait category of the WPPI Print Comp this past weekend, and while I was in in the dark room where a panel of judges deliberated on more than 400 images, I picked up a few things from their comments. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Less is more and simplicity breeds elegance. Judge Nadia Salameh made a great point that in portraits, only add an element if it’s going to improve the look of the print. Otherwise, leave it out.
- When photographing sitting children from straight on, have them sit with crossed legs (affectionately referred to as “criss-cross apple sauce” by photography empress and Portrait Chair, Bambi Cantrell), or have them be barefoot. No one wants to see the souls of shoes in a photo.
- To dial down the prominence of veins in the hands of subjects, have the person reach his or her hands overhead and wiggle the fingers for five seconds, then bring them back down to the preferred placement. The veins will mostly disappear from view. This tip was from Santa Barbara-based photographer Tim Meyer, and it was probably my favorite of the day, because I’d never heard it (and it works!).
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