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The Face 2016 Photo Contest Winners

First Prize Marta Everest


I took this indoor portrait of my daughter in our living room with the help of a single softbox and a light-colored background. To keep it simple, I only used a piece of cream-colored fabric and a pretty floral tie for her hair. She did the rest.

Equipment/Settings: Nikon D810, 50mm/ƒ/1.8/1/320s/ISO 250


Second Prize Bhasker Koppula

Portrait Of A Stranger

This photograph was taken on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Salt Lake City in Downtown Utah. I was out with one of my friends, and the mission was to do street photography. When we came across this gentleman, who was a homeless person, I knew he’d be a perfect subject for a close-up portrait photograph. We asked if he’d be okay with being photographed, and he obliged. We took a few photographs in the ambient sunlight without any additional lighting source of any kind. I tried to focus on his eyes as I thought they were very expressive.

Equipment/Settings: Nikon D800, 24-70 mm ƒ/2.8 lens at 60mm. Shutter speed: 1/250 sec. ISO: 200, Aperture Priority mode. Adobe Photoshop.


Third Prize William King

The Profile

This photographic composite image focuses on illustrative portraiture. I began to formulate and digitally capture profile portraiture with model Chris Lavish in the studio. Lavish has highly stylized hair and a tattooed body, requiring additional attention by hair and make-up stylist Dilenia Peralta. My goal was to expand the digital creative process in multiple directions while complimenting and presenting the subject. I was able to re-orchestrate the color hue and saturation of textured background imagery, employed as a photographic background. An additional layer included a soft drop shadow behind the subject.

Studio lighting is so important to portraiture. In this project, my approach was to simplify the use of studio lighting. A seamless white background employed with no lighting on it produced a light grey background. Using one Profoto B2 head, with a Profoto 1×3-inch OCF Softbox, the single light was placed approximately 45 degrees behind the subject’s profile, facing two silver reflectors in front of the subject that reflected the light, wrapping it across the subject’s face and providing a gradational fill right to left. The light, though beautiful, amplifies the pores and requires considerable retouching in post.

The studio digital captures were made with a Nikon D800 using a Sigma 18-105mm ƒ/4 lens. Setting: ISO 100, 58mm focal length, exposure ƒ/11 at 1/160 of a second. The Profoto Air Remote TTL-N for Nikon was employed to provide wireless sink and exposure control.

Using Photoshop CC 2015, I first duplicated the background image, made a mask for the subject, and added a layer-style drop shadow, resized it then softened the shadow. I selected a textured image that I duplicated, and manipulated its color hue and saturation, texture, then resized it to complement the subject. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was used to employ a skylight filter providing a warming effect to the background. I then created a new layer titled “Retouch” used to retouch the subject’s face and hair.

Honorable Mention David Grenier

Are You Experienced

I had gone back to the country of my birth, Sri Lanka, for the first time after a 55-year absence. I was thrilled to be back and found I had a strong kinship with the local people that I had grown up with, having gone to school there and speaking the language for 15 years. I felt comfortable asking people their permission to photograph them and enjoyed the experience doing so. We had just visited the Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, and walked to our bus to drive back to our hotel, when I spotted this man sitting on the side of the road.

He was one of many beggars that are commonplace in these parts, and his face caught my attention. He seemed as if he had gone through lots of experiences in his life, and I had a certain empathy for him and his plight, especially at this late stage of his life. I asked his permission to photograph him, but he spoke no English, but managed to get him to understand simply using hand gestures. In response to him saying yes, he also made it clear to me that he wanted some money in exchange, which I clearly intended to give him, regardless. I really enjoyed the expression in his eyes in this shot, which says, “I may be down and out, but I am still alive and grateful.”

Equipment/Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; Exposure 1/125 sec @ f/ 4.0; Lens Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM; Focal length 67mm; ISO 160


Honorable Mention Gerardo Ramirez

The Editor

The objective behind my portraits is to reveal my subject’s personality, to allow them to tell their story with a gesture. As a video editor, my job is to tell a story using images and sound, which has helped me in my approach as a still photographer.

I like to capture genuine, unguarded moments rather than focusing on posing, so I treat my sessions as interviews, easing the person into telling me about them, or simply telling me a story.

The subjects in this series of photographs are people that I work with, and having that relationship with them allowed me to get to a point where they could behave in a way that shows their individuality. Each photograph in the series  is named with their actual work titles. The idea was to show who they are beyond that title, but at the end, I discovered their portraits revealed the way they approach their work.

Equipment/Settings: The photos were taken in a studio with a black background using a collapsible ring flash diffuser soft box. I used two cameras. I used a Nikon D7000 for “The Editor.” For all of them I used a Nikkor 24mm 2.8 lens and a Yongnuo YN560-II speed light. All the pictures were processed in Adobe Lightroom. Exposure 1/250 second ƒ/22, ISO 100, YN560-II 1/16 Zoom at 24mm.

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