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Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week

Portrait photography can run the gamut in type and style—everything from the traditional “head and shoulders” shot to lifestyle and environmental, candid and street, glamour, boudoir, maternity sessions and much more. This week, we continue to feature some of the eye-catching portraits and photos that caught our attention from our show brand WPPI’s The Annual Live Judging event and Honors of Excellence Awards ceremony in Las Vegas on August 18, 2021. Included are the fascinating backstories on how each image was created.

For this image, which won second place in WPPI The Annual’s Creative – Fashion + Beauty + Fine Art Nude category, Ivan Duran wanted to create a silhouette in the studio that was super creative.

“Razzle Dazzle ‘Em” by Ivan Duran. © Ivan Duran Photography

“I had photographed this outfit before but this time I knew I wanted to make something dramatic so I had some rhinestones added to the model to make the image stronger,” explains Duran.

“I love that this image has very sharp angles and triangles all over,” he continues. “With some post production I was able to get this image to what I first imagined.”

As Mauro Cantelmi of Dezine By Mauro walked into the bride’s home in the morning, ready to take the pre-wedding photos, he noticed she had perfectly presented her wedding dress on a mannequin but it was placed in a room with barely any light.

“The Overzealous Mum” by Mauro Cantelmi. © Dezine By Mauro

“There was a beautiful light coming from the corridor through an overhead skylight so I thought it would be best place highlight the dress,” he adds.

“I sprinkled rose petals around the dress and asked the bride to sit down on mum and dad’s baroque chair and pop her shoes on for some quick getting ready pics,” Cantelmi recalls. “As I did this, I squashed myself up against the wall with a 50mm Nikon lens on my D6 camera so I could capture the bride and her dress in the background. To my surprise, I noticed the bride’s mum starting to vacuum our mess. Suddenly I thought, ‘This is the money shot’ so I invited mum closer in and asked the bride to continue putting her shoes on.”

Cantelmi says that like a lot of his images, this one started with a simple idea but that “the character of people is what makes it come alive with a genuine narrative. Using black and white enhanced this story line and of course lighting played a very import roll in highlighting the dress.” His approach paid off, winning him second place in WPPI’s Wedding – Bridal Party/Family and Friends category.

“There’s always that one guy in high school whose style is effortlessly on point. Oliver is that guy,” says Joseph Victor Stefanchik of Modernmade Photography of the subject in this image that placed third in the Portrait – Children + Teenager category.

“On Point” by Joseph Victor Stefanchik. © Modernmade Photography

“Oliver exudes style so we wanted to make sure that our concept and lighting reflected just how cool he is,” Stefanchik continues. “During our pre-shoot consultation, we discussed wardrobe and styling, then chose lighting and backgrounds to match the color scheme. I wanted the lighting to accent Oliver’s profile, hair style and, of course, his gold chain necklace.”

Stefanchik adds that an overhead Profoto B10 Plus modified with a diffused Profoto Medium Umbrella Deep White illuminated the overall scene. “The sliver of light came from a second Profoto B10 Plus that was shaped with an Ambitful-16 optical condenser with a gobo.”

Jo Howell says this was her first foray into photographing insects as art and it was so well executed it won second place in WPPI The Annual’s Creative – Open Creative category.

“You and What Army?” by Jo Howell. © Jo Howell Photography

“I love how this image and story came together,” says Howell. “I have always been fascinated by the insect world; there’s so much going on that most don’t pay attention to. This image started with just the beetle and all of its beautiful jewel-like colors. Next I added the swarming ants as if they had just found their treasure; it definitely added some drama.”

Howell says the beetle was already missing a leg—”by replicating another leg and having the ants carry it away introduced some dark humor while replicating realistic ant behavior.”

She adds: “I am often asked what the oval shape of ants represents, I don’t have an answer other than it was aesthetically pleasing, but I love hearing what others think, as everyone sees something a little different.”

Ken Mendoza of Duende Photo says this photograph is one of the favorites of his career. “It represents what Wedding Day photography is all about— working with real world situations to produce the best possible work for the client in a short amount of time.” It took second place in Wedding – Couple Together: Wedding Day.

“As Time Stands Still” by Ken Mendoza. © Duende Photo

The photographer explains that this couple had an intimate lunch reception after a small wedding at San Francisco’s beautiful City Hall. “My aim was to get photos capturing a romantic end to their wedding day so I suggested that the couple finish their day having cocktails in the intimate surroundings of the Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District.”

Unfortunately, adds Mendoza, the shoot was in the middle of rush hour and he could not clear the sidewalk. Instead, he dragged the shutter to emphasize the drama of the moment and the singular feeling of the image, titled “Just the Two of Us”, as if time had stopped for the couple.

“First, I quickly experimented, to get the exact amount of motion blur, that showed people ‘doing their own thing’ as well as motion,” he explains. “I waited for a moment where the composition was balanced while having an opening to capture the couple. After a quick shot sequence, I saw that I had captured the intended composition. And immediately I realized that, in the rush of the scene, I had grabbed my backup camera, my Sony a7 III!”

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more compelling imagery.

The post Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week appeared first on Rangefinder.

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