23 June 2017

Ten Top Tips for Competition Portraits - Tip 4 - Best Portrait Lens

What do novelist Bryce Coutenay and photographer Brett Canet-Gibson have in common?

They both believe in The Power of One.

Trevor Jamieson © Brett Canet-Gibson
Brett has established himself as an outstanding portrait photographer on the international stage. His stunning images and unique approach are surprising many diehard photographers. Bryce Courtenay was author of world famous novel, The Power of One.

What makes Brett Canet-Gibson so different - he just uses ONE lens. That's right. Just ONE lens. A Nikon 50mm prime lens on his Nikon camera.

Brett, from Perth, Western Australia shoots a portrait most days, setting up a simple black backdrop in an urban setting. He approaches interesting people, chats with them. shows them his folio of work and invites them to pose for 10 to 15 minutes. Brett is an honest, believable photographer with a personable approach.
'Stay with me' he says softly as he fixes the eye-meet and captures another powerful image.

To see more of Brett's images click HERE.

Entries are now open for the 2017 Fremantle International Portrait Prize. $12000 in cash and prizes. Proceeds to the Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia. The photographic competition the world is coming to love.
For details click HERE.

19 June 2017

Ten Top Tips for Competition Portraits - Tip 3 - Developing Your Signature Style

If you make a mistake once or twice, critics will tell you you have stuffed up.
If you make that same mistake 70 or 80 times people will recognise that you have developed your own style, your signature style.
Now make that mistake 500 times and you have a body of work.
That means you can stage an exhibition!

Well known photographers often sign their work. But they don't really need to. People can usually recognise the author by the style of the portrait.

To develop your own style you need to be brave and adventurous. You need to avoid being contained and constrained by rules and guidelines.

Urs Buhlman is one photographer not constrained by the rules and by orgnaisations.. In an interview a few years ago Urs told me:

'See that bowling green, they are all the photographers out there; see that funny looking weed spouting up out of the pavement  …….  thats me'. 

Image: © Urs Buhlman 

Sometimes the judging systems, 'the five point system', the '17 point guidelines', the 33% merit system only serve to constrain and limit the development of a photographer's individual style. As a result,  all the portraits taken by photographers conforming to the judging system start to look much the same. Sure, there's nothing wrong with them. But they lack adrenalin. They lack the photographer's personal signature style. The images have been homogenised

Look to make mistakes and lay your style out there for all to see.

"Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name."
Thomas Osbert Mordaunt

A retrospective image of finalists from FIPP 2013 and FIPP 2015 is hanging in Brookfield Place 125 St George's Tce until 23 June 2017.
Learn more about FIPP - click HERE

14 June 2017

Ten Top Tips for Competition Portraits - No 2 - As Sharp as a Surgeon's Scalpel

'The eyes are the windows to the soul'

While you don't HAVE to have the eyes sparkling like the stars it sure helps to attract the judges' attention in competition.

Just think about the situation a moment.
Human subject - moving a little (or a lot)
Photographer, no tripod, swaying in the breeze.
In other words two moving targets.

That means you need a a few things happening for all the stars and moons to align.

  • Fast shutter speed - faster than 1/200 sec (or the focal length!)
  • Focusing between the colour and white of the eye
  • Focusing on the near side eye
  • catchlight in the eye
Entries to the 2017 Fremantle Portrait Prize are open to 10 August.


04 June 2017

Ten Top Tips for Competition Portraits - No 1

Starting today we will be posting a series of tips for portraiture in competitions. As Chief Steward of the Fremantle International Portrait Prize I am in the fortunate position of reviewing thousands of images without actually judging.
What I do get to see is how the judges actually judge. What they like and what doesn't appeal.

Portraits taken while people are travelling are always popular with the photographer. But so many are passive. To appeal to the judge the subject needs to be actively engaged. Through the eyes, through body language.

15 May 2016

Choosing an Ethical Photographic Competition

Choosing an Ethical Competition

Photographers these days have literally hundreds of competitions they can enter - via magazines, local clubs or the internet. How do you know the competition you are entering is genuine; the judging is objective and the people organising the competition are not motivated by personal profit.

FiPP Committee planning for 2017
When you submit a photograph to your local camera club you basically know everyone so its relatively simple to observe and make a common-sense judgement. However, when you submit an entry through a website to a country on the other side of the world you may wonder where your entry and money is going.

Here are a few tell-signs that a competition may have doubtful ethical standards.
  • consistently extend the closing date
  • assume copyright of your image
  • offer 'valuable exposure' in place of of cash prizes or photo equipment
  • do not explain what happens to the entry fees
  • fail to disclose who owns the competition
  • conduct multiple competitions every month
  • are not a legally registered organisation
  • have a website that 'locks' you in to providing data before revealing the cost
Visitos to 2015 FiPP
The Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FiPP) is an incorporated body in the State of Western Australia. Fremantle is the major Port City of Western Australia. FiPP was formed in 2010.

Interstate entrants at the Moores Gallery
FiPP has never extended a closing date. They open on the day advertised and they close on the day advertised. There are no exceptions. Entrants retain full copyright of their images.

FiPP has offered $5000 cash and photographic and cash prizes totalling another $5000 for the last two competitions. In addition, finalists and winners do receive exposure in local and state press as well as social media.

Three independent judges are appointed for each FiPP. No sponsors or employees of sponsors are permitted to enter FiPP.

All profits from entry fees are directed to a a registered charity in Western Australia - the Arthritis and

Julie Kimpton (Nikon) at the 2015 FiPP
Osteoporosis Foundation. To date FiPP has raised more than $50,000 for the Arthritis Foundation and given away $30,000 in cash and prizes to entrants. Judges, stewards and committee members are all volunteers giving of their time freely. None receive any payment.

FiPP is conducted only ONCE every second year. The next FiPP is in 2017. 

The Fremantle International Portrait Prize is proudly sponsored or supported  by the City of Fremantle,  Nikon, Fitzgerald Photo Imaging, Fremantle Port Authority, Camera House Fremantle, University Extension at the University of WA, Team Digital and Camera Electronic, Better Photography, Beyond Tourism Travel, Community News Group, Fremantle Herald,  C R Kennedy, Ilford, Mill Point Quartet, Thompson Estate.

When considering a major and prestigious competition to enter in 2017 please consider the Fremantle International Portrait Prize and become a part of a competition the world is coming to love.


21 October 2015

Special thanks to Fitzgerald Photo Lab

FiPP is deeply appreciative of all our sponsors in 2015. 
We must make special mention of Fitzgerald Photo Labs who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. 
'Fitzies' printed all 109 finalist's entries, 4 huge murals and the trophy. The quality of printing and finish is of the highest calibre and the project was finished ahead of time. A huge vote of thanks to Paul, PJ, Nova and all the team at Fitzgerald for an extraordinary and generous job well done!

03 September 2015

FiPP Website up and running - Long List published

Good news!

After a minor hiccup the FiPP Website is up and running again.

The LONG LIST of the top 620 entries (from 1865) is now available for viewing.

Click HERE to view results