21 October 2012

Interesting visitors on Abigail Harman's watch

It was the last day of the two week show and among the 200 or so visitors we had some very special ones. A princess no less! Her parents didn't mind me photographing her which was great. A little later, I was amazed to see a cow peeking in...  yes you read correctly. Good thing I had my trusty X100 with me. Haha. The whole two weeks have been amazing with 3000 or so visitors coming through with friends of the Fremantle Portrait Prize generously volunteering their time to steward it. Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA are so happy with the large sum of money raised. There'll be more on that later once the final accounting has been done. It's been a pleasure to talk to so many interesting people, not only local photographers but also visitors from around the world. I have a feeling next year's competition will be even bigger and better with great sponsors on board. The Organising Committee will be meeting in a couple of weeks to see how things can be improved for next time and also to start the ball rolling for 2013.  So...  watch this space!  

15 October 2012

What people are saying about the FPP

From the guest book at the Fremantle Portrait Prize

Diverse and very engaging images.  Thank you.  Elizabeth McCarthy

Love all the creations and adore the Black Swan artwork.  Imogen Mercer

Love the pictures in the water.  Harry Wisker

Great contribution to the photographic arts in Western Australia!  Donna Oliver

Brilliant work.  See you again next year.  Bert

Good to see so many talented people!  Renata Biancardi 
I love the stories behind the photos.  Sophie

Great event.  So many fantastic works.  Thank you.  Warwick

Wonderful – feather in the xxxx collective lots.  Phil Burrows

All this art is great.  Can’t wait till next year.  Grace Corboy

I liked the ‘Ideas Man’ – made us smile.  Flora

Beautiful art work especially ‘Worth the Wait’! Xanthia Flardi

Photos: Janko Dragovic WA  'Drowning Man'
Stepan Koslov UK 'Old Bride'
Odette Cavill WA 'Trapped'
*These three images were highly commended by the judges.

07 October 2012

Sat 6 October

 212 visitors to the Fremantle Portrait Prize on Day 1 of the public exhibition. Visitors enjoyed the images, the narratives and the food and coffee from Moore on Moore. There was a live full-screen viewing at 2pm where ALL entries were projected.

Mal Galbraith
'The entire 'show' was awesome, absolutely beautiful

(left) Ellie Brusasco, FPP entrant and volunteer. Thanks Ellie for your time and contribution.

Gareth Smith
Very inspiring with their multicultural and humanistic qualities

06 October 2012

Fremantle Portrait Prize 2012 Winners

Please note: The copyright of these images belongs to the individual authors. Under the provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1997 you are not permitted to copy, transmit or reproduce the images without written permission from the owners. Enquiries copyright@fotograf.com.au

First Prize
Louise Cooke from Western Australia for 

‘Ideas Man’
$5000 donated by the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Foundation of Western Australia

Second Prize
Matthew Newton from Tasmania, Australia for ‘The Struggle’
Pearl Bracelet valued at $1000 donated by Cygnet Bay Pearls

Third Prize
Istan Kerekes from Mosonmagyarovar, Hungary for ‘Fragment from the Liturgy’
$1000 in photographic equipment from PRA Imaging

Best other Western Australian entry
Garry Sarre from Western Australia for ‘Hanging onto Lunch’
3 nights accommodation for 2 people at Cygnet Bay Pearl farm north of Broome

Six Highly Commended by the Judges

Jon Brook from the United Kingdom for ‘The Shot Foxes’

David Brittain from WA for ‘Burano Italy 2010’

Janko Dragovic from WA for ‘Pouring Water on a Drowning Man’

Stepan Koslov from the United Kingdom for ‘Old Bride’

Angie Roe from WA for ‘Arnold Street on Dusk’

Odette Cavill from WA for ‘Trapped’

All entries can be viewed on the Fremantle Portrait Prize website www.fremantleportritprize.org.au and everyone can still vote in the ‘Viewer’s Choice’ award.
The Exhibition is open daily at the Moores Building in Henry Street in Fremantle from 10am-4pm.

We look forward to you viewing the images and entering the 2013 Fremantle Portrait Prize.

01 October 2012

Brains Trust (Part Two)

The second half of the Fremantle Portrait Prize brains trust.

Top left
Dale Neill BA, Grad Dip Ed Tech, Cert Photog, Master Photographer AIPP, Chief steward FPP, co-owner of FACEZ Fine Art Portraiture and macchiato drinker

Top right
Sandy Chaney, Photographer and Administrator, pocket rocket, trouble shooter, record keeper and originator and catalyst of the  FPP

Bottom right
George Woodward B.Sc, ARPS, DPAGB.  Proof reader, Moores Contemporary Art liaison, cake maker 

Bottom left
Peter Ramshaw MCSE, webmaster, media officer, catalogue producer, the FPP 'goto' man.

There's less than 4 days to go before the winners of the 2012 Portrait Prize are announced. Winners announced at 7pm on Fri 5 October.

You can still be a winner in the 2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize by voting in the Viewers' Choice. You could win a magnificent Lowepro camera bag.

26 September 2012

Brains Trust

I thought you might like to meet the 'Brains Trust' behind the FPP. Well, half of them for starters.

Top left:
Professor Lawrie Beilin AO, Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Western Australia - also travel and landscape photographer and chair of FPP
Top right:  
Abigail Harman Grad Dip Photog (MSU), Cert Photog (Cambridge) - also professional photographer and procurement officer for FPP

Bottom right: 
Dr John Quintner MB, BS, MRCP, FFPMANZCA, Rheumatologist  - also liasion with Arthritis Foundation and cyclist

Bottom left:
Ivor Metlitzky MSc. BSc(Eng) - also print quality supervisor and clockmaker

You could win a magnificent Lowepro camera bag simply by voting for your favourite image in the 2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize. Click HERE to find out how.

24 September 2012

Who won Fremantle Portrait Prize?

Our three eminent judges, Lyn Whitfield-King - Grand Master Photographer, Robert cook - WA Art Gallery and Andy Tyndall - WA Newspapers examined finalists' prints at the University of Western Australia today.
Discussion and debate continued for two hours before a the prize winners and the overall winner were determined.
Thanks to the judges, to the print handlers and UWA for their hard work and support.
The prize winners will be announced on the evening of 5 October and the exhibition open to the public at the Moores Building on 6 October.

The exhibition runs from 10am-4pm daily at the Moores Contemporary Art Building from 6-22 October 2012.

Anyone can be part of the Fremantle Portrait Prize - Viewer's Choice Award. Simply by voting for your favourite image you are in the running for a magnificent Lowepro Camera Bag donated by Digital Imaging Agencies and Support.

To vote click HERE.

10 September 2012

Systemic Juvenile Arthritis affects children

As a sudden bright red rash spread across his chest and arm accompanied by a high fever, 11 year old Andrew was rushed to the GP as his parents feared he had the Meningococcal infection. Andrew and his parents visited numerous GPs attempting to pinpoint the cause of his symptoms. Although Andrew was experiencing muscles and joints pain, his family attributed it to growing pains. It wasn’t until a Paediatrician referred Andrew to a Rheumatologist, when everything became clear. Andrew was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Arthritis.
A young boy who loved nothing more than to be involved in competitive sport, Andrew struggled for the next 6 years with sport, in particular football, being stripped from his life. He found fatigue from the disease taxing, and the naivety of the general public about children getting arthritis also frustrating.
At 13 years of age Andrew attended Camp Freedom, a camp organised by Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA to provide barrier free outdoor experiences for children with JIA. “It was great to be in touch with other kids who shared the same struggles as I did,” he explained.
Now aged 21, Andrew is currently in drug-induced remission, living with residual damage and minor pain in his wrist and shoulders. He injects a biologic drug every 48 hours. If he misses an injection, without fail he will experience a sore throat, headaches, fever, mood swings and sore joints.
For the first time in 10 years Andrew can finally be active again. In 2012, Andrew has participated in both the HBF Run for a Reason and the Chevron City to Surf, graciously raising much needed funds for Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA. Taking advantage of his new physical capabilities, Andrew has a fun adventure planned for the end of the year. He will be travelling to Canada, Mexico and the US for 2 months, where he will spend time snowboarding, snorkelling and exploring. However, travelling can be a challenge when you are on biologic medicine.  Requiring approximately 30 injections over the 2 months, Andrew will need to not only travel with 30 needles but also ensure his medication is kept cold throughout his journey. Ironically however, he explains “they are more suspicious [at airports] about the ice that I carry rather than the needles.”
Andrew is currently in his final year of Civil Mining Engineering, once he is graduated he hopes to also share his insights with children currently living with JIA by becoming a leader at Camp Freedom. We look forward to seeing him around more often.

13 August 2012

Rheumatoid Arthritis changed my life

Diagnosed in 1992 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Debbie Borshoff took a philosophical approach to her new condition. For the first 8 years she simply took her medication and carried on with her life. However, a severe flare leaving Debbie struggling to lie down and sleep at night forced her to take charge of her arthritis.

“I didn’t know what was happening (at the time) and I was forced to find out about my disease.  I read about the Challenge Your Arthritis Course for people with arthritis in the Arthritis Today magazine and dragged myself along to a course”.

The course brought Debbie sheer relief and a revelation by meeting others with similar issues and learning new skills and strategies to better cope with daily life.

Subsequently Debbie trained to become a course leader. “I had been planning to do some volunteer work somewhere when all this happened.  It has been one of the best decisions I ever made.  Each time I run a course it helps me, gives me contact with lots of nice people and I feel in some small way I am helping other people to cope with their problems”.
Debbie encourages others who may have participated in one of these courses and who understand the benefits to consider taking the next step and become a trained course leader.
Debbie also takes time to speak to University medical students about the struggles of rheumatoid arthritis. While also lending her hands to assist students in learning how to do examinations, she admits “it is the best excuse to get 25 young men to hold my hand.”
With a desire to become more involved, Debbie has recently joined the board of the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Foundation.

We, at Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA, thank her for all her donated time and wisdom shared.

04 August 2012

Entries close - judging begins

A big thank you to all who supported and entered the Fremantle Portrait Prize 2012. When entries closed midnight last Wednesday we'd received a total of 696 entries from around the world. This was an awesome result! Thanks to the the committee for their belief, talent, hard work and sense of humour!

The images were judged at UWA Extension on Friday and the short list of 60 images determined. Some

 of those 60 images are gong to blow your socks off! Thanks to the judges - (L-R) Andy Tyndall (WA Newspapers), Lyn Whitfield-King (Grand Master Photographer AIPP) and Robert Cook (WA Art Gallery). Special thanks to reserve judge Roger Garwood! (Photo Lawrie Beilin)

Exhibition Moores Building Fremantle (6-21 October).

31 July 2012

24 hours to Tulsa

24 hours to Tulsa and to the  2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize deadline.

How do you create a prize winning portrait in less than five minutes?
Follow these four simple tips:

1. Use f1.4
2. use a Russian Tilt
3. Shoot in black and white
4. Ask your subject to wear a hat
5. make your subject's face the lightest part of the frame

Enter HERE for your chance at the AU$5000 First Prize

Photo: Dale Neill
Model: Pam Jackson
Location: UWA Portrait Workshop

One Small Photograph of You

With a little over 24 hours left in the Fremantle Portrait Prize I was thinking what's this all about?
We have received 516 truly amazing images from Israel to Italy, Hungary to Bangladesh, London to New York plus a few dozen from Australia as well.
So what's it all about? How many stars in the skies? What is one third of infinity and does the light really go out when you close the fridge door?

For me, portrait photography is about relationships; its about communication; its about moments of kindness; its about recording a  split-second in history; its about love. I'm convinced that taking a photograph is an act of love.

And, if the love in your life disappears you still have that one small photograph.

Your last chance now to enter the 2012 Fremantle Portrait Prize. Even if you don't win the AU$5000 First Prize or the Pearl Bracelet from Cygnet Bay Pearls you may just win the heart of the one you love.

Listen to Ringo Starr  'Photograph'

29 July 2012

The 'A' Team

Someone asked me the other day 'Who's behind the Fremantle Portrait Prize?'
Well, its pretty simple - a group of photographers from Western Australia who thought the time was right to give birth to a major Cultural and Photographic event open to all photographers.
We wanted to provide a forum to display some of the world's finest photography with the minimum number of rules and restrictions.
We also believed it would be good thing to let powerful portraits do good for the community - so all funds raised go to charity - the Arthritis and Osteporosis Foundation of Western Australia.
The deadline is 1 August 2012!
Our team of three eminent judges are sharpening their pencils.
By this time next week the top sixty entries will have been selected for exhibition.
L-R Dale Neill, Lawrie Beilin, Peter Ramshaw, George Woodward, Abigail Harman, John Quintner, Sandy Chaney, Ivor Metlitzky, Krissie Grech (model)

  • Professor Lawrie Beilin AO, Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Western Australia 
  • ·         Dale Neill BA, Grad Dip Ed Tech, Cert Photog, Master Photographer AIPP 
  • ·         Sandy Chaney, Photographer and Administrator  
  • ·         George Woodward B.Sc, ARPS, DPAGB.  
  • ·         Dr John Quintner MB, BS, MRCP, FFPMANZCA, Rheumatologist    
  • ·         Ivor Metlitzky MSc. BSc(Eng) 
  • ·         Abigail Harman Grad Dip Photog (MSU), Cert Photog (Cambridge)
  • ·         Peter Ramshaw MCSE, webmaster

24 July 2012

Candid - Unaware

One of the most common types of travel portraits is the Candid Unaware. 
This is when the subject(s) is totally unaware that you are taking their photograph. They are not posing for you; you are not communicating with the subject is any way.

Photographers often use longer telephoto lenses for Candid Unaware shotsPersonally, I prefer a 50mm Prime Lens - its faster, sharper, smaller and lighter (in weight and on the hip pocket). Some street photographers work in the Candid Unaware mode, while others will approach their subject ever so fleetingly to create a connection.

Karnac Temple Egypt 2008; Fuji S5 Pro, 1/6000@f4, 50mm f1.4 Nikkor, 400ISO

Candid Unaware shots have the particular advantage of capturing like as it really is. The photographer is merely a recorder of events and is operating in a photo-journalistic framework. However, it may not be as innocent or objective as some would have us believe. By varying the camera height, choice of backgrounds, waiting for changes in light quality and facial expressions the photographer has the power to alter perceptions. With a little thought you can choose to make your subject either a hero or a villain.

Enter your favourite Portrait photograph in the Fremantle Portrait Prize for your chance to win AU$5000 cash First Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012.  Enter early and avaoid disappointment by being caught in the log jam in the last couple of days!

22 July 2012

A New Slant

Geometry students know that the longest distance in  rectangle or square is across the diagonal. It stands to reason if you want to maximise the size of your subject in the frame, use the diagonal.

We've previously alluded to the particular advantages of shooting portraits in either 'Portrait' or 'Landscape' format. Some photographers refer to a 15 degree tilt when shooting as a Russian Tilt; designed to give more energy and dynamic appeal to the subjectWhen you go the whole way and use the diagonal you're really employing more like a 45 degree tilt.

(Fuji S3 Pro, 160 ISO, 1/125s @ f11, 12-24mm Nikon lens, single Elinchrom 100 flash.)

Another reason to use the diagonal is simply uniqueness. When judges are looking at several hundred images, half of which are 'Portrait' format and the other half are 'Landscape' format a 'Diagonal' print may just stand out from the crowd that little bit more. It simply puts a new slant on an old topic.

Enter your favourite Portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize by no later than the 1 August 2012 for your chance to win AU$5000 cash First Prize.

17 July 2012

Tell me a story ....

A few years ago I was a participant in a group exhibition that hadn't gone all that well. Despite a record number of people viewing the exhibition, sales were down and so was the gallery owner's face. However, one photographer had sold ALL their exhibited images. The gallery owner commissioned an independent art expert to analyse what went wrong.

The expert's analysis was detailed and comprehensive but the single telling factor was that the images did not hold the viewers attention for more than a few seconds. Successful images, she explained, often had a narrative or story telling component. They held the viewer's attention; they asked the viewer to question the relationship between individuals and physical components; they drew the viewer into the image. In short: They told a story!

The story you design may be real or fictitious. It doesn't matter. Just as a  book can be fact or fiction, so can a photographic portrait. Using lighting and placement, the photographer can create 'heroes' or 'villains'. Press photographers do it almost every day of the week. Cast a face in deep shadow and you create mystery and intrigue. Use soft, subtle 'butterfly' lighting and an air of innocence surrounds the subject.

Enter your favourite portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash. Entries close 1 August 2012.

16 July 2012

59 Seconds

59 Seconds
.... for Better Portraits

  1. Use telephoto in preference to wide-angleKeep lens above subject’s nose height
  2. Subject-background distance greater than subject-camera distance
  3. Focus on the eyes
  4. Kids – get down to kid’s level physically and mentally
  5. Shoot for a black and white image
  6. Choose a great background
  7. Become a student of light and use ‘Rembrandt’ lighting
  8. Get couples/groups to interact with each other rather than you
  9. Photograph your subject with their most treasured item
  10. Use Auto-Bracket
  11. Create an Environmental Portrait
  12. Choose Aperture Priority and use wide open aperture

Win $5000 cash!  Enter your best portraits in the Fremantle Portrait Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012.

10 July 2012


Whether its advertising or competition the impact value of the image is imperative. The initial 'wow' factor on the reader or the judge needs to speak in volumes. It needs to grab attention and demand that you look closer.

Imagine you area  judge visiting an exhibition where there are two or three hundreds prints hanging. From a distance, if one image catches the judge's eye and makes an impact it means it is already part way there. 

Both the physical size or the image and the 'close-up' play apart in creating that 'Wow, look at me' factor; so does colour. Of course, if your subject has unique dynamics - tattoos, purple lips or gold teeth then that's a bonus.

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash!
Entries close 1 August 2012.

04 July 2012

Mayor Brad Pettitt supports the FPP

Fremantle punches above its weight when it comes to artists, musicians and photographers. The City of Fremantle supports the Fremantle Portrait prize and last week Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt met members of the Fremantle Portrait Prize committee.
First Prize is $5000 cash
Click here to enter.
Entries close 1 August

02 July 2012

Mill Point - playing with Music

Stringed quartet Mill Point will entertain guests at the opening of the Fremantle Portrait Prize at the Moores Contemporary Art Building on on 5 October 2012.

For information and entry please click here.

Entries close 1 August 2012

01 July 2012

Portrait Tip - Playing with Light

The word Photograph has Greek origins and literally means Light writing or Writing with Light. many photographers become so concerned about their subject's appearance or about what shutter speed they are going to use they forget the most important element of all - LIGHT!

In this image of the farmer and his wife, my location was the shearing shed and my light source was side light through an open door. The light source is at right angle to the subject. However, the key element I attempted to achieve in this juxtaposed portrait was to invite the wife to step forward into the shaft of door light to make her the 'hero'. And to keep the husband in subdued light to maintain his 'villainous' image. It was just a matter of one step to achieve the lighting effect.

Some of the key elements to consider:
  1. Is there sufficient light to get a sharp image?
  2. Is the light modeling the face (light, shade, light, shade)
  3. Is the light stronger on the face than the background giving separation
  4. Have you matched light quality with subject? eg avoid harsh lighting on a baby
Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize for your chance to win $5000
Entries close 1 August 2012

29 June 2012

Pregnancy triggers arthritis

Photography by Abigail Harman

Jane Auguston was overjoyed, she was pregnant with her first child and was about to give birth, such a beautiful time in her life.  What Jane didn’t realise however was this life changing and joyous occasion would soon be overshadowed by the onset of a painful and life changing disease.  Jane was only 21. 
After the birth of Jane’s first child, Kirsty, she started to notice things weren’t quite right. “I put on 11 kilograms during my first pregnancy. Once Kirsty was born I lost 11 kilograms in hospital and then in a week of leaving hospital, I lost another 7 kgs but my fingers were still fat…She was a happy baby and so I was eating fine, but I couldn’t understand all the weight loss, and swollen joints… it took a couple months before I could put my rings back on. I thought it was just because she was my first baby that my fingers retained fluid…”
Then at 23, Jane had baby number two, Aaron. “A few months after I had him, overnight my knees just blew up like balloons. I had track pants on and the pants were bulging at the seams. My ankles also blew up.” She recalled.  With a 2 year old toddler, an infant, and a husband to take care of, the struggle and pain of walking wasn’t an option. The young mother eagerly searched for treatment and a diagnosis for this sudden inflammation in her joints. Jane saw numerous GPs to try and rid her of the pain however, frustratingly she was continuously receiving ineffective medication while having fluid from her joints incorrectly drained.  “My mother, being a nurse, told me to see a specialist she knew. I said that I would see one final GP first. When I saw the GP, he said “you have arthritis, take Asprin.”
Fed up with the lack of results Jane decided to see the specialist.
Jane packed 3 month old Aaron into the car and drove from Albany to Perth to see Dr Graeme Carrol, Rheumatologist. “He drained so much fluid from my knees, and then told me ‘No walking, don’t walk at all, only to go to the toilet, if you need to eat, someone will have to bring you your food.’” Jane needed hospital care straight away, however the young mother had to wait several days until a room became available for both her and her baby.
A few days later, Jane and Aaron were emitted to Shenton Park Hospital. “The staffs were great all I had to do was feed him, because I couldn’t do anything else. They took such good care of us. I received all my essential medications then soon after, for some reason, my arthritis symptoms went away… no swelling, no pain… nothing. ” 
Jane was pain free, the arthritis seemed to have vanished, and she was once again able to freely run around after her children. However she didn’t realise the disease was actually lying dormant. When Jane fell pregnant 18 months later the arthritis came back with vengeance.
At 25 Jane’s arthritis not only came back by viciously attacking all her joints in her body, but she also gave birth to a beautiful son, Dylan, who unfortunately was born with Ataxia Cerebral Palsy. When asking Jane how she managed to look after her condition and her son, Dylan, she welled up with tears, it was clear to me she has always put her son before herself.
Jane now a wife and mother to 3 beautiful children aged 4, 2 and a newborn, began searching for medication so she could tackle this disease and be able to look after her family. “I wanted a drug which enabled me to run around with the kids while they were young, I wasn’t too worried about the long term side effects… there is a high chance I could get stomach ulcers, but I am hoping by that time I get them someone has invented a treatment to cure them.”
After Dylan was born Jane saw a dramatic change in the useability of her hands, she struggled opening things such as jars while cooking, “with Dylan nappy pins were too hard to change. So I had to say too bad for the environment, I have to go to disposable diapers.” She recalled. Unlike many young people now currently living with arthritis (because of advances in medicine) Jane carries the visible signs of arthritis. In her early thirties Jane’s toes began to deform, followed by her hands a couple years later. “It started with the toes curling over…I have had a few operations on them now, where they have attempted to straighten them all with pins.” 
Now in their mid-forties Jane and her husband only have one child at home, though their life still seems busy. Having a wheelchair-bound child with Cerebral Palsy, Jane and her husband’s days require assisting Aaron with everyday tasks, such as showering and being home mornings and afternoons to get Aaron on and off the car which takes him to work. 
Though Jane still finds time to try and manage her condition by keeping active.  She has a personal trainer, with a medical background, who she praises and sees once a week, whilst also attempting to go to spin class every week. “It can be frustrating with personal training when you want to do something, because you can’t grip it or hold on it.” She explains, while showing me how the joints in her wrists are fused together, restricting all movement of the wrist. Jane realises however that her body is better off by her keeping active, and she sees the benefits of keeping strong for the future, not only for herself but for her family as well.

25 June 2012

Great Great Grandparents

This beautiful couple are in their 90s and have been married for longer than most of us have been alive. This image clearly shows their continued affection towards each other.The human connections and emotions we photographers can show are priceless.

22 June 2012

Kids being Kids

Do you remember the 'good old days' when Grandpa or Great Aunty Sybil would stand you with your brothers and sisters up against the picket fence. Grandpa made you stand straight as a soldier and you barely survived Great Aunt Sybil's spitty fingers as she flattened your hair.

Armed with their trusty Kodak Box brownie you were commanded to Stand still and say 'Cheese'. Way before the days of the Great Yellow Emperor thing were worse. Subjects were requested to stand against the wall as if waiting the firing squad. Heads were sometime put in head braces because exposure times were excruciatingly long - as long as two or three minutes. Just imagine smiling with your head clamped tight in brace.

Kids rarely stand dead still. let them run, jump and play. Be prepared to lose a lot of shots. capturing excitement, fun and the essence and innocence of childhood is what counts. Kids and water make a good mix. Its funny kids rarely feel cold in water, even on a winter's day. You know that the definition of a jumper: 'Something you wear when your granny feels cold'.

Win AU$5000 with your favorite portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012.

21 June 2012


This is not an official M.I.L.K image. M.I.L.K was held in 1999 and was the world's richest photographic competition with prize money of US$100,000. 17,000 photographers from 164 countries submitted 40,000 images. The acronym M.I.L.K stands for Moments of Intimacy, Laughter and Kinship. 
Sometimes (particularly men), get too bound down with the technicalities of photography and overlook the human emotional aspects. One such aspect is the way that two people relate to each other - how their bodies touch and link, their facial expressions, their body language. 
When photographing a couple, look for the natural connection between them, rather than the artificially posed one. Observation, patience and an genuine desire to befriend your subjects will help.
My image was taken on Elephantine Island in Egypt in January 2007. I was using a  Fuji S3 Pro with a 12-18mm Nikon lens. 1/125 sec @ f5.6, 400 ISO, 19mm FL. Aperture Priority. 

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize here and win AU$5000 cash. Entries close 1 August 2012.

16 June 2012

Let the hands do the talking

The subject's face is by dar the most important feature of your portrait. In particular, the eyes are a critical component, often referred to as the 'windows of the soul'.

However, the subject's hands and arms are probably the next most important feature. In many portraits the face and hands are the two lightest parts of the image. As a portrait photographer keep a close and subtle eye on the subject's hands. Sometimes, tension and stress will be visible in the hands. If you see that, try techniques for relaxing them, by giving them something to do with their hands rather than just say 'Relax!'
    Borneo: Fuji S2 Pro 800ISO 1/60 f5.6 70-400mm Nikon set on 400mm

An astute portrait photographer will observe the natural body language of the subject and try to utilise that feature to add more of a  story to the image. Hands and arms can also be used to frame the face and act as leading lines.

Visit the Fremantle Portrait Prize and enter before 1 August 2012 for your chance to win AU$5000 cash.

13 June 2012

Fifty Stunning Portraits

The art of portraying people with your camera is not simple, a good portrait has to balance several things: originality, good composition, quality of picture,facial and body projections.For me it’s one that evokes an emotional response out of its viewer and successfully communicates something more about the subject than what is immediately apparent.
From Milana in Shutter Skills


12 June 2012

Motion and Emotion

Most digital cameras these days are capable of capturing images that are technically sound - they are sharp, correctly exposed with accurate colour. What then are the characteristics that will make one image stand out from the crowd; the image that will capture the viewers attention; the image that makes an impact and tells a story.

One such characteristic is motion. While its relatively easy to pose a static subject and even click a pin-sharp image with your camera bolted firmly on a tripod. But capturing motion in a portrait requires extra planning and lots of practice using slower shutter speeds. The subject can be blurred, the background blurred or even both. One technique is to use shutter speed priority and a shutter speed of about 1/8, 1/15 or 1/30 second and pan with the subject. It takes a lot of trial and error - lots of error! If you get one shot out of 50 or 100 goes give yourself a pat on the back.

If you want to progress one step higher in degrees of difficulty try putting an E before Motion. A successful portrait photographer is part psychologist, part counsellor and is interested in eliciting true human emotion - sadness, happiness, joy, trust, love anger, frustration and so on. Technically accurate images of boring, bland humans with zero emotion may only succeed in getting bat caves excited.

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win $5000 cash.  Closes ! August 2012 

06 June 2012

Landscape or Portrait Format

    Paul Sampi near Lombadina 2006 Nikon 24mm lens

In Landscape format there is generally more space on each side of the subject, or f the subject is located on one side there is a lot of 'story telling' space on one side. It follows that Landscape format is more likely to produce an environmental portrait. In other words the space on each side is part of the narrative.

If you choose a Portrait format it tends to be more of a character study. Space above and below the subject doesn't normally carry as much storytelling information.

When pursuing an environmental portrait wide-angle lenses are often preferred, especially when inside rooms and confined spaces. A wide-angle lens lets the photographer make better use of leading lines and artefacts to build the story.

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize. Entries close 1 August 2012

03 June 2012

Add a Dog (or Two)

Dogs may be 'Man's Best Friend' and they can also be a photographer's best friend (or worst nightmare). One of the challenges confronting the portraitist is successfully capturing genuine emotion. Often, due to culture and upbringing, adults and even children will pose stiffly and uncomfortably, adopting a safe, protective mask. The result may be a technically correct but uninspiring image.

As soon as you add a dog or cat to the portrait, your subject  reacts to their furry friend. Even people reluctant to pose at all may relent and let you photograph their pet (and then you can bring them into the shot).
The Fremantle Portrait Prize  closes on 1 August 2012 http://www.fremantleportraitprize.org.au/

01 June 2012

'Two Year' entry limit

The principal reason for the time limit is simply to keep the award open to as many photographers as possible. If there was no time limit the award would possibly be dominated by a small number of iconic images from  highly successful photographers. This could unintentionally place the majority of entries in a position of being  uncompetitive. It would also mean that when images were exhibited, most viewers would recognize the well-known iconic images, having seen them in a number of publications dating back over the decades. This may  provide a disincentive to many photographers entering in future years.

Most competitions have a time limit of one to two years on the entry. Also, many competitions restrict entry with further provisions. However, the Fremantle Portrait Prize has few other exclusions. Unlike other competitions you do not have to belong to a specific organization, you don’t need to subscribe to a magazine or become a member and there’s no restriction on the entrant’s age. Neither does the FPP distinguish between Amateur and Professional photographers. We embrace photographers from all walks of life from around the world and welcome their entries.

The aim of the Fremantle Portrait Prize is to grow the award significantly over the next decade striving for the highest standard of contemporary portrait photography. All profits from the Fremantle Portrait Prize are directed to charity (the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Foundation of WA) and we wish to keep the incentives as strong as possible for photographers to enter.

We hope that as many photographers as possible will take  the opportunity to enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and support a most worthwhile charity.


31 May 2012

Rheumatoid arthritis attacks a 20 year old

At 20 years of age Katherine Vickery-Howe received a diagnosis which dramatically changed her life. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“I was in my second year at university when it started, so my studies were deferred.  At the time I was in a serious relationship and that fell apart.  Previously, I had been physically well - I jogged, rode my bike, did aerobics, sailed - all of that stopped. I had been working 2 jobs to pay my way through Uni - that stopped too.  My whole life just fell apart,” she said.
With no previous family history, and a current healthy lifestyle, the condition hit her out of the blue. Her arthritis was so aggressive, her hands and feet started to deform immediately, so clothes and shoes were the first things that needed to be adjusted - nothing with buttons or shoe laces. As the disease started attacking further joints, her inability to do day-to-day tasks rapidly increased.

As a young woman in her twenties Katherine moved back home with her parents. No longer could she enjoy her youth by going out with university friends. She was often bed ridden and her agonising and severely deformed hands meant her parents now helped her with the simplest of tasks such as cutting up her food.
Katherine has undergone a multitude of treatments in last twenty years, from prescribed drugs to trials, and with the drug pain relief has also come the side effects.  

However, ten years ago a miracle happened when Katherine took part as a volunteer in a drug trial for Mab Thera. She felt so well that she continued to hassle her Rheumatologist for the treatment until it became a PBS drug within the last couple of years. Currently Katherine has two infusions every six months of Mab Thera, which gives her excellent results.

Now in her early forties Katherine finds comfort volunteering and socialising at Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA.

29 May 2012

BACKGROUND - make or break!

Choosing a  great background for a  portrait can often make the image work. A few photographers concentrate on the subject and on their equipment and forget the background. As a result, a really top image can be compromised.
In the preparation phase, walk the streets or ride your bike searching out backgrounds that are going to suit particular subjects. An ornate door, a cavernous warehouse, an old wooden facade or just plain clean air!
In this shot I knew what the girls would be wearing and chose a blue wall in South Fremantle. IA red or yellow scooter would have been the icing on the cake,
So give your background a fair amount of thought before you set up.

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize at www.fremantleportraitprize.org.au 

27 May 2012

The Colour of Red

Here's a simple tip on the use of colour in picture design. Red is a  powerful and emotive  colour. Red is used to warn people of danger, to attract people's attention and its the colour of blood! Nature uses red - birds use it to adorn plumage, spiders use it to warn of danger and the Proboscis monkey in Borneo uses it to attract a mate.
 But use it sparingly! Too much red or too many powerful colours in an image and the dramatic pull of red may be lost. Also, try to avoid something unimportant (the bucket in the corner of the family portrait) being red as the viewer's eye will go to that.
My artist neighbour John Manson once gave me this advice 'Keep it plain, almost bland with a small dollop of red ...  and you'll never be far wrong!'