From an earlier post, I entered some of Helen's images into a portrait contest. Part of the entry was a critique...
First, the images...
THE REVIEW READS:
Thanks so much for sharing your work with me. It is wonderful to take one sitter and explore the possibilities with her. It feels like you gently allowed herself to be herself and over time, we see and gain further insight.
Since these are to be seen in sequence, I can most note that we move to a direct portrait of a pretty face and personality (almost a "girl next door" look) to quite the revelation of a raven-haired, tattoed, incredibly strong woman (despite her mentioned insecurities). This revelation is the most exciting moment in the sequence and brings me much closer and deeper into her personality and features. In the sequence 8-10, I most like 8...which may come as a surprise because it is the one that is most concealing...but the mood is strong and powerful and it says a lot about who we are seeing. Number 1 also provides insight and contradiction/contrast between that smiling face and bold tattooing. And number 3 is kind of a sleeper, different than the rest...but it is the first that breaks that smiling pattern and feels bold and direct.
The first improvement that I can suggest is your lighting. As mentioned, your sequence of 8-10 is great, but the edge of her tattoed arm is far too hot for me. I am going to suggest that it is trimmed in shadow rather than light. That will pop that red of the roses, deepening the connection between that color and her lipstick. 8 especially since she is in the shadow, to begin with, that light is crazy hot on her arm. The second suggestion is to give me more space around her head. You have in several instances, but the close crop need not be repeated as often as you do. I would like to see more diversity in your approach.
Douglas, not sure if you will continue with her, but I think there are some additional great possibilities to explore. Good luck!
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This is a series on Helen (This series needs to be seen in sequence).
Helen is a mature amateur model, just dipping her toes into modelling. She was insecure about her wrinkles, and some life experiences, and has unfortunately shot with a few misogynistic photographers in the past, so I talked and shot progressively through the shoot to enable her personality.
I refused to Photoshop her wrinkles and blemishes (Except one bit of smudged lipstick) as the point of this entire series is to show the beauty of a mature woman...
My Entry for the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2019 - singles.
MOST were shot during term time / immediately before term time, one is a few years old...
Well. Here goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.