View Full Version : Breaking too many rules?

01-16-2008, 03:02 PM
Is there a fine line to breaking the rules of portraiture? If so, where is it? I am guessing that to break rules, you need to show within the same image that you know the rules as well?

For example, this young lady has an interesting face- images of her are actually more striking as broad or split lighting rather than short lighting. This one is a recent favorite, and I know there are a lot of rules broken. I am going to have her come back into the studio, just for fun. Thing is, this is how I want to photograph her-

when can you do this in competition and it be ok?! Also, some of our area competitions have a commercial category- could something like this be considered commercial?


01-16-2008, 03:15 PM
"could something like this be considered commercial?"

It could, the question might be, what is the product you're selling? As for comp, if you get judges that like the style, you're in. To be honest, and you know I love your work, I don't love this image....I like different, this just doesn't encourage me to keep looking.....let's see what others think...:cool:

01-16-2008, 03:19 PM
I think the ultimate problem with an image like this in competition is that the judges don't KNOW that you did it on purpose. If you had a title like "hey guys, this is broad lit on purpose because I like to shoot her this way" then you could convey that message - otherwise they're probably going to see it as a technical flaw.

01-16-2008, 03:52 PM
I like the flirty, sexy quality of this image. I think the issue judges will have with it is the deep dark shadows on the right side of her face. I see a glimpse of a kicker light, but it could be more pronounced. If that were present, it might come off as more deliberate. Also check out the catch lights that are there. They are just barely there, and would add a lot of spark to this image if it were a bit more visible.


01-16-2008, 03:53 PM
LOL.....must be because I'm tired, but after reading Heather's comment, the first thing that popped into my head was "Beautiful Broad."

:D Sorry, just felt the need to share my weird humor.......

01-16-2008, 04:01 PM
hahahahahaha... that was GREAT, Naomi!

01-16-2008, 04:41 PM
Hi Jackie;

In our state assn. competition you might enter under illustrative. (with a good title that ties in with it) If you had used it for a magazine ad you could include a tear sheet.

I agree that the split lighting doesn't work too well ... I would have liked it more towards rembrandt. And no light in the one eye hurts.

There are a number of things which compete for attention including the heart pattern and the zipper.

It is a bold approach and I'd like to hear more opinions.

01-16-2008, 04:46 PM
Just to be clear....this could easily garner quite a few green ribbons.....I'm just not sure about the blue.....:cool:

01-16-2008, 04:49 PM
Thanks, Stan. I mentioned earlier that this young lady is going to be coming back in- and this is an idea, not necessarily the one that I would send. This is an example, though, of what I am referring to in the questions I had asked.

Thanks for your replies- I was surprised to see your reply, thanks so much!!

01-16-2008, 04:57 PM
Personally, I think this image is fantastic. Nevertheless, I imagine it wouldn't do well in competition. There are too many things "wrong" with it. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

To me, this image FEELS great. Nevermind the supposed lighting "problems" or the darkness of one eye, deliberate or not. I know that I, and my clients, want feeling over technical mastery. Nevertheless, competition really seems to be more of a test of mastery rather than feeling. I am ignorant however, so I might be talking from the wrong end.

If this is the way that you want to shoot her - then by all means keep doing it and don't let competition stop you. You can clearly shoot for comp later. In fact, this is one of my favorite images of yours, and I'd hate to see technique "get in the way" of a fantastic moment of inspriation.

- trr (ducking and leaving for parts of the board he knows enough to post in!)

01-16-2008, 05:44 PM
"Nevertheless, competition really seems to be more of a test of mastery rather than feeling."

It's actually both.....years ago, judging prints at the Hawaii state convention, we had a print that was technical masterpiece....and had about as much feeling as brick. I scored it a 75, as did most of the panel. It's all gotta be there to score really high. PC is great for honing the skills, it just doesn't always match with what sells, hence the green vs blue comments.....:cool:

01-16-2008, 09:46 PM
This is an image that is close to breaking rules with purpose. There are a few tweeks that I think could help. Bring her chin down just a little to open her eyes a bit more. Look at her face - specificly her jaw line. The low camera angle combined with the high ratio has boxed her face making her look wider from chin to the side of her face than from bridge of the nose to the side of her face. Try getting a strand of her hair to cover a bit more of her jaw line (not a lot just a touch). I suspect this was photographed with your lens fairly wide adding to the prominance of her jaw. Try one very similar with a 150-200mm lens. JMOs

To me, this image FEELS great. Nevermind the supposed lighting "problems" or the darkness of one eye, deliberate or not. If this is the way that you want to shoot her - then by all means keep doing it

Todd I agree in part with you I like the contempory edgy feeling of this image and I do feel that if this is how she sees this subject then go ahead and photograph it. However I would suggest not doing the entire session the same way but to show variety.

Nevertheless, competition really seems to be more of a test of mastery rather than feeling.
A truly awsome image wheather it is for competition or for the client, is an image that has both emotion and technical mastery. I think that should be our goal all the time. This doesn't mean we achieve our goal ea and every time but we are giving everything we have for our customers benifit.

01-16-2008, 09:48 PM
Sorry I didn't go on to page 2. Stan said it as well so Sorry if I got preachy