Prints That Win: Kidnapped by Tuscan Fog

The sleepy, rolling landscape featured in this Sunset Print Award-Winning photograph was beautifully captured by Wyoming-based photographer Ty Thompson just outside Tuscany, Italy. While on vacation for their 16th wedding anniversary, Thompson and his wife decided to venture out to this remote location for photographs.

“We got up really early to go out and shoot a sunrise,” says Thompson. “We got out of the van, looked around, and realized we were completely stocked in with fog.” Thompson was originally disappointed with the photos, thinking the fog had kept him from capturing a good shot. However, in poetic irony, this exact element is what makes the image so captivating.

Prints That Win: Elsa

Nebraska-based photographer Keith Howe was scrolling through Facebook one night when he came across a client’s post about the bullying her 11-year-old daughter was facing at school. “Some of the other kids in her class were giving her a hard time, and she came home wanting plastic surgery,” says Howe. “And we said, ‘why don’t we have her come in as a model.’ So, we took her out to a lake and took photos of her, and I presented it to her as a modeling portfolio … she just needed a self-esteem boost.”

One of the photos from this series resurfaced when Howe was getting ready for his next competition. The beautiful, Sunset Print Award-winning portrait of the girl was named Elsa, reminiscent of the strong female character from Disney’s Frozen.

Prints that Win: Autumn Cascades

In the secluded woods of West Virginia, Jaki Good Miller took her Sunset Print Award-winning photograph, Autumn Cascades. This is only her second year entering competitions, but her second win of a Sunset Print Award; her first was last year with her image Morning on Mormon Row. “I think it was skill, but also some luck,” she says with a laugh. Her vibrant image, Autumn Cascades, captures the brilliant colors and textures of this West Virginian landscape, instantly captivating the viewer.

Guest Blog: Creating Versatile Images for Multiple Uses

When it comes to commercial applications, the creation of an image often takes place before a camera is even touched. From the standpoint of the person capturing the image, one of the most important factors, beyond the message, is how the image will be used.

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By Pete Wright

Whether you are on the front end of the process creating the concept for a campaign, in the middle capturing the images, or on the back end creating the finished work, it’s important to be clear on the overall vision of what the final presentation will be.

Many times, a company may decide they’ll be using an image that will cross many different media platforms: print (direct mail, pamphlets, magazine, billboards, etc.), social media or broadcast. Versatility is important for images like this. In other words, consider approaching an image so that it has a good amount of negative space for text and will work equally well if cropped vertically or horizontally.

Prints That Win: And They Left Their Boats in Search of Him

When New Orleans photographer Yvette Ponthier first learned about print competitions, she was initially turned off by what seemed to be subjective judging and nitpicking. “I saw these beautiful images just being picked apart,” she says. “So I said, nope, not doing that. That was the biggest mistake I ever made.”

yvette Ponthier And They Left Their Boats In Search of HimFour years ago, she changed her mind and began competing with images like “And They Left Their Boats in Search of Him,” at left, which won the Sunset Print Award at the 2015 Southern Pro Exposure Competition sponsored by Professional Photographers of Louisiana.

“Print competitions totally make you more creative in every aspect,” Ponthier says. “I should have stuck with competition because being an active participant has taken my photography skills to levels I never thought possible.”

Prints That Win: Mirror Mirror

mirror mirrorPhotographer Ben Shirk isn’t afraid of a challenge. In fact, when considering what to shoot for this year’s print competitions, a friend dared him to created an award-winning photograph in-camera, rather than relying on his advanced Photoshop skills for creative editing.

The result: Mirror Mirror, pictured at left, which won the Sunset Print Award during the Professional Photographers of Iowa’s annual competition earlier this year.

“It took a great deal of planning and preciseness to get it correct,” Shirk says. “I had to get the wig, the eyelashes, the lighting, everything just perfect. It probably took me 15 hours to go out and get everything and get it all ready. If I’d have done it in Photoshop, I could have done it in an hour.”