Prints that Win: Determined

    Psychology plays a big role in photography, especially portrait photography, as the psychology of the photographer, the subject and the viewer all come into play.

    Nobody knows this better than our latest (and last for the 2014 competition season) Sunset Print Award Winner, Angela Blankenship, owner of AB Photography in Nashville, N.C.

    Judges at the Professional Photographers of North Carolina competition liked Blankenship’s print so much, entitled Determined, that it was used at the convention to help teach the various aspects of a successful print competition image.

    “They really loved the expression, the tones within the image, the lighting on the face that was smooth and gentle, and the simplicity,” says Blankenship, recalling the feedback she received.

    Psychology comes into play with Blankenship’s images as she teaches developmental psychology, in addition to her portrait work. “I’ve been told that the expressions I’m able to capture with children is unique. Some of that may come from my understanding and formal study of psychology,” she says.

    In this case, Blankenship knew that the girl in the photo has a serious, thoughtful personality, so Blankenship sought to capture that personality, both during the session and through the post-capture work. To do so, Blankenship took a minimalist approach and added a sepia tone.

    The background is a chalkboard that’s been repeatedly erased. The scene was lit with a continuous light Wescott Spider Light.

    “I like dramatic and simple black-and-white images. I like the focus to be on the face, the expression and the person, so I don’t tend to use any props,” explains Blankenship. “If you can guess what they’re feeling when you look at a portrait, it makes it more interesting and gives the viewer more reason to continue to look at the image.”

    Regan Dickinson
    Regan Dickinson

    Regan has been involved in the sign and wide format digital printing industries for the past two decades as an editor, writer and pundit. With a degree in journalism from the University of Houston, Regan has reported on the full evolution of the inkjet printing industry since the first digital printers began appearing on the scene.


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