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Prints That Win: Mother

When Shayna Lohmann first started experimenting with photography as a middle school student, she didn’t expect it to become a possible career option. “I was kind of bad at it when I was in middle school,” she says. “But as soon as I got my first roll of film developed, and it came out perfect, I thought that this is meant to be.

Prints That Win: The Colonel in Twilight

With his portrait photography work, Shelby, N.C., photographer Randy McNeilly is no stranger to delivering images with deep storytelling. Case in point: “The Colonel in Twilight,” above, a stunning portrait of a Vietnamese military man that won not only the Sunset Print Award and Best of Show at the PPA Southeast District print competition with a perfect 100 score, but was also awarded third place in the National Sunset Print Award last month.

Prints that Win: Waiting for You

Each portrait Kristi Elias creates is a unique work of art that is relevant and appropriate to its subject. Last year, Elias won a Sunset Print Award at the Professional Photographers of California state competition for You Won’t Bully Me, a grungy portrait of a young martial arts competitor.

Prints that Win: The Economic Recovery

In a print competition, the print itself should have some say in who wins the top award. At the Professional Photographers of Idaho competition, The Economic Recovery, created by Nick Jones, made it to the finish line for the coveted Sunset Print Award, but it was the print that took it over the top.

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.

Prints that Win: Billy Wright

Simple and clean is the philosophy that has been the cornerstone of award-winning veteran photographer Tim Kelly’s success. Kelly’s philosophy is perfectly illustrated with this Sunset Print Award-winner, a portrait of up and coming singer/songwriter musician Billy Wright.

Prints that Win: A Slow Decline

Award-winning prints are subject to any number of objective criteria, such as composition and color balance, but there is often a subtle and subjective emotional element that resonates with the judges, even if they can’t quite put their finger on the story behind that emotional element. For the Sunset Print Award winner at the Professional Photographers Association of Massachusetts (PPAM) convention, Cathy Broderick, her award-winning print, entitled A Slow Decline, had great emotional significance. Broderick, who owns Cathleen Broderick Photography in Whitman, Mass., captured this wilting flower in her studio while her mother was in the hospital with a terminal illness. “I had been fooling around with flowers in the studio before my mother went into the hospital, trying to come up with something apart from my usual portraiture. When she got sick I left the studio and forgot about them,” recalls Broderick. “A few days later I came back to the studio to take care of some details in...

Prints that Win: I Could Be Great!

Kenny and Debra King help rescue dogs. That’s not all they do with their stellar portrait photography, but they’ve honed their process for animal photography to the big benefit of a local animal shelter, and particularly the animals themselves.

Prints that Win: Bombshell

Sometimes the key to award-winning photography is not to shoot with a competition in mind. In the case of this Sunset Print Award winner at the recent Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association competition, this image evolved into an award-winner. Rod Oman, who owns The Imagery Photography Gallery with his wife, Stephanie, was working at the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing as part of a fundraiser for the organization. Oman was joined by other photographers, makeup artists and models as they created scenes focusing on vintage WWII aircraft. “We were shooting the exterior of one of the airplanes, and someone suggested we shoot inside the plane. I shot away with the model, Elizabeth Noir, looked at the images in the camera back and thought it might be cool to work up,” recalls Oman. “It was really a simple shot with natural light, but the post-processing is what makes it different.” Here’s Oman’s original capture before he applied some magic in post-processing. ...

Prints that Win: He Has Arrived

Julia Kelleher, owner of Jewel Images in Bend, Ore., says she initially struggled with this composition, entitled He Has Arrived, but decided not to worry so much about the end result and plow ahead with her concept. The result was a 100 score and a LexJet Sunset Award in the Master Artist category at the PPA Western District print competition held in late August. “We get so stifled during the creative process because we’re scared the outcome won’t be what we want it to be. Instead, we should be going back to our childhood way of thinking and just have fun with it. Obviously I care what the final product it is, but I finally said to myself, ‘Let’s try it and see what happens,’ which allowed me to be more creative and produce the end result I was looking for,” says Kelleher. “For the longest time I was scared to enter that category because I didn’t think I was technically sound enough to do it. When the pieces started coming together, however, it was technically sound and it looks...