Prints that Win: Soul Salvation

Soul Salvation by Christie KlineChristie Kline’s specialty is bringing out the personalities of babies and children through her photography. Each portrait she captures at Sonshine Portrait Design in Germantown Hills, Ill., is unique to the subject, but no subject is more unique than you.

For the past three years, Kline has taken a self-portrait that is uniquely her. Last year, she created a self-portrait based on Soul Salvation, the title of her Sunset Print Award-winning image at the PPA Northcentral District photographic competition.

“I made it a goal to do a self-portrait and portray what I’ve gone through that year with the image. This past year, I came up with the title before I photographed it,” explains Kline.

Kline says she shot about 200 images before she captured the right one. It was a rather long and arduous process, using a statue in the spot where she would stand to focus the camera, all the while running back and forth between the camera and the scene she had set up.

“I wrapped myself in material and was clicking the remote while I was trying to get wrapped in the material. I had a full length mirror next to the tripod so I could see the angle I was shooting. It was a three or four hour process,” says Kline. “I rendered it in black and white and brought the opacity down to about 40 percent so that it’s light and airy looking.”

The image was printed on a watercolor paper and framed with a white double-matt. At competition it initially scored an 88. However, a judge who gave it a 100 challenged it. Then, it scored a 98. There was another challenge and Soul Salvation ended up with a perfect 100 score.

“One of the judges said the composition and lighting was perfect and he couldn’t see anything he would do to make it better. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” says Kline.

Prints that Win: Sugar and Spice

Award winning photography and printingFor the second year in a row Audrey Wancket’s classical portrait photography won a LexJet Sunset Award for Best Color Printed Image at the recent PPA Northcentral District competition.

The winning portrait, called Sugar and Spice, is not an outlier; it is representative of the high-quality work Wancket produces daily for her clients.

Situated on 11 acres and built into a barn, Wancket’s studio in Spring Grove, Ill., next to the Wisconsin border, also includes a two-acre wildflower garden perfect for outdoor sessions. The indoor sessions are where Wancket truly shines, bringing the ethos of outdoor lighting into the studio.

“The key to my studio photography is the strength and direction of the light. Natural light comes from one side, and I turn the subjects’ faces slightly into that light,” explains Wancket. “And, it depends on who you’re photographing: you put the light on the side where you’re lighting less of their face and other people the broad side of their face, depending on the shape of their face. You use the light to shape them so they look best.”

For Sugar and Spice, Wancket aimed to capture the different personalities of the twins in the portrait, to stunning effect. She captured the twins with a Phase One medium-format digital camera and retouched the image in Photoshop.

The other important aspect of Wancket’s studio photography is setting the scene with painted backgrounds and subtle personal touches that Wancket adds to the scene, like flowers and antique furniture.

“I have 144 backgrounds with four new ones on the way. I get bored easily and I don’t want my clients to have the same piece of art on their wall. I used to paint my own backgrounds, but I’ve found painters around the country who have helped bring my idea to a canvas,” explains Wancket.

Though Wancket prints much of her own work, primarily black-and-white photos for clients and her own photographic artwork, she had a friend print for the Northcentral competition.

“I get all my paper and canvas that I print from LexJet, which is where I also got my printers and the ImagePrint RIP. I love LexJet; they know their stuff,” she adds.