Get Your Free WPPI Expo Pass Now

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If you’re heading to the WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo next month in Las Vegas, you can get a free expo pass now, courtesy of LexJet.

Go to the WPPI registration page and, when prompted, enter promo code EXIV167364.

While you’re at the WPPI Expo, be sure to swing by booth #116 and say hello to the LexJet crew. We’ll be featuring the latest PRO Series printer from Canon, LexJet Sunset fine art papers, photo papers and canvas.

You won’t want to miss it! If you have questions about WPPI, give us a call at 800-453-9538.

Prints That Win: Homestead

Veteran Michigan photographer, Kari Douma, has paid many visits to the winner’s circle at print competitions. Ever since her first competition in 2007, she has been capturing numerous show-stopping photographs that catch the judge’s eyes.

Her photograph, “Homestead,” is no exception. She won the Sunset Print Award at the PPA Northeast District in the spring, and was named the third-place winner at the National Sunset Print Awards in November. Coming across the scene captured in “Homestead” happened almost by chance.

An unseasonal spring snow in Montana inspired her to go for a ride in search of the perfect landscape. “We were driving on two track roads out in the middle of nowhere when I saw the scene and captured it,” she says. “I loved it so much that I wanted to come back at sunrise the next morning but I still liked the original one better from the day before.” After some slight editing in Photoshop, “Homestead” was primed to be a winner.

Prints That Win: You Light Up My Life

Photographer Tim Shaffer has been behind the lens at many a wedding. In fact, he shot his first nuptial event when he was 17, before embarking on a career as a newspaper photographer. Later, in 1991, he opened his professional studio, and hasn’t looked back. Today, he and his wife, Dana, run The Classic Image photography studio in Fort Plain, NY, where they specialize in weddings, senior portraits, family photos and more.

Prints That Win: The Boxer

Photographer Ben Tanzer may have left a theater degree behind, but he certainly kept his flair for the dramatic. In his “Identity Series,” he transforms himself into iconic characters, for self-portraits like “The Boxer,” a grungy interpretation with 1920’s style that recently won the Sunset Print Award at the Plymouth Center for the Arts Fine Art of Photography.

Tanzer_Ben_TheBoxerThe conceptualized image is a clear shout out to Cindy Sherman-esque photo and editing work. “I’ve always been drawn to Cindy Sherman — she was one of my first crushes ever, as a photographer,” Tanzer says. “The Boxer was my first piece for the Identity Series … I just became really interested in what it means to be human … and how we define ourselves by what it is that we do.”

For the competition print, Tanzer did some Photoshop work with overlays and brushes to create the gritty look, but says, “I don’t do a lot of what I call ‘liposuction editing.’ Just dodging and burning to emphasize certain areas.”

Tanzer_Ben_The_LadyIt’s a technique that he perfected in the second of the Identity Series in which he portrays a female karaoke singer in a low-cut, cleavage-bearing red dress.

The final competition print of “The Boxer” was a 9-by-9-inch square “Instagram cut,” as he calls it, that fit the mood of his self-portraits, thanks to the self-involved, “selfie” flavor the crop provided. The image was printed on Epson Cold Press Bright White 100% cotton rag paper.

While Tanzer, currently a production assistant for a Texas animation studio, has participated in photography shows for eight years, he’s been entering print competitions for just two years, and is looking to do more.

“There are a whole bunch of competitions out there,” he says. “And there are a lot of people around the country who care about this as much as I do.”

Guest Blog: One Thing Winning Images Have in Common

One of the most beneficial things a photographer can do as an artist is enter print competition. Not for the sake of winning awards, but to grow, learn and improve. If you look at some of the general rules that have been applied with success to images in print competition over the years, you can find some great composition and presentation lessons that make for better images.

By Pete Wright
By Pete Wright

Let’s look at using compositional cues to make sure you drive your audience to look at the part of the image that is the most important to relay the message you are trying to get across.

Compositionally the two most common placements of a subject in an image are based on the rule of thirds or bulls-eye. The rule of thirds, the most popular, would be like placing a tic-tac-toe game over your image, as shown above.

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.

petew
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.