Portrait challenge

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enduser Senior Member • Posts: 1,081
Portrait challenge
3

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

barb_s
barb_s Contributing Member • Posts: 909
Re: Portrait challenge
2

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

You peaked my curiosity - People or pets only - Hmmm... there's a pet Polar Bear in there

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tasad Senior Member • Posts: 1,281
Re: Portrait challenge
5

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots  than portraits in the challenge :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Challenge.aspx?ID=14507&View=All&Rows=25

jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,954
Re: Portrait challenge
2

tasad wrote:

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots than portraits in the challenge

Are those two things mutually exclusive? I found 22 pictures I thought worthy of either four or five stars, and at least half of those were what I would call snapshots (defined by dictionary.com as "an informal photograph taken quickly, typically with a small handheld camera").  An informal photograph taken quickly can still be a portrait, "a likeness of a person, especially of the face."

David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,174
Re: Portrait challenge
1

tasad wrote:

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots than portraits in the challenge :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Challenge.aspx?ID=14507&View=All&Rows=25

I disagree.

It depends on your definition of "snapshot".

I see many more genuine portraits than snapshots in the challenge.

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JahnG
JahnG Senior Member • Posts: 2,843
Re: Portrait challenge
1

jrtrent wrote:

tasad wrote:

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots than portraits in the challenge

Are those two things mutually exclusive? I found 22 pictures I thought worthy of either four or five stars, and at least half of those were what I would call snapshots (defined by dictionary.com as "an informal photograph taken quickly, typically with a small handheld camera"). An informal photograph taken quickly can still be a portrait, "a likeness of a person, especially of the face."

It seems that the "snapshot" phrase is something that is mainly used in the English language, (not in those few other languages I know), and I find it to be a quite "dim" description.

Personally I find the snapshot description somewhat amusing, looking at how fast a picture is shot/set up or what kind of camera is used, instead of ONLY looking at the qualities of the pictures.

Jahn

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David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,174
Re: Portrait challenge
2

But whether they are technically snapshots or not is totally irrelevant because there is nothing in the rules which states they must or must not be snapshots.

There is no reason at all why a stunning portrait cannot be a snapshot as well

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tasad Senior Member • Posts: 1,281
Re: Portrait challenge
7

As not all pictures taken on the street are "street photography" , as well not all pictures of people faces are "portraits"...

"Portraits" pictures are planned and  taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning ,  lighting , background  and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces)  are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

embie
embie Senior Member • Posts: 2,045
Re: Portrait challenge
5

tasad wrote:

As not all pictures taken on the street are "street photography" , as well not all pictures of people faces are "portraits"...

"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

Maybe this was the case before the digital photography era, when people payed a lot of money to let a photographer take "a" portrait of themselves to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall or wherever, but IMO it's no longer so these days.

When I'm somewhere and I see someone with an expressive face and I ask him/her to take a close-up photo, come and stand into the sunshine and look this or that way, it's still not planned and could be shot with any camera/lens, then I class this as a portrait.

Isn't the term snapshot, a derogatory word IMO, sometimes misused by people who think they are professional photographers to distinguish themselves and their work from the amateurs ?

eMBie

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,954
Re: Portrait challenge
1

JahnG wrote:

jrtrent wrote:

tasad wrote:

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots than portraits in the challenge

Are those two things mutually exclusive? I found 22 pictures I thought worthy of either four or five stars, and at least half of those were what I would call snapshots (defined by dictionary.com as "an informal photograph taken quickly, typically with a small handheld camera"). An informal photograph taken quickly can still be a portrait, "a likeness of a person, especially of the face."

It seems that the "snapshot" phrase is something that is mainly used in the English language, (not in those few other languages I know), and I find it to be a quite "dim" description.

Personally I find the snapshot description somewhat amusing, looking at how fast a picture is shot/set up or what kind of camera is used,

From what I've read, "snapshot" originally meant being able to capture enough light to record an image in a very small amount of time, such as 1/10 second. An 1860 article entitled "Instantaneous Photography" mentioned an as yet unrealized dream, "the possibility of taking a photograph, as it were, by a snap-shot—of securing a picture in a tenth of a second of time." An 1895 article refined that meaning by adding other elements, "Snapshot work is, of necessity, instantaneous; but we shall consider it separately, since it is of a different character. In what we shall call snapshot work, the camera cannot be fixed upon a tripod, and is used rather to photograph a chance object, used without any preliminary notice." https://photaku.net/?page_id=75

The dictionary.com definition I quoted above seems to reflect something of that 1895 understanding of the term.

instead of ONLY looking at the qualities of the pictures.

What do you mean by "the qualities of the picture"? Are you referring to picture quality in general, such as accurate framing, focus, exposure, and so on, or do you mean other qualities, such as the use of natural light and the absence of studio backdrops?

I know that some people use "snapshot" simply as a derogatory term meaning a poor quality picture. Perhaps that idea reflects the fact that for many decades popularly-priced snapshot cameras had crude or entirely missing amenities such as viewfinders, focusing aids, and/or exposure settings; couple that with a style of shooting that precludes careful advance planning or tripod use, and I'm sure the percentage of failed images will be much higher than for carefully thought out studio or landscape work taken with more sophisticated equipment. However, poor quality pictures can and have been taken, for a variety of reasons, even when pre-planned and using tripod-mounted cameras, and very good pictures are often taken spontaneously and quickly with small, handheld cameras. So for me, "snapshot" has to refer to something other than a poor quality picture.

JahnG
JahnG Senior Member • Posts: 2,843
Re: Portrait challenge

jrtrent wrote:

JahnG wrote:

jrtrent wrote:

tasad wrote:

enduser wrote:

The "Portrait Challenge" is a credit to some of the most brilliant portrait photographs you'll see. What a great site this is to attract such talented people.

More snapshots than portraits in the challenge

Are those two things mutually exclusive? I found 22 pictures I thought worthy of either four or five stars, and at least half of those were what I would call snapshots (defined by dictionary.com as "an informal photograph taken quickly, typically with a small handheld camera"). An informal photograph taken quickly can still be a portrait, "a likeness of a person, especially of the face."

It seems that the "snapshot" phrase is something that is mainly used in the English language, (not in those few other languages I know), and I find it to be a quite "dim" description.

Personally I find the snapshot description somewhat amusing, looking at how fast a picture is shot/set up or what kind of camera is used,

From what I've read, "snapshot" originally meant being able to capture enough light to record an image in a very small amount of time, such as 1/10 second. An 1860 article entitled "Instantaneous Photography" mentioned an as yet unrealized dream, "the possibility of taking a photograph, as it were, by a snap-shot—of securing a picture in a tenth of a second of time." An 1895 article refined that meaning by adding other elements, "Snapshot work is, of necessity, instantaneous; but we shall consider it separately, since it is of a different character. In what we shall call snapshot work, the camera cannot be fixed upon a tripod, and is used rather to photograph a chance object, used without any preliminary notice." https://photaku.net/?page_id=75

The dictionary.com definition I quoted above seems to reflect something of that 1895 understanding of the term.

instead of ONLY looking at the qualities of the pictures.

What do you mean by "the qualities of the picture"? Are you referring to picture quality in general, such as accurate framing, focus, exposure, and so on, or do you mean other qualities, such as the use of natural light and the absence of studio backdrops?

I know that some people use "snapshot" simply as a derogatory term meaning a poor quality picture. Perhaps that idea reflects the fact that for many decades popularly-priced snapshot cameras had crude or entirely missing amenities such as viewfinders, focusing aids, and/or exposure settings; couple that with a style of shooting that precludes careful advance planning or tripod use, and I'm sure the percentage of failed images will be much higher than for carefully thought out studio or landscape work taken with more sophisticated equipment. However, poor quality pictures can and have been taken, for a variety of reasons, even when pre-planned and using tripod-mounted cameras, and very good pictures are often taken spontaneously and quickly with small, handheld cameras. So for me, "snapshot" has to refer to something other than a poor quality picture.

Thank you for interesting thoughts and background to "snapshot".

With the qualities of a picture I would include all properties of the picture I observe, i.e how good the picture looks in my own view.  Both artistic views and technical views.

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,954
Re: Portrait challenge
1

tasad wrote:

As not all pictures taken on the street are "street photography" , as well not all pictures of people faces are "portraits"...

"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."

That's an interesting distinction, though not one I agree with. I do have my own bias with respect to portrait photography, and that is that it must include the cooperation/assent of the subject. When a picture of someone appears to have been taken without that person's knowledge (or worse, their displeasure), in my mind it is no longer a portrait but a candid (or invasive imposition).

Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

I agree that a snapshot would not be the result of a pre-planned shoot, so there would be no carefully chosen sites or props, artificial lighting or backdrops, special wardrobe or make-up. I do believe, though, that a snapshot can include making the best use of the light and setting that you find yourself in, including careful positioning (of photographer and/or subject) and composition. A snapshot is not carrying through on a planned expedition to photograph specific things, but is inspired by light, settings, and/or subjects that you chance upon. And while the idea to take a picture might come on you spontaneously due to fortuitous circumstances, creative intent and thinking can still be part of the process before pressing the shutter release.

REHS
REHS Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: Portrait challenge

Thanks Jr and Jahn,

Your discussion is opening my eyes to a lot of pre-conceived ideas.  I have not participated much in any of the Port, nor street photography challenges, due to my lack of knowledge in these genera.  In my generalist mindset, a "snap shot" was a photo where no time was taken in composing the image.   However, we all get lucky sometimes and capture an expressive scene.  But in my voting, I rate based on criteria, composition and good post-processing.  And, if the opportunity avails it self, storytelling and or emotion evoked.  I hope that Tony will jump in to this discussion soon.  I would really like to hear his views on this subject.

It's neat to see this discussion forum being used for helping all of us to better understand other points of view, in a respectful way!

Thanks again for sharing and doing so in a good way!

Mike

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Ed at Ridersite Forum Pro • Posts: 19,602
Re: Portrait challenge

And, there's the wiki take:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapshot_(photography)

Feel free to add to or change it if you like

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New Day Rising
New Day Rising Senior Member • Posts: 4,903
Re: Portrait challenge
1

REHS wrote:

Thanks Jr and Jahn,

Your discussion is opening my eyes to a lot of pre-conceived ideas. I have not participated much in any of the Port, nor street photography challenges, due to my lack of knowledge in these genera. In my generalist mindset, a "snap shot" was a photo where no time was taken in composing the image.

It's interesting to see how the meaning and use of the term "snapshot" has changed over time, as words and phrases tend to do.

One aspect that seems to have remained constant is the notion of little time having been taking over the image. This was initially a positive thing - advances in photography meant you no longer HAD to take lots of time and precise care, HAD to use a tripod and so on. Later it meant choosing to not take much time - good photos still took time and care, but not to the same extent that they once did. Along the way "snapshot" became a pejorative term - someone may take time and still produce a photo that others criticise as looking as if it was a snapshot because (despite of whatever time they may have taken) the composition, focus and exposure are poor.

However, we all get lucky sometimes and capture an expressive scene. But in my voting, I rate based on criteria, composition and good post-processing. And, if the opportunity avails it self, storytelling and or emotion evoked.

I do the same. In this case, I don't know that you can necessarily tell from the final photograph whether someone approached it in a careful, deliberate manner taking care over the lighting and engaging with the subject to achieve the right outcome - all those attributes you might associate with the classic use of the term "portrait". It is entirely possible with modern equipment to produce a "snapshot" that looks like a "careful" portrait. Generally the differences will be apparent - the winning portrait in the challenge, very much looks like it was taken with classic portrait technique - but not always. The person may have looked around at the right moment, with the right expression and the light falling in the right way to turn a quick snapshot into a great portrait.

So, for me, the end result (assuming it complies with the rules of the challenge) are what matters.

I hope that Tony will jump in to this discussion soon. I would really like to hear his views on this subject.

It's neat to see this discussion forum being used for helping all of us to better understand other points of view, in a respectful way!

Thanks again for sharing and doing so in a good way!

Mike

I will add that I don't agree with the comment about there being more snapshots than portraits in the challenge. On my reckoning, about 10-15% of those entered fall into the snapshot category (and they are mostly clustered at the bottom of the scores), with the remainder being portraits.

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David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,174
Re: Portrait challenge
2

tasad wrote:

As not all pictures taken on the street are "street photography" , as well not all pictures of people faces are "portraits"...

That is obvious and I don't see anyone disputing that.

"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

That is not true for every scenario. It can depend on the skill of the photographer.

There is no reason why a stunning portrait cannot also be a snapshot.

In any case, the host didn't specify what a portrait had to be for this challenge and they didn't say whether the portrait must or must not be a snapshot.

Therefore entrants are fully entitled to interpret portrait and snapshot as they like when choosing a photo to submit.

The host obviously then has the option to accept or disqualify entries as they see fit.

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tasad Senior Member • Posts: 1,281
Re: Portrait challenge
3

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

Maybe this was the case before the digital photography era, when people payed a lot of money to let a photographer take "a" portrait of themselves to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall or wherever, but IMO it's no longer so these days.

In the digital era it's easier  to take a "snapshot" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=911052

... and then photoshop  it in to a "portrait" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=1159531&View=Results&Rows=25

embie
embie Senior Member • Posts: 2,045
Re: Portrait challenge
2

tasad wrote:

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

Maybe this was the case before the digital photography era, when people payed a lot of money to let a photographer take "a" portrait of themselves to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall or wherever, but IMO it's no longer so these days.

In the digital era it's easier to take a "snapshot" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=911052

... and then photoshop it in to a "portrait" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=1159531&View=Results&Rows=25

Great ! Long live digital photography 

In the era of (only) analog portrait photography the photographers also retouched their work...with the tools which were available to them at that time.

If they had the tools we have today, I'm absolutely sure they have had used them.

eMBie

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,954
Re: Portrait challenge

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

Maybe this was the case before the digital photography era, when people payed a lot of money to let a photographer take "a" portrait of themselves to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall or wherever, but IMO it's no longer so these days.

In the digital era it's easier to take a "snapshot" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=911052

... and then photoshop it in to a "portrait" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=1159531&View=Results&Rows=25

Great ! Long live digital photography

In the era of (only) analog portrait photography the photographers also retouched their work...with the tools which were available to them at that time.

If they had the tools we have today, I'm absolutely sure they have had used them.

Apart from the question of whether or not the above picture is a portrait is the question of whether using image editing software to alter a picture qualifies it as a different image. One of the rules of that challenge was "Also, let's see images you have not posted here before."

embie
embie Senior Member • Posts: 2,045
Re: Portrait challenge
2

jrtrent wrote:

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:

embie wrote:

tasad wrote:"Portraits" pictures are planned and taken intentionally , with a lot of care about the model's facial expression , model's posing/ positioning , lighting , background and a "proper" lens..."Snapshots" pictures (in this case of people faces) are not arranged and taken without any creative intention and thinking...

Maybe this was the case before the digital photography era, when people payed a lot of money to let a photographer take "a" portrait of themselves to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall or wherever, but IMO it's no longer so these days.

In the digital era it's easier to take a "snapshot" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=911052

... and then photoshop it in to a "portrait" :

https://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=1159531&View=Results&Rows=25

Great ! Long live digital photography

In the era of (only) analog portrait photography the photographers also retouched their work...with the tools which were available to them at that time.

If they had the tools we have today, I'm absolutely sure they have had used them.

Apart from the question of whether or not the above picture is a portrait is the question of whether using image editing software to alter a picture qualifies it as a different image. One of the rules of that challenge was "Also, let's see images you have not posted here before."

Indeed jrtrent, saw it too and asked myself this question.

My point of view on this is, when a participant spent his time to remake a previous used picture in post processing I'm willing to see it as a new one.

Just me idea.

eMBie

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