It was quite a close call when Bartek Szewczyk won his round of Photo of The Week, under the theme “sun kissed”. The week that the winning photo was short listed, it was up against some pretty strong and creative competition. The votes were predominantly split between this photo and another photo and it took one vote in the last minute that pushed the votes in this photo’s favor so there was only one point difference between first and second place.
I think why the readers chose the Polish portait photographer’s photo was because of the simplicity of its composition. It is a reserved and demure photo. At times, it can be easy to go over the top without restraint if you let your creativity loose but to able to pull back, edit and control the output of images in the shoot is a skill I think Bartek Szewczyk demonstrates well.
The control of natural light on the models hair, face and skin is superb. You can understand how this photo won Photo of the Week with theme, “sun kissed”. A halo in the hair with a golden honey glow, makes the model appear all the more innocent in personality, almost angelic, as she timidly breaks from her silent contemplation to turn and look directly at the viewer looking at her.
I do like how the quietness of the photo and perceived shyness of the model allows the contrast of the black and white checkered dress that she is wearing allowing it to speak. It definitely catches the eye as the difference against the golden greens of the background scenery makes the dress pop and grabs the viewers attention.
While there are apparent stand out points in this photo there are some elements that holds the photo back. I have an eye where little escapes my vision and when I see garments appearing awkward in photos I do take notice of it. In the case of this photo there are at least two things with the garment that distracts my attention from the beauty of the dress. The first is that the model is sitting on the dress and it appears to be poking out behind her through the seat like a large lump, and it is not looking the most flattering for that dress.
The second point, is that with stripes and patterns on garments it is important to make sure that those details resonate and are clearly visible to the viewer. By making the model pose in a crouched sitting pose, crushes the dress and the checkered patterns become distorted. By doing so, it is making the detail of the dress secondary in the picture which in turn makes this picture more towards a portrait of a female model wearing a nice dress, rather than being a fashion shot (which in fairness a portrait photo was what was the photographer’s intention I think). I’m also curious to see how this photo would look like in black and white given the striking checkered pattern on the dress and the delicate tones of the background.
To improve this photo I would suggest a couple of things. Firstly, I would work with the model to get her in more relaxed positions. Currently, they are looking quite stiff. The rigidness and heaviness of the model’s hands take away from the delicate ambiance and lightness resonating from this photo. I would also get the model to vary her poses across different levels of the seat, particularly standing positions to minimize distorting the pattern on the dress to showcase the dress.
Stylistically, I would try to pair the dress with another pair of shoes, perhaps something that will compliment the dress more, perhaps heals. Also, as a general guideline, with models wearing bangs as a fringe cut to make sure the eyes are visible in the photo as it can be easy for the model’s eyes to be covered unless that is the look you wanted to achieve. I know there are exceptions to this guideline, as I have seen images featuring bangs covering the eyes, but they were featuring hair care and hair styling products or for edgy fashion spreads, but in the case of a quiet portrait I’d be cautious of having so much hair covering the face and neck area, because it tends to hide the beauty of the model’s face, which is what you want to capture in a portrait shot.
Currently, we have another round of Photo Of The Week running. To participate in the voting, make sure you “like” our Facebook page here and vote for your favorite photographer‘s photo out of the finalists in the comments section of the post. The photo with the most vote’s by the end of the week at Sunday midnight will win Photo of the Week and win the great prizes on offer.
Since FashionPhotographyBlog.com is Google’s #1 site on fashion photography in the world, you might be interested in entering our Photo Of The Week competition. this could be your entry to some great exposure if you submit your photo and win. To find out more details on how to enter, make sure you join our mailing list. We will send you the entry details via your email.
As a reminder, voting ends at the end of the week so make sure you get voting on our Facebook page here.
At the end of the day, the critique is just one opinion. You may agree or disagree and that’s healthy. We want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments below, do you agree with how this week’s voting outcome? What is your critique on this photo? We want to here from you!