APOY Round 10 – Take on me

Your chance to enter the UK?s most prestigious competition for amateur photographers – Portraits and self-portraits

We?re finally here, the last round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year 2010 competition, in association with Canon, and it?s perhaps our strongest year yet. We say this each month, but we really do mean it: the quality of your entries this year has been staggering.

We?ve saved one of the most difficult, but ultimately most rewarding, rounds for last: portraiture. This can be an image of someone you know, someone you don?t know or even an image of yourself. Below we have offered some tips and techniques to help you get started.

At this point we would like to remind everyone that it is vitally important to include a daytime telephone number and address so we may contact you in the event that you are shortlisted or win the round. Please also remember to include details of your image in your email entries so we can judge your image accurately. Without a sentence explaining what your picture depicts, our judges have to guess ? and they may guess wrong! If you visit the link below you will find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Remember that the top 50 pictures each month all receive points in our league table, and the top 30 are printed in the magazine.

Be sure to look for the results from round nine, Black or White, in Amateur Photographer dated 27 November. Results for this round, Take on me, will appear in our bumper Christmas issue dated 25 December-1 January, where the overall winner will be revealed.

For full details of how to enter via email and terms and conditions visit www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/apoy10

Portraiture can be one of the most rewarding forms of photography there is. People are naturally curious about other people, so when we capture someone with their guard down, acting naturally in front of the camera, an image immediately becomes special. Some of the best pictures are taken by accident, and it?s not until you?ve finished a shoot that you look over your images and think, ?A-ha! That one is special. I was trying too hard on the others.?

Good portraits can be formal or posed, grab shots in a packed train or someone in a crowd. They can be taken in an empty studio or in a field, with wideangles or long lenses ? and the subject can be a stranger, your child or even yourself.

The key is making your subject feel at ease, and the best way of doing this is to have a clear idea of what type of picture you want to take before you take it. So think about what it is you want to show and how you can show it. On the right we?ve offered some tips and information to help get you started.

High key

Shooting in high key can be a great way to get striking effects. Key, of course, refers to the dominant tone in an image, so a high-key portrait will have strong white tones. To aid this you can ask your subject to wear white or bright clothing, then stand in front of a white wall, which you can illuminate with a rudimentary directional light. Next, simply meter from your subject and overexpose

by about 1 stop.


A good portrait doesn?t have to be a straight head-and-shoulders shot. Try going a little bit wider to show the viewer where your subject is placed, such as in this image of a fellow commuter on the train. What?s more, the other commuter in the background gives the image an extra sense of depth.

Window LightSome of the nicest, subtlest portraits are those taken using natural light through a window, and they?re far less complex to set up. On an overcast or otherwise dull day, simply ask your subject to pose inside against a wall near a window. Turn off any tungsten lights to ensure neutral results, and then walk around your subject to see how the light falls and which angle might be best. By adjusting your white balance setting to cloudy or shade, you can achieve warmer tones.

1st prize

Our first-placed winner will receive Canon?s 15.1MP EOS 500D body along with an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, worth £1,159.98. Able to capture stunning detail, the EOS 500D can shoot at ISOs of up to 12800, capture full HD movies and shoot at 3.4fps with up to 170 JPEG burst. It also boasts a 3in Clear View LCD with Live View mode, a nine-point AF system, DIGIC 4 and Canon?s EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens offers the freedom of framing in a lightweight, compact and fast-focusing lens. This is an excellent all-purpose lens for EF-S-mount EOS cameras, boasting Image Stabilizer at up to 3 stops compensation and fast, near-silent USM AF.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s brand-new, high-sensitivity 10MP PowerShot G12 compact camera, worth £539. Designed for professional levels of flexibility, the PowerShot G12 boasts a 5x wideangle (28mm) lens, full manual and raw modes, a 2.8in vari-angle LCD, HD movies and a High Dynamic Range mode.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner receives Canon?s new 10MP IXUS 1000 HS, worth £349. Pushing the boundaries with a 10x optical zoom, the IXUS 1000 HS comes in a styled, compact metal body with HD movie capability, Super Slow Motion Movie, Smart Auto and Smart FE modes and a wink self-timer.

Round closes 26 November 2010

In association with Canon