APOY 2012 Round Two – Natural Light Portraiture

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 30 March 2012**

Please visit the APOY12 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

If you wish to enter by post please remember to include your entry form.

Round 2 of this year?s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Samsung and Jessops, is Natural Light Portraiture. From traditional, black & white portraits to fun, colourful naturalistic images, this month?s theme is a chance to explore portraiture in its myriad styles. Whether you choose an indoor or outdoor location, the only prerequisite is that you take your image in natural light. Think about the time of day you want to photograph your subject, as this will alter the appearance of the light, and also where you position your subject in relation to the light.

For example, the further your subject is from the light, the harsher the shadows will be. Images likely to catch the judges? eye are those that are creative, skilfully composed and technically excellent. As always, we have thousands of pounds worth of fantastic camera equipment up for grabs, as well as the chance to be crowned Amateur Photographer of the Year 2012. The closing date for round two is 30 March 2012. The top two winners will each receive a fantastic Samsung camera, while the third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops voucher. The top 30 highest scoring images will be published in our 28 April 2012 issue, while the scores from the top 50 images will be posted on our website.

photo by Damien Demolder

Information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY12 home page. Please use your full name as the file name and paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry to us electronically. We also need to know where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens used. Remember to include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win. We?re only two rounds into APOY 2012, so there is everything to play for.Best of luck!

For this month?s round we?re looking for portraits taken using natural light that are enigmatic, exciting, playful or emotive. You don?t need a studio or complex lighting set-up ? all you need is a willing subject and an understanding of how the light from our greatest light source – the sun – can be manipulated for effect. Natural light can be modified by reflection, cloud, shade or even windows, so it?s worth spending time learning how to ?read? and understand natural light before you start shooting. Technical skill is important, as is creativity and careful composition, as a fantastic subject and ideal lighting mean little if the pose or framing has gone awry.

Think about how you want to portray the person you are photographing and how to capture the essence of who they are. Do you want to create a tightly framed image or leave space around the subject? Also think about what to include in the background ? a stripped-down, minimalist setting might be all that?s needed, or maybe you could include objects that tell the viewer something about the person in the photograph. For more advice, see part one of Richard Sibley?s guide to photographing portraits in AP 7 January 2012.

Please visit the APOY12 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

1st prize

The first-prize winner will receive a Samsung NX200 with 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, a Samsung 16mm f/2.4 Ultra Wide pancake lens, a Samsung 60mm f/2.8 macro lens and a 16MB SDHC Plus memory card, worth a total of £1,598.96. The NX200 is a compact system camera with a 20.3-million-pixel, APS-C, CMOS sensor. It has high-speed capture (7fps) and ultra-fast autofocus (100ms), while the ISO range of 100-12,800 lets you take high-speed photos even in low light. Samsung?s 60mm is actually a macro lens, but with the 1.5x conversion factor of the APS-C sensor, it takes on that magic 90mm focal length, which is perfect for portraiture.

2nd prize

The second-prize winner will receive a Samsung WB750 compact camera and a 16MB SDHC Plus memory card worth a total of £288.98. With its 12.5-million-pixel BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor, the Samsung WB750 makes it easier than ever to deliver consistent high-quality images. The WB750 also features a 24mm ultra-wide lens with 18x optical zoom (24x Smart-Zoom feature), 1080p full HD video recording and Creative Movie Maker that lets you combine stills and video to create a slide shows.

3rd prize

The third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops Gift Card. Jessops Gift Cards are only redeemable in store and not online. Overseas winners will be contacted by phone about how to claim their prize.

Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started

Why not try?

photo by Tim Coleman

Posed or Natural Looking Portraits

One of the main considerations when photographing people is whether to pose your subject or take a naturalistic approach and refrain from giving your subject any direction. Chances are you?ll need to direct your subject a little, or certainly encourage him or her to relax if he or she is not used to being photographed. Don?t expect to capture the prize shot first time. Try getting to know your subject if you don?t already know them, and if you know the person you are photographing, practise taking their picture in different places and on different occasions so you can build a rapport. Think about the setting ? where does your subject feel most comfortable? Do you want to produce a full-length portrait or just show the person?s head and shoulders? Both are equally effective approaches, but very different.

photo by Gemma Padley

Balancing Light and Shadow

You may not be juggling artificial light sources, but care still needs to be taken when handling natural light. If you are shooting indoors, look for a window that allows a lot of light into the space. Before you even start photographing, look at how the light falls on your subject. Where are the shadows and do they flatter your subject? If not, could using a reflector help to better balance the light and shadow to create a more flattering portrait? Particular pitfalls to watch out for include hard shadows that may eclipse the person?s eyes or make their nose look bigger than it actually is.

photo by Damien Demolder

Colour or Black And White?

An important and personal decision will be whether to work in colour or convert your image to black & white afterwards. Try to think about what would look more effective beforehand. For example, if you want to make a feature of shadows or accentuate the texture of the person?s face, a black & white image might be more powerful. Conversely, colour can be a subject in the composition in its own right.

Please visit the APOY12 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

If you wish to enter by post please remember to include your entry form.

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 30 March 2012**

In association with Samsung and Jessops