The theme of our digital photography competition for April was "Portraits", and and it proved to be another very popular subject, with over a hundred entries from all over the world, many of them very good indeed.
I suppose it's inevitable that a theme of "Portraits" would result in lots of photos of children, after all children are an important part of our lives and generally make very good subjects for photos, because they're always doing something cute or funny. However I didn't want this to turn into a "cutest toddler" competition, so I was happy to see that many other variations on the theme of portrait were represented.
The commonly accepted dictionary definition of a portrait is "an artistic representation of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders", so what we were looking for were pictures that reflected something of the subject's character, that said something about them. As well as this we were looking for the usual technical requirements of good lighting, composition, focus and exposure. Here are some of the results:
In the "cute kids" category, one of the best we received was this lovely close-in telephoto shot from Rosu Ioan Daniel of Bacau, Romania. It was shot on a Sony HDR-SR1E high-def camcorder. It may not be a purpose-built still camera, but it can still take a good photo in the right hands.
Another excellent child portrait here from Alex Tuppen from Colchester, UK. Taken using natural light and 1600 ISO on Canon EOS 400D with a 180mm telephoto lens, the combination of careful focusing and restricted depth of field produces a very effective shot.
This group portrait of mother and children is from competition regular and past winner Chris Mole of Danehill, West Sussex, UK. It was taken in Soweto, South Africa, using the new Canon EOS 40D and a wide-angle 24mm focal length. The juxtaposition of the relatively impoverished surroundings and the expressions of the subjects really tells a story.