If you’re looking for portrait ideas, then look no further than these expert-judged examples of colour portraits on Photocrowd
Nikon D7000, 1/320sec at f/2.8, ISO 100
'This is a really lovely image of a young boy playing the trumpet at sunrise, with London’s Westminster in the background. He looks like a young street performer or busker. The orange glow of the early morning light in the background almost makes the Houses of Parliament look like a painted backdrop due to the aperture being wide open. The soft natural light is falling beautifully on the boy’s face and catches the end of his trumpet to add to the serenity of this early-morning shot. Thankfully, he’s a very willing performer at this time of the morning. I wonder if the neighbours agreed.'
Nikon D600, 35mm, 1/3sec at f/2.5, ISO 50
‘There's something mysterious about this image. It seems like the photographer achieved something unique and it's a technique I'd even like to try myself. The square ratio of the image has perfectly framed the subject and the subtle highlights on the shoulders are spot on.'
Nikon D700, 85mm, 1/160sec at f/1.8, ISO 250
‘This image has a natural painterly quality, that I love. There is an almost Polaroid feel to it, which elevates what could have been quite a mundane picture otherwise. The subject, the styling and the posing are all really well executed.’
Fujifilm X-Pro 1, 18-55mm
‘This is a beautiful environmental portrait that oozes Cuban character and charm. Details in the room, from the worn chair backs to the collection of items on the table and the wall, help to build a picture of the portrait sitter's life. The contrast of formality and informality is captivating. The soft colour palette, equally soft light and judicious level of editing ensure the image retains its natural feel, something that would have been lost in less talented hands.’
'The natural light in this shot is beautiful and creates a very soft, sensual image. The tones in the image are very soothing and the eye contact from the subject makes it stand out even more. It's very alluring.'
Pentax K10D, 16-50mm, 1/250sec at f/6.7, ISO 100
‘There's a really nice feeling of authenticity to this shot; a sense of raw emotion, movement and also something eerie. This, for me, is what makes the image stand out – it possesses a cinematic quality and makes me want to find out what's happening in the picture.
‘The pink nightgown is everyday but jarring, and to me suggests the picture might be staged, albeit subtly. But that's probably just me and is due to the fact that I live in a world where people generally don't carry guns on the street and pictures are often staged.’
'This is an absolutely gorgeous shot. I love the expression on their faces and their total concentration on whatever it is that lies ahead of them – you almost forget there was a photographer there. The colours are great and the differential focus works really well. A brilliant shot and well worth entering into any travel photography competitions.'
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
'This image draws me in – I cannot resist coming back to view it. The shot was taken in a derelict building and the juxtaposition between this environment and the dancer works well. The arrangement of the debris on the floor reflects the circular motion we expect the ballerina to be making from her elegant pose. Without the background information regarding how the scene was lit, it appears to be nicely diffused from two sources: low down from the top left and higher up from the bottom right. The orange and brown tones all work well to complement the ballerina.'
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 50mm, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 100
'There's an extremely high level of skill being shown here in shaping and controlling light. The fall-off across the face is perfect and I actually like that the skin hasn't been retouched excessively.
'The model is doing a fantastic job with her pose – that piercing gaze right down the lens really captures the viewer and holds our attention. The post-processing is very nice too; lovely tones and a great understanding of where to keep detail in the shadows, and where to really push those inky blacks.'
‘This image instantly struck me. The subject, the tonality... There is a narrative there about young men and war and a feeling of someone looking out from the past. I really couldn't fault it.’
Nikon D700, 35mm, 1/800sec at f/2, ISO 3200
'This is a gorgeous study in contrasts, how to balance highlights, shadows and midtones, as well as sharp and soft areas. All these things work to direct the viewer's attention. The gilded surroundings are exactly the sort of element that can become the most significant part of an image if you're not careful, but the bride is the sharpest element in the scene and holds the the brightest highlights and darkest shadows. It ensures you can't look anywhere else.
One could discuss and complement the beautiful framing of this image and the subtle use of contrasts and lights on the fabrics to isolate the subject, but what most attracted me to this picture is the real sense you're engaging with this bride's moment at this Bangladeshi wedding. What it is that's so easily conveyed is the anticipation, and in some ways trepidation, of this bride before she appears on the stage. I can even forget the little sliver of light down the left-hand side of the frame, which distracts because the story is all in her face.'
Canon EOS 550D, 96mm, 1/160sec at f/7.1, ISO 400
'Eyes can be the most powerful element of an image when it comes to connecting with the viewer. In this image, the eyes alone are what is necessary to portray the beauty captured here. The bold colours of her eye shadow and niqab create a beautiful contrast to the rich skin tones. The soft lighting adds just the right amount of softness that brings out the expression, despite the garment covering her face.'
'The reason I like this image is the light and subject, two elements I find crucial to effective storytelling. The light is absolutely exquisite. The impact of this child's gaze is also powerful as it meets the gaze of the viewer and holds it. It forces a dialogue, a dialogue that has to happen to inspire change.'
Nikon D5200, 157mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 400
'The sitter’s gaze is direct and very intense in this portrait. The tight crop and almost-black background add to this feeling of intensity. We love the muted colour palette and subtle lighting, and the way the rich red of the subject's headscarf matches the hint of red in his distinctly bloodshot eyes.
'The warm colours of the headscarf also complement the cooler greens of the scarf below, while the edges of both scarves frame his face perfectly.'
Olympus E-520, 64mm, 1/160sec at f/4.5, ISO 400
'There is a lot in this image. It struck me, as I was looking closely, that I found the composition a little loose. When you have time to work around a subject, don't be afraid to move in and keep improving the framing. I think it could potentially have been tighter, and further in from the right so that the dark panel is not distracting in the background.'
Olympus E-M1, 12-35mm, 1/320sec at f/6.3, ISO 200
'This is a really quite vibrant capture of a mother and son at a brick factory. The photographer has managed to capture an intimate moment that shows the innocence and playfulness of the child. Another really well-composed image with colours that really stand out.'