Expert Reviews

Portraits to make you smile: Five expert judges review five fun-loving portraiture submissions

We went looking through the contest archive for some happy portraiture photography, and found five triumphant examples that particularly caught the eyes of five of our contest judges. Here are their expert opinions on what makes a smile-worthy portrait....

'the sea friends' by andinursam

"A wonderfully striking image taken from an unusual angle - it must have been quite precarious for the photographer!. It brilliantly captures the pure joy that defines friendship, especially when you are young and carefree like this bunch of boys. The arrangement of their heads and the fact that they are all smiling, makes this a memorable image. well done!"

Review by Andy Hall, from the 'Friendship' contest in August 2019.

'The joy of life' by Jevgenijs Scolokovs

"Brrr! I get the shivers looking at this photo but also a feeling of utter delight. The man's expression - indeed his whole body - is tranquil and peaceful. He looks happy! And his friend in the back (not exactly dressed for the occasion either) looks on approvingly.

I love the warm tones of this photo and his face is perfectly exposed. The selective focus works perfectly to concentrate our attention on the man in the foreground but also to show us his total surroundings, including the vacation shacks in the back.

A visual and sensual delight!"

Review by Vince Donovan from the 'Happy portraits' contest in June 2019

'Street games' by Agnieszka Maruszczyk

"The power of documentary work at its best. Colours are out of this world. Composition is so dynamic even though the frame is almost perfectly balanced. All planes of the photo are used - foreground, mid-ground and background. Silhouetted characters lead our eyes into the photo where we meet this burst of energy and happiness. You cannot stage this. Wonderful."

Reviewed by Goran Ljubuncic from the 'Shape and contrast' contest in November 2019.

'Feet up' by banjogroyne

"I really enjoyed this image. Getting humour right can be difficult in photography. In this case simple but effective. A lovely composition with the element of architecture and the framing of the feet; with lots of negative space keeping the viewer focused on the smaller elements. A nice take on the competition theme, too, I thought."

Review by Alex Poll from the 'Looking up' contest in May 2020.

'Florence and her lamb' by Mrs B

"Candid photography is essentially about the observed moment; the photographer and subject are not engaged with each other. In most cases the subject is unaware that a photograph has been taken; it captures a genuine unguarded moment. I suspect that some will feel this was set-up and that of course is possible, but as I judge you have to trust your instinct and experience. I am happy to accept your integrity in submitting this to a Candid Portrait competition as it fulfils the brief perfectly and has immediate impact. I love the moment, as our subject stares lovingly into the eyes of the lamb. The setting is ideal and you have made skilled use of light and exposure to evoke a great atmosphere and I think your choice to leave the window light burnt out was the right call."

Review by Philip Joyce from the 'Candid portraits' contest in April 2020.

We have thousands of expert judges' reviews on Photocrowd. Reading them is a great way to find out what makes particular images work, or, what might not work so well, and will give you plenty of things to consider when working on your own photographic skills and style.

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