In my world, image competition season is beginning.  The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) each year holds regional and then international image competition.   Entering competition has been a great way for me to learn on many levels.  It makes me look at my images extremely critically and determine what could have or can make them better.

Part of the process is going through my images from the past year.  About the time I started doing that, a photographer whose work I follow, William Neill, mentioned this article he had written a couple of years ago about  the benefits of reviewing your images from the past year.   So I was inspired to combine the two processes.  

I decided to do a ” Top 10 Favorites”  of portraits and then fine art.  Just because an image is in my 10 favorites doesn’t mean it’s competition worthy.  It’s very much a process and this is just the first step.

I’ve been devoting more time to fine art this year, so my collection of portraits was smaller than in previous years.  These 10 made it to the favorites for a variety of reasons which I will mention with each portrait.  These are in no particular order.  (click on each image to see it larger)


Elisha came to me in January wanting her senior portraits done outside in the snow.

I loved her sense of style and this image begins to show that as well as her amazing eyes.


Rosalie was one of my senior representatives this year.  Part of what that means is that I get to try new ideas with them.  A few of the things I tried here were a very different subject placement and the use of textures added to the final image.


Annie was also one of my senior reps this year and we did a really cool shoot in her home.  I love the drama and glamour of this image.


This image made the top 10 partly because it is an image of my daughter and grandson and I love the love that shows on her face. In the summer, I took a week long class in Corel Painter and used the image to create this pastel painting.


This is a senior portrait that I originally created in 2011. I included it here because as part of the Painter class, I did this painting of the image.   It’s a bit difficult to see  in this small format,

but I love the transformation from photograph to painting.  One of my goals for 2013 is to practice and explore Painter even more.

JP comp

I’ve posted this image previously in another post that explains who and what this wonderful group of women is. It’s included here because  it was something new I was trying.  Each person was photographed individually and then all the portraits were combined in Photoshop to create this group portrait.   I feel that the method worked well to capture the essence not only each person but the whole  group.


One of my senior portraits of a very fun and playful, Carly.  I love the way the brick path leads your eye to her as well as how the image captured her laid back nature.


This was probably one of the most fun sessions I had all year. Molly is a very active, bubbly girl and the warmth, the colors, her expression, the unusual but very natural  pose express some of that personality.


Linda is a multi-talented and very sweet lady.  She needed a new headshot for her interior design business, one that would make people comfortable welcoming her into their homes.  I love her relaxed, warm expression and the warm tones contrasted with the turquoise of her sweater.


Vincenza has been a client for several years.  The first time was when she was Clara in the local production of the Nutcracker Ballet. She is a very sweet girl with lots of ideas.  It’s always a collaborative effort when we create a portrait. This year she was Doll in the ballet and she suggested we try to get a shot of her spinning. For both of us that can be a challenge in the studio but we were both very pleased with this shot.  I did a touch of Painter on this image also.

So those are my top 10 favorite portraits from last year.  Which ones are your favorites and why?

As I continue to go through images in preparation for competition I will choose my top 10 for 2012 from my fine art work and will share those also.