February Winners: "Paint the Town Red"

Every month, I tell Lori that these photo challenges are getting harder and harder to judge.  I've noticed that the caliber of photographs has improved tremendously and I hope that's because you're starting to apply what you learn here in these weekly photo tips.

January's winner, Judy Guffey, had the privilege (and challenge) of being our guest judge for our February challenge.  (We always let the previous month's champ pick the first-place winner.) Let's take a look at what she chose…

** First Place goes to lifestyle for "Paint the Town Red With Dance."

And my second and third place choices are:

** Second Place goes to dwphoto for "The Old and the New."

** Third Place goes to yogahoneybunny for "Coy Masquerade."


Judy explains, "The joy and exuberance on the woman's face and the movement of her body indicates a lively flow of coursing red blood through her veins.  The sunshine on the mountains in the background adds to the grandeur shown in the frame.   The varying shades of red are steeped in resonance. When I look at the picture I want to be there dancing with her or at the very least… listening to the music she's hearing. Tell me: Is she dancing alone… or for an audience?"
For our theme of "Paint the Town Red," I have to agree with Judy. This image is loaded with exuberance and vitality, the good stuff of life.

The photographer has caught this shot at precisely the right moment, giving this photo more than motion, but flow.

The subject placement is critical in this shot. Nothing is cropped off… with the square format (I am a big fan of the square) there is not a lot of room to maneuver -- too much toward the left and the dress and hand would have been cropped, too much to the right and she would be leading us right out of the frame.

The placement of her head to the left of the frame with her face looking to the right, the straight line of her body, and the flow of her dress combine to make this a pleasing composition and enjoyable shot.


This shot has a true "wow" factor… it's a beautiful image.  The red theme that runs through its entirety -- red upon red upon red offset by the whites and grays -- gives the image a dynamic feel. The white bands running across his forehead -- the lightest, brightest part in the image, with the red dot in the center -- draw your eyes right into the man's face, right down into his eyes, and then hold you there.

It's wonderful composition, having him predominately in the bottom third, the way his eyes are looking slightly up "into" the frame.

It's powerful and a good human-interest shot.


A number of things make this image similar to the previous one. This shot is also full of red on red, the subject's eyes are looking right at the camera, and the composition is strong.

I really like the vertical lines running through the horizontal background; it gives texture to the shot as well as an area for copy space, which designers love. (This makes it very salable.)

I like the inclusion of the woman's hands.  They look natural and add to the feeling of coyness or shyness I get when I look at this.

A dynamic tension is set up in this shot. The woman's head is slightly tilted and dropped, and from the positioning of her body I get the feeling she is about to run away, off the frame entirely. For this reason, I am really glad that the photographer kept her subject's shoulder in the shot, "containing" her in the frame if you will. That containment is further emphasized by the woman's eyes, which are looking up and slightly back into the frame. You can use dynamic tension to convey strong and powerful messages, and I think this shot does that well.

So there you have it, the top three winning images for "Paint the Town Red." Three evocative images strong with color theme, strong on composition, and strong on salability, too.

Congratulations to our winners. And thanks to everybody who entered. "Paint the Town Red" proved our most popular challenge yet. Be sure to join us this month, as we explore the theme of "Communication."


First-time users should register first on the "register" link on the right side bar.  Once you have a username and password, click "Enter to Win" to upload your photos.  Only one photo per applicant will be considered.

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