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PMH Photo Challenge#3 – Portraits

Welcome to the Project Motorhouse Photo Challenge!

Are you under 18 and living in Thanet? Then you are eligible for the Project MotorHouse Photo Challenges where you could win up to £50 for 1st place, or £25 each for two runners up! February’s challenge is PORTRAITS. Follow us on Instagram at @pmhramsgate, and tag your photos with #pmhphotochallenge3 to enter. The deadline for the competition is midnight on Sunday February 28th. Photos taken with any type of camera or phone are allowed. We’ll be judging your photos on criteria such as relevance to the theme, creativity, composition, lighting, and so on. (This is a challenge to practice your photography, not your Photoshop skills or crazy filters, so please no excessive post-production).

Find a willing subject (from your family or ‘bubble’), or create a self-portrait.  Try to capture the person how you really see them. Don’t be afraid to include more than just the person in the shot – showing their surroundings (called ‘environmental portraits’) can help tell the story of the person.  Think about how best to light your subject – have a look at some online tutorials or experiment with positioning them near to windows or other light sources.  Have fun with posing your subjects to add humour, or trying for a classic neutral expression. Ask the subject how they see themselves (serious, funny, sad, etc) – does this match what you think? What would others think the person is like if they saw your photo?

Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

TIP #1

 SHOW YOUR SUBJECT’S SURROUNDINGS  – known as an ‘environmental portrait’, these allow you to show more of your subject’s life. They could be sat in their favourite chair, on their bed with a book, or doing an activity that is a big part of their life.

Photo by Greg Turner from Flikr

TIP #2

TRY USING LIGHT FROM WINDOWS– natural light portraits can be very effective. Try positioning your subject at an angle from a window, and experiment with distance – the further away from the light source the ‘softer’ the light and shadows will be. Take several shots and study them closely to see what works best  

Photo by Greg Turner from Flickr

TIP #3

 EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT POSES play with ideas. Portraits don’t have to be traditionally posed – you don’t even have to show a face! Break the rules of what people think a portrait should be – get creative! 

Photo by Antonio Dillard from Pexels

TIP #4

BREAK AWAY FROM ‘SAY CHEESE! A more neutral expression can work best for some portraits – don’t think that your subject has to smile a big cheesy grin! Try asking them to think of an important time in their lives, or about the future – whatever the mood of the portrait you want to make.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

TIP #5

SELFIES – HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF? Try a self-portrait. Set your camera on timer, use a mirror, or ask for help taking a picture of yourself. How do you want other people to see you? How do you see yourself? Get as creative as you want and create an abstract selfie!

Photo by Buse Doa from Pexels


Most of all, have fun and experiment