We are in Las Vegas where wild west attitudes still run deep and shootouts are still common…

On the Photoshop World conference schedule we saw an event called “Photo Shootout” where they limit the group to 80 photographers. The description was intentionally vague, saying we should bring our cameras and prepare to be pushed beyond our comfort zone. I like living on the edge and danger is my middle name. So, I signed us up. But, could I stack up against stiff competition? My camera is pretty big which should help me out, cuz size matters.

Groups of eight were formed. We had 30 minutes to do a portrait shoot of the people in our group. From those portraits, I can submit one entry into the contest for best portrait. I also get to submit myself to critique (abuse) by the panel of judges (abusers) in front of all the other photographers.

You’d think 30 minutes to take one photo would be easy. Well, try and get one of the photographers in the group to pose, knowing they were also trying to get their portrait shot. With everyone asking me to pose (you can easily understand why), my time started running out. After a bit of panic, I found a spot nearby with great light coming in from a large window. I convinced one of the photographers to pose. Click went my camera. And, low and behold, I had a nice portrait shot.

Randall Lee of Contemporary Imaging

Randall Lee of Contemporary Imaging

Now my confidence was starting to soar. “Hey you, you’re next,” I barked. Click.


C. S. Clark

Oh, you two look so colorful. Click.

Rin Karnatz & Maud (aka Rainbow)

Rin Karnatz & Maud (aka Rainbow)

I caught you in action! Click.

With a name like Nicky Doo...

With a name like Nicky Doo…

I barely got back to the room in time, just 37 seconds to spare. I reviewed my images, picked one, and settled in for my abuse.

Rin Karnatz

I picked this one of my friend, Rin Karnatz

Someone else took a picture of her and was ridiculed for bad lighting. Ugh. But, after a few moments, my photo was put up on the big screen. The room was silent. Then the critique began, “this photo is a lot better than the other one of this woman. Nice shadowing on the face. And, good color. And, nice pose. Very good portrait.”

I didn’t win. But, I survived.

What do you think of my quick and dirty portrait work?

And remember, it’s all about the light, this time from a large window.