Photo of the Year: Portrait

Many of our stories require a "portrayal" photo of people who are in the news or who are being singled out for a feature. Some represent themselves for a business, others for an upcoming event. We meet dozens of people each year, photographing people in their element for the Daily Pilot. You never know what you have to shoot until you arrive at a location.

Hopefully you have something to work with. Some subjects hate to be photographed, while others relish in it. Some will tell you how they want to look with their own ideas, demanding to see the small screen on the back of the camera for approval (we hate that). Others are naturals, and need not say a word.

Still others require coaching. Some require tricky light setups, while for others some natural window light will do just fine. It's not unusual to hear, "I hate having my picture taken, so can we just get it over with?" or "what do you want me to do?"

We strive to bring out the best in whatever our subjects present to us in the field. Hopefully, they tell their own story and leave the photographing to us. The best subjects are folks who are flattered at the opportunity, knowing they are the face of success or a good cause.

After looking at all the portraits we photographed this year, the photo of Mariners Elementary School third-grade teacher Pat McLaughlin is an example of a great portrait. McLaughlin was happy to represent her mentor and friend John Wooden by standing next to a mural based on his book, "Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success." Daily Pilot photographer Scott Smeltzer set the shot up, capturing perfectly how she felt about being in her element.

There are as many different ways to photograph people as there are personalities. Hopefully we bring that out with our portrait pictures.

— Don Leach

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