Readers Photo Challenge: Face value

“That face, that face, that wonderful face;
It shines, it glows all over the place.” – “That Face” by Alan Bergman and Lew Spence

The current Readers Photo Challenge assignment is “faces.” Our faces are the most recognizable feature that we have. We often talk about it in song and literature. We put on a happy face, get red in the face and can have a long face. Whatever expression our faces wear, it’s something that photographers are drawn to.

For this challenge 8 readers sent in 24 photos. Here are the top examples from the assignment.


Lighting is of utmost importance in a portrait. It can make or break a photo. Nice soft light, either natural or man-made, is usually the choice of most photographers. However, sometimes light from an unexpected source can be just the right thing to spice up a photo.

Rick Wilmot used a Canon EOS 5 D Mk III to photograph his son, Ryan Wilmot, of Waxahachie, TX, lighting a sparkler for his 5-year-old niece, Abby Wilmot, of Woodland (also Rick Wilmot’s granddaughter) during a 4th of July celebration in his backyard in Lodi. The bright burning light made his subjects pop out from the background of the dark night.


Capturing a telling moment can be a daunting goal for many photographers. It’s easy to get caught up in observing the events unfolding in front of them and forget about taking pictures. One has to detach themselves from the moment and be prepared to record it. You have to keep your camera at the ready to use it as soon as you see things happening.

Mitch Bazzarre of Stockton was ready to capture a sweet moment. He used a Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR camera to photograph 5-month-old Jax Jerry Khaoone of Stockton who as born with tissue covering part of his airway which the doctors at the Oakland Children’s hospital quickly corrected with surgery. Bazzarre caught a tender moment as Khaoone, held by his aunt Veronica Eang, is greeted by an ICU nurse during a reunion at the hospital.


There is a device called a “softbox” that portrait photographers use in the studio. It fits over a flash unit and, as its name suggests, and transforms the harsh light of the strobe to even soft illumination. Using a Nikon D90 DSLR camera, Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton photographed 2-year-old Theodora Graham and her 4-year-old brother Thomas Graham at the Brookside Country Club in Stockton. She shot during the early evening, hoping to use the warm light of the so-called “golden hour” but clouds obscured the sun. However, the clouds acted like a giant softbox and created naturally soft and even light.


A great facial expression is something that all photographers look for in a portrait. For most people that means a nice, happy smile, but there are other emotions that can make for great pictures.

Janet Baniewich of Stockton photographed 1-year-old Lyell Rehbein of Stockton on his first birthday taken on camping trip at Dinkey Creek in the Sierra National Forest. Young Lyell reacted to his parents sitting the cold water of the creek and Baniewich captured it with her Nikon D3300 DSLR camera.


There is a gallery of all the photos entered in the challenge at Stay tuned for a new assignment next Thursday

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