A good portrait is more than just capturing an image of a person. It goes beyond making them look attractive or at their best. A good portrait has to capture something of that person’s character, it has to tell us about them, perhaps it tells their story in a single image, or it has to leave the viewer asking questions and wanting to know more.
Besides technical proficiency, it is this magical extra quality that we were looking for when we judged the Sony Alpha Universe Instagram Portrait competition. Amongst the thousands of entries, there were many stunning examples that stood out, but one really drew the judge’s attention. The simple black and white image of a man staring in to the camera was perfectly executed and the intensity in the subject’s eyes elevated it from a good technical study, to an image with so much character.
The image was shot by Spanish Photographer Emilio Barrionuevo. Emilio has been a professional portrait photographer for four years, over which time he has developed a personal style that can be clearly seen on his Instagram account (@emiliobarrionuev0).
“I refer to my style as ‘Emotional Portraits’,” says Emilio. “It is taken in a very contrasting black and white style, which emphasises the person’s gestures and highlights, not only how they look but also their emotional state.
Emilio currently shoots with the Sony α7R II and the FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens, which helps to capture the fine details of his subjects faces which can really help to reveal their story.
Each of us has a hidden story,” Emilio expands, “and a portrait allows us to tell that story; the human being is wonderful and must be shown as it is.
However, as the winner of the competition Emilio has a new lens shipping its way to him.
“I chose the FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens as my prize,” Emilio explains. “As a portrait photographer it is a perfect lens - it is exceptionally sharp with a bright f/1.4 aperture. I can’t wait to use it with my A7R II on my next project which will be taking place in China’.
We can’t wait to see the images Emilio produces with his new lens.
Make sure you follow our Instagram account to see more of the competitions entries and to find out when our next one starts.