Powerful Portrait Contest Winners

Join us in today’s contest episode as we review our Powerful Portrait Winners!

After over 2,500 entries and a grueling selection process, these are the 14 incredible images our team has chosen as winners. Sit back, relax, and enjoy these beauties! And keep an eye our for our next Contest announcement and the chance to win more prizes!

Thank you so much to the friends of Phlearn who contributed to this contest! Check out their links below:

Think Tank

Grand Prize Winner

Taken by Saurav Kattel


“This was taken few weeks ago in Kathmandu Nepal. When I asked him when was the last time he washed his face; he said he washes it every day and spent 2 hours every morning painting his face.”

Runners Up

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ThinkTank City Walker 20 Blue

Grand Prize

ThinkTank City Walker 20 Blue Shoulder Bag

The City Walker from ThinkTank is lightweight, soft and refined. These messenger bags have a hip-hugging form and room for a DSLR, a few lenses/accessories, and a tablet. The removable insert enables you to go from camera bag to messenger bag, giving it even more daily function! This bag is worth over $150 and is an incredible addition to any photographer’s kit!

Silverlake Ash Gold Muslin

Grand Prize

Silverlake Ash Gold Muslin Backdrop

These hand painted backdrops from Silverlake are created on heavy-weight, 100% cotton muslin in a layering technique that provides depth in the final image. This heavy-duty muslin will withstand tearing and moisture and are great for all types of photography when you need a backdrop. Whether you are a professional or an aspiring amateur, this will add a professional touch to your photography. The grand prize winner will be getting an astounding 10’x20′ backdrop worth $300!

Photo Contest

Grand Prize

Phantastic Phlearn Gear

Now you too can be a real part of the Phlearn Team! We’ve been asked about selling the shirts and swag you see on our team and episodes, and we’re finally able to share them….but you’ve gotta win! The grand prize winner will receive Phlearn Gear including a Shirt, Mug, Stickers, Decals, and more! This portion of the prize pack is PRICELESS!

Photo Contest

Grand Prize

35% Bonus on first time credit purchase from Fotolia.com

Many of our free episodes are created using amazing stock images from Fotolia.com! For those of you who’d like to follow along and create your own, now you can! Royalty-Free images, Vectors and Videos start at a measley $0.19 and include worldwide licenses which never expire. Use Fotolia to give your design projects impact! Register now for a free account!

Portrait Retouching 4 Pack

Grand Prize & Staff Pick

Phlearn Pro Photoshop Tutorials – Retouching 4 Pack

The Phlearn Staff Pick Winner will receive our Retouching 4 pack! This bundle is jam packed with incredible beauty, commercial, and fashion retouching lessons.

Get all the retouching skills you can handle with this amazing 4 pack. It includes:
• Swimwear Retouching
• Commercial Portrait Editing
• Professional Skin Retouching
• Beautiful Glowing Skin

Phlearn Pro Photoshop Tutorial - Commercial Portrait Retouching

Runners Up

Phlearn Pro Photoshop Tutorial – Commercial Portrait Editing

All of the Runners Up will receive this dramatic and effective tutorial, Commercial Portrait Editing!

You’ve seen this style of retouching everywhere. Now it’s time you learned how to achieve it on your own! Get bold and send a message with your portrait. This style is perfect for photos of athletes and other high energy subjects. Your image will stand out- in a very good way! And the best part is: If you tone down the effect you can apply these techniques to any portrait to add some style.


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    Hope you like it! Thank you for organising this contest and thank you for all your tutorials!

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    Sarah Ware

    I knew I wanted to get this image of my sun. It was really easy because he is all boy and loved getting in the water. I loved the lighting so I didn’t have to do much in post.

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    Dave Wilson

    Wow! This was a hard choice! I decided to go with one of my few composite works! I hope you like it!

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    This was taken on my first solo shoot but it’s still one of my favourites. My sister’s friend (Rosie) was modelling for me and we’d spent the afternoon climbing around a grand old pergola hidden away on Hampstead Heath. We went through my list of conceptual image ideas and were nearing the end of the afternoon when I decided to try a few simple portraits. As she stood in the doorway of one of the pergola buildings I was testing my settings, as she shifted her hair from her face, I caught this. Completely off-guard and unposed, it’s still one of my favourite images.

    I edited with the help of this phlearn video: http://phlearn.com/how-to-stylize-a-portrait-using-layer-blending-modes-in-photoshop which came out just as I started editing the shoot, it helped a lot with the final look of this image!

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    It’s the time of the year where in all things are always bright, colorful, cheerful and blissful. Behind these facades hide what we truly feel.

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    “In your Head”

    as the title suggests, this is a representation of what goes on in anybody’s head. there’s a peaceful side and there’s the dark side. it’s never a dull moment in our heads. its constantly filled with thoughts. thoughts that make us happy and those that try to put us down. but the choice is upon ourselves either we give our dark side the stage or your peaceful side. preferably we keep them at a balance to keep our sanity.

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    I wanted to make a magical portrait, like if you were walking in the forest and saw this creature. I saw in my head how it would freeze, just like animals does in the wild, before deciding if it´s a threat or not. I have been working a lot with the sourroundings making the trees higher and making sure no other light shines between the trees. Also playing a lot with shadows and light, and snow flakes offc! 🙂 Best regards, Sonja

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    Intro: Sorry if something i write is not proper english, i’m a native german speaker (from Vienna, Austria).

    “The Aviator”

    This is a portrait of a very good friend of mine. He’s a pilot and i wanted to do something related to this. It’s a three light setup, one mainlight in a medium softbox to his right, one fill-light to his left and a hair-light from above. I was standing on a stool with an 100mm for this angle.

    In PS i did some content aware patch tool work for the skin, increased clarity with a high pass filter and masked some parts. I also got rid of some red-coloured skin tones for somoothness and turned the file into black and white.

    He helped me to get some skill for building my first portfolio (this will be my first pic for this) so i thanked him by surprising him with a 30x45cm print incl. date, names and title (written on a text-layer). I think a picture should be printed if you think it deserves to be seen. Even if its just for visitors in the private living room.

    PS: Thanks to you, Aaron Nace & phlearn.com, you teached me everything i know about photoshop. I tried it several times before, but since i found your channel I learned an easy way! Thanks from Central-Europe!

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    Will Reuben

    This was created as part of a fashion project i have recently completed as part of my Photography A Level. I wanted to include contemporary fashion within a classical styled portrait. This has been done by including the septum piercing juxtaposed within the image, hopefully highlighting a contrast with regards to the development of fashion over hundreds of years. Thank you for the opportunity and i hope you enjoy my work!

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    I took a little different approach here. Hope you enjoy the complimentary colours.

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      Antonett Ewan

      Do you have a Facebook page? …website?

      I would very much love to follow your work.

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        Jose LLanos

        Hi, thank you for the interest, I do have a personal Facebook page but I don’t have a business one yet. Im still a student working towards a BFA in Graphic Design. My portfolio is still in the making.

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    This is a potrait of my Grandmother. When I wen to the philippines I wanted to take a picture of her for my mother. It’s hard to photograph my grandma, because she has alzheimers and she can go from happy to sad or angry very fast. I wanted my mum to remember her smiling and this is the picture that i took.

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    This is my niece, who very kindly endures my incessant request to model for me. I took this photo after a long day of swimming in the sun. Looking back at the image later I noticed a large sunburn right across her nose and cheeks, it reminded me of the bold dramatic makeup of a geisha. I tried to mimic a circa 1920’s style in the grain and contrast. Looking forward to hearing from you, phlearn ya later 🙂

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    Federico Sironi

    “Sorrow” Shot with an iPhone 6
    At this weird angle because I think it catches the eye more

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    Hanna Grace

    This is a self portrait I created using one speedlight shooting through my grandmother’s old crocheted cloth.

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    When it comes to people, there is no wish greater than to be part of a wall to see them in their natural habitat.

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    Thanks for all the tutorials! I used frequency seperation on this on! Phlearn on!

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    Tudic Tudic

    Great contest,and awesome tutorials,i used a Phlearn free tutorials to edit this image,hopping for a prize,thank you !

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    These are two portraits of my daughter Adrienne taken roughly two years apart.

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    Thank you for all of the excellent tutorials; before i started watching Phlearn i would have never had the courage to enter a competition. keep up the excellent work, because i can’t get enough.

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    Amani AlShaali

    For this image, I was doing one of Brooke Shaden’s inspiration exercises where I’d stare at an object (a knife in this case) for a while and write down all the words that come into my head. I wrote down words like “pain, hurt, back-stab” which led to the creation of the story of a girl who might be naive and oblivious to what’s around her, but she’s still standing strong.

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      i Took this shot unprepared there was no plan to do this until i saw the model whip her hair back to adjust it during a quik break
      then the idea came to just capture it..

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    Here in D.C. the weather has been frigid as of late, but yesterday temps reached the 70’s and we had to take advantage of it. This image is of my son jumping off a slide, at a park near our home. I wouldn’t categorize my son as adventurous, however yesterday he began jumping off of everything, I mean everything! I shot this with my Canon T2i in raw, then did my initial edits in Lightroom (saw your tutorial on cataloging photos in lightroom, life saver) then went in Photoshop for some minor tweaks (shadows and highlights) then finished it off in lightroom. Thanks for the opportunity to share my images with the Phlear Team!

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    During a test shot, asked model to give me a challenging look and asked an assistance to point a fan towards the model. Made with one light source, 7 foot shoot umbrella do my right, Canon 650D (T4i) and 70-200mm f/2.8 at 2.8.

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    Paul Quince

    I shot this image last Monday in Manhattan it was a snow day. I cropped into this a good bit to get the feeling right. I imported with DxO then in to lightroom for minor adjustments converted to B\W and played with split tone. Photoshop I don’t recall bringing this image into Photoshop, but is I did I would have made a brightness adjustment and used High Pass filter to bring out detail and sharpness. Then saved back into Lightroom and export as jpg.

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    Woo! Awesome prizes, you guys. Thanks for being so phantastic!

    This is a picture I took of my friend while I was living in South Dakota a couple of years ago. Fishing was something I did a lot of with my Dad when I was a kid. Being next to the water with a reel in my hand always makes me feel like he’s right there with me. For that reason, this picture and its memories are near a dear to me. I also think I was pretty lucky to have nailed the cast hooking the Sun like that!

    I used a few techniques taught by Aaron, including how to correct banding in the sky by adding a little noise. Brilliant stuff, thanks man. That tip has even helped my guy with his graphic design and screen printing.

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    “Saturday, Time Unknown, Upstairs” is from the series Domestic. Domestic explores the dichotomy between being comfortably alone within my home, while searching for someone to share it with.