Batman with a beard


This is an image I have held on to since April. Even David, the guy in the cowl, hasn’t received it yet. But he’ll be getting it very soon now I can release it.

Let me tell you a tale about subjective opinions.

My biggest belief around photography is that you only need to please one or two people. Yourself, and if appropriate for the image, the person paying you. Although I have always gone and watched photography awards being judged and/or displayed to see the amazing work, I’ve always known the majority of the images were taken specifically for the awards. I’ve never entered for this reason. Plus, I’ve never been one to Photoshop an image within an inch of its life as is often the case with award images. I have full respect for those who choose to enter these awards. Your work is stunning and I believe way out of my calibre. But still, I’ve never had the interest or desire to enter myself.

Back to today’s presented photograph. 

Back in April, my wife and I painted a backdrop and ask for volunteers to photograph on the same. We wanted to see how it worked in a real-life situation and offered the volunteers a free digital file. I loved it, my wife, not so much. But I digress. Our amazing house cleaner bought in her husband and stepson. Her husband, David, has an awesome beard of which I took many photographs. He mentioned he had a Batman cowl at home and I told him if he was ever in the area, to come on over as I would love to take a portrait of him in the Batman cowl with his resplendent beard poking out.

The following Saturday I was at my daughter’s ballet class when the call from my wife came in.

“David has his Batman cowl here”. 

Ballet was just finishing, “I’ll be home in 20 minutes”.

I drove home as fast as was legally allowed, ran into the house, grabbed my camera, did a quick lighting test shot, adjusted my exposure and took another lighting test shot. Happy with the result I looked at David and said:

“You know what to do.”

I took 5 single photographs in 3 seconds with number three being the one I selected.

Looking at the back of the camera, I saw an image that I LOVED. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of the work I produce for my clients, but this image was on another level for me as I had pre-visualised it. This is not something I try to do as the results can be underwhelming. It did have to go into photoshop for some light cleaning (the cowl was scratched and he had a logo on his t-shirt I wanted to remove). Looking at the image on the big monitor, I said something I’ve never said before:

“I’m entering this into Portrait Masters”.

People enter many MANY photographs into these awards to achieve accreditation levels and awards. I know of one person who entered 50 images in one submission (at $20 each).

My one entry went in on June 15. Entries closed on July 15, and this morning at 5 am, the results were announced.

I had achieved a Bronze with Distinction on my first ever competition entry. “Bronze images awarded scores between 75-79 are of a high professional standard of technique and communication and are called ‘Bronze with Distinction’.”

For a portrait that was made in 19 seconds from the first lighting test shot to the final image in the sequence, I was a little chuffed at that.

I’ve officially earned 0.5 points towards my Portrait Master accreditation. I require 25 points to reach “Associate”. Does mean I’m now going to fall down the awards rabbit hole and submit like crazy every 4 months? No. I only want to submit images (If I even do again), that brings me the same level of excitement that this has done. And to be honest, I’d rather not shoot specifically FOR the Portrait Master awards. I want to only submit images that have occurred during the natural course of my photography. 

Long post today but I am to say, a little happy with the result. Now I get to print, matte and present the portrait to David when lockdown restrictions allow me to do so.

After all, it was his scowl in the cowl.

Batman with a beard with official award recognition superimposed.
Awarded Bronze with Distinction at The Portrait Masters June 2021 awards.

That’s it for now. Talk to you soon.


Photo Information:
Nikon D810
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E ED @ 105mm
1/320 @ f/2.2
ISO 640
Saturday April 24, 2021
Carrum Downs, Victoria, Australia

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  1. Awesome shot mate.
    One of my favorite photos of me playing bass is one you took of me years ago.

  2. Congratulations on the award and, more importantly, on the great portrait.

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