Creating a Winning Image

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The Argentine Dancer, chosen as PPC Best in Show at this year s Western States Print Competition, seemed an appropriate title for this image as it had a unique flair and feel. Jim Paliungas was working with this model and intrigued by her unusual hair style. As she was going through her wardrobe, she showed the photographer this cool red dress. She started playing around and getting into some fun poses and then it suddenly hit him, "Dancing with the Stars."

Although she seemed to be a natural poser, Paliungas wanted to "push the envelope" and he described a pose he wanted her to do that he saw her displaying earlier. It just needed a little something extra to make it work. Jim told her to turn her head to the left and cross her legs. As she did, she naturally placed her hands on her hips. He then refined the pose with some minor tweaks.

"Ironically, her intense expression came out right about the time she was ready to give up and tell him what she thought of my

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whole idea," describes Paliungas.

At that point Paliungas clicked and captured this moment in time. Well maybe it was a bit more like, "click, click, click" and even a few more clicks and capture. Jim says, "You only need that one shot, and I got it."

The shot was done against a white cove and lighting was a single light source with a 6  Octabox. It was shot at ISO 200, 125th., at f8. The light was to camera right, model s left and turned enough to spill light on the background. He didn t want a completely white I background in the final image, so he chose not to use a background light.

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Paliungas used some standard post production for blemishes, and removed several distracting tattoos from the subjectbody, particularly on her legs. He then converted the shot to black and white with some high structure. He wanted a bit of cross over between black and white and color, and especially for the dress to pop, so he pulled most of the color back particularly in the dress.

Paliungas has been a photographer for a little over 20 years. He started his photography career as a parttime business, and eventually became a full time photographer in 1995. His work encompasses a wide range of photography including executive portrait, family portrait, model portfolios, glamour, commercial industrial, and the occasional wedding. Hea member and past president of CIPPA, and a member of both PPC and PPA.

He has received numerous awards for his work. Besides this image, he was chosen as PPC Photographer of the Year for Studio Portrait 2012 and 2006, Environmental Portrait in 2009 and Landscape in 2007. His images have won him a place in the PPC Top Ten Photographers of the Year with accumulated highest print case in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. He won the PPC Kodak Gallery Award in 2012 and 2008 and a Fuji Masterpiece award in 2007. He has also won the Judges Choice Award at Western States Regional in 2012, 2009 and 2006. His images have also appeared in the PPA Loan Collection and Showcase books. He has also been published in several other publications.

His clients continue to express that his fun-loving, patient, easy-going style makes him a joy to work with. His policy is that every photo session be a pleasurable experience from start to finish Remember, "The Argentine Dancer" and many other Western States Print Comp images will be on display at this year s Expo and Conference in Pasadena.

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