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Polly Fenton, Emotive Portrait Category Winner and Overall Photo of the Year Winner

It's refreshing to learn how simply this photograph was captured. Some photographers lament that to win a photo competition you need to be a Photoshop expert, but my observations don't support this. Take our last year's overall winner of the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year as an example.

Photographer Polly Fenton says she recently retired from a 44-year nursing career and is now actively pursuing her love of photography through study, participating in photographic clubs, travelling with mentors and a lot of practice. "I find I am shooting a variety of topics and styles at present in an attempt to find my niche."

The winning photo was taken on a trip with Inger Vandyke of Wild Image Photo Tours in February 2019. "We were visiting the tribes of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia."

The portrait of Nagudo, of the 'Suri' or Surmi tribe, was photographed by Polly in a remote village near Kibish. Explained Polly, "Nagudo used decorative scarification, piercing and copper adornments to emphasise her individualism and confidence within her society.

"During our stay of several days, I found the Suri exuded a beautiful inner personal warmth and mystic. This is what I was attempting to capture in this photograph. They were an absolute delight to engage with and it was a truly inspiring and humbling experience that I will never forget."

Polly used a Fujifilm X-T2 with an XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS lens. As she was shooting in a darkish hut, the settings were 1/80 second at f4, ISO 3200.

"In post-production, I darkened the background with the adjustment brush and also used this to enhance her eyes and soften her skin. Overall, I slightly increased exposure, contrast and whites with a touch of dehaze. Using the HSL sliders, I gently adjusted the green, blue and aqua to lift the colour of her shawl. I felt that nothing else was required."

And we think Polly was exactly right - nothing else was required!

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