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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

June 11, 2014 at 7:19 PM

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Behind the byline: Athletes of the Year multiple-exposure


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Prep Athletes of the Year: Budda Baker, of Bellevue, and Sarah Toeaina, of Kentwood. This was taken on an iPhone 5 with the Hipstamatic app, multiple-exposure mode with Lowy Lens, Rock BW-11 Film settings.

As a photographer, I feel simultaneous pangs of dread and excitement when given a portrait assignment.

Portraits are our chance to make something really striking, given the control of the aesthetics of the situation and the storytelling elements of the image. Or, they can be the dreadfully boring, "stand 'em up and shoot 'em" type.

When I was working my way through college, I spent a summer as a portrait photographer for a studio that contracted with four high schools in the area. The experience taught me that high schoolers, particularly athletes, are a gift to photograph. They are usually freakishly good-looking, patient and agreeable to most requests. Now, whenever given the chance, I like to try to flex my creative muscles with prep assignments.

I wracked my brain all morning Tuesday to think of something different, something that we hadn't yet done. My mind kept coming back to an evocative multiple exposure image with layers. I had used the multiple exposure mode in the iPhone app Hipstamatic before with great results. And, I've photographed prep athletes with a phone before, which went over well. So I went out to make some tests.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Tests with the Hipstamatic app and iPhone.

I knew I needed a dark background for their faces to bleed through each layer, so I scoured different backgrounds around South Lake Union for the right spot. I decided to just start with them in the park and walk down towards two dark brick walls on Fairview Avenue.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

iPhone tests with Prep Athletes of the Year: Budda Baker, of Bellevue, and Sarah Toeaina, of Kentwood.

Fortunately, as I expected, Sarah and Budda were exceedingly patient, kind and up for the challenge. It took a lot of different tries to get the layering and their positions in the frame just right. I found out quickly that I wanted to go for a perspective shift where one was close up and the other further away, to add depth to the frame. Thanks to them for sticking with me — the final frame was the second-to-last one that we shot.

I love using the Hipstamatic app for creative, illustration-style images for my personal photographs or portraits. The multiple exposure function is a small in-app purchase, with tips on their blog for how to use it.

Read the story here.
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