President Trump’s new official portrait lacks pro lighting and definition

Nov 1, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

President Trump’s new official portrait lacks pro lighting and definition

Nov 1, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The White House have released new official portraits for both President Trump and Vice President Pence. Pence’s actually looks pretty good, but Trump’s? Not so much. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it just looks like a smartphone grab shot with ambient room light.

The portraits were shot by two different photographers. Shealah Craighead and D. Myles Cullen photographed Trump and Pence, respectively. The newly released Trump portrait does offer a more friendly pose and expression than the last one, but the bad lighting and messy background really lets it down.

Looking at the new vs old portraits side by side, neither are really all that flattering.

The old one, shot in January, has a definite uncomfortable feeling. The pose and expression are just a little bit… creepy. Despite this, and the weird blue background, it still sort of works for me, though. There’s clear separation of subject and background through depth of field and colour. The lighting, overall just seems much more thought out, it has depth. Even if the image is a bit more “reality star” than presidential.

The new one, by comparison, has no real depth at all. It seems a lot happier, sure, but it really just looks like ambient room light. Perhaps with a touch of a rim light coming through a window behind him on camera left. There’s far too much depth of field, and what’s the deal with that picture frame corner on the wall behind him?

And that photo comes from the official White House photographer, Shealah Craighead.

The Pence portrait, on the other hand was created by DoD photographer, D. Myles Cullen. And it’s rather good. “Head in a clean spot”, as Zack Arias has drilled into us for years. Good lighting showing depth and form. And a shallower depth of field taking focus off the background. Much more the style of portrait we’ve become accustomed to for high ranking government officials.

Now that the new photos have been released, they will begin to adorn post offices, federal and other government buildings across the USA.

Regardless of what one may think of the man himself, does this photograph really do justice to the position of President of the USA?

[via CNBC]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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60 responses to “President Trump’s new official portrait lacks pro lighting and definition”

  1. Tod Heckert Avatar
    Tod Heckert

    Fake smile on the American Dictator Trump.

  2. Mike Downey Avatar
    Mike Downey

    Definitely does him justice. He’s the “unpresidented” president.

  3. Jessica Mendez Avatar
    Jessica Mendez

    The one on the right looks better and I am just a illustrator/massage therapist. LOL

  4. Donn R. Nottage Avatar
    Donn R. Nottage

    Top lighting. Horrible.

  5. Kevin Kerfoot Avatar
    Kevin Kerfoot

    The original placeholder photo for Trump made him look like he wanted to kill somebody. If we really want to get political about this, Trump himself isn’t doing justice to the position of President of the USA.

  6. Boettcher Robert Avatar
    Boettcher Robert

    The BEST they can do with so little to work with!

  7. Robert E Lee Avatar
    Robert E Lee

    Yeah, the new portrait is better. He had no neck in the first portrait and he kinda looked like a cartoon vulture.

  8. Paul Richards Avatar
    Paul Richards

    Both very straight on though. What happened to turning the body slightly three quarters on to the camera?

  9. Marius Budu Avatar
    Marius Budu

    A presidential portrait should reflect the president’s character which this does best. Frame that beauty and pop it in the white house.

  10. Ron Montgomery Avatar
    Ron Montgomery

    I’ve been saying the whole time that the Pisshead photos lack that professional look.

  11. Matthew Nehrling Avatar
    Matthew Nehrling

    The squinting bothers me as well.

  12. Anthony Guerriere Avatar
    Anthony Guerriere

    The photographer who took the photo of Pence should take over as White House Photographer. The person who took Trumps photos is either a bad photographer or they’re taking bad photos of him on purpose.

    1. Liam Bluck Avatar
      Liam Bluck

      I’d like to think it’s purposely done.

    2. Diane Howe-Mcguirk Avatar
      Diane Howe-Mcguirk

      Maybe it’s photoshopped and that’s the best they can do with his fake orange complexion. ?

  13. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    I definitely could have done alot better!!!!as well as many others copuld have, was this taken with an IPHONE on the run!

    1. Linda Gayle Griffin Avatar
      Linda Gayle Griffin

      Maybe it would be a good thing to learn how to spell a lot beforehand..

  14. Red Eye Avatar
    Red Eye

    You know those people saying they only shoot with available light… so here’s the difference

  15. Corina Bueno Avatar
    Corina Bueno

    The smile is better. Hard to work with a “tan” though. Both ok, bring out more dimension.

  16. Calvin Go Avatar
    Calvin Go

    Political parties aside, you know those who says i only shoot with available light…

    So here’s the difference between available light and lightning properly

    To think she’s the official photographer

  17. Mike Musto Avatar
    Mike Musto

    Taken with an iPhone

  18. Karen Grolz Puglisi Avatar
    Karen Grolz Puglisi

    They were probably a driver for him at one time and he said, ‘you can take pictures right? You’re now the official WH photographer. Let me get you a big, really big, the best camera, so you can take, fantastic, the best, most beautiful pictures ever.’

  19. Chris Lapointe Avatar
    Chris Lapointe

    To answer your question, no it does not. My question: Does this photo reflect the man in it?

  20. Dave Minnich Avatar
    Dave Minnich

    Shit person, shit photo. Makes sense.

  21. James F Byrnes Avatar
    James F Byrnes

    Orange can be difficult to light properly….??

  22. DUCK! Avatar
    DUCK!

    Anyone think that Trump looks a bit like Carter in the above pic?

  23. Krzysztof Szyper Avatar
    Krzysztof Szyper

    I think it’s deliberate. He wears badly tailored suits from the best tailor in the world just because we want’s look more like simple Joe, so his photo is just simple’s Joe selfie.

  24. Karen Padilla Avatar
    Karen Padilla

    The Photoshop editing taking out his wrinkles wasn’t bad but overdoing taking the orange skin out and replacing it with white skin – the likes of which we have never seen before on him – is awful. His chin is also blurred, his tie is crooked. The flag is in focus, though, and that’s most important. The frame on the wall is a distraction. Composition 101 is free. Most likely, Ivanka, took the photo. Buy her some lessons.

  25. Harry Stone Avatar
    Harry Stone

    Just awful!!! I can still tell who he is. Sad. Like you wouldn’t believe.

  26. Harry Murray Avatar
    Harry Murray

    Who cares … Besides, the men do even less justice to both positions. Maybe the portraits aren’t the problem. One is a complete jackass and the other is a complete loon … ain’t got much to work with.

  27. Debra Elizabeth Avatar
    Debra Elizabeth

    Wow, so much shadow on his face!

  28. Joe Adams Avatar
    Joe Adams

    Someone run the EXIF!

  29. Tatsujin Photography & Design Avatar
    Tatsujin Photography & Design

    Well it’s better than the original by far.

  30. Liam Broome Avatar
    Liam Broome

    To be fair the photographer probably wanted to get in and out as fast as he could who’d want to be in a room with trump for an hour

  31. Marko Avatar
    Marko

    I can imagine trying to direct him towards the spot where to take the photo and ask him to pose. He probably not an easy subject. Trump’s photo looks like it was cropped from a group shot

    1. TByte Avatar
      TByte

      ..after he shoved the other people in the group out of the way.

      1. Marko Avatar
        Marko

        :-)

  32. Alexandre Grondin Avatar
    Alexandre Grondin

    Probably another libtard photographer trying to make him look bad.

    1. TByte Avatar
      TByte

      LOL
      It’s not like anybody needs to try.

  33. D.Sigrey Avatar
    D.Sigrey

    Well he’s not very bright and lacks definition as well…

  34. Paul Willy Brown Avatar
    Paul Willy Brown

    Hillary’s photos are so much better, Bill’s too !

  35. Rob Eves Avatar
    Rob Eves

    To really get that presidential look it should be up-lit with a green gel.

  36. Bruce Kinnaird Scott Avatar
    Bruce Kinnaird Scott

    …. asthenic…. quality….. creativity…. decent subject matter……

  37. Tronn Hansen Avatar
    Tronn Hansen

    It actually looks like he has been photoshopped onto the background.

  38. Meng Tian Avatar
    Meng Tian

    He just sucks at everything.

  39. Wesley Bushby Avatar
    Wesley Bushby

    No pro wants to get close to him, let alone fear of not getting full payment.

  40. Chris Mason Avatar
    Chris Mason

    Whoa…..everyone relax….this portrait is perfect for Donald…..completely unprofessional and executed without much thought.

  41. Esteban Ruiz Avatar
    Esteban Ruiz

    He just lit up the new to be President Pence And put that ? ? in the dark

  42. Jason Kapell Avatar
    Jason Kapell

    nice piece of a picture frame thrown in for texture. Official photog is the niece of one of trump’s pals, no doubt.

  43. Sherri Vallie Avatar
    Sherri Vallie

    Because he is not a pro and definitely in the dark

  44. Jeff Hayward Avatar
    Jeff Hayward

    He isn’t that bright.

  45. Justin Barr Avatar
    Justin Barr

    Pro lighting for a pro president. I would say he’s at the cellphone photo level of presidential quality.

  46. M Holden Warren Avatar
    M Holden Warren

    you can lean everything from her instagram — https://www.instagram.com/shealahdcphoto/ — just meh photos show meh understanding of the craft resulting in meh photos of meh president … so in the meh aesthetic of the current administration is perfect, everything is basic- like ketchup on a well done filet mignon

  47. Terence Pereira Avatar
    Terence Pereira

    It doesn’t do justice to the position of President of the USA but it’s a lot better than is worth doing for the current President of the USA.

  48. jason bourne Avatar
    jason bourne

    Even Photoshop can’t color correct his orange reptilian skin.

    A soft focus set at 100% might help… Or a large paper bag.

  49. Rageeth Rags Kollatt Avatar
    Rageeth Rags Kollatt

    Let me rephrase that ‘ Does HE really do justice to the position of President of the USA?

  50. JimCracky Avatar
    JimCracky

    These are the shittiest official photos I have ever seen. They look like drivers license shots.

    OTOH- if they’re gonna hang in post offices, perhaps people will interpret them as America’s 10 most wanted photos.

    Absolutely shitty, like the two assholes themselves.

  51. kimages Avatar
    kimages

    If the “pro” photographer cannot prep, take charge of the session, and get the job done properly (she didn’t), she should have heard him say “You’re Fired!”
    Disgusting portrait…..but could be worse …… his opponent in the role instead.

  52. tyeeCR Avatar
    tyeeCR

    I feel sorry for the poor souls who can’t be civil and just critique a couple of photos.

  53. Carl P. Mudgen Avatar
    Carl P. Mudgen

    If the client is happy, job done. That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t really look that much different than Biden’s and I don’t recall anyone losing their shit over that one. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joe_Biden_official_portrait_crop.jpg

  54. Mark Niebauer Avatar
    Mark Niebauer

    Probably done by a stupid libtard.