editorial portrait of leatherman odin clack by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

Competition for the Eye and the Details that Matter

Most people don’t realize I LOVE making Editorial Portraits, especially when they’re of super cool people like Odin Clack of Odin Leather Goods.


In this series I show you the RAW images I used straight out of my camera, and what it looks like when these images are combined along with some super AWESOME Photoshop.

While I LOVE photography, and I’m very grateful for Digital Photography, I can honestly say I’m NEVER HAPPY with the way images look straight out of the camera. Part of that is the contrast and tones just aren’t very appealing, which I’ll blame on the “digital” aspect of photography, and the other part is when I look at a space, such as in this portrait of Odin, what I see and what the camera records are always different.

I Equate it to Buying a House

When you walk into a room that’s decorated with someone else’s style, are you able to see beyond the blue walls, the gaudy furniture, and the ugly lighting to see something amazing and special?

I’ll be the first to admit, I can’t.


When it comes to making a portrait, however, I can easily overlook the fluorescent light, the clock on the wall, the garage door track, the flat light on the logo, and many other small details that just destroy an image.

Remember this, “A Portrait is only as good as the subject, and the subject isn’t just the person in the picture.”


Every portrait is about the “subjects”, not a “subject”. Notice the plural “s”.

The background, or what I call “The Scene”, is as important to the image as the person you are photographing, and just so we’re clear, “The Scene” includes both the background and foreground elements in the frame.

Think of this as “Competition for the Eye”.

Competition for the Eye

Every single detail in a portrait is competing for the viewer’s eye, and my job as a Portrait Photographer is to make sure the important details WIN the Eye Competition. This means, if I let one small detail, such as the orange bucket under the desk or the clock on the wall, win your attention, I have FAILED as a Portrait Photographer.

“Why are these smallest of details so important”, you ask?

editorial portrait of leatherman odin clack by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

Regardless of who is posing for a Photillustrator Portrait, the person in front of my lens has a story, loves and is loved, has talents, is passionate about something, and deserves an AMAZING portrait that documents their existence on this planet.

That’s a Wrap

In this post I have called them “subjects” and/or “people”, but what they really are, are LIVES.

My HOPE is with every LIFE that’s portrayed through my Portraits, you and I, the viewers, will get a glimpse in that person what those closest to them feel and see every day of their lives.

An Amazing LIFE, with Amazing TALENTS, and Much LOVE.

The Scene, and all it’s little details, help me, the photographer, share the story of the LIFE being portrayed in the Portrait.

Because I respect MYSELF, my CRAFT, my CREATIVITY, and the LIFE I’m portraying within my portraits, it is on me to make sure every portrait I make is the best I can make.

I HOPE you resonate with my message here, but if you don’t, that’s cool because I’m still going to keep making AWESOME portraits anyway.

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