“Kitchen Corner Portrait No 5.” by Karen O’Hara

This image is one in a series of portraits all taken in the corner of my kitchen with the patio doors to the left of my subjects to take advantage of the lovely natural light streaming in. Due to the limitations of my kitchen in terms of the distance between where the subjects are standing and myself with the camera with my back literally hitting the wall, this produces a certain and limited focal length type look to the series.

I blue-tac some neutral green cardboard to my cupboard to provide a background for my subjects and to hide the kitchen sink. I also prefer not to feature the windows/doors. With all my subjects, most of whom would not be used to posing, I try to see what I can extract from them in terms of personality and what they can give to the camera within the confined space. Most of my subjects are planned visits, though occasionally I may spontaneously ask someone who happens to be in the house to pose.

The girl in the portrait is the daughter of a friend of mine. When Caelan agreed to pose for me I told her to bring several outfits and I would choose the best that I thought would work for the shots. I liked the lines and colour patterns of the stripes in Caelan’s jumpsuit which would work well with the green background but more importantly, I liked the repetition of the lines in Caelan’s straight hair with the lines in her jumpsuit and shape of her flowing hair while trying to capture an innocence and fragility of a girl first entering her teens. And, as a bonus, while trying to achieve this, a sense of mystery was captured with Caelan’s kitchen portrait.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

I like the way all of the visual elements come together very simply including the positioning of Caelan’s arms and her facial expression, particularly her clear eyes, that draws the viewer in.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I would have more green boards going across the subject so I could have a bit more choice in terms of more variety in arm positions and poses.

Karen O’Hara shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Karen O’Hara, Kilkenny, Ireland

Equipment and settings

Nikon D810 + Nikkor 50mm lens. Green cardboard backgrounds, blue tac. Since it was indoors and without flash, I used a high ISO of 3200 with aperture of F8 at 1/320 sec.

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Comments (6):

  1. Cynthia Gladis

    July 6, 2021 at 18:29

    This is such a lovely portrait and a perfect expression of being that age. I love it.

    • Karen O'Hara

      July 12, 2021 at 01:26

      Thank you, Cynthia!

  2. André Dupuis

    July 6, 2021 at 19:59

    Very nice, good pose and good soft lighting.

    • Karen O'Hara

      July 12, 2021 at 01:27

      Thank you, Andre.

  3. Dennis Perry

    July 10, 2021 at 15:09

    Thank you for sharing the process! I love this

    • Karen O'Hara

      July 12, 2021 at 01:28

      Thank you, Denis.


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