Photo: Autumn by Marco A Gallico

It’s incredible how a stunning portrait can instantly captivate the viewer. For our Portrait Photo Quest, we asked you to get creative with lighting, setting, and composition when taking portrait photos. The results were unforgettable—your photos evoked all kinds of emotions and were each as unique as the subjects within them.

It wasn’t easy to choose just one winner, but we had to go with Autumn by Marco A Gallico. The lucky winner of this Photo Quest is receiving a Professional Speedlite from Yongnuo.

Autumn by Marco A Gallico on

Find out what our judge loved about this photo: This stunning portrait gives the viewer a sense of location just by using shadows and colors. The photographer used leaves as a prop in a very interesting way; we don’t get to see the leaves, just the shadows they cast on the model’s face. The subtle but unusual make up matching her red wardrobe helps to create a very stylized portrait.

The photographer, Marco A Gallico, says he has “always been an observer.” Gallico likes different types of photography and the projects he works on are really different from each other. As Gallico says, “I don’t like to walk always the same street; I like to explore.”

Gallico gave us the behind-the-scenes of his winning photo: This portrait was taken on a cold autumn day in the Sempione Park, Milan, Italy. The set in general was inspired from the surrealism of Lewis Carroll, the Muir woods sequence in Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958), as well by the leaves in the autumn. I love the colors of the leaves in the autumn; orange, brown, yellow, red… the make up artist painted around [the model’s] eyes something that reminded of the autumn leaves. I played with the shadows of the leaves on her face. She was in perfect harmony with the idea, and she looks so natural.

For more inspiration, take a look through the submissions by our runners up:

Color doesn

very old woman by Mich Ciep on

Flores Child by Egor Tupikov on

Daria by Liudmila Dutko on

Life needs sparks by Nathan Fang on

Sonya by Vicky Random (Savinkova) on

Calling by Alexandra Bochkareva on

Visualize by Niels Woldberg on

Karen Padiha - girl with a dragon tattoo by Anthony Graziano on

In case you missed the chance to submit photos to this Photo Quest, 500px is currently accepting entries for our “Feel The Love” Quest. Submit your three best photos that showcase love creatively for your chance to win an Awesome 1-year 500px membership and a 500px swag pack.