Yesterday I had the honor to visit the 10th edition of the Dutch wedding photography awards ceremony. Very cool to see how happy all the nominees and winners were. And how everyone in the room was very happy for the winners.
In order to get you guys all in the spirit of winning awards I put my research on this subject in a nice handy list of tips. As for my own credits around this subject, last year I submitted 5 images and 3 got nominated (out of over 2000 submissions approx. 60 got nominated), nice ratio right?
On to the tips, looking forward to your award winning images ;-)
1. Research the contest guidelines. I talked to a couple of the jurors last night and they were super clear on how they judged the images, just like they said so in the competition rules that you have to read before selecting your images. Very important: also get the format right, size & resolution.
2. Remove the emotion you felt at the moment you took the photo. Is the photo just as powerful to someone who did not share the moment?
3. Research the type of contest. What images work well for this type of competition? Are they photojournalistic? Then rough, honest images stand a good chance. Are they more polished and glamourous, send in your best posed shot. If you look at past awards you can get an idea of what images work well with any contest. Also take note if the past awards have a lot of black & white’s. If that is the case and your image works in black & white you might have a better chance to be selected when choosing black & white.
4. If there are categories involved, choose the right category. Ask your peers what category they think your image would fit best.
5. Avoid clichés and if you think your best shot is a cliché, be honest to yourself, is it really the best version of this type of pose/ image/ situation? See also tip 6 & 7 when judging your own work.
6. Aim for images that stand out! Put yourself in the judges shoes. Imagine you will see hundreds or thousands of wedding images, what will catch their eyes, what will stand out to them?
7. Aim for technical perfection. Is the light really adding to the subject of your photo? Is the composition perfect? Is the background free of any distractions? Does the image tell a story or is there a nice moment happening?
8. Get peer reviews for your selected images. Not as a final vote for your submission, but to see what images get the most reactions and what images get no reactions. Ask why! I have a peer group of wedding photographers and sometimes we share our images in a private Facebook group. People can easily like your photo if they think it stands a chance in a competition and this will give you some indication.
9. Act! You will never win if you don’t enter a contest now and then. If you are not part of a wedding photography association yet, become a member today. You will learn and grow! See below for a list of associations.
10. Get organized! Make it a step in your workflow (after culling or editing) to select your favorites from each wedding and put them in a separate folder. When it’s contest time you just review that folder. TIP: add this as a task in your ShootZilla wedding workflow so you will be reminded.
Let me know if you are joining the contests and what tip is new to you!
Fearless Awards – http://www.fearlessphotographers.com
WPJA Awards – http://www.wpja.com/
ISPW Awards – http://www.ispwp.com/
WPPI Online Awards – http://www.wppionline.com
WWP Awards – http://www.worldweddingphoto.org/
Bruids Foto Awards – http://www.bruidsfotoawards.nl
Dutch Wedding Awards – http://www.dutchweddingawards.nl
The Masters (new) – http://www.de-masters.nl/
Let me know if I can make this list more complete, thanks!