10 Tips to Win a Wedding Photography Award - ShootZilla

10 Tips to Win a Wedding Photography Award

By Esther de Boer | Marketing

May 27

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 ;-)

tips to win a wedding photography award

Wedding Photography Award Tips

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!

International Wedding photography Contests

Fearless Awards – http://www.fearlessphotographers.com

  • Fearless Awards are stunning wedding photos that excel in redefining wedding photography or are just too amazing!
  • Membership required to enter.
  • 6 contests per year + overall ranking list.
  • 36 free entries (6 per contest) per year.

WPJA Awards – http://www.wpja.com/

  • The Wedding Photojournalist Association put the world’s best wedding photography at your fingertips. We offer a new perspective on wedding photography – quietly capturing the real moments as they happen for the bride and groom.
  • Membership required to enter.
  • 4 contests per year, top 10 overall photographers per year.
  • 60 free credits to enter contests come with membership.

ISPW Awards – http://www.ispwp.com/

  • The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP) is a rarity among wedding photography organizations. Photographers cannot simply buy an ISPWP membership, they have to earn it.
  • Membership required to enter.
  • 4 contests per year.
  • 16 FREE contest entries to the quarterly photography contests.

WPPI Online Awards – http://www.wppionline.com

  • Wedding Photographers International was founded in the 1970’s and provided a much-needed forum for photographers who had long asked for guidance, and an association of their own.
  • Membership required to enter.
  • 2 online contests, album contest, print contest.
  • 30% discount on entering contests with membership.

WWP Awards – http://www.worldweddingphoto.org/

  • The WWP Awards aim to recognize and spread the work of professional wedding photographers, who through their lenses capture the essence and atmosphere of the weddings taking us there for an instance.
  • No membership required to enter.
  • Once a year contest.
  • 10 euros for each photograph you submit.

Dutch Wedding Photography Awards

Bruids Foto Awards – http://www.bruidsfotoawards.nl

  • Started by wedding magazine ‚Bruid & Bruidegom’ it has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Their aim is to create a platform for the best wedding photography.
  • No membership required to enter
  • Once a year contest.
  • Approx. € 18 for each photograph you submit.

Dutch Wedding Awards – http://www.dutchweddingawards.nl

  • The Dutch Wedding Awards rewards all the vendors from the wedding branch including wedding photographers.
  • No membership required to enter
  • Once a year contest.
  • € 150 to join the contest.

The Masters (new) – http://www.de-masters.nl/

  • The Masters is an independent award for the best wedding photography of the Netherlands.
  • No membership required to enter
  • 4 times a year contest + overall ranking.
  • 2 free images, € 10 for each next image.

Let me know if I can make this list more complete, thanks!