Wedding photography is the ultimate genre for imager-takers who thrive under pressure – after all, there’s no reshoots in this line of work. And, while 2020 has presented new challenges for wedding photographers during the global pandemic, the cream of the crop have risen to the top and been recognised by the International Wedding Photographer of the Year contest.
In fact, 2020’s contest saw entries from more than 60 countries with this year’s Overall Winner announced as James Simmons from Perth, Australia. James, who also took top spot in the Black & White category for his shot commented; ‘This shot was taken on the corner of a column and was initially a portrait of Lisa standing against the dark side to really show off her stunningly-detailed dress and backlight her veil. Her husband James was standing pretty close, giving her something to look at and as I shot and reframed, James’ silhouette started to creep in. The Ying Yang symbol instantly came to mind and later as I refined the image in Photoshop the King & Queen chess board design was also an influence that worked well visually.’
The Runner Up spot in the contest went to Antonio Crutchley, from Miami, USA for this intimate mono portrait that was captured using a Canon 5D MkIII paired with a 50mm f/1.8. James commented: ‘For this shot, I asked the couple to sit inside the car and pretend they were reading something exciting in the paper. I placed a Canon flash with a Mogsphere behind the couple.‘
Winner of the Single Capture category was Australian photographer Keegan Cronin, who scooped the title for a quirky scene that combines waves, clouds and sunbathers. Keegan commented; ‘The couple are from Newcastle, Australia and decided to get married there. The ocean baths are such a big part of the Newcastle culture and originally I wasn’t sure if I should get photos down there as it has been done millions of times. I like to create images that are somewhat unique wherever possible. The couple were keen on getting some portraits down at the beach so I went for a walk with them. I noticed everyone sun baking on the steps and I was worried about taking photos of the public. When I saw the couple walking in I just composed the shot and waited for them to get closer to the middle of the frame. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised everyone on the steps looked like they were in their own little world.’
Winners of the beautifully-named Epic Location category were Virginia Strobel & Evan Cikaluk, who describe themselves as elopement photographers based in the Canadian rocky mountains and captured an image in these rugged surroundings.
One of the best areas for images at a wedding is the dance floor and the winner of the Dance Floor category was announced as Brittany Diliberto, who captured a drag queen bringing the party to life.
Taking top honours in the Solo Portrait category was Midhat Mulabdic, who commented about the image; ‘The photo was captured on a wedding in Lausanne, Switzerland and it’s mostly based on the conventional love between ladies and shoes. I always push myself to photograph “standard” things and wedding events in a different way. When it comes to shoes or other detail shots, they can become ordinary and static. So I try harder to show them them in real life situations by adding a human factor.’
Winner of the Couple Portrait category was Patrick Lombaert, who captured this stunning frame and commented; ‘I like to play with volumes and lines. When I saw this avenue of trees, I quickly saw the graphic potential of the scene. The photo could have been a common image of silhouettes but the elegance of the groom makes his jump special. It is clearly he who offers me the award.’
Another image from the Epic Locations category was this spectacular frame from Darren Hendry, who used the stunning location of Yosemite National Park for the backdrop to this memorable wedding photo.