SWPP GOLD AWARDS
Well firstly more than anything I am always thinking about creating my next great image BEFORE, DURING and AFTER a wedding, all 3 must be considered for any Gold awards I believe. I have won a total of 15 National Wedding Gold Awards since 2012 my best wedding images they have to be different from any other I have seen, and believe me when I say I have seen thousands of images entered into competitions like this over the last 10 years submitted alongside mine and in some cases captured by Photographers in cities like Melbourne which is renowned for its modern Art Deco creations, or Italy with its incredible architecture.
More than anything strong images have to question the normal, they stand out, with bold colours, odd compositions, they make the viewer look twice and hold their attention. I enjoy introducing unusual props they’re included in my finest imagery often overlooked by other photographers i consider it important to as it helps to differentiate an image, and develop your photographic style somewhat. Oh and a bit of luck along the way helps too!
Only 3 images made it to Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) nominations this year 1 from the UK (see my image below) 1 from Italy and 1 from Greece. The results will be announced on SUNDAY 14th January at The Hilton, London I would love to have been there, unfortunately I can’t attend this year but i believe this to be my strongest artistic wedding image to date so I guess i’m with a good chance.
A bit about the image it was created during a Morecambe wedding last year in June the ideas behind it came from 2 of my favourite artists; Rene Magritte and Rodney Smith. It really depends on who judges these competitions really as to whether they understand how difficult it is to make something with virtually no background and still be able to create something truly unique. Anyway I am extremely proud to be the only UK finalist for 2 years running in the Avant Garde wedding category which I feel is the hardest to win and firmly places me at the top of the UK Wedding Photographers fraternity.
I had tried to get hold of a top hat before the Wedding I had tried Debenhams, they wanted £35 and then I had to collect it and return it, so i then considered Lancaster’s Jubilee rooms but they had no secondhand hats in when I phoned the day before. So I was going to omit the hat until that is 5 minutes before i took the photograph a vivacious old man of 85 walked into the hotel wearing this trilby he was going to perform a dance routine somewhere else in the hotel. I brought in my bride and groom from their wedding breakfast, posed them as I had intended popped the hat on the grooms head took about 5 images and the 2nd was the best. Some photoshop work later a tweak here and there and this was my vision. A dark blue suit was worn also helping to tie in the quirkiness of the finished wedding image in all honesty I have probably only ever photographed 3 blue suits in my 15 years as a Full time Wedding Photographer and 2 of them were last year! This is different and anything that is different is good and should actively be looked for and encouraged, blue works well especially here with a yellow/ orange marble floor and wall.
Gold award Avant Gard Wedding Category – Overall 3rd Place
Gold award Avant Garde Wedding Category – International Runner-up 2016
This image below was taken at The Great Hall at Main’s wedding venue in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire during the summer months. What makes this place so beautiful to photograph are the gardens with well-manicured hedges all around. Once inside, the lovely rooms and small windows convey a hard light quality – perfect for my style of wedding photography.
Competition images are closely scrutinized by judges and only the best are awared Gold. Highlighting features of this image are:
a) symmetry b) colour c) impact d) fun
Gold award Avant Garde Wedding Category – June 2013
Storr’s Hall in the Lake District has a dome at its centre (see below) – a very unusual feature and every wedding photographer has tried this shot in one form or another. However, the 100% symmetry is what makes this image work. It is difficult to get all the elements centered during the pressures of a wedding I would say: for example, here the bride and groom had to be coaxed to lean right over the banister and stretch their arms out to make a V shape in order to see their faces. The 4 chandeliers help to center the eye into the middle of the frame; and to finish, I lightened the ceiling and cleaned up the cracks in Photoshop. This has to be one of my favorite images I have; not only that I’ve taken but because of the post-production work that went into the image. I used a Canon 5dc + my 18mm a very wide angle lens at 800asa @ 1/30th.
Gold award Avant Garde wedding category – January 2016
This image was taken at The Villa hotel, wrea green, Lancashire during the evening reception. The face board/ photo booth which was constructed by the groom’s father (ex.ship builder) beautifully crafted from wood and presented to them as a present. I took 3 images of them quickly only asking the bride and groom not to smile, other than that they did their own thing. I got a bit lucky here the expressions are wonderful sarah has pouted her lips beautifully ,the light is so soft you could be mistaken it was taken in a portrait studio!! Worth mentioning behind them was a white netting from the marquee it keeps the background neat and tidy and creates the illusion. I really love creating these quirky simple shots they are easy to do and judges do seem to love them, especially when the hand placements are this good naturally – adding a touch of elegance.
The smaller framed pictures are family members of the groom such a cool idea and a bit different to the norm. Finally turned into a B&W image in Photoshop CC (there wasn’t much colour in this shot originally) the shadows areas have been made lighter using the dodge tool and the frames straightened up in places.
Gold award Avant Garde wedding category – August 2013
The below image was taken at Meols Hall in Southport during the evening reception. The face board/ photo booth, constructed by the groom’s father (an ex-ship builder) was beautifully crafted from wood and presented to them as a present. I took 3 images of them quickly, only asking the bride and groom not to smile! Other than that, they did their own thing! I got a bit lucky here – the expressions are wonderful; Sarah has pouted her lips beautifully; the light is so soft you could mistakenly believe that it was taken in a portrait studio! Behind them was a white netting from the marquee, it keeps the background neat and tidy and enhances the illusion. I really love creating these quirky simple shots, they are easy to do and judges do seem to love them – especially when the natural hand placements are this good – it adds a touch of elegance.
The smaller framed pictures are family members of the groom; such a cool idea and a bit different to the norm. Finally, I turned it into a black and white image in Photoshop CC (there wasn’t much colour in this shot originally). The shadow areas have been made lighter using the dodge tool and the frames have been straightened up in places.
Gold Award Avant Garde Wedding Category -May 2013
The below image was taken at a Wrightington Country Hotel Wedding in the reception area during a Wedding. After moving the sofas to expose the marbled floor I positioned the chair underneath the painting, having previously explored the venue a huge canvas and marble floor in the reception area caught my eye. With a magazine positioned over the grooms face to echo the same shape of the canvas and interest. The reflection on the floor was enhanced with more contrast and a large prominent window cropped from the right side of the picture area to keep the eye focused on the man. This is one of my favourite wedding images I have taken because it is so different to anything I have taken previously, but more importantly seen.
Gold Award Avant Garde Wedding Category – August 2016