To say it was nerve wracking is an understatement, however this year we finally did it. This past January for the first time ever, we entered our images into a photography contest. We selected and submitted 50 of our favorite images from 2016 into one of the LARGEST photo contests in the world. You can see the full contest results here (Shoot and Share). When I talk about how big this contest is, I mean 332,768 submitted images big! As exciting as it is, it was very much like wearing your heart on your sleeve. Let me get real honest here; being an artist, there is always that little voice of self-doubt. What if I am not as good as I think I am? Who’s to say our images are better than any photography hobbyist down the street. Are we worth what we charge? Do other industry professionals look at us and scoff at our skills? After two months of voting and worrying, we finally found out how our images stacked up. We are so excited to share with you the results of our 15 placing images.
Over all we had one finalist image placing in the top 2.5% of all images. We had 1 top 10% image, 7 top 20% images and 6 images in the top 30%. We are very pleased to share each of these images with you. Not only are each of these images award winning, but what I enjoy more is reflecting on each of the stories behind the images.
Contest Category – Just the Groom | Kathleen and Anthony were married this past November. Kathleen wrote a touching hand written note for Anthony to read the morning of their wedding day. As Anthony sat on his couch that morning ready to head to the church, he took a moment to read what Kathleen had written. I love the timelessness of this image – the card and how the script of Kathleen’s hand writing can be seen through the card.
Contest Category – The Wedding Party | this image comes from Caitlin and Steven’s June wedding. It was an extremely hot June day and the ceremony was held at the beautiful Dubuque arboretum. Steven got down on one knee and read vows to Mia, Caitlin’s 5 year old daughter. Mia hid behind her mama and Marc captured the innocence of the moment perfectly.
Contest Category – Emotion & Excitement | Kalie and Ryan were married on a beautiful day in July. They took a moment before their first look to read letters they had written to each other for their wedding day. The first look is one of my favorite wedding day moments, and the emotion here is so beautiful and genuine.
Contest Category – That Just Happened | Often we have couples who want to include their fur babies into their wedding day. Meet Larry, Kathleen and Anthony’s super adorable French Bull Dog Puppy. Not only was Larry the official ring barrier of the wedding party, but also stole the show during a few portraits. Kathleen’s reaction is priceless!
Contest Category – That Just Happened | Sticking with the “That just happened theme”, we are brought to Kellie and David’s, rainy October wedding. Brookfield Zoo is a fun and unique wedding venue, but Mother Nature just did not let up for us one bit that day. The rain didn’t stop these two as they got cozy under an umbrella while we walked to the carousel. As I ran ahead of them, I spotted a peacock about to cross their path. They were just as surprised as I was of this wandering guest as I jumped ahead and took this image.
Contest Category – Details: All Dressed Up | If you are a blog follower you know how much I love capturing the details of the day. As Kathleen slipped on her bracelet, everything about this image just came together so beautifully. I love her amazing tulle Vera Wang dress, the veil softly touching her arm. The simplicity is just what I love about it.
Contest Category – Details: Ring Shot | Kathleen’s ring is STUNNING. I loved the rose gold accents of both her rings and Anthony’s wedding band. The ring is resting upon the strap of Kathleen’s wedding day purse, and it just tied in the colors so well. This was my favorite ring shot of the year.
Contest Category – Just the Bride | Nicole looked absolutely flawless on her wedding day. She and Tommy wed on a perfect September day at Blumen Gardens. The courtyard with its brick and Iron beams was a stunning backdrop for their ceremony and portraits as well. The floral arch behind Nicole accented the ivory and green in her perfect bouquet.
Contest Category – The Wedding Party | you can’t tell by the look of this picture but Montrose harbor was cold and windy on Kathleen and Anthony’s wedding day. The dapper black tie gentlemen and the ladies in their navy gowns played up the camera a bit and didn’t let the cold get in the way of the fun. A few of the bridal party members are also already husband and wives, which made this picture extra fun. We loved this bridal party.
Contest Category – Details: Emotion & Excitement | Leah and Luke’s September wedding took place at the beautiful and industrial Starline Factory in Harvard. These are two of the sweetest and most genuine people, who were just so excited to finally be saying “I do!” As the ceremony concluded, the guests blew bubbles into the air as everyone cheered. I just love both of their expression in this image, and the high five just throws it over the top for me!
Contest Category – The Wedding Party | Julia and Patrick’s Elmhurst Art Museum wedding was on the most perfect August day. What I love about Julia’s wedding day vision was she wanted to keep it very natural with crèmes, blushes, and greenery. I loved each of the girls’ dresses in the bridal party, they so perfectly went together. Julia just looks stunning in her gown surrounded by her best girls, and her sisters.
Contest Category – Details: Cake, Flowers, Decor | As soon as I saw this cake for Karen and Bill’s September wedding by jaw dropped. The fresh florals adorning this cake sent me over the edge, as they rested on the perfectly sculpted 3 tier cake. Let me just point out that YES, it did taste as good as it looked.
Contest Category – The Wedding Party | I am an old school black and white film lover at heart, and Ashley and Andrew’s April wedding provided an opportunity to capture the beautiful and dramatic light in the historic St. Peter and Paul Catholic church in Naperville. As Ashley arrived in her lace gown with her sisters assisting, she glanced out the door with anticipation. I love the contrast of this image.
Contest Category – The Wedding Couple | We only had a short while before the reception began to capture some images of the newly wedded Nicole and Tommy. The old weathered doorway, the brick, the climbing greenery all beautiful, but nothing in this picture compares to the happiness in Nicole’s expression. The short moments after being announced as husband and wife, these are some of my favorite, authentic moments to capture.
Contest Category – The Wedding Couple | One final image from Kathleen and Anthony’s wedding, and I love this one so much. Their wedding was stunning from start to finish, but what it comes down to is not the day itself, but the beginning of a wonderful marriage. Sure, not every image we take is award winning, but each image we take is important to each of our couples. Other than their spouse, their images are often what our couples are left with after the day has come and gone. We have an important job and one we do not take lightly, these images capture emotion. We truly expect our couples to look back at an image and feel exactly what they felt like that day, at that moment in time. I think this image easily conveys that.