After years of being too afraid to submit images, I didn’t start entering photography contests until the middle of last year. It wasn’t until one of my closest friends kept urging me to do it that I sucked it up and finally did (thank you, Kate! You are my forever cheerleader and I’m so lucky to have you!) – and then an absolutely amazing thing happened: I started winning.
It was incredible to win and to be judged by amazing photographers whose work I look up to! Not only that but submitting and winning (and not winning too, I definitely didn’t win with everything I submitted) has pushed me to create even more engaging work, to get in deeper to those awesome emotions and to grab moments that make me feel something deep in my stomach when I click that shutter. In turn, I get better as a wedding photojournalist and I get to give the emotional resulting images to the couples to remember their day with.
The only downside? Many contests are only open for you to submit your most recent work so anything done in previous years, I wasn’t able to submit.
In all honesty, I actually really LIKE this rule because it forces me to continue to push with each new session and it also doesn’t let me get stuck on older images which may have emotional ties for me, but it doesn’t translate to the people outside of the couple because that happens A LOT as photographers. I get really emotionally invested in my couples and their days so while I may know all of the background of an image I photographed and the story of what was happening in those exact moments and the love that I feel for them as people, someone outside of the day may not be able to gather that from the one image which doesn’t make it as universal as we see it.
Making an image striking and full of enough information to give context to the whole story of a moment is tricky work but if you think on any of the work of all the incredible photojournalists that are out there gathering that one image that tells everything you need to know from an event, you know what it looks like to have it work and be utterly compelling.
But there was one image of mine that was from 2017 that I just always loved. I loved it so much and it told the story of the day so very completely that I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Not only that but it was the epitome of a beautiful adventurous wedding in every shape and form and I have found many like-minded couples connect to and reach out to me because they too had a similar story to share and that means so much to me. So Liz + Alex’s wedding on Church Island New Hampshire was something extraordinary but, as I said, it was a wedding from 2017 so when I finally got the guts to submit in mid-2018, it was no longer eligible. But MAN I so badly just wanted to win something for it.
And then I found out about SLR Lounge which does contests and they allow you to submit older work and I jumped on that train and won an award!! WOO! In mid-December of last year, I realized they allow you to submit one image to the contest which was going to be wrapping on December 31st and just yesterday I found out that puppy won an Ascent Award in the Wedding Photojournalist competition! Ahhh! So happy to win and to be included among some awesome photographer’s and their work and to have this image of mine that I love so very much win an award made me such a happy happy girl.
I’m honored to have won this award and to be able to say that this was an award-winning moment in my portfolio. Thank you, SLR Lounge (click HERE to see the whole article)!