Last night I attended the Master Photographers Association annual print competition which was held at the Owl Hotel in Hambleton. There were over 250 entries in the competition, with categories ranging from landscape and travel through to sport and of course, weddings. As I am a specialist wedding photographer, I only entered 2 out of the 3 wedding categories, the 3rd category being Classical weddings, my style is far from classical! As Yorkshire has one of the highest concentration of wedding photographers in the country, with the wedding categories containing the highest proportion of entries it was always going to be tough. I was up against some of Yorkshires best Photographers whose work is of a very high standard. The Judge for the evenings competition was Mr John Parris, a Scottish photographer who works in a very contemporary style. First up was the category of Bridal Portraiture, although my work is based strongly around a documentary approach to the day, it is always great to capture some nice portraits of my brides in a relaxed setting, very often unposed and very natural. 4 boards were placed in front of the audience, once John had turned the first over I could see that it was one of my images. This image gained the award of a Merit. The shot below was taken at The splendid Walton Hall in Warwickshire, the shot of Joanne was unposed and taken as she came down the stairs to enter the ceremony room.

It all happened a bit quick and I did not notice who placed third as I was pleased to have got a merit myself, but I do recall it being a very nice image. Then John turned over the next board, and once again there was another of my images, this time being placed as the runner up in the category. Below is the image, taken Gosfield Hall in Essex a few weeks back, this shot was slightly posed as Nathalie had just finished getting ready, she was already stood in front of the mirror as that is where she got ready. I could already see this image in my head, and knew it was going to be a great shot.

Then finally John turned over the winning image in this category, and to my surprise it was again one of my images. I had only entered 3 images in this category and all of them had placed in the top 4. This shot again was taken at Walton Hall in Warwickshire and again is not posed. Unfortunately it rained nearly all day at this wedding a few weeks back, however we did have a 10 minute gap where it cleared just before the receiving line was due to start. So we headed outside to try and grab a couple of shots. This shot of Joanne was taken as she walked along a covered section of the hall, her partner was off to her right and I managed to capture this shot as she glanced over to him. The floor was very wet so she is holding her dress up to keep it off the floor.

I had never attended a print competition like this before but having won the title of Bridal Portrait Photographer of the year 2009 for the Yorkshire region I was very pleased indeed.
The next category to be judged was that of Avant Garde Wedding Photographer of the Year 2009. Again the boards were placed out in front of us and turned over to reveal the merit winners and the runner up, finally John turned over the last board to reveal the winning image and yet again it was one of mine. To win another category whilst up against some strong competition was fantastic. The shot again was taken at my Walton Hall wedding of Joanne and Adam, this was taken during our short and only session outside due to the rain. I wanted to capture the whole mood of the sky as it was very dark and full of rain clouds, I try and create something a bit different with my creative portraits on the wedding day which are very spontaneous and in tune with my surroundings when ever possible. Below is the image that has given me the title of Avant Garde Wedding Photographer of the year 2009 for the Yorkshire region.

These images are now being put foward for the National competitions, with results being disclosed in October. I’ll keep you posted!!