Award Winning Image 2014 | Ernesto Sue

On the morning of Tuesday March 23rd on my Facebook news feed I notice an event about a wedding photo competition by The Wedding Portrait Society title "Portrait Palooza 2014" in downtown Raleigh, which was happening on the same evening.  Typically I would ignore photo competitions because in my view the deck could be stacked against the competitors, but this particular event peaked my interest.  In most photo competitions one would submit an image that was previously made for a specific category which is fine.  However, if one had enough time, resources and outside help anyone can or should be able to create a great image.  I believe that are artist / photographer should be able to compete in the same fashion as athletes where everyone has the same time, resources and restrictions.  So as I investigated the "Portrait Palooza 2014" competition a little more I found that it was exactly what I thought a photo competition should be.

The rules were simple, every photographer will get 10 mins to shoot a random model.  There's no preparation, so when your name is called and you are paired with a random model it's go time and the clock starts ticking.  In the 10 mins the vendors wanted us to capture 3 things 1) the venue 2) the dress and 3) bouquet.  These 3 peaces of information were very important in this competition as the vendors were judging the images.  After the images were taken, we had 48 hours to submit two images to be judged.

I really didn't have any preparation for this competition, I signed up the morning of the event and in the evening of the event as I sat in the holding area before my name was called I had a few minutes to think about what I wanted to do and all that I keep thinking about was speed.  Thinking about composition and posing was pointless because I had no idea who I was shooting and where I would shoot.  So when my name was called I hit the floor because I wanted to capture the venue's beautiful ceiling as it was the first thing I saw when I entered the venue.  Then I thought about the dress and bouquet.  I used the icelight because using constant light in 10 mins is the best solution to increase speed.  After I had those 3 things lined up, then I thought about posing the model and composition.  When I took my first image I knew had something but I didn't like the expression on the model's face but I really didn't have much time to correct it as I had to keep going just in case I was wrong.

It turned I was wrong and the first image I snapped was the winning image.  This was my first photo competition I ever entered and this was probably a fluke that I won, but I am pretty honored that the judges loved the image enough to vote for it, so thank you very much, it means a great deal to me.  Here's what the judges had to say.

"Wow! What an attention grabbing photo! So many great things going on.. using the lights to frame the composition, great moment, technically well executed. I would like a little more refinement on the light position so you get more light onto the shadow side of her face but well done. "

Location - Babylon Restaraunt
Dresses - Formalwear Outlet
Flowers - Ninth St Flowers
Model - Katie McGhee
MUA & Hair - Brandice Farrar

Award Winning Image 2014