We just won SWPP Members Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year!
Last Week I attended the Annual Convention of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Professionals (SWPP).
The show runs over 8 days and is a fantastic event with fabulous training opportunities. Over 14,000 photographers visited the show this year which was held at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, London.
Due to a rather busy photography schedule I was only able to attend the show from the Wednesday through to the Saturday, but I managed to squeeze a ton of learning into those 4 days.
The culmination of the week is the Annual SWPP Awards Dinner held on the Sunday evening and hosted by TV personality Phillipa Forrester – sadly due to photography commitments I couldn’t attend this year – I did have some entries in the Final, but having viewed the stiff competition I thought I had zero chance of winning.
So imagine my surprise when I received a text message on Sunday night from one of my colleagues at the dinner letting me know that I had won an award! I was gobsmacked to say the least.
The award was “Members Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year” – this is a competition that runs throughout the year on the SWPP Members discussion forum. Each Week we are asked to put forward an image against a particular wedding theme and the membership then votes for the winning image each week. The winning images are then put forward for a final vote and the winner gets the title of Members Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year.
The SWPP is the fastest growing association for professional photographers and has 1000’s of members worldwide, so it is a fabulous honour to be given an award that was voted on by my fellow members and peers.
The winning image had just got into the final on the last week of the competition when members are asked to submit their “best” image of the year – that was an honour in itself to win that week, but to win the overall competition was totally unexpected.
So thanks to my fellow members and a HUGE thank you to our Wedding couple, Maria and Ewen Christie who were very patient with myself and Morag when we created this image on a very rainy and dark day in November under the Glasgow University Cloisters. Although I was the photographer, this image is all about the lighting and pose, so full credit has to go to Morag who setup the lighting and to Maria and Ewen who needed just a tiny bit of direction from us to pull this off.
From a technical standpoint the image was taken under very challenging conditions – it was indeed very very dark (it was raining at monsoon levels) and we had to expose at 1/30s f/2.8 and using ISO 6400. It is a testament to the power of the Nikon D700 cameras that I use that I was able to get this image at all. The lighting was from what little ambient daylight there was, and a single Lowell ID Video light, held expertly by Morag who was tucked in behind the left-hand pillar. The video light presents a warm tungsten colour balance and when we adjust this back on the computer we have to cool the light a bit to get correct skin tones – this then has the wonderful side-effect of cooling the ambient daylight colour and you then get that beautiful blue colour that you can see in the image. 6400 iso is a very high gain level to set your camera to, and for an image like this we would normally hope to be at just 200 iso – a higher iso level can cause a lot of digital noise in an image, however the Nikon handles it very well and what noise remains present can be further cleaned up during processing by the very powerful Lightroom 3 software that we use.
So, SWPP Members Choice Wedding Photographer of the Year 2010 – a culmination of a fantastic year! A big thank you from myself and Morag to all our 2010 couples for helping us make our job so much fun!