Best Wedding Photographer of the Year
Best Wedding Photographer of the Year: An incredibly well-timed photo of a cheeky bird landing on a startled bride’s head has won the 7th International Wedding Photographer of the Year award.
Photographer Tara Lilly of Whistler, Canada, won first place among 1,700 photos that were submitted across 11 categories by over 300 wedding photographers from around the world.
Ms. Lilly’s shot was entered into the contest’s “Single Capture” category, the rules of which required that no entry can be manipulated or photoshopped beyond standard adjustments to color and exposure.
In Ms. Lilly’s image, a Canada jay, or whiskey jack, landed squarely on the beautiful bride’s head. Mikaela stands opposite her groom, Mitch, with her hands clasped and mouth wide open in shock and delight at their unexpected guest. The jovial moment is in contrast to the vast, moody landscape of Canadian mountains in the background.
“I was drawn to the winning entry for its perfection in capturing this chance encounter,” said Dee Kampe, 2022 Grand Winner and one of six judges of the 2023 IWPOTY awards, in a press release. “It’s joyous, uplifting, and makes me grin from ear to ear just looking at it. There’s pure unfiltered emotion, there’s surprise, there’s the unexpected. It encapsulates the emotions and narrative that runs through an entire wedding day in a single frame.”
Mikaela and Mitch’s intimate wedding ceremony was held in an alpine meadow on Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh & L̓il̓wat7úl First Nations territory in Whistler. They had to reach their chosen spot using four-wheel drive jeeps. Whiskey jacks are known to the area, and are even famous for “entertain[ing] skiers waiting in the lift line by landing on their ski poles held in the air.”
As the winner of The 2023 International Wedding Photographer of the Year, Ms. Lilly won a share of a $3,000 prize fund, in addition to an array of products from contest sponsors.
Meanwhile, second place went to Italian wedding photographer Carmelo Ucchino for a photo submitted to the “Dance-Floor” category. In his shot, newlyweds in Sicily hold each other close for their first dance while delicate water droplets rain around them, forming a decorative feature.
“I remember with amusement the slippery floor after prom,” Mr. Ucchino said. “A few slips and lots of laughter to liven up the story of this wedding even more!”
According to contest curator, Luke Simon, this year saw an increase of an extra 200 entries over last year.
“It’s exciting to see the industry bouncing back after some tough years,” he said.
Now in its 7th year, The International Photography Awards celebrates exceptional wedding photography worldwide.
All category winners, plus the top 15 images within each category, are being shared in the 2023 Winners Gallery.
Below are some of the most impressive entries:
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