Follow Up – What Constitutes the Art of Wedding Photography?

January 18, 2011 | christy

Thank you so much to every person who commented on yesterday’s discussion about what constitutes the art of wedding photography. We are humbled and grateful to be able to read all of your opinions. We have really taken them to heart and they will definitely inform our decisions around our editorial content and our submission guidelines for the annual Best of the Best collections going forward. In the meantime, we have added language to the Best of the Best 2010 explaining the context of the included images.

We want to reiterate that we did not put any limitations on what kinds of photos were allowed to be submitted to our Best of the Best 2010, so all photos were welcome, and we stand by our choices. We think it is a powerful collection filled with inspirational images, and that it’s a representation of the evolution of our industry in general. For example, this year’s submissions trended towards saturated and graphically composed images, couple portraits, and moments of very subdued emotion, and we received a very small percentage of photos documenting ceremonies or receptions. As a result, our final selections reflected the whole. We are always fascinated to see what we will have to work with and we can’t wait to see how the zeitgeist will evolve this year.

Because we’re all human, and because art is subjective, we do not pretend to think that we can please all people all of the time. What we can do is stay open, flexible and committed to integrity, and strive to do our very best for the wedding photography community. Photography is our passion, and we’re honored to be part of an industry that can engage in intelligent and respectful debate and discussion – for us this is where creativity and innovation are born. Our goal, as always, is to be a supportive, encouraging and inspirational resource for all.

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  1. I realize I am jumping in at the last minute, but I just want to say, way to go for putting yourselves in the hot seat. Bravo!

  2. I was disappointed in this post because you backpedal from the very reasonable (and I believe correct) position you took in the previous post. The argument that your selection is a reflection of dominant trends in the submission process doesn’t work. One need look no further than the title to see that the contest was about showcasing what you considered to be the “best of the best,” not a representative survey of what was submitted. By definition you are picking images that are exceptional (i.e. an exception from the rest) which is, I think, the way we all want contests to be run. We don’t want to see images that were average or “what most people submitted.” The fact that most images were one way or another shouldn’t really affect the outcome. For example, just because 99 people submitted an image of a bride in a white dress, doesn’t prevent you from choosing the 1 image of a bride in a yellow dress if it is a better image. You had no responsibility to represent the majority, your responsibility was to choose what you considered best. It is also your responsibility to defend that decision rather than blame what you were given to work with. You should be saying that you chose few images representing actual ceremonies because you didn’t think they were as good as the other ones your chose, or say that you don’t like real moments, or that a good portrait moves you more, or whatever you like. But don’t put it back on the photographers. To say that your choice was forced because of the quantity of one type of image is to partially abdicate your responsibility and authority as judges.

  3. To Julia – thank you very much!

    To David – thank you for pointing out that our words may not have been as clear as we intended them to be in this post. In writing this we had absolutely no intention of back-pedaling or changing our position. We meant it wholeheartedly when we said “all photos were welcome, and we stand by our choices.”

    The mention of the trends we saw in the submissions were simply an observation that we found interesting and relevant to the discussion of the evolution of the industry, and we thought that many in this conversation might as well. We were not stating that the trends we saw created criteria for the photos we chose – we worked very, very hard over many hours, long debates and a serious sense of responsibility to select the photos we thought were the strongest overall – for their technical excellence, their composition and their creative point of view among many other factors. We did not choose them based on how many of that style of photo we received.  

    I hope that helps to clarify the issues you were mentioning. Also, we’ll be at WPPI in February and would love to have the opportunity to continue discussing this and any photography related topics face-to-face. All photographers, please do say hello or find us if you are interested!

  4. I planned my entire wedding off of Junebug. I say, keep doing what you have been doing. The photos on this site rock!

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