I felt that the experience of looking critically at my work would, at the very least, benefit my future creations... So I entered. It was definitely a last minute decision to submit my images into various categories of the Shoot & Share Photo Contest. This contest was unique in that it wasn't a popularity contest of the most blogged about photographers, it was completely anonymous. Voting was blind. This anonymity empowered me to submit. If the annoying voice in my head that interjects sound bites of "you're not good enough" was indeed right, no one would know except for me.
When I quickly looked through my work (seriously waited until the last hour), I wanted to choose images that were meaningful and still showcased my strengths. I think one of my biggest strengths as a photographer and storyteller is the ability to anticipate and capture those candid, real moments. They're my favorite images from a wedding day. Don't get me wrong, detail shots and posed portraits definitely help tell the entire story, but some pictures just have the ability to make you FEEL. Maybe you can hear the laughter, feel the happy tears running down the father of the bride's cheeks, or remember the lyrics to that song when everyone hit the dance floor to show off those killer moves. In the case of this contest, you can feel the excitement from a little boy running into his dad's arms after their family of three became "official".
Over 110,000 photos were submitted. Over 23 million votes were cast... and little old me made it to the Top 100 in the Shoot & Share contest!!! WHAT?!?!? So crazy. In this contest I was humbled, inspired, baffled, and entertained... crazy things happen at weddings, y'all. It was an amazing feeling to have other photographers appreciate the stories I'm able to tell through my craft. However, this contest wasn't about competition for me. It helped me to reflect on my work, my growth in confidence and skill, and the deep relationships I've been blessed to have with the most amazing clients. It's also incredibly uplifting to be a part of the this creative industry where community trumps competition. I'm grateful for photographers that want to celebrate your successes with you but be there for support when you start to listen to that annoying little voice.
To my JDP family - it's an honor and a privilege to be your storyteller. Thank you for letting me do what I love and share it with the world.