The Story Behind the 6th Edition of Canon BP WPOY 2016-17
Over the years, the Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards have been instrumental in recognising the very best talent in the wedding photography arena. Here’s a look at the story of the sixth edition of the contest.
Ever since its first edition in 2009, the Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards has grown by leaps and bounds, becoming the only national level awards in the country to recognise wedding photographers.
When the awards were first initiated, the wedding photography landscape was very different from what it is today. The profession and genre itself was not treated with the same kind of seriousness that other genres of photography receive. When you think about it, these are the people who you entrust the responsibility of documenting your most important day. It was long due that they be appreciated for their efforts.
Over the years, we have seen spectacular photographs emerge out of different corners of India… From very simple and intimate ceremonies, to the really loud and extravagant ones. Today, there is a value placed on not just having photographs commemorating the day, but to also have pictures of the several private moments shared by the bride and the groom and their families alike. These are ultimately going to be the photographs that will be fondly looked at for years to come and will be passed on to the next generation.
The Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards has revealed a wide spectrum of photography styles. Whether it is in the innovative use of gear or props, or for that matter, even employing a documentary approach to photographing a wedding, our participants have revealed just how versatile and creative they can be.
Entries from All Over the Country
This year, in its sixth edition, the Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 Awards, received a staggering 24,785 entries from across 281 cities and towns in India. The submissions were made online, via the Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards website, in six different categories—Bride & Groom Portraiture, Family & Friends, Emotions, Behind the Scenes or Offbeat, Finer Wedding Detail or Still Life and Photoseries on a Single Wedding.
Arriving at Our Six Category Winners
The submissions were then handed over to an esteemed panel of 71 judges, comprising of the very best photographers from around the world, belonging to the wedding photography community, senior photographers, national photo editors, and a group of very special people without whom a wedding wouldn’t be possible… fathers and mothers of the bride and groom, and newly married couples themselves.
A special online judging module was created, wherein each of our 71 judges picked their favourite photograph from each category. The module comprised of a three-stage system that progressively narrowed down the selected photographs, first to the top 50 in each category, and finally to six nominees in each category. The module was also designed in a way that the judge had to be absolutely certain of his selection, before going ahead to the next stage. But before they could freeze upon their selections, our panelists were requested to keep a few pointers in mind. They had to consider factors such as composition, lighting, framing, timing, poses, expressions and the complexity of the photographs. Once the votes were in, the Better Photography team personally called the nominees and winners to verify their winning submissions.
Finding the One
Now that we had our six contenders—Anill Patil, Prakash Parmar, Nitin Dangwal, Abhishek Scariya, Kaustav Sarkar and Sombit Dey—it was time to begin the much anticipated face-off round. The face-off is particularly interesting, as we placed certain limitations on the category winners to see just how well they performed, while under pressure. This year was no different either, as each of the contenders made their way through the beautiful property of the Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach.
At the end of the face-off, we flew down two of the most renowned and distinguished wedding photographers in the country—Prakash Tilokani and Sephi Bergerson—to decide who should receive the title of Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17. After almost four hours of intense deliberation amongst themselves and the participants, Prakash and Sephi had finally picked their winner.
Arriving at the Finish Line
The Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 Awards culminated in a grand ceremony, at the Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, on 31 March 2017. The event was attended by some of the biggest names in the industry—Girish Mistry, Dean of Shari Academy; Vishal Punjabi, Co-founder, The Wedding Filmer; Hari Mahidhar, Commercial Photographer, amongst the few who were invited to present the awards to our winners.
Better Photography’s Chief Editor, K Madhavan Pillai, officiated the event. He spoke at length about the ever growing market for wedding photographers in the country, and how it continues to be one of the few genres that is capable of reaching out to a large audience.
During the course of the ceremony, Eddie Udagawa, the Vice President of the Consumer Imaging and Information Centre, Canon India Pvt Ltd, was invited on stage, where he spoke at length about Canon’s association with the Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards, and the latest of what the company has to offer in camera equipment and technology. This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony, where each of our category finalists came on to the stage to receive their certificate and trophy. Rishika Das, the runner-up in the Bride & Portraiture category, was invited to receive her certificate.
As the evening came to a close, the time had finally arrived to announce the eagerly anticipated winner of the Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 Awards. Prakash Tilokani, Sephi Bergerson, along with Eddie Udagawa, were invited on stage to present the award.
And The Title Goes To…
What does it mean to receive the title of Wedding Photographer of the Year? What is its impact on the career of the photographer? And how instrumental has it been in bringing together the wedding photography community?
From the very beginning, the Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards has become more than just a platform for wedding photographers to showcase their work. We realised the power of the contest to immediately impact a photographer’s career and growth. Over the years, several careers have been launched that have made some of our participating wedding photographers known to industry professionals, as well as the myriad of businesses that keep the wedding industry constantly thriving.
The awards have also been instrumental in bringing out the best in photographers. We’ve seen a wide variety of photographers, from the major metropolitan cities to the ones from tiny cities, who competed head-to-head with already established professionals from the industry. In the process, the contest has been instrumental in instilling a certain level of confidence in them, making them certain of their photography prowess and encouraging them to confidently call themselves wedding photographers.
This year, the title of the Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 went to Bengaluru-based photographer Abhishek Scariya, who arrived on stage amidst thunderous applause.
Partnerships with a Common Vision in Mind
Wedding photographers stand at the cusp of an enormous industry. Our partnerships is to ensure that the community gets the recognition that it deserves.
When it comes to photographic gear and accessories, it does not get bigger than Canon cameras and printers, Elinchrom lights by Photoquip, BenQ monitors, Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom, and Manfrotto’s tripods. When it comes to styling the bride and groom or a venue for a wedding, there is none as elegant as Riyaz Gangji, Christine Valmy and the Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach. The camera is the heart of a photographer. It gives us great pride to have Canon as our main presenting partner. Canon also provided our winners and gallery with superb high-definition printing with the DreamLabo 5000