The very first edition of the Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards (BP WPOY) was initiated in 2009, as national level awards, inviting participation from every state in India. With the aim of both recognising extraordinary talent in wedding photography, and lauding the finest imagemakers in the field, the response to these awards surprised us. Beyond the bestowing of the title of "Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year" and the presentation of prizes at glittering felicitation events, the awards served a higher purpose. The winners and nominees were catapulted to new levels of success in their professional careers. In a field where the job was intensely tough, and recognition, if any, was fleeting and momentary, BP WPOY provided a stamp of legitimate, genuine recognition. More than this, Better Photography is proud to state that this was the very first national level wedding photography awards. In fact, for the very first time in India, wedding photography was recognised as a specific genre, providing its practitioners with a sense of identity and value.
With every subsequent contest, the awards grew in size and following, making it one of the biggest competitions of its kind in the world. Now in its eighth edition, the Sony–Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards 2018-19, promises to be bigger than ever.
K Madhavan Pillai, Chief Editor of Better Photography explains, "After the rings are exchanged, the pheras completed, the food is eaten... after mother and father have danced, close friends and cousins have toasted and laughed, and the elders bestowed their blessings... after the wedding is done... the only things that can be taken away and preserved are certain symbols of love, articles of faith, and the memories of the day."
"Decades later, when the kids have grown up, and mother and father have the passage of time etched on them, wouldn't it be just wonderful to see everything as though time stood still, as though it had only happened yesterday? Amongst all the photographs ever made in the world, including the legendary images that moved the masses, the ones that are most cherished... the ones that we hold close to our hearts... lie in family and wedding albums. This is the enormous responsibility that a wedding photographer needs to shoulder," he adds.
Wedding photography is an extremely challenging genre. A good wedding photographer needs to be technically adept within a number of shooting environments. Be it with portraiture, group or candids, or hugely varying lighting conditions, or in speed, timing, composition or in simply being at the right place at the right time, or even in terms of communication, business acumen, or process and workflow management... a wedding photographer needs to be good with all these areas to be successful. Be it a large or small wedding, all of this show through in the work.
This year sees the addition of one special category, in addition to the original six we have had for years.
“The Joy of Light by Photoquip” seeks to recognise the creative use of artificial lighting from any source, to bring the photographer’s vision to life.
While this is a special award category, the Final Title of Sony–Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018-19 remains limited to the participants and winners of the original six categories, who then move into a spectacular, time-bound, no-holds-barred ‘Face-off’ round.
Indeed, getting into the Top 60, or becoming one of the 6 category nominees, or a category award is not easily achieved. The Final Title even less so. There are many rounds of anonymous judging before coming to the Top 60 and then the 6 nominees—initial eliminations, elimination validation, three rounds of category selections, portfolio submissions from the category selections—before the nominees in each category are decided. Category winners will be involved in a face-off.
The final recipient of the grand title is then selected on the basis of final jury evaluations. We shall be inviting over 100 eminent judges from around India (some from around the world) to be involved in this process.
Better Photography is India’s most widely read magazine on the art and practice of photography. It is also the leading technical authority, with its own test bench, with stand-alone gear and accessory reviews. Over the years, the print edition has moved from being a hobbyist’s magazine, to a more serious dialogue on the art, practice, culture and people involved with photography. Delving into both contemporary and classic perspectives, styles, and viewpoints, the magazine features interviews with and opinions by famous photographers, across genres, and from across the world, and writings by the younger generation of artists as well. A section titled 'Great Masters' has been featuring the greatest of photographers from around the world, since the beginnings of photography, and, collectively, we have amongst the largest collections of features on these legends is Asia. Other special features, book reviews, curated showcases, and musings by some of the most prominent figures in the visual arts are regular features in the magazine.
Better Photography remains the only photography magazine in Asia to be inducted as a member of TIPA (Technical Image Press Association), the acclaimed worldwide body that confers the TIPA Awards.
Better Photography also conducts the annual Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards, where wedding photographers, professionals and novices alike are invited to participate. The Wildlife India Photography Awards were initiated in 2017, along with the Wildlife India Forum, a platform for understanding and learning about environment conservation through photographers and photography. The magazine also conducts numerous public and private workshops on photography, free-to-attend slideshows and talks, and monthly photography contests for both cellphone photographers and for those using conventional digital cameras.
1. If you have participated or registered for any of the Better Photography contests you are automatically registered to participate in WPOY 2018-19. Please login using the same credentials. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to register.
2. There are 6 photography categories and 1 category on creative lighting. Into these categories, you need to upload your photos.
3. The winners of the 6 photography categories will battle it out in the final face-off round for the grand title of Sony–Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018-19. The 1 category on creative lighting is stand-alone awards.
All entries must be uploaded latest by 30 January 2019.