Bridal Party WPPI
Susan Stripling Photography
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Awards and Features

Bridal Party WPPI

I am always charmed by flower girls, ring bearers, and the younger members of the bridal parties. At this 2012 wedding at the Arts Ballroom in Philadelphia the ceremony portion of the day took place at a nearby church. I arrived at the church with the bride and her bridesmaids and went looking for the groom and his groomsmen to document them hanging out before the ceremony began. 

I am always looking for moments and when I spotted this young flower girl sitting alone I knew that I had a sweet shot. I love how the light from the stained glass window is streaming perfectly onto her face and hair. I love the way she’s sitting. I love the crown of flowers in her hair. I also love that this image could have been taken this year or fifty years ago and will still have the same timeless appeal fifty years from now!

I wrote about this image on a photography blog I used to host, and the write up about my experience having this image judged at WPPI read as follows:

This image scored an 80. According to the rules, an 80 falls in the 80-84 range, meaning the image shows an "above average...good standard of professional skill, creativity and technique." The next level higher is 85-89, meaning that it's "excellent...very good use of imagination, skill and technique"


So let's stop here. Might I remind you, this series is not to make myself feel better about bad scores. Or for Facebook to give me a hug and tell me I'm awesome-r than my score. It's to explain why the score is accurate, and what I, as the maker, could have done to improve the image.


First of all, an 80 is NOT a bad score! Any print scoring an 80-84 receives a "silver" distinction, and those points go towards your Honors of Excellence title.


What could have made this print go higher? There were some print flaws, first of all, that I didn't catch until I saw the actual, physical print. The stained glass window needed a bit more care with the burning. It's a huge hot spot, and needed to be taken down a bit more. The highlights on the girl, as well as the table behind the girl, could have been handled with more care. The dark, naturally vignetted areas fell into pure black, so more care should have been put into maintaining the shadow areas in the final print.


Most importantly, there needed to be more of a MOMENT. Is the light beautiful? Yes. Is the image itself beautiful? Yes, of course. But to really elevate this gorgeous image to competition status, I needed more engagement with my subject. That I did not have.So an 80 is generously appropriate.



Keywords: Arts Ballroom (15), philadelphia (120). 1/160; f/2.8; ISO 900; 24.0 mm.