WPPI Grand AwardI had been a wedding photographer for several years before I entered the scary world of print competitions. I quickly realized that the absolute best print competition in the entire industry was the WPPI 16x20 International Print Competition. Held yearly at the WPPI convention in Las Vegas, this prestigious competition is fiendishly difficult to place in, much less receive a stellar score. I entered for years, scoring badly. While the images were prints that I loved, a great print competition image isn’t the same as an everyday portfolio image. It has to be above and beyond, truly the best of the best. Every year I set aside images as I shoot into a "competition potential" folder, curating that folder throughout the year until early fall. Then I pore through the folder, choosing the best images for each of the print competition categories that best fit the work that I do : In-Camera Artistry, Bride or Groom Alone Non-Wedding Day, Bride and Groom Together Non-Wedding Day, Portrait Division : Children, Portrait Division : Beauty/Boudoir, Portrait Division : Group, Portrait Division : Individual, Photojournalism Division : Wedding Photojournalism, Bride or Groom Alone Wedding Day, Bride and Groom Together Wedding Day, Wedding Division Bridal Party/Family and Friends, Wedding Division : Engagement, and Wedding Division : Wedding Details. After I choose my competition images for the year, I work closely with a superb printer to make each image come to life. This image won First Place in Photojournalism Division : Wedding Photojournalism in 2010 and also took the prestigious Grand Award in the same category. It remains one of my favorite images of all time. It was taken in 2009 at a gorgeous, rainy wedding in Southampton. The bride’s father was giving a speech to his daughter and her new husband and I noticed that the exposure difference of his silhouette and the paper lanterns was so strong that it would make a really compelling image. I crouched down on the edge of the dance floor, framing his face perfectly inside one of the paper orbs. I was so thrilled to have seen this composition and use this image often while teaching photographers as an example of creative composition.Keywords: Hamptons (25), wppi (21). Filename: 2010-grand-first-weddingpj.jpg. 1/50; f/3.5; ISO 1000; 24.0 mm.