By ProGrade Digital | October 26, 2022

The International Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards (IWPOTY) was created in 2017 by Australian photographer Luke Simon. He founded the awards in an effort to showcase and promote wedding photography from around the world. And since its launch, each year has seen an increase in entries from all over the world.

We interviewed Luke Simon about the International Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards, the idea behind them, and their main mission.

“To give wedding photographers a platform to have their imagery fairly judged by some of the best wedding photographers and judges in the world…”

Luke certainly achieved that! The IWPOTY has become one of the most prestigious awards in the industry and attracts some of the world’s best wedding photographers.

Read on to learn more about the International Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards. And, if you’re a wedding photographer, see how to enter this year’s Awards.

How did the idea for the IWPOTY come about?

The concept for the Awards came while working on assignments in the Maldives for some hotel resort clients. At the time, I had been photographing weddings in Australia and abroad for about 15 years. Here in Australia, until recently, we had an association called the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography). The program allowed me to submit and have my photographs assessed and judged by highly skilled and experienced photographers from around the world. Through this program, I was fortunate to be awarded the wedding photographer of the year. However, searching online, I couldn’t find similar options for wedding photographers, affordable and safe places for wedding photographers that were easily accessible to get involved and gain a sense of where their abilities align within the industry. So I decided to start one myself!

What is the main mission of the IWPOTY?

To give wedding photographers a platform. To have their imagery fairly judged by some of the world’s best wedding photographers/judges. And finally, to show their work to the world via social media and our vast press connections, which have seen entrants’ work published across the globe in magazines and online with outlets including the NY Times, Daily Mail, and many more.

How, in your opinion, has the IWPOTY Awards impacted wedding photography?

It’s taken a few years to gather full momentum, but the feedback has indicated that we’ve really raised the bar in terms of showing off the talent that’s out there, and we’re only scratching the surface!

Why should photographers participate in the awards?

Our focus is to showcase and celebrate incredible wedding photography works, and this is our primary goal. I’ll use the words of 2021 IWPOTY winner Fabio Mirulla to answer this one (and Fabio has won multiple online wedding photography awards in the past 2 years):

“Honestly, I haven’t received so much image return from any of the international titles I won. The months after IWPOTY 2021 was announced, I gave interviews to every corner of the world … It was incredible”.

This is why we created the IWPOTY Awards.

Is there one photograph from all the awards editions that stuck with you? Why?

Awesome question! Wow, that’s a tough one to answer. There have been so many highlights, but I’d have to go back to the first year of the Awards and the winning image taken by Erika Mann from Two Mann Studio. Why? I’d invested time and personal capital into setting up the awards system. As with any new venture, it’s a little nerve-wracking to put yourself out there as an industry professional, put your money where your mouth is, and hope that your idea pays off. However, the winning entry by Erika is breathtaking. It can be interpreted in so many ways and allows the viewer to create their own story of the moment. It just represents so much about photography and why we do what we do. Add to this that the entry was by one of the world’s most well-recognized and highly regarded wedding photographers, and it just cemented for us the faith that had been placed in the IWPOTY Awards.

What would be one piece of advice that you would give to any aspiring wedding photographer?

In terms of awards, I’d suggest putting yourself out there, connecting with others who have entered awards before and having them check your work. They’ll see things in your images that you might not – because you are emotionally attached to the moment in that shot. You need a critical eye disconnected from the subject, someone who needs to be able to make their own connection to the image. In terms of newcomers to the industry wanting advice, I’d suggest the same thing when you’re setting your business up. Connect and speak with other photographers, and you’ll learn so much. They’ll help you avoid the mistakes they may have made. They’ll offer unbiased advice and potentially shave years and $$ off of your learning curve. Also, invest in good gear, not just the camera and lens you use! This extends to the cards in your camera. What’s the good of an $8000 camera if the card they’re writing to is unreliable and those moments never see the light of day? A surefire way to have a very short career in the industry is losing a couple’s images.

What’s currently the most popular tech gear in wedding photography?

It’s hard to surpass the latest mirrorless camera range offerings. They’re just offering such an incredible dynamic range and incredibly accurate focusing systems. How far things have come in the last 5-10 years is mind-blowing.

How has wedding photography changed over the last decade?

Aside from the obvious leaps in camera/lens technology, the use of AI for image culling and, more recently, for post-production automation has seen a significant change in the industry, allowing photographers to spend more time working on instead of in the business. We start our careers wanting to take photographs and quickly find the scales tipping from 80% shooting and 20% desk time to the reverse. Now we can shift the balance back the other way, where a wedding would have previously required 2-3 days of post-production. We can now assess/cull and output a wedding within 4-8 hours if we need. This frees photographers up to get back to providing better service to our clients and shooting more passion projects or billable work!

Important Dates and info

The 2022 Awards are now open for entries.

Regular Entry Deadline: midnight 31st October 2022 (UTC -11).

Final Entry deadline: Closes on 3rd November 2022 at midnight (UTC -11)

Entry Fees – $18 per entry for non-members or become an IWPOTY Wedding Photographer Directory member and pay $15 / entry (and receive 5 free entries with your membership)

Full entry and membership details –

Instagram – @iwpotyawards

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