MPA East Midlands Wedding Photographer Winner 2012

So Monday night was the annual awards evening for the East Midlands region of the MPA (a national trade association for professional photographers).

If you’ve been following for a while you may remember that I won the ‘Licentiate Wedding Photographer of the Year’ category of the awards for the last three years in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The licentiate category is for photographers with up to three years membership which I have now passed. This means that for the first time this year I was entering the main, very competitive, wedding category.

I was a bit nervous about which photographs to enter and right up to the last minute I wondered if I’d made the right choices.

Suffice to say I was chuffed that this photograph of Katie and Brett at Holdenby House was chosen as the winner of the wedding category! (Read on to find out how I created it.)

Katie and Brett had asked me for one of my signature flash-lit dusk wedding photographs. The chimneys of Holdenby House are iconic, so we thought a photograph in front of the house would be nice.

There’s a very small window of time when the light and colour in the sky is just right for this type of photo so I’d kept a close eye on the sky whilst photographing the evening entertainment. In the end we had about ten minutes from the point that the sky was right to find Katie and Brett, to set up and style the image and take a few photos before it was then too dark. I wanted that intense inky blue but it needed to be light enough for the silhouette of the house to still be seen. It can be hard to judge when the time is right because a camera sees light and contrast differently to the human eye so I took a test shot every now and then to check. Take the picture too early and you just don’t get the impact. Leave it too late and you simply can’t get the shot.

The other challenge I had was that the hogroast van had set up on the front courtyard so it was busy with guests! If I lit the photograph from the front we would see what was going on behind Katie and Brett. Asking everyone to move inside wasn’t an option – it would have taken too long and wouldn’t have made me very popular! But (in the nicest possible way) I really didn’t want any guests to show in the photograph. So a back-lit photo, which would throw the background into complete darkness, was my solution. I put my flash, on a stand, behind Katie and Brett. Katie’s dress was big enough to hide it completely.

I posed Katie and Brett in this Strictly Come Dancing inspired pose and headed away from the house to get the distance I needed to show the width of the building as well as plenty of sky. I took a few images, triggering the flash wirelessly, and this was my favourite. It’s one of my all-time favourites too and so I’m really happy that it won.


Wait, there’s more! I’m very pleased to have won 7 other awards too!

This flash-lit portrait of Ryan and Laura at The Sculpture Gallery, Woburn, received a merit in the ‘wedding’ category…


This portrait of John was also awarded a merit in the ‘wedding’ category. It was taken in a small Travel Lodge hotel room. Just goes to show that you don’t need an obviously beautiful location to get great wedding photography. Just a photographer who sees the best of everything.


There’s a separate category for documentary wedding photography called ‘reportage wedding’. This photo taken at the end of Ryan and Laura’s first dance won a merit…


We all know that I love a bit of bridal fashion photography so I was really pleased that a new category was introduced this year called ‘wedding fashion’. This photograph of Luke and Alice received an Award of Excellence…


This photograph of the lovely Alice working the catwalk gained a merit…


Another merit. Love the swooshing of the dress in this shot!


And last but not least, another merit for this photograph of Alice and Luke…


Yay for that! And ‘thank you’ to everyone who continually inspires and supports me – friends, family, venues and fellow wedding suppliers! And *big hugs* to my wonderful clients who let me loose on their lovely weddings to create pictures like these! I couldn’t do it without you.


14 responses to “MPA East Midlands Wedding Photographer Winner 2012

    1. Thanks Simon! For that shot I have one speedlight, on a stand behind the couple, triggered with pocket wizards. Camera in manual – 800 ISO / 100th sec / f8. Spot metred on dress.

  1. Sarah – if you can email a full size (A4) JPEG of this image and allow me to copy/edit the words from your web page, I may have space to include it in the June magazine before we go to press. I am running London/Essex and Yorks/NE awards, too late to try to add another complete region, but it would be good to get this – and also the list of winners from Philippa.

  2. “CONGRATULATIONS” Sarah. I’m so proud of you,and exceedingly pleased at your outstanding success. You sneaking thing, didn’t even tell me last Friday when we met, that you were entering!Fondest Love. Mum.x

  3. Sarah, just flicking through your blog and found this! WOW many congratulations, I am so pleased for you and it is so deserved … Love all of your work but the Holdenby arch has always been my firm favourite. Well done, sorry my congrats are a little late, must have missed your announcement! x

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