Fearless Photographers, a site devoted to recognizing the very best in wedding photography, unveiled their latest collection on Monday and it does not disappoint.
The site's curators looked through thousands of submissions from talented photographers around the world and whittled them down to a mere 140 award winners. Below are 25 exceptional shots from the collection, along with commentary from the Fearless Photographers editors.
"Animal and human, big and small, dark and light, warm and cool—this image is full of splendid contrasts that make it succeed on so many levels beyond its obvious humor. With their arms lifted to create a triangle, the couple's pose even echoes the shapes formed by the horse's legs."
"When you plan a beach wedding, one of the guests you might not account for is Mother Nature! When the waves invaded this group portrait, the photographer kept shooting and captured natural reactions that made it more personalized and exciting than any 'perfectly executed' pose."
"The bride's conveyance upon a golden litter—complete with sparklers—was certainly something not to be missed. The photographer got right in the front of the action and captured a symmetrical view that perfectly suits the over-the-top elegance and formality of the bride's arrival."
"Mothers rarely get a break—even when they're getting dolled up for their wedding. The photographer captured a peaceful moment between this multitasking mom and baby, using a shallow depth of field to keep it a little bit modest."
"While weddings have their big, public, splashy sides, they are also inherently intimate events between individuals. The more gentle, private moments—like this simple, beautifully captured caress—are an important part of telling the real story."
"Posing head-to-head on the ground for a shot down at doggie level—it all sounds good...until someone's face gets stepped on! Happily, the photographer didn't stop shooting and captured the groom's laughter. The resulting shot may have been unplanned, but probably feels even more real to the couple than if everything had gone 'right.'"
JOSEPH VICTOR STEFANCHIK
"As they climb the majestic staircase in this grand hall, the brides are quite petite in the frame. By adding backlighting, however, the photographer created dramatic, larger-than-life shadows that make their love seem to fill the room completely."
"Family portraits can take all lot of preparation, planning, and organization—even at a wedding when everybody is gathered nearby. And, as this photograph demonstrates, sometimes the results are even better when things don't go quite as planned. This portrait perfectly captures the reality of family life with all its personalities, interactions, and big, messy love."
"A big kiss and a dip—it's a quintessentially romantic pairing and this photographer captured all the love. Their expressions, the excitement of the crowd, and the soft sun flare add to the charm of the photograph."
"Shooting down across a courtyard, the photographer beautifully framed this moment of pure romance. The cool tones of the pool in the foreground and midnight-blue sky above play against the warm candlelight around the couple, enhancing the sense of love and warmth."
"This classy image of the bride's shoes and gown took a left turn when the young man pressed his nose against the glass. Happily, the photographer spotted it as a golden opportunity to create something unexpected!"
"You've got to love a bride who goes with the flow—and admire the photographer who is right there with her! The strong leading lines of the railings direct our gaze to the strongly centered subjects making clever use of a kiddie pool to shelter from the rain."
"The vibrant attire of this crowd of wedding guests certainly deserved a big, bold, wide-angle photograph. Shooting down from the balcony, the photographer captured all the detail but made sure that the bride, with her long veil and train, still stood out as a focal point amidst the celebrants."
"The exchange of glances between the statuesque young bride and her petite, elderly admirer is timeless and totally delightful. It's made all the more effective by the juxtaposed framing of the two women; the bride in a white window and the older woman in a dark doorway."
"If a shared sense of humor is a predicator of a happy marriage, this couple's perfectly matched belly laughs seem like an auspicious sign. The photographer captured the peak moment, and did it in an totally flattering way (not an easy feat with great, big laughing grins!)"
"The formality of this triangular composition, presented in a vintage sepia style, is pleasantly at odds with the decidedly silly subject matter. It's one of those wonderfully revealing moments that Fearless photographers thrive on capturing."
"Taking inspiration from the powerful graphic lines of the foreground wall, the photographer devised an equally graphic posing strategy for the groom and his attendants. The symmetry and subtle pops of color in a field of mostly black and white provides a strong, masculine feel—but with just enough humor to keep it lighthearted."
"Weddings are about connection—and this quiet, intimate image connects on every level. The close pose, shallow depth of field, and subdued black & white tones pull our gaze right to their relaxed, affectionate expressions. Even their freckles seem intertwined."
BRIAN MARK BOLANTE
"From ground level, this would be a pretty shot; from a bird's eye view, it is transformed into a masterpiece of storytelling. The couple's kiss, the pretty bridesmaids looking on, the hand of the officiant on the altar—an entire narrative is encapsulated in this one frame."
"The sweetness of a single tear, the groom's glance at his unseen bride, and the connection of her comforting gesture—there's a lot of emotional storytelling here. It's made all the more effective through the contrast with his rigidly traditional military attire."
"In their matching blue dresses, these ladies of different generations are a perfect match. The photographer captured the little girl's unusual maneuver and made it even funnier by juxtaposing it against the unflinching response of the adults."
CHRISTIAAN DE GROOT
"Who could resist all these genuinely happy faces, beaming at the bride? This photographer knew we didn't even need to see the bride's face to feel the love! (But the pretty details on the back of her gown certainly add to the appeal and make the shot even more special.)"
"A straight portrait of the bride with her aged loved one would have been far less rich than this reflection at a distance. The tender gesture in the mirror is lovingly juxtaposed with the religious statuary and other simple personal items in the foreground."
"Sure, the photographer could have zoomed in and gotten a traditional view of the first kiss—but the reaction of this fist-pumping young man adds so much more to the story. It's a sweet moment the couple would otherwise likely have missed."
"A seemingly infinite field a fairy lights created the perfect magical setting for a dance portrait. Peering down through the sparkling strings, the photographer gave us a sweetly voyeuristic look into the newlyweds' stolen moment."