Together we grow
What started with less than 50 photographers entering the first round of the Masters has grown into a community of nearly 1,500 photographers. Every quarter, about 250 photographers submit their best photos for the competition. Entering the competition is a way for most photographers to keep pushing themselves and getting the most out of themselves at every wedding they shoot. Winning an award is therefore a great appreciation for the effort that has been made to achieve this level. In the online community, photos of each other are discussed, criticized and praised, with the aim of learning from them together. As a photographer, you can ask your questions about everything that matters when you are professionally engaged in wedding photography.
At the end of the year there will be an awards ceremony where the photographers who have won the most awards in that year (over 4 rounds) will be put in the spotlight. The Top 10 wedding photographers can rightfully be called the best wedding photographers in the USA, Mexico and Canada. Because if you can win awards with multiple photos, sometimes as many as 10 or 15, then you really have to be able to consistently deliver top quality at every wedding you photograph. And that is exactly what distinguishes the Masters from other photo competitions. It is not an annual competition where you can win with 1 photo and take all the credit. You have to perform all year round and show that that one award is not a lucky shot. As nicely stated in this article, "Only the best photographers are on the podium".
“Only the best photographers are on the podium”
Events are organised to really turn the community into a community. Meetings where you can meet colleagues, spar with each other, talk about the trade, learn and make friends. We try to do these Meetups several times a year in different parts of the country. Short presentations are alternated with time to work together in groups or just to have a drink together. But just what everyone needs. In addition, the objective is to organise a larger event once a year, a Masters Seminar where top photographers from the Netherlands and abroad are given a stage to inspire us. It's great to see what this does to a group of like-minded people. After such an event, you are no longer alone as a self-employed person or freelance photographer. You have met colleagues who are of use to you, with whom you can continue with.
Masters Seminar @ Club Panama, Amsterdam
Christiaan de Groot & Erwin Beckers
The Masters were started in 2014 by two wedding photographers, Christiaan and Erwin. They saw the need among fellow photographers for a new completely independent photo competition for wedding photographers. There were already competitions for wedding photographers at the time, but there was always a lot of comment from the industry and there was dissatisfaction with the judging and the results. That had to be better. The first steps were to bring together the most prominent wedding photographers of the time and to brainstorm together about how this new competition should position itself, what requirements entries should meet, how the judging should take place, etc. it's a competition for wedding photographers, by wedding photographers.
With his IT background, Erwin was the right person to automate the systems and manage the website for the exhibition of the awards and the award-winning photographers. Christiaan has focused on the promotion of the Masters, communication and the organisation of events. The starting point was not only to start an online competition, but a community of wedding photographers who enjoy meeting each other as colleagues and who want to grow together in their profession. The Masters of Wedding Photography was born.
Christiaan de Groot
After the start of the Masters in 2014, it soon became clear that a large group of wedding photographers felt at home in the Masters community.
In 2016, the same concept was rolled out in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the German-speaking countries. Italy followed in 2016 and the UK & Ireland in 2017 with their own Masters photo competitions. Finally, in 2018 the Masters was started in North America. The main difference with all existing international wedding photography competitions is that the Masters is a competition for photographers within the same region. This makes it easier to agree with each other what benefits the community.
Award winning image - Ken Pak - USA
Focus on couples
One of the goals of the Masters has always been to reach as many wedding couples as possible so that we can show them what contemporary professional wedding photography is all about. Many people only know the classic portrait of the couple that is neatly framed on the mantelpiece. And yes, that is still done and appreciated, but not by everyone anymore.
Most of the award winning photographers at the Masters shoot in documentary style. Narrative photography in which capturing special and fun moments is most important. This "journalistic" style took off at the turn of the century and is now widely used by top photographers all over the world. The workshops and seminars organised by the Masters were therefore often focused on photographing moments. Why is this so important? Because you can only really relive your wedding day if the moments and accompanying emotions are well captured. Of course, a beautiful portrait like the one above is also great to have, but it tells little about how the day went, which people were there and how the couple felt.
Many couples-to-be have no idea what stunning photos are being taken these days by photographers who are fully specialised in capturing wedding days. That is why the Masters does its utmost to reach as many couples as possible, to inspire and encourage them to contact a specialist wedding photographer from the Masters of Wedding Photography.