What to Submit to win a Legend Award

We are looking for unposed, candid, storytelling moments, strong composition, emotional impact, creativity, originality and personality. Ok, but what does that mean? I’ll break it down.

Candid & Storytelling: We want to see images that were not directed in any way. We want there to be a clear story of what’s happening in the photo. The subject of the photo should be doing something – not posing, kissing, or looking at the camera or each other.
Emotional Impact: Images that make the viewer feel what the people in the photo are feeling.
Personality: We want diversity, we want creativity, we want to see images we’ve never seen before. Your images need to be different in order to stand out.
Strong Composition: Straight horizons and clutter-free edges and backgrounds are important! Make sure hands, feet, and other important elements are within the borders. Crop out unnecessary space.

What images can I submit?

For the full list of rules and image eligibility, click here.

Portraits– Portraits are welcome in the Legend Awards. In order to make your portrait stand out above the rest, make sure there is emotion and connection between the couple. Emotion can be tearful, joy, surprise, excitement, anticipation, trying to hold it together, embarrassment, etc. Connection is all about the couple sharing the same feeling or doing the same activity, almost always connected by touch.

Details – Hands, shoes, rings, dirty dresses, anything close-up that tells the story. A great detail shot is all about Noticing. Focus on something that might have been overlooked, like footprints, goosebumps, mosquito bites, lipstick on champagne glasses. TIP: There needs to be a storytelling element in a detail photo.

Moments – Couples doing something, anything other than looking at each other or at the camera. Fun moments, silly moments, unexpected moments, the small quiet in between moments, the little ways that couples exchange tenderness or help each other over rough terrain, catching rain on their tongues, hailing a cab, sharing a beverage, etc. I want to see the photo and feel like I’m there, and better yet, that I know them, like that couple is my friend already. These are the images on the 2nd and 3rd slide of your instagram carousels, the ones that tell the story of their day and what they did. Moments can absolutely include the loved ones, guests, and families at elopements – these connections are welcome and encouraged. To make your moment photo stand out, ensure that the subject’s faces are visible and compelling. A faceless photo is really a photo of the background with stick figures in it.
TIP: Our eyes immediately go to the faces in a photo, so look for ALL faces in the photo to be expressive.

Organizing your images for competitions

Many photographers don’t submit to photo competitions because it isn’t a part of their workflow. And that’s a darn shame! Keeping your images organized is the only way to go. If you want to win a Legend Award, start this year off by remaining organized. Make a folder on your desktop called “Submissions.” Then, every time you export a client’s gallery, look at your faves from their booking, and export them to your Submissions folder. Don’t overthink it. You don’t need to rename or resize these photos. Let them sit there until the next deadline is coming up, and create a catalog inside that Submissions folder. Then you can crop and tweak those images all together and submit before that deadline passes. This works for every award competition deadline.

How to Narrow it down

Okay, now you’ve got your image candidates in front of you. Ask yourself these questions:

#1. Does this image have something new, different, special, creative or unique about it? Is it a unique moment that will never happen again? If yes, submit it! If this photo is similar to others you’ve taken, it’s probably not going to stand out.

#2. Two second Clarity: Can you immediately tell what is going on in the photo within the first 2 seconds? Is the story clear to everyone who views the image? If you answered no, try another frame.

#3. Emotional impact: Does this image hit the emotions? Does it make me feel something, or is it just pretty? If you answered no, reconsider entering it.

#4. Are we looking through a window into the couple’s secret life? Can you get a feel for their personality, tradition, or what they’re feeling? If you posed or directed them or answered no, reconsider entering it.

#5 Are the faces visible and emoting? If you answered no, consider entering a different image.

#6. Color: Is color adding anything to this image? If not, try it in black and white.

Tip: If you’re having trouble determining if the story of a photo you love can easily translate to the viewer, ask a small pod of your colleagues! “Hey folx- can you tell what is happening in this photo?” Sometimes we are a little bit in love with our couples and the special day they had. And maybe that can overpower our emotions and make it hard to tell if your photo is really as amazing and clear to someone who wasn’t there – so ask someone 🙂 Our facebook community is the perfect place to ask for feedback.

How to take your images from good to great

Competition is fierce. There are a lot of incredible images that are left out of the awards because of minor, easily fixed flaws. It makes me cry a little bit inside. Please, please, please I’m begging you: take 3 minutes to polish your images before submitting them. It WILL make a difference!

Now you know what to submit to the Legend Awards. Don’t let anything stop you!