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Dino Lara, Philippines
Bartosz Jastal, Poland Emin Kuliyev, New York
Artistic Wedding Photojournalism - Fine Art From Real Moments.


Congratulations to all Artistic Guild of The Wedding Photojournalist Association contest winning members.


March 9, 2009 - The AGWPJA today announced the winners of the Q4 2008 Photography Contest.

We are also very pleased to honor the achievements of Emin Kuliyev, of New York (pictured at right), for his 2008 AGWPJA contest winning images and to present him with the title "AGWPJA Photographer of the Year 2008".

In addition, we would like to recognize the First and Second Runner-Up photographers for 2008. First Runner-Up is awarded to Dino Lara of the Philippines. Congratulations to Dino for accomplishing a Top 3 position two years in a row! Our Second Runner-Up photographer is Bartosz Jastal of Poland.

Although not planned or advertised on the site, the AGWPJA will be sending out cash awards to our top 3 winners in the amounts of $1000, $500 and $250 USD, respectively. Congratulations Emin, Dino and Bartosz!


"It would have been relatively easy to simply pick nice images and rate them on a scale of 1 through 20 but I felt that that really would only serve the purpose of finding winners in each category. In my mind, this contest has multiple things to be considered. First, the name of the organization is indeed the Wedding Photojournalist Association. As someone who worked in newspapers and magazines for years, I take the value of the word ‘photojournalist’ to heart. Photojournalism has certainly changed over the years but to me, a journalist still covers an event. At heart, that means that we capture the news instead of create the news. If we do create the news, it is illustration and that is fine as long as it is clear. The second issue that I took to heart is the fact that Photoshop is part of the creative process today. Digital images are processed using Photoshop or Lightroom or an equivalent. Today the quality of how one uses Photoshop is just as important as the days of working with silver halide in a darkroom. A poor print was a poor print. Digital images need to be processed correctly. I took all of this into consideration when making choices for this contest.

Judging a contest is very subjective. An image that I chose as number 1 could easily be passed over by someone else. I did take this very seriously and time and time again I took an image and did further corrections in Photoshop. I fixed items that I felt would improve an image. As you read my comments, you will see that many times I make suggestions about cropping or Photoshop work. This was done not to be critical and come off like a high and mighty jerk but really as a learning experience. Very few images that any of us create are perfect and for the most part, we are our own worst judges. Please understand that when I make a comment about a crop or retouching, I did so after I made those changes to the image. In almost every case, I truly feel that the suggestions improve the image. That said, every image chosen to be in the top 20 of each category was excellent but many images could be even better and that is the reason for my comments.

I enjoyed being a judge immensely."


01. Bartosz Jastal, Poland 11. Milosz Wozaczynski, Poland 21. Kim Long, Ohio
02. Emin Kuliyev, New York 12. W. Scott Chester, Georgia 22. Adam Houseman, Colorado
03. John Hudetz, Colorado 13. Shawna Widdel, North Dakota 23. Paige Elizabeth, Colorado
04. Dino Lara, Philippines 14. Shane Snider, North Carolina 24. Edwin Tan, Malaysia
05. Ryan Jones, California 15. Christophe Flers, France 25. Wayne Yuan, New Jersey
06. Eadwine Lay, Singapore 16. Larissa Cleveland, California 26. Melissa Prosser, Georgia
07. Erich Camping, New York 17. Derrick Ong, Singapore 27. Melia Sorenson, Canada
08. Jennifer Kloss Heffner, California 18. Christofer Jae, California 28. Romina Rivadeneira, Georgia
09. Marcin Labedzki, Poland 19. Kate Harrison, California 29. Yvonne Wong, Washington
10. Wansheng Chen, Singapore 20. Melissa Lawler, Indiana 30. Brooke Mayo, North Carolina


Getting Ready

Category Description:

Entries which spontaneously capture the prepping, grooming, arranging, outfitting, and anticipation before the ceremony.

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Ryan Jones, California 06. Derrick Ong, Singapore
02. Marcin Labedzki, Poland 07. Melia Sorenson, Canada
03. Shawna Widdel, North Dakota 08. Lina Jang, New York
04. Christofer Jae, California 09. Lisa Mark, Canada
05. Kim Long, Ohio 10. Chris Moseley, Texas


Category Description:

Images that capture guests and participants throughout pre-ceremony, vow-exchange, and receiving line activity.

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Erich Camping, New York 06. Melissa Prosser, Georgia
02. Wansheng Chen, Singapore 07. Paige Elizabeth, Colorado
03. John Hudetz, Colorado 08. Kirsten Shultz, Idaho
04. Dino Lara, Philippines 09. Ryan Jones, California
05. Melissa Lawler, Indiana 10. Joelle Susan, South Carolina


Category Description:

Photographs that document festivities from the cocktail hour through the last dance and departure.

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Emin Kuliyev, New York 06. Emin Kuliyev, New York
02. Dino Lara, Philippines 07. Romina Rivadeneira, Georgia
03. Emin Kuliyev, New York 08. Emin Kuliyev, New York
04. Dino Lara, Philippines 09. Heather Mabry, Texas
05. Marcin Labedzki, Poland 10. Gina Marie Goldman, CA

Details (Found)

Category Description:

Entries that encompass tighter shots of the day's small slices AS THEY WERE FOUND. This category is NOT for set-up detail shots.

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Jennifer Kloss Heffner, CA 06. Wayne Yuan, New Jersey
02. Milosz Wozaczynski, Poland 07. Emin Kuliyev, New York
03. W. Scott Chester, Georgia 08. Dino Lara, Philippines
04. Larissa Cleveland, California 09. Lina Jang, New York
05. Kate Harrison, California 10. Emin Kuliyev, New York

Kids (Being Kids)

Category Description:

Entries of found moments depicting babies, children, and youth doing what they do best (kids being kids)!

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Bartosz Jastal, Poland 06. Paige Elizabeth, Colorado
02. John Hudetz, Colorado 07. Yvonne Wong, Washington
03. Bartosz Jastal, Poland 08. Kenny Nakai, Illinois
04. Christophe Flers, France 09. Emin Kuliyev, New York
05. Adam Houseman, Colorado 10. Marcin Labedzki, Poland

Engagement Portrait

Category Description:

Photographs that demonstrate the photographer's ability to create an interesting environmental portrait of their clients prior to the wedding day. This is the only category where non-wedding day images are allowed.

Top Ten Winners From This Category:

01. Eadwine Lay, Singapore 06. Edwin Tan, Malaysia
02. Bartosz Jastal, Poland 07. Brooke Mayo, North Carolina
03. Emin Kuliyev, New York 08. Bartosz Jastal, Poland
04. Shane Snider, North Carolina 09. W. Scott Chester, Georgia
05. Derrick Ong, Singapore 10. Wansheng Chen, Singapore

Comment from Judge Seth Resnick:

"I suspect that most of the photographers enjoyed the Engagement Portrait category the best. This is not simply because there were the most entries in this category. The category revealed the most unique work and work that showed that the photographers were participants in the creation of the image and not just observers. The work in this category was generally better than in all the other categories."






D-65 Workshops

The AGWPJA is proud to announce that once again, D-65 is sponsoring one of our contests. Through this sponsorship, the AGWPJA and D-65 have come together to offer our members an exciting opportunity to be educated by some of the digital innovators in the photography industry.

Click here for more information about these D-65 workshops

2009 DATES

New York:
Apr 3rd - 6th
May 1st - 4th
Jun 12th - 15th
Aug 14th - 17th
Sep 11th - 14th
New York:
Oct 2nd - 5th
Los Angeles:
Nov 13th - 16th
New Orleans:
Dec 11th - 14th


(Top Left) Bartosz Jastal, Poland (Top Right) Dino Lara, Philippines
(Top Middle) Emin Kuliyev, New York