29 June 2016

2016 Shoot & Share Photo Contest | Results

For the last few years, there has been a photo contest that I've really wanted to enter, the Shoot and Share Photo Contest. Since I've never entered my work into a contest before, I was super nervous. It's hard not to compare your work to another photographer, especially when you see such great work on a daily basis from all over the world. I kept getting emails and seeing posts on social media about the contest coming up and so I decided to bite the bullet and just do it.

Each photographer could upload up to 50 photos into 25 categories. I did just that. It took me almost a whole week to decide on that 50 that would represent KC Photography. It was so hard to choose but when I hit the button to submit the images I was proud of what I had decided on.

During the voting, which lasted a few weeks, 4 images were shown at a time in a certain category. You would then click your favorite out of the 4 images and then the page would reload and you'd have another 4 images. You never knew who you were voting for (unless you knew the work from following your favorite photographer). The only way a photographer knew if their work was still in the contest if If you still saw your images while voting. I think I spent way too many hours voting. If I told you an estimate on how long I voted you would all think I'm nuts LOL.

The contest ended and I was proud to say that a lot of my photos made it to at least the top 30% of the photos submitted. I'll link to the Shoot and Share website here so you can see the winners but I'll post some stats below. I've had a lot of people asking me how I did and time got away from me and I totally forgot to post an update on it.

I think what I'm most proud of, out of all this, is that I went into this confidently and actually submitted my work. I'm my worst critic and some days I feel like I'm fading into the saturated crowd of photographers. But I'm happy to say I had 3 images made it to the finals and I couldn't be happier.

So here are the stats...

• 74,000 Photographers
• 225,207 Photos Submitted
• 32,622,327 Contest Votes
• 149 Countries Involved

My personal stats...

• Finalists - 3 Images
• Top 10% - 2 Images
• Top 20% - 9 Images
• Top 30% - 7 Images

I had 21 out of my 50 images make it to top 30% or higher...which is just crazy!!!! Not sure how that happened with all the amazing photos I voted for but I'm so humbled and honored. Here are the top 3 images that made it to the finals.

This photo is from Curt and Dana's engagement session. It was 152nd place out of 21,049 photos.

This was a family photo taken this past December. It made 310th place out of 13,283 photos.

This was another photo from that family session and it was posted in the children category. It made 145th place out of 10,267 photos.

Thank you all who voted for me and thank you all for supporting me. I truly love what I do and I cannot wait till next year when the voting starts up for 2017!

28 June 2016

Eric + Samantha | The Wedding Garden - Carbondale, Illinois

After over 4 years of shooting weddings, I can honestly say that I still love it as much as the first day I started. It's funny to say that now and if you would have told me 4 years that I would be a wedding photographer, I would have laughed and told you that you are nuts. It's been so wonderful, though. I've been apart of so many happy moments. I've met the best families. I've seen family and friends cry tears of joy and share memories of their brides and grooms. There's really nothing quite like it... to be around happiness and love every weekend (well about half the weekends of the year).

Samantha and Eric had such a beautiful day for their wedding. It was held at the Wedding Garden and Event Center in Carbondale, Illinois. I've shot there before and the staff is so wonderful to work with. It's the perfect venue if you're looking for a place that is one-location for your event. Since there isn't a whole lot of shade there, sometimes you have to go off-site to another location for portraits during the day. Samantha and Eric had no problem with that, so we made our way over to Southern Illinois University. The campus had lots of great trees and shade for portraits, which was amazing considering it was super hot that day.

One of my favorite parts of the day is when Samantha and Eric combined the sand during the ceremony. You've seen it before. It's when the bride and groom take different colors of sand and they each pour their sand into a new container, combining the sand together. The sand can never be separated. After Samantha and Eric combined their sand, Eric went and got Samantha's 3 children (which was a surprise for EVERYONE) and they let the kids pour in their own color of sand into the container too. It was so sweet, even the parents had no idea. It was Eric's idea to involve the kids during the ceremony since they were becoming a family.

Enjoy looking at this beautiful wedding story at the Wedding Garden. You're going to love it!

I love the "man cave" at the Wedding Garden.

Time for the FIRST LOOK!

Love this!

Ceremony time!

MARRIED! And Eric is pretty excited about it!

Look at all that window light! It's probably my favorite reception venue I've shot at...hands down!

The Wedding Garden has uplighting available during the reception. It's a HUGE difference from receptions that don't have lighting. It's so pretty.