Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIOS ARE OPEN - Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

Photographer of the Year


The WPJA proudly recognizes the Photographer of the Year (POY), that member holding the most contest points (except those awarded from categories designated for Portraits and/or Details) at the end of each year. Members are required to enter images created during that contest year. Images from previous years are not allowed. The WPJA feels stongly that a POY award should be for current work only, from that year, not from 5-10 years ago.

Renan Radici


2020 WPJA Photographer of the Year


Congratulations to Renan Radici

When Renan Radici joined the WPJA a few years ago, his goal was to become the most awarded photographer in the association in a single year. His hard work and dedication paid off sooner than he could have imagined, moving up the ranks from 45th to 3rd within his first two years. To top all of that, he was then awarded the title of WPJA 2020 Photographer of the Year!

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Yves Schepers


2019 WPJA Photographer of the Year


Congratulations to Yves Schepers of Belgium!

To call Yves Schepers’ first year as a WPJA member eventful would be an understatement. Not only did the Belgian photographer win 41 monthly contest awards in 2019, but he capped his big year by being named WPJA Photographer of the Year. Not bad for a former corporate engineer who just began shooting weddings in 2014. However, Schepers views his experience as an industrial electromechanical engineer to be important to his current work: “Is it my engineering background, my passion for analyzing things and relations that help me create these kinds of images? It surely can be. Analysis is what drew me into the engineering world and it’s something I do throughout the day. Analyzing how the bride and groom interact with their family and friends and how I can capture these relations in an impactful way. Keeping an eye out for these stories from start to finish can be quite exhausting though, but it’s worthwhile when you can deliver images that capture the client’s authentic relationships with their loved ones.”

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Vinicius Fadul


2018 WPJA Photographer of the Year


Congratulations to Vinicius Fadul, of São Paulo, Brazil!

Long a participant in WPJA’s Artistic Guild competitions, 2017 was his first year in the WPJA Top 100. Following consistent recognition of his talent throughout the year by the WPJA’s judges, comprising professional news photojournalists and photo editors, he was named the WPJA’s Photographer of the Year for 2018.

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William Lambelet


2017 WPJA Photographer of the Year

William Lambelet is WPJA 2017 Photographer of the Year

Congratulations to William Lambelet, of southeast France!  We should have seen it coming: William placed in the top 25 photographers in WPJA's 2016 and 2013 competitions. He makes an ideal ambassador for all of us working wedding photojournalists.

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Brett Butterstein

San Diego, CA

2016 WPJA Photographer of the Year

Congratulations to Brett Butterstein, a wedding photographer from Southern California, for winning 2016 WPJA Photographer of the year. Brett is a photographer who does not follow the rules, who intuitively understands the rhythm of spontaneity, and the results are award-winning moments in time.

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Samo Rovan

Ljubljana, Slovenia

2015 Photographer of the Year

It is no coincidence that in the hands of Slovenia wedding photographer Samo Rovan, the camera reflects passion, sincerity and warmth. It is these same qualities with which he approaches all of his subjects. It is also why people have sought him out time and time again, asking him to photograph them or for them.

Initially, as a student of architecture years ago using a camera for documentation purposes, Samo was immediately smitten with the medium. He reflects on how he “could capture his thoughts and ideas through the camera. I wanted to see the beauty and diversity of life in my own way and document these moments.” Shortly thereafter, the owner of the film studio where he had his film developed asked Samo to take photographs for him. This led to an invitation by a Slovenian photo press agency to work as one of their photojournalists.

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Emin Kuliyev

New York, United States

2014 Photographer of the Year

NYC wedding photographer Emin Kuliyev, the only person to ever simultaneously win Photographer of the Year for both WPJA and AG|WPJA, is clearly a competitive force. However, he says he doesn’t try to win in any competition. “I started my own competition in my head, based on categories at the WPJA. It’s a competition with myself,” he says. As such, he claims he is never nervous about results, and credits the organization as a mentor through the many inspirational images he finds there. Emin’s foundational philosophy about his work is that a photographer’s images are directly tied to their own personal experience. He attributes successful images as “luck, multiplied by your experience,” and, of course, your camera skills. “It the camera should be just an extension of your hand or eye.” He believes that pressing a shutter button will not create an exact replication of a moment. Rather, the ability to capture moments is shaped by one’s own individuality, and thus the creative process renders an image as a vicarious expression of self and subject. As he explains, “Merely holding a camera does not mean the gods will give you the shot. You must have something inside you. If so, it will be immediately visible within the photo.”

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Cristiano Ostinelli

Lombardy, Italy

2013 Photographer of the Year

Passion is the driving force behind Cristiano Ostinelli’s wedding photography. Upon buying an old Canon at a market in Italy twenty years ago, this 2013 WPJA Photographer of the Year was immediately smitten with the instrument. It is no surprise that a man of such passion did not receive formal education in photography. Ostinelli consumed books and taught himself. Now he teaches photography—the techniques and skills. Though as far as he is concerned, “Photography is not a job that can be done without passion.” And passion cannot be taught.

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Steve Matteo

Illinois, United States

2012 Photographer of the Year

All professional photographers know there is no training like on-the-job training. Many receive it from working as an apprentice, learning the tricks of the trade from a seasoned photographer. For WPJA’s Photographer of the Year, Chicago based wedding photographer Steve Matteo's, on-the-job training came from photographing live sporting events for the dailies. At the time, he was carving out a career that he had long dreamed of. He did not know that he was also creating a solid foundation and a bridge to becoming a wedding photojournalist and further exploring and refining his craft.

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Emin Kuliyev

New York, United States

2011 Photographer of the Year

While he speaks in short clipped sentences, NYC wedding photographer Emin Kuliyev produces photographs that evoke a wealth of words and emotions. His work reveals a laser-like focus on the emotion of the moment, capturing the height of his subjects’ reactions. Though he humbly describes, “I can't explain it to myself—everything happens by itself. No control on my level. I just click on the button when I feel that I must do it,” his images speak to more than just excellent timing.

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Dave Getzschman

Northern California, United States

2010 Photographer of the Year

Let’s forget about the “rules” of photography. Lighting, subjects, composition, set all that aside. What we are looking at here is what makes us human—emotion—it is what defines the work of WPJA’s Photographer of the Year, Dave Getzschman. The people in his photographs are not just elements in a dramatic setting, interacting superbly with their counterparts. They are not just subjects printed and framed for nostalgia’s sake. They are human beings full of emotion.

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Carlo Carletti

Siena, Italy

2009 Photographer of the Year

For the second time in three years Carlo Carletti of Italy has been honored with the prestigious WPJA Photographer of the Year (POY). Carletti is the first to win the title twice, having won it previously in 2006.

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Franck Boutonnet

Lyon, France

2008 Photographer of the Year

The WPJA is proud to honor Franck Boutonnet of Lyon, France as its 2008 Photographer of the Year. The first thing that makes Mr. Boutonnet's work stand-out is his ability to capture light within any environment with striking results either in black and white or vibrant color. Each composition also offers a multitude of layers, from the subject's emotional expression to the candid activity in the back- and foreground. The first thing that makes Mr. Boutonnet's work stand-out is his ability to capture light within any environment with striking results either in black and white or vibrant color. Each composition also offers a multitude of layers, from the subject's emotional expression to the candid activity in the back- and foreground.

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Ben Chrisman

Northern California, United States

2007 Photographer of the Year

South Carolina, United States

Ben Chrisman

The WPJA is pleased to announce Ben Chrisman, of South Carolina, as it's 2007 Photographer of the Year. Growing up, Ben was surrounded by creativity, his mother immensely artistic and his aunt a wedding photographer. He knew from an early age that he, too, wanted to pursue a career in the visual arts. So, when the opportunity presented itself to work as high school yearbook photographer, he grabbed it.

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Carlo Carletti

Siena, Italy

2006 Photographer of the Year

The WPJA is proud to honor Carlo Carletti as its 2006 Photographer of the Year. Carletti’s photojournalism career started in 1987, when he began freelance magazine and newspaper collaborations in Tuscany, Italy.

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Huy Nguyen

Texas, United States

2005 Photographer of the Year

The WPJA honored Huy Nguyen with its distinguished 2005 Photographer of the Year award.

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Gary Allen

North Carolina, United States

2004 Photographer of the Year

The WPJA proudly honors Gary Allen as 2004 Photographer of the Year. Gary’s principal pride, however, is the recognition this award represents within distinguished WPJA company and the message it sends from a notable panel of photojournalism judges. The award represents excellence within his photojournalism profession. “Winning the award is that much sweeter,” he said.

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Eric Francis

Nebraska, United States

2003 Photographer of the Year

The WPJA is proud to honor Eric Francis as 2003 Photographer of the Year.

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David Beckstead

Washington, United States

2002 Photographer of the Year

David Beckstead earned the Wedding Photojournalist Association's first Photographer of the Year Award in 2002. What makes Beckstead unique are images that reflect an artistry that often requires the artist to test the edges of former photographic 'limits'. But the artistic leading edge of wedding photography is exactly where David Beckstead wants to be.

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