First Place in the Shoot & Share Contest!

I found out that one of my images won 1st place in the annual Shoot & Share contest at 7:30am Friday morning to a text from another photographer that read

“Holy shiz!!!! You got 1st place in the people portraits!!!!”  – (thanks Erika)

I jumped out of bed like it was Christmas morning and immediately pulled it up to see for myself.  I had been watching the places go up one by one from 20th place, and didn’t even entertain the idea of placing first in any category.  I had seen this image pop up once in the best of the best voting round, but really had not been following the statistics too closely and had not been getting any emails from Shoot & Share about even being a finalist!

There is a lot of competition for this contest and well known among most all photographers, so it’s such a special award to receive.  One of the most fun aspects of the competition is that it’s peer voted, and so the winning images are what people are just naturally drawn to and like, which can be surprising.

Quick facts about the Shoot & Share national contest-
  • There were 225,000 total photos entered this year
  • Last year there were 23 million total votes

The below image placed number 1 in the “People Portraits” Category out of 11,500 images. It is such an honor to place in this category at all for me!

Here is a little bit about this image!  I can give you the logistics of how it was taken first:

  • NIKON D750
  • 85.0 mm f/1.8
  • 850/10
  • f 2.5
  • ISO 200


And here is the why.  Every image is made through a series of decisions –

This is a photo taken of music artist April Kry, but my connection with the subject is deeper than that.  April is one of my best friends, and I put a lot of love and effort into this shoot to show off her true beauty inside and out.

I think the connection between photographer and subject can be one of the greatest tools to getting an incredible capture. This image came out beautifully because April is beautiful, but also because I truly see her that way.

This image is intimate and close, her expression is calm and relaxed because she trusts me and I trust her.  The styling is feminine and delicate, which compliment her wonderfully.

  • I was standing on a step stool for this shot as being elevated is a flattering angle on anyone, especially for a close up. There is a reflector below and tilted toward her to reflect light back onto her face!

Location- Cheekwood in Nashville

Hair/Makeup- Katie Vellman

Styling- Amber Williams Stylist

Headpiece- Phillipe Chadwick


Thanks so much to Shoot & Share for such a fun contest for photographers and a way for us to learn and connect with each other!  Here are some of my other images entered that did well this year!

“The Wedding Party”


“People Portraits” top10four“The Wedding Couple”top10three

“People Portraits”top10

Some of my best of rankings (include last year and this year’s entered images!)



See the contest website here-

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