Surprise WPJA Award Winners

I have a complicated relationship to photography contests. On the one hand, it’s nice to win an award or two here or there. On the other, it’s a very bad idea to let your ego get caught up in what other photographers (they’re always the judges) think of your work.

Years ago, when I worked as a photographer for newspapers, I would enter contests and very rarely win an award. So for a while, I just stopped entering contests. I was too bummed about losing to consider the positive aspects of entering the contests, even if only to lose.

By reviewing photos to see which ones I thought might be award-winning, I was taking time to look back to see if my work was improving over time, if I was better at certain types of shoots than others, which photos jumped out as different from my norm, where I was having technical difficulties, and what I thought I needed to do to improve overall.

When I became photo editor, I began entering the NPPA’s photo editing competitions. Once again, after not winning for a year or so, I stopped entering. Six months or so late, one of the photographers at the paper where I worked, came an congratulated me on the year-end standings in the picture editing competition. As it turned out, I had won a few awards and garnered enough points to end up in fourth place in the nation for that year. The NPPA hadn’t been publishing the results of the picture editing competitions, so I had no way of knowing that my work was receiving awards. Until it was too late to enter any more contests for that year.

Well, surprise, surprise … something similar happened with the WPJA awards this year. During the year, when results of the awards were announced, I found out I had won four awards. Then just this past month, I went onto my profile to discover two extra awards.


Looking for a quirky wedding photographer in Atlanta who might take an award-winning photograph at your wedding? Have them give us a call (404) 298 6263 or send an email.


Cindy Brown

I'm an Atlanta wedding photographer who takes soulful, quirky and honest photos ...

I'm also an adventurous traveler and all-round nerd. I love to hike with my beagle/cattle dog Roux and best friend/spouse.

I was born in Atlanta, moved around a lot--30 cities and 5 states--and then came back.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, I took a job at asmall newspaper in south Georgia, where I photographedhospital teas, pecan farmers, and beauty queens.

I photographed a biker funeral, death penalty protests andTed Bundy while interning with the Associated Press.

While a photographer for two dailies in Florida, I photographed Ronald Reagan, a train derailment and the dedication of a screened-in porch.

An unexpected life turn took me to Vermont where I fell in love with Bernie Sanders and on to Indiana, where I edited photos for a major daily, and nerded out getting a master’s and PhD.

After teaching photojournalism at colleges and universities in Florida, Indiana and Mississippi, I returned to Atlanta to earn myfifth degree--a Master's of Divinity.

My passion for storytelling with my camera and my interest in religious diversity led my to the field of wedding photojournalism.

I have documented weddings large and small, Unitarian and Pagan, indoors and out, Christian and Muslim, in backyards and in churches. The most exotic wedding I have photographed took place in Mexico and was officiated by aMayan shaman.

When I'm not photographing weddings, portraits or corporate events, I work on personal photo projects, visit friends in amemory-care home, and volunteer at a recovery center.