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Photographer Dan O’Day has been awarded International Wedding Photographer of the Year for 2018.
The IWPOTY (International Wedding Photographer of the Year) awards are dedicated to the promotion and celebration of the art of wedding photography from across the globe.
Last year, the awards garnered interest and submissions from 61 countries worldwide, with photographers invited to submit for over 10 categories, with a single photographer granted the grand prize title.
A household name in the Canberra wedding industry, Dan O’Day‘s moody, cinematic images are coveted by couples across the globe, his Instagram feed charting travels from New York City to Italy, Croatia to the Blue Mountains.
Of the nine images Dan submitted to the contest, one image was selected to grant him the title, with six others earning placings in the highest scoring 10 prints for four other categories. The overall winning image was a couple portrait taken by O’Day at the Cell Block Theatre in Sydney.
Though this isn’t Dan’s first win as a professional photographer (or even his first win of 2018 – he was recently awarded the title of Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Australian Professional Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018, the second time he’s been awarded the title), he is no less chuffed about the win.
“It’s huge. On a personal and a professional level,” he says. “I really respect this competition due to the high quality of work received and also the varied selection of judges from all over the world (all of whom I respect greatly). It’s a ridiculous honour to be nominated for this title by my peers, especially.”
Of working in Canberra, where Dan and wife Andi (who shoots weddings under the O’Day banner at @mrs.andi.oday) spend the majority of their time, he says that Canberra’s humble backstreets shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to potential wedding photo locations.
“Wandering down the streets of some of Canberra’s really established neighbourhoods can be so beautiful to shoot in,” he says. “We’re blessed with space and trees around here, so it’s amazing to get amongst it. I also love the contrast of the architecture at the National Gallery of Australia as well as the pine forests of Yarralumla and The [National] Arboretum. So many great options here at home, so little time!”
As for advice for couples choosing a wedding photographer, Dan says that while wedding budgets may be daunting, memories captured on camera last a lifetime.
“When allocating money to corners of a wedding day, it can be easy to let photography become a bit of an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. But really, at the end of the wedding day, the photos are one of the only things you get to keep.”
“The photography you invest in will be the legacy of the day itself, and that’s a thing of mega importance to consider making the space and money for. Also, once you choose a photographer, make sure you click with them personally. On the wedding day, you’ll likely spend more time with your photographer over anyone else, so it’s really important the three of you gel.”
As for those considering a destination wedding, Dan lists some off-the-beaten-track destinations in Europe as some of his favourite locations from 2018.
“Zagreb in Croatia had some of the most beautiful architecture and kindest people I’ve ever met in my life,” he says. “Bologna in Italy – stunning everything, and holy cow, the food was incredible.”
“We also shot a lot in Tasmania last year and it just made us want to shoot there as much as possible – right in our ‘backyard’ in Australia. We shot some weddings on rural properties in Tassie’s beautiful landscape, as well as a couple at MONA with its crazy beautiful architecture and art. We love it there and we can’t wait to shoot there more and more.”