Weddings

25 Captivating Wedding Photos That Are A Cut Above The Rest

These images raise the bar for wedding photographers everywhere.
02/16/2016 04:10pm ET

Fearless Photographers, a website dedicated to showcasing the world's best wedding photos, just released the winners of their latest contest.

After combing through more than 16,000 submissions, they arrived at 190 finalists -- and boy, are they stunning. Below we present 25 of our favorites, along with commentary from the editors of the Fearless Photographers site.

1
"The perfect symmetry of the scene and the couple's pose is lovely, but the real star of the show is the light. Intense beams streaming down through an opening in the dense forest canopy seem to pour over the couple like a heavenly glow. It's magical and over-the-top romantic."
2
"Everything about this image is sweet and delicate. The pose of the faces, forehead to forehead, and the bride's demure smile both establish this sensibility. It is elevated to perfection by the gentle lighting, overall soft focus, and the tiny snowflakes on her hair and eyelashes. While snowy winter weddings might scream out for overall light and bright images, here the tones are soft and subdued, €”letting the fragile snowflakes glisten."
3
"Two brides means twice the beauty. As these lovely women made their way up the aisle through a shower of rice, their smiles lit up as a bright and bold as the sunshine. The photographer was ready and created this blissful image of the newlyweds, their guests, and the forest setting."
4
"There's nothing like a big, truly spontaneous moment -- but capturing them this flawlessly takes amazing skill and timing. As the thrilled bride leapt into her new husband's arms, this photographer did the just-about-impossible and captured an image that is simultaneously action-packed, emotional, perfectly lit, and totally flattering."
5
"Proud puppy parents almost always want their canine family members to share in the big day. Here, the pup is doing them both proud with an on-cue high-five. The photographer smartly posed the couple down at doggy level to enhance the feeling of closeness, letting the golden late-day light infuse the scene with warmth and love."
6
"While women are stereotypically cast as the more emotional gender, it's just as often the men who are overcome. Smart photographers don't forget the groom when watching for peak emotions. Here, that vigilance paid off in the form of two beautiful expressions €”and a single teardrop, caught in mid-air."
7
"If a happy marriage is all about balance, this couple is well on their way. Their delicate perch is amazing enough even before you realize it's absolutely pouring down rain! Framed between the mountains in the distance and the rippled surface of the turquoise water, the couple is positioned dead center in the image. It's an unexpected and daring image."
8
"What photographer could resist this marvelously colorful and illuminated setting? It's the perfect spot for a silhouette. Here, the warm color of the wall plays perfectly with the bride's slightly saucy pose. Both the bride and groom are shown in silhouette, for a sleek perspective on their figures and a nice view of their faces."
9
"From behind the head table, the photographer captured a layered story of the wedding. Our gaze starts with the couple kissing, then moves to their attendants happily sharing a toast in the foreground. But we can also move farther back into the scene, appreciating the strings of lights, the tables of seated guests and finally the towering trees in the background. We're pulled forward and back through the softly lit image, enjoying the invitation to linger and drink in every lovely detail."
10
"Looking back through the generations helps us see where we came from. Usually, that's a metaphor, €”but these women had the good fortune to have it captured in a lovely photo. The flattering light and interlocked poses make this an instant heirloom."
11
"Everyone's a photographer, right? The real photographer shot this clever and colorful image looking over the bride's shoulder with the focus squarely on the amateur paparazzi in the wedding party. Part portrait and part social commentary, it's an interesting way to re-envision 'group' portraiture."
12
"It's not every day that a camel decides to stroll into a beach wedding €”but when it happens, a Fearless Photographer will be ready to document it, perfectly framed just beyond the chuppah."
13
"The groom's attendants are arranged along a pew that recedes diagonally into the background -- and the movement of the composition seems to pull us the same way. Until, of course, we see the one face that's turned back toward the lens, and observe the affirmative connection unfolding between the big guy and the little one. Sweet and subtle, yet totally unforgettable, it's a perfectly captured moment—and a testament to the photographer's attentive observation."
14
"We've all seen many images of the bride's legs in her white dress and the groom's legs in his dark trousers -- €”so many, in fact, that this expectation-defying image definitely sparks a quick double-take! The interspecies send-up is a charming twist on the classic, with perfectly matched posing to boot!"
15
"As his unseen bride embraces him, the groom's expression comes alive with deep emotion. The photographer waited for precisely the perfect moment, clicking the shutter as the groom's face lifted toward the light. The result is a flattering look and revealing highlights on the tears streaming down his cheeks."
16
"Unconventional lighting takes this image to the next level. Against a barely-there brick wall, the stylish bride's eyes and nose are selectively lit while the balance of her figure falls into shadow. From behind, rim light outlines her neck and torso, plus adds nice highlights on her hair. Her sideways glance perfectly completes the edgy, unexpected, but totally appealing portrait."
17
"The best lighting tool is a creative photographer's imagination. Here, simple rope lights were transformed into a light source, prop and background for the entwined couple. Shot from a bird's-eye perspective, the graphic quality of the image makes it a grabber, €”and the sweet expressions of the couple persuade us to linger."
18
"A softly focused rustic scene is the perfect background for this couple's arrival in their blue vintage car. The photographer filled the whole foreground with the back of the car, creating leading lines that pull us forward to the silhouettes of the couple framed in the windscreen. The bride's triumphantly raised blue bouquet is a wonderful complement to their celebratory expressions."
19
"Heart-shaped hands frame the couple on all sides -- €”the perfect complement to the bride's full-body laugh. Showing all the elements in silhouette perfectly distilled the image down to its most graphic form."
20
"While many photographers are skilled in the art of posing humans, it's rare to find one who has mastered the art of posing ducks €”and the uniformity of their positions is one of the things that really makes this image sing. With her shoulders at a graceful diagonal, the bride's head is perfectly framed in the opening to the little pond. Additionally, the cool tones throughout the frame contrast wonderfully with her skin tone and rich red hair in a pretty up-do. There's a lot to love in this dreamy bridal image."
21
"People in love sometimes describe feeling swept away but being blown away looks like a real possibility for this beach bride! That could have led some photographers inside. This photographer, however, embraced the situation for an inventive take on the 'gown on a hanger' image. With the bride controlling the bodice, the image was shot from a low angle that filled the sky and foreground with billowing white fabrics. Best of all, we get to see the bride and the location along with the gown."
22
"'Proper' and 'conventional' aren't words you hear as much in relation to weddings these days. Happily, that means all the more opportunities for couples to express themselves €”and for photographers to capture those spontaneous moments in creative and highly authentic ways. So there's no need to worry if rain showers come -- €”just grab some friends, dance in the puddles and create memories that will last a lifetime!"
23
"There's more than one way to use a tropical seaside location. Here, the photographer side-stepped the obvious 'natural beauty' angle and went for something more urban. The bright colors and hard lines are a perfect complement to the sharp silhouettes of the tuxedo-clad grooms framed at the left edge of the image. The shot has a balanced masculine feel that the husbands will surely love."
24
"No one likes to be left out of the fun, €”and that includes pets. Although they're only meeting through the glass, these pups seem happy to see the bride and share whatever connection they can. The photographer exposed for the dogs and the outdoor light, keeping the bride and her gown a bit more subdued."
25
"Fearless Photographers know that the real, spontaneous moment is almost always the best moment. Shooting from in front of this procession, this photographer grabbed a perfect shot of the bride being scooped up by the groom €”and the surprised reactions of all the onlookers. The bright, sunny tones in this black and white presentation perfectly suit the levity of the scene."

For even more awe-inspiring photography, head over to the Fearless Photographers site to see the complete collection.

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