Experience, patience and a touch of timing luck has seen Newcastle photographer Ben Howland win an award for one of his wedding celebration photographs.
In the first photography competition he has entered in his 12 years as a photographer, Howland's image Showered With Love, showing a couple married at the Woodhouse Wollombi in August 2018 being covered in confetti, took out the wedding category of the 2019 Sony Alpha Awards.
"I knew the confetti would be happening. One of [bride] Anna's best friends had been busy preparing the confetti all morning," Howland said.
"Capturing a shot like this involves being ready long before the moment actually happens, and also relies on careful coordination with a professional celebrant. I've taken many confetti shots before, but none that came out like this.
"Guests can throw it at the wrong time or at different times, there can be too little confetti, poor lighting, windy conditions, odd expressions. In this case everything just lined up.
"It was the unique combination of luck and skill that I thought would make it stand out for the Sony Alpha Awards. The tech in my latest camera - the Sony a9 - also made it far easier to get the perfect moment, compared to weddings I'd shot earlier in my career."
The Sony Alpha Awards, in their fourth year, welcome Australian and New Zealand photographers of all skill levels to showcase their talents and celebrates stunning imagery captured on Sony Alpha cameras and lenses.
The 2019 awards is the first time Sony offered a wedding category, which is all Howland shoots. In the past 12 years, Howland estimates he has photographed more than 300 weddings.
"There is no other atmosphere quite like it, everyone is so excited to be there," Howland said when asked what it is about weddings he loves to photograph.
"You can't be in a bad mood when you're at a wedding. It's addictive to be able to experience that environment every weekend, and help craft the memories of the day that the couple will hold on to."
Howard said he entered Showered With Love into the awards because he felt it had that "something extra" to make it award worthy.
"There are plenty of beautiful wedding photos out there, but to be award-worthy it needs to have that something extra. It needs to capture something unique that doesn't happen all the time, and can't be recreated on demand," he said.
"It was satisfying to know that the judges - professional wedding photographers themselves - recognised what it takes to capture a moment like this.
"It was also my grandma's birthday on the day and she was my guest for the awards, so I was happy to make her effort in travelling down to Sydney worthwhile."