A pair of newlyweds embracing at the base of a spiral staircase was a golden image for Bell park portrait photographer Riccardo Gentiluomo.
In fact, so precious was the shot that it won him a Judges Choice award at an international Society of Wedding Portraits Photographers Awards.
The judges chose Gentiluomo’s photo for the top prize among 27 of the society’s annual gold-award winners, who were in turn selected from over 1000 entries last month.
Gentiluomo almost forgot he had entered the competition in January, so he was surprised to discover his triumph while scrolling through his Facebook feed the following month.
“I’ve always wanted a gold award. I’ve entered competitions over the past 10 to 15 years and the highest achievement prior to this was earning a silver award with a distinction.
“Not just any photographer receives a gold award, so it was very exciting.”
Gentiluomo believes his winning shot reflects his “perfectionist” standards.
“It took a while to get the pose right. I don’t like taking a photo until the subjects are positioned just right.
“The shot was actually hard on the bride because she had her neck tilted right back. The groom felt a bit awkward because he basically had to kiss his wife’s jaw to ensure his face wasn’t hidden.
“They trusted me and I was really pleased with the final result. They were excited to hear their wedding photo won us an award. I do feel like every photo is a team effort.”
Born in Geelong, Gentiluomo has been a portrait and wedding photographer for 21 years.
He recalls developing an interest in photography during his childhood, when he would pinch mum’s camera and go through an entire film roll. He was still in Grade 2 at his Geelong West primary school when he leant how to develop his own photos.
As one of few Australians to win the Judges Choice award, he’s now in the running for society’s Photographer of the Year title, announced in London next January.
Originally published at Geelong Coast Magazine.