SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer
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SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer

This photograph was entered in the 2014 Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) 16x20 Print, Album, and Filmmaking Annual Competition where it received a Silver Award with a score of 80 in the Bride & Groom Together, Wedding Day category (ironic right). 

I submitted this photograph with the title, "Mary J. Blige Celebrates Same Sex Marriage." From secondhand accounts, there was apparently quite a bit of discussion about the title of this image. Some judges reportedly observed that the image title featured "too much information." I could go into a long and dreadfully boring diatribe about folks who think that image titles don't matter in competition—but I'll spare my readers just this once. In answer to the judges who felt the title provided too much explanatory information, I have to sheepishly admit that I didn't know the name of the artist in the background of this photograph.

Although I'm a fan of her music, I had never seen a photograph of Mary J. Blige and thus until I called the front desk at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills and asked about that photograph on an upper floor, I would have guessed that the artist was someone else entirely. Therefore, I looked at the title as being both informative and true because according to online news sites, she does support same sex marriage / marriage quality. I was actually disappointed with a score of only 80 from the WPPI judges because this image typically elicits positive comments from both contemporaries and clients alike. Due to the complexity of the capture and the subject matter, I had expected it to receive a score of at least 85 which would have designated it as "very good use of imagination, skill, and technique." The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills is located in Los Angeles, California. Phone: (310) 247-0400. Website:

Location: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048.

1/125; f/4.5; ISO 640; 110.0 mm.