Our Panel of Preliminary Round Guest Judges
We are honoured to have the following lineup of guest judges reviewing every submission we recieve.
Cristal is a proud Queer Chicana feminist photographer. After getting two higher education degrees, she fell into wedding photography after seeing images of non-traditional couples doing things their own way. She felt a strong pull to document folks making decisions about what love looks like to them, and not compromising their values for societal standards, so she picked up a camera and found herself shooting a friend’s queer wedding 8 years ago. Since then, she got married and had an intimate wedding with her wife, complete with a backyard BBQ and Gavin Newsom as the officiant; chose to focus her business, Cristal Veronica Photos, solely on LGBTQ folks and people of color; and always feels super honored when folks seek her out as a photographer based on her niche. Cristal’s work has been featured in Buzzfeed, F*Yeah Gay Weddings, H&H Weddings, and Catalyst Wedding Magazine. Cristal has served as a speaker at The Family Narrative, a family photography conference/retreat, and the Real Life Conference for woman and non-binary photographers in Canada. In June 2019, Cristal received the “Heritage of Pride – Pride Creativity Award” from SF PRIDE. In addition to photography, Cristal has worked in higher education for 16 years. Cristal lives in San Francisco with her wife Shimina and furkid/rescue pup Magdalena; enjoys being a Tia; is constantly thinking of future tattoo ideas and places to travel; wishes Tupac was still alive and making music; and is always craving sushi and donuts.
Rowena is a psychologist turned documentary family photographer, born with an unavoidable inclination to observe, an intense discomfort with perfection and a desire to dominate every person she meets at table tennis.
She sees her work with families as an opportunity to reflect, reframe and shift the way they see themselves, both as a system and as individuals. This approach led her to place first in the documentary category of Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers in 2018.
Rowena is the co-founder of Storytellers Photo Conference, an international gathering of the documentary family photography community, and the Memory Collective, a group of Australian photographers volunteering their time to photograph families where a parent has a terminal illness.
A lover of vintage suitcases, playing piano, expressive eyebrows and every kind of confectionary, Rowena lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family.
Zalmy is a hairy hermit, sharing the cave with his wife and six cave-babies. In the moments between grunting, saber-tooth attacks, fire making, home-schooling, and mammoth hunts, he records his family life on silver coated celluloid strips and complementary metal oxide semiconductors. In exchange for blankets, wheels, back massages, and fermented fish, he does the same for others.
(Switching tenses because this whole talking about myself in third person weirds me out.)
My wife and I have dreams of moving into a larger cave (with volcanic views) and starting a Jewish holistic school for other cave-babies.
Although generally believed to be a hipster, a notion helped by my facial hair, thrift-store wardrobe, and love of good coffee and hoppy beer; my ambivalence towards Bon Iver and my lack of flannel shirts has me convinced I cannot be boxed.
Peace and Love. Seriously.
Heart shaped unicorn kissy eyeroll face emoji.
Our Final Round Live-Stream Judges
The final round of Judging to select the top 10 winners + honorable mentions in each category, will be live-judged across multiple platforms by the following three finalist judges.
Huy Nguyen, founder of Fearless Photographers, developed his eye for outstanding images as a newspaper photojournalist and successful wedding photographer in Dallas, Texas. His photography style emphasized delightfully quirky moments that reveal authentic emotions and document events in surprising ways. Today, he brings that same sense of joyful creativity to the Fearless Photographers directory, a useful resource for couples who truly love great photography.
As part of his mission to advance the art of wedding photography, Huy was also the founder and director of the Foundation Workshops (2002 – 2018), the world’s most challenging photography workshops for wedding photographers.
Huy is firmly committed to environmental responsibility and in community activism, and has worked to integrate these uplifting principles into the operations of both Fearless Photographers and the Foundation Workshops through fundraising events, donation matching, and more.
Photographer & DFA Co-Founder
Jenna is a documentary and wedding/family photographer based out of Victoria BC, where she works with her husband and they raise their small daughter. Her documentary work focuses on women’s issues and more specifically, the labour process. In addition to being professionally trained in photography, Jenna has a degree in Psychology, trained as a doula in 2011, and her birth work has been published internationally both online and in print. In addition to shooting, Jenna teaches documentary birth and family photography to photographers around the world.
Photographer & DFA Co-Founder
While photography is now her career, Kirsten actually began as a painter and ceramicist attending a high school with a strong magnet program in the fine arts in Norwich, CT. Additionally, she spent a significant amount of time on the stage through musical theater and dance, a place she was very familiar with growing up with a father who was an actor and musician. It was not until after she graduated with a Child Psychology degree that she began to explore photography, following in the footsteps of her mother and stepfather. Although it took almost a decade in the field, once Kirsten realized she could apply all of her education, experiences and interests to photography she abandoned the wedding industry and a very successful market in the Outer Banks, NC and focused on carving out a niche in the family photography world, applying her love of visual storytelling and photojournalism to a commercial business.
Kirsten now lives in Denver with her husband, street photographer Gregory Bethmann, their young daughter Byrdie Mae and Golden Retriever Mingus the Dingus. Although at least half the year is spent on the road, they are grateful for the mountains to ski on and bike trails to ride when they are home and spend a lot of time soaking up all the sunshine Colorado has to offer.