The night before last, I was extremely honoured to receive the "2013 Best of NACE Award" for "Best Photography" at the Triangle NACE Annual Awards Gala at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club in Durham, NC.

NACE is a fantastic organization with the mission of developing professionals in the wedding and event industry. As such, this particular award meant a lot to me on a couple of levels: firstly, given the number of wedding photographers involved in our chapter at both the membership and board level it was judged by another chapter who didn't know anything about who we were, and, secondly, I was up against a number of other very well-established Raleigh wedding photographers whose work and reputation I really respect.

The rules for the competition stipulated we had to select a wedding and submit just 20 images along with a written summary of why we chose this particular event. My written submission from Deniz and Robbie's Duke Gardens wedding from last July, went like this:

This was a fun event to shoot as Deniz is from Turkey and Robbie from Durham. They planned their event meticulously from their home in New York. The rainy day added some excitement to proceedings as Deniz spent the morning getting ready at the Washington Duke Inn. Aside from getting her make up, hair and photos done, she multitasked by making phone calls to organize moving the event from outside at the amphitheatre at Duke Gardens to inside the Doris Duke Centre.

The rain added to the romantic mood of the day and it was lovely to see the bride’s beaming face as she walked down the aisle. After the ceremony, the rain cleared and the light was gorgeous for us to go outside and take the family formals and shots of the couple together. We then headed back inside to the reception where the couple had their first dance. After that, the guests took it in turns to give toasts that raised more than a few smiles. It was a very relaxed day and I really like the pictures given the obvious love between the couple and the unbridled happiness that is evident from all involved.

It was really tough narrowing it down to just 20 to tell the story of the day, but here are my favourites from different parts of the preparations, ceremony, portraits and speeches.

And here are the 20 images I selected from Deniz and Robbie's day:

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My sincere thanks to Triangle NACE for all the great work they do for our industry, to all the vendors and other photographers that have helped me in my journey as a Raleigh wedding photographer so far, to Deniz and Robbie for asking me to shoot their wedding and, finally, to my lovely wife, Cristel, for all her love, patience and support as I figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

nace best wedding photography 2013 joe payne

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