The skill and artistic merit of wedding photography is often underappreciated.

No longer just a question of getting a picture in which neither bride nor groom are blinking, modern wedding photography requires a certain x-factor.

On any trip to the waterfront of Wakatipu you might see half a dozen newlyweds posing in fairytale dresses, surrounded by photography assistants. It's a process more like a glossy magazine shoot than a family keepsake.

However, this one image of an underwater couple has taken the wedding photograph to another level after winning an international photography award.


Photographer Kimber Greenwood was taking the photo for wedding clients in Kelly Springs, Florida, when he saw that the image was a winner.

"I love underwater portrait work and this session was a dream come true," she told the judges panel of the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition.

It was a technically difficult photo to achieve with lots of factors working against the photographer, however the result was worth the effort.

"The current was intense so my assistant was holding me in place," she said.

Photographed in the Kelly Park in Orange County Florida, the springs are a spectacular, crystal clear natural aquifer. Although currents are strong, the clean water remains at a pleasant 20 degrees all year round, making it perfect for photography or just swimming.

It was one of thousands of entries from 78 countries to be entered for the annual photo award, which awards $130000 in cash prizes to photographers.

An antarctic crab seal won the overall prize. Photo / Supplied, Greg Lecour, Ocean Art
An antarctic crab seal won the overall prize. Photo / Supplied, Greg Lecour, Ocean Art

The untitled wedding photo was singled out for an honourable mention in the awards, narrowly missing out on first place to Greg Lecour's photo of a seal darting through Antarctic ice.

Judge and publisher Scott Geitler was particularly impressed with this year's entries, saying: "I continue to be amazed by the wonderful images that today's underwater photographers are producing. The winning images produce powerful emotion, and will influence a new generation of ocean conservation"