World Beard and Moustache Championships® with Craig Mitchelldyer

Our friend Craig Mitchelldyer was asked by Just for Men to photograph the 2014 World Beard and Moustache Championships® here in Portland last month. Craig is one of the hardest-working commercial, sports and wedding photographers out there, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Newsweek. To round out Movember, we checked in with Craig to ask him about his experience, and share some photos of this incredible facial hair.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.49.14 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.49.36 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.49.25 AM

What were some of your favorite things about shooting this competition?

I loved all the characters. I love shooting interesting people and here I was in a room full of hundreds of the most interesting and photogenic people you’ll see! I was there to shoot this for Just for Men, the main sponsor of the show. I told the agency I really wanted to do some portraits backstage because I felt that would be the best way to showcase the event. So I set up a simple two-light setup on a gray background right off the stage and I would grab the winners as they came off. There were over 18 different categories! It was a lot of fun. I also shot some of the general stuff on stage, but the portraits were by far my favorite part.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.50.28 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.50.14 AM

Did the facial hair pose any lighting challenges? 

Not too much. I had my lighting setup to light some of the darker beards to really bring out the texture in the hair. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.51.18 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.51.09 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.50.55 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.50.41 AM

What was your favorite shot of the competition and why?

Probably the first two (see image below), the guy on the left – MJ Johnson from Minnesota – just has the coolest beard design I’ve ever seen. The guy on the right, Madison Rowley, won the whole thing with his awesome beard and he’s a Portland guy too. So those two are my favorites.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.49.03 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.51.29 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.51.42 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.51.54 AM

For more information about Craig Mitchelldyer, visit his website here, and for more information on the World Beard and Moustache Championships, click here.