Managed to pick up another award over the weekend. The Queensland Professional Photography Awards were judged in Brisbane. Pulled a Silver Award of this image of the Arc Du Triomphe. A bit disappointed I didn’t get more bling and do feel a touch ripped off, but I know what I need to do for the National awards in September. Game on. Two of my photographs from these awards will go to nationals (one with some slight changes) and two new images.
It’s that time of year again when Australia’s top professional photographers gather to have their souls ripped open and hopefully revel in awards glory. The Australian Professional Photography Awards, correct title the “Canon AIPP APPA’s”, start tomorrow.
As every man and his dog these days seems to be picking up a camera and declaring they are a pro photographer, so too are they attaching the label “Award Winning Photographer” to their shingle. Problem is, many photography awards out there are dead dodgy. One wedding based organisation seems to give it’s awards solely to people who give them money. Other competitions declare every entrant an award winner. There are other great photography awards and competitions out there like the Epson International Pano Awards, The Olive Cotton and HeadOn, but the APPAs are the awards most professional photographers turn to in order to see how their work stacks up.
Entering the APPAs means you are messing with the big boys.
This year I am a little extra nervous. Actually, I am a lot extra nervous. If my images score highly enough, I will gain the title Master Photographer. They are great photos and I don’t think I could have done any more. I’m really proud of the work I have entered. One image is from Paris, two were taken in Berlin and the final image is from Bali.
Just thought I’d mention that I am an Accredited Member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). I’m also an Associate Member of the AIPP. What’s that mean? I’m glad you asked.
There are levels to membership of the AIPP and for the most part moving through the levels is based on continued demonstration of excellence in photography and continued commitment to learning the field of photography. These levels range from being a student member through to being a Grand Master. I’m currently an Associate Member and need a frustrating 3 measly points to achieve Master Photographer status.
As part of AIPP members commitment to achieving excellence there is a Continuing Professional Development program in place. As part of this there is a huge conference on right this very minute, but due to prior commitments I can’t go this year. But I’m in the studio watching it via a Livestream link.
The Australian Professional Photography Awards were held over the weekend and I am pleased to say I picked up some bling for my photos. I received 2 silver awards and one silver distinction.
Points from these awards are used to progress my professional photographer qualifications to Master Photographer level (it’s so annoyingly close, but still so far away). My fourth image scored what some people call a bronze award but they don’t count in this instance. I like the image still and probably would have still entered it. With a different panel of judges, I may well have picked up another award.
This image was awarded a Silver Distinction:
No award for this image but I still love it:
Every year the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) publishes a book showcasing all the award winning photographs from the previous year. It’s sent to all members and was delayed a bit this year. I’m stoked the book has just arrived. So proud to have my work featured alongside some of the best photography in the world. I’ve also just realised I now have 10 of these books. That means I have been mixing it with the best photographers in the world for over a decade.
My work as a photographer is therefore nicely standing the test of time and continuing to evolve. Looking back in old books it is amazing to see to the continued development of photography and photographic skills. The raising of the bar of excellence is so profound that imagery produced only a few years ago would fail to win an award today.
I’m happy to say I just picked up a few new photography awards at the NSW AIPP Professional Photography Awards.
I wasn’t able to attend the awards judging in person but they were streamed live over the internet. The added bonus of that situation was that my parents were able to see the judging process, experience how difficult winning these awards are and were standing at my shoulder when my images came up to be judged. And I have to add, watching your photography being critiqued remotely, is not any easier than having someone pick the yes out of it in person. I did however have the pleasure of yelling at the judges when I thought they were completely off the mark and didn’t ‘get’ my images.
I got a silver award for the following image. It was taken after a trip on my father-in-law’s yacht. I knew I wanted to to get this image even before I set sail. The weather was overcast with rain patches. The kind of weather most people would say is terrible for taking photos. Good thing then that I’m not most people.
Another silver award came via an image I had taken during a group photoshoot called Eucalypse. I came to the day not knowing what to expect or exactly what I was going to shoot. But when I saw the location and the models with the costumes they had I knew exactly what I wanted to produce. It was a photo envisaged as an homage to the alcoholic, suicidal Captain Willard in the movie Apocalypse Now.
The next image gained me a silver distinction. Ironically I took it in the midst of the judging of last year’s Australian Professional Photography Awards. I was inspired and skipped out on a presentation that just wasn’t doing it for me. I just went walking and took photos. The image shows a building competing with nature. It’s as if the built clean and crisp environment is winning and the ragged tree is in decline. Thankfully for me one judge understood my image. He was able to convince the other judges what the image was about and had them bump my photo from a silver to a silver distinction. It’s great when you get a judge in your corner.
Unfortunately the judges didn’t ‘get’ my other images scoring them in the ‘professional practice but not awards standard’ range of marks. A different panel of judges on a different day and I may have scored a few extra awards. Got good feedback on one of the images though and have already put that in place for the national awards later this year. Fingers firmly crossed for those awards.
Here’s one of the images from my shortlist of wedding photos that I will be entering in a series of Australia’s most prestigious photography awards. The NSW professional photography awards close in a week and I am desperately trying to make the deadline but still haven’t finalised my shortlist of images. I still have three photographs to cull from the list. I have decided this one is a keeper.
Although this is obviously a beautiful photo of a bride, the images I will be presenting are not all about wedding photography. I’ll also be entering some portraits, commercial, architecture and landscape images. Depending on which images win awards, I will make my selection of photographs for the Australian Professional Photography Awards, the Canon AIPP APPAs.
These awards are the best of the best. They showcase technical photography talent, creative vision and Photoshop skill (sometimes I think a bit too much emphasis is on the Photoshop side of things, but am hoping for a backlash this year and return to simple, clean, creative imagery).
It’s that time of year again where I sit back, look through all the work I have produced over the past year and try to select images to enter into photography awards.
It’s difficult and frustrating. I normally end up being super critical and kick myself that my work isn’t up to scratch – and then a pile of images similar to the ones I reject end up having everyone go bananas over, with numerous awards given to them. Ironically, stuff that I would have simply deleted because I don’t like it, invariably grabs the attention of judges. Bah.
The idea of awards is to showcase the depth of talent and skill of the photographer, so it annoys me when someone enters a bunch of very similar images that all do well. I love to see photographers who push the envelope and do a range of different things. It may be within the same category like weddings or landscape but I like to see individual photographers showing off all their skills rather than honing in on a niche.
Controversy reigns supreme as photographers work to the letter of the law regarding the rules, rather than the spirit of the competition. Photoshop skills become more important than photographic skills. Snide comments, bitchiness and anonymous posts on Twitter encourage, enliven and enrage. It’s a circus.
Do clients care? I doubt it.
Does it improve my work? Possibly.
Is it worth the time and expense? Maybe.
So why bother?
As a solo photographer I work in a bubble. I think my work is great. Entering competitions is my way to benchmark my work. See how it stacks up against the best of the best. So it’s time to select work for three competitions. The International Pano Awards, The NSW Professional Photography Awards and for me the big one is the APPAs (The Australian Professional Photography Awards).
This year I have got a shortlist to sort through consisting of landscapes, wedding photography, portraits, architectural photos and other commercial work. Time to take a big breath and jump in the deep end.