We’ve just returned from the high of two days at the AIPP’s 2011 NSW Professional Photography Awards, and what a rewarding experience it was! I (Josh) had the pleasure of working behind the scenes this year, preparing the prints to be judged. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore and admire the work of some amazing photographers from all over state (and the ACT).
I entered a small selection of prints for judging this year, mainly in the wedding category (of course). I was excited and honoured to walk away with one silver distinction and two silver awards. As far as I can tell, this year I was the most awarded photographer in the Newcastle region, which is such an honour. This was my second year entering, with no awards the first time round, but it was a chance to learn and soak up some experience. Giuls and I have spent the last year working hard and honing our skills and our success at these awards is a great tangible expression of how far we’ve come!
I’ll share the award winning images with you at the end of this posting, but first, I’ll answer a question you might be considering, ‘Why should I care about photography awards?’ The answer is pretty simple, competency, skill and artistry! By putting work forward to be judged by experienced and gifted peers a photographer is showing their commitment to excellence in these areas. This means when you hire a photographer with this kind of experience you can be confident in their skill, their competency and their ability to capture the story of the moment, in short you can expect their experience to result in great wedding photos for their clients… which could possibly be you!
During the time I’ve spent improving my photography by attending workshops, handling prints and observing print judging, I’ve learnt there’s basically three parts to a great print:
- It captures the story! A good print can convey the emotion, the intimacy, the romance, the fun… of a moment in time, it provides a fluid memory, not just a static picture.
- The actual image must show good photographic technique. The image must be well framed and composed, exposed correctly, sharp and not blurry and so on.
- Lastly, the digital image must hold up as a good print; a skill that is disappearing in our digital era, but still so important. This is where the (sometimes maligned) Photoshop comes in, but it’s not about butchering an image, rather the application of techniques similar to those from the darkroom of film days. It’s about extracting the best quality an image has to offer, perfecting not reinventing an image.
Of course, the translation a good digital image into a great print relies heavily, on you guessed it, the printing. We’ve recently brought our printing in-studio, providing us with the opportunity to get creative, and it’s already giving us great results… including compliments on the quality of our prints from the ACT Wedding Photographer of the Year.
When all three come together to give a beautiful image – that is what is then rewarded by the judges with an award.
And these are the three areas that I’ve been putting my effort
Of course, these are the bare bones needed for a great print, but great photography is about translating these ideas into amazing prints. It’s all about the work that goes into making something appear effortless, in essence, it’s what the judges are looking for.
Thanks for indulging us by reading so far, and now, as promised, our winning images. Feel free to leave your comments below.
After a storm drove everyone else out of the Newcastle baths, we raced out with Jo and Damien in a break in the weather like wedding photography ninjas and got some great photos, it’s nice to say, the judges thought so too.
This print of Miriam and Andrew (whose wedding is coincidently featured in the current edition of the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner) generated a lively discussion amongst the judges, was the story captured real or posed? The answer, absolutely real. A simple moment, real expressions and ‘hey presto’, not just silver, but silver distinction.
Then there’s Max, who lazily wandered out to the front of the church and plonked down with his colouring kit. Completely unawares, the budding artist stole the moment (and silver for us.)
(thanks to Jess for editing this post… you’ll be hearing more from her shortly, we hope.)