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2017 Australian Professional Photography Awards

This past weekend, the 2017 Australian Professional Photography Awards (or APPA for short) were held in Melbourne.

These are a big deal in the professional photography community as artists from all genres from across Australia - and even abroad - enter 4 of their very best artworks to be judged and critiqued at the very highest level of professional standard.

Just to be eligible to enter these awards is a big deal. You have to be "seeded" which means to have either won 2 awards from your state awards or to have earned enough points in past years to have been granted an "Associate" or "Master of Photography" in the AIPP.


After incredible success in my first ever awards entry in the Queensland state awards in April this year, where I received a gold award for one of my family photos and a silver award for a newborn print, I was eligible to enter the national awards.

I decided to enter the gold awarded print from the state awards as it was obviously well received at the state level, and then I created three new images to enter along side it, all in Family category.

The week leading up to the awards was really emotionally hard. The nerves and the stress were something else. I had felt so confident in my entries up until those last few days and then I lost all faith in myself. I had two nights of insomnia, a condition I honestly have not encountered since entering motherhood, where every night my eyes are getting heavy by 8.30pm.

On judging day, I was shaking badly, huddled in a fellow photographers house watching the live stream from Melbourne on the big screen TV. Thankfully, she has had a fair bit of experience in entering awards and was talking me through a few of the final details of how the national awards are different from the state level.

It was Friday morning and Family category was one of the first categories to be judged. The judges were scoring hard and fast, a lot of stunning imagery scoring much lower than I had thought. This was certainly a big step up from the state judging in speed and critique.

Sitting on the couch, trembling from nerves and about 4 coffees, my heart stopping each time the announcer called "Next print please" in anticipation that mine would be next...

Before long, my newborn entry turned around. My heart pumped hard as I watched and waited for the scores to pop up on the screen.... and just like that beautiful Isabella's green image depicting conception growing into a beautiful baby girl was awarded Silver!

A short wile later my gold award from the states was up. When it scored just below silver I was really thrown. It goes to show how our art is perceived by different eyes and critical views.

Thankfully my friend was there to let me know that because it was sitting only one point from award level it would get reviewed and could still go up. And guess what?

It did!

This beautiful family image, showing the strong loving connection of the family walking up the symbolic shape of the engagement ring was awarded a Silver award at national level.

My second family image came next. I love this one, the vibrance, the energy and joy from not just the boys but from everyone in the family. I love the extra fun of how they look like they are flying out of the frame. This image split the judging panel and while some saw the energy and concept as strongly as I did, others enjoyed the photo but not at "award level" so it was awarded "High Professional Practice" just below a silver.

Last up - and last image for the entire Family category - was my maternity entry. This is one that I felt such a strong connection to personally as it was inspired by my own experience of the emotional journey of a pregnancy where one day you feel scared and worried and stressed and the next you're blissed out and excited about meeting your baby. Again, this image split the judges. There was one judge in particular who got this image exactly as I intended. His comments were as though he was in my own head - I couldn't have explained it better myself! The sharp lines showing how quickly our emotions turn. The flip-flop of the two sides competing. The visual edits of the two sides corresponding to the diary entries.

This image also received a Silver award.

And that was it. Family category done. My first ever journey of state and national awards finished.

I came away with 3 Silver awards and a High Professional Practice at the national APPA's on top of the one gold and one silver at Queensland state level.

We popped some celebratory bubbly and enjoyed it with strawberries and cheese as we watched more categories throughout the afternoon.

The verdict was in, the pressure was off but wow, what a rollercoaster! It took days for my body to come back down from the emotions. I finally got a good night sleep again last night.

The rush was something else, and even a little addictive! I know I will certainly be entering the state level again next year so let the new creative ideas start rolling in!

I want to take a moment to thank my incredibly supportive husband Travis for being so freaking awesome. From watching the live feeds on a spare screen as he worked Friday morning so he could chat and experience it with me, to bringing home a bottle of my favourite champagne to celebrate the outcome, he's been a rockstar this past weekend.

But also for all the support through the months and years that I worked so hard to get to this point. It is tough balancing our family life and running my own business and there is no way I could enjoy successes like these without him supporting me every step, every day. I love you xxx

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