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Queensland Professional Photography Awards 2018

It started out like any big day does.

Waking up at 3am a bundle of nerves and no chance of getting back to sleep.

By 6am I was up and busying myself making breakfast. Gold yolked eggs with golden toast soldiers.

I put on my gold glitter earrings from I Love That Necklace and some sandals with gold trim.

I had 8 entries in the Queensland Epson Professional Photography Awards this year and I had hopes of a gold award for one of them.

My entries were split with 4 images in the Newborn category and 4 images in the Family category.

As I was driving to the judging I noticed a smile in the clouds above me, and a rainbow that didn't seem like it should be there. Surely this was a sign of good fortune this year?

I drove most of the way behind a gold coloured car. I was feeling the gold vibes all around.

The Family and Newborn categories were being judged in seperate rooms at the same time, so once I arrived I promptly set myself up in a hover position between the two rooms.

And my family were watching the live stream at home on two computer screens.

The first image to come up was my Tree of Life image in the Newborn category. This image came to me only weeks before the award entries closed. It shows newborn baby Beau in the centre of the image with his family blood lines below and his name growing fresh in the leaves of the tree above him. The two strongest sticks represent his parents and the lower names of his great-grandparents fading at the bottom of the image. It scored a silver award of 84 and I was thrilled!

So were the crew at home!

Moments later in the Family room my Home Sweet Home image came up. This image is one that came about over a coffee with a friend. She had just finished her first cross-stitch since having children and was so proud of it she had wanted to frame it on the wall. Her husband was not so keen about that. So I suggested this concept and they loved it! It came up so well I thought it might be a strong award entry, in fact this was the one I had hoped for a gold.

And one judge thought so too! She got every element of the concept, that the crosses are the different family members, that theres a homely-ness in the handcrafted nature of the image, that its soft and warm and everything that family is. The dark letters are 4 year old Sammy, the pink heart is 7 year old Paige and the word SWEET is a mix of mum and dad. In the end this scored 83, a silver award!

Cute little Jaxom in his overalls came next in Family category. His sweet expression and soft tones were nearly enough to get an award, missing out by just one point. #79club

Newborn again and my twin girls Flower Garden image was up. I love this image for its prettiness. Yasmin and Lulu are non identical so I liked that the image represented that.

On the day I sent this to print I stopped at the shops on the way home from viewing the proof print and there was a bunch of flowers in the exact colours of my backdrop. I immediately bought the flowers, raced home and photographed them on the backdrop along with some butterflies from our garden and added all the live elements to the print at literally the last possible moment before submitting it for final printing.

It printed beautifully and I had a good feeling....

ARGH - I have images up in both rooms at the same time!

Family category are judging the Mandala...

Ok back to the Garden Twins.... right.... they were awarded 83 points, another silver award!

The Mandala. This has so much symbolism. The family are shaped like a cross, the symbol of a kiss x . The concentric circles in the middle play a trick on your eyes and look like a spiral, a symbol of infinity. Circles are often linked with the bond of love, the strongest of shapes with no beginning and no end. The entire piece is hand created to resemble a hand crafted mandala, which is another symbol of infinity and the circle of life. This image scored 84, another Silver award.

Back to Newborn.... The Ink Blot.

I created this image around a year ago. I liked it but I was worried it was too simple to enter for an award. I don't want to give it away, so I wont tell you what it is, I will let you work it out because its more fun that way.

It is an image that photographers, especially in the newborn and family circles, are very familiar with, so the judges got it pretty quickly. They scored it a solid 84, but then....

My heart started crashing. It was being contested to go up to gold.

I was shaking, my fingers were going numb. The discussion continued. The judges rescored...


It got GOLD!!!

I could not believe it! I think I broke some unspoken rules when I had a little cheer and a happy dance in the darkness at the back of the room. Oh wow oh wow. From an image I nearly didn't enter!

No time to celebrate and recover - my Newlywed Anniversary couple were up in Family room. This was a really cool shoot where the wife had the concept to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary with a photoshoot of doing everyday things in their wedding clothes. The concept is that even after ten years of daily grind, they are still just as in love as they were on their wedding day. I worked really hard on some technical issues with this one. I loved the symmetry of the wedding photo of the left with the childrens drawings of their family on the right. I thought the disinterest from the kids even added to the feeling of "daily grind". This received 82, a silver award.

Last up in Newborn category was Millers nine months story. This is an image that sits very close to my heart. Miller's pregnancy was as ordinary as any. No indications over the 9 months of gestation that there was anything to worry about. But after he was born he was very quickly diagnosed with an imperforate anus. This means that his small intestines had not developed all the way through his body and he was immediately rushed off to surgery to have a colostomy (stoma) formed. I love in the final frame how Miller is so laid back about it, because it doesn't bother him, and by the time he is a toddler it should removed and all of this in his past. I am not sure if his story was strong enough without the explanation, because in the end his image scored a 77, high professional practice but just below award level.

And that was all 8 images scored!! The 5 silver awards were scattered across different boards for viewing but heres my gold, one of just 4 awarded through the two categories!

My amazing family at home were super proud and made signs to surprise me when I got home.


Thats not where this story ends.

The presentation evening was on Monday night and while I missed out on being a Newborn category finalist by a whisker, it was the most emotional thrill to be announced as a finalist in the Family category for 2018. I did cry a little from happiness, relief and pride.

Being ranked as one of the top 3 Professional Family Photographers in Queensland is a huge honour and something I have worked so hard to achieve. This is an accomplishment that I am both humbled by and encouraged by.

Its something that I would not have been able to do without the support of some incredible people. My cheer squad at home who sound out all my crazy ideas and celebrate the good ones, thank you xoxox.

Fellow photographer and 2018 Queensland Professional Photographer of the year Selena Rollason, thank you for giving me a solid shove to put myself out there and enter the awards, for your support after last year and everything in between.

The families who feature in my award images, thank you for sharing your family moments. Thank you to the families who choose me and trust me as their photographer to capture their moments. Life is so incredibly special and it is an honour to be selected by you for this job.

And of course the AIPP awards team themselves. It was no easy feat getting these awards up for 2018 and they were held so seamlessly, there was a true sense of community and support throughout the entire event.

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