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2019 QLD Newborn Photographer of the Year!

I think I need to start at the end of the story for this one.

On Monday night I was announced as the 2019 Queensland Epson Newborn Photographer of the Year.

You could say it took me by surprise. Take a look for yourself:

But to catch you up to speed on this one, lets go back a few days earlier to the weekend of judging (and I'll show you some of my entries too!)

This year I entered the Family and Newborn categories, submitting 4 images in each category.

The AIPP Awards are a print competition where the images are printed to specific size requirements and presented one by one to a panel of 5 judges who look the image over, assess it and grade a score as defined by a pre-set criteria such as showing skill with lighting, colour management, composition, story telling and communication.

There are state awards held in the first half of each year and then the Australian national awards are held in August. You can choose to enter your state submitted images to the national awards, re-edit them or create something completely different and new.

Family category was judged first thing on Saturday morning.

I like to have a bit of creative fun with my award entries. One of the main rules specific to my categories are that the family images must be captured during a commissioned photoshoot which means I can't seek out families to partake in a conceptual idea, I need to work with the families who employ me of their own accord.

One such family is the Jordan family. Little Will was a gorgeous little newborn in my studio, and during their session his parents mentioned that they had a massive water python as a pet at home. So when they booked in for their sitter session, we created a special image for their family of 5 month old Will and his "Big Sister" Lydia!

This image received the a score of High Professional Practice.

The next family image was possibly my most creative concept for this year. It is an idea I had floated with a few families over the past months but no one had jumped on board with my enthusiasm. Until the Scuderi family came into the studio! They thought the supermarket receipt idea sounded really fun and so we put together a shopping list with one item to represent each family member and left the door open to the possibility of baby #4 one day joining the family as well!

This image received a silver award.

The Exton family returned to the studio for a birthday photoshoot for their youngest son Quinn earlier this year. This gorgeous family wanted to create an artistic story image for their family, showing their connection and including in their baby Grace who was too perfect for this world.

My kids had made this succulent ball during the school holidays and it was growing in this interesting formation. I saw their family's world bound together with string, centred and created by the parents with the new life they had brought into the world growing from their unity. We incorporated daughter Sienna's love of dance and middle brother Williams love of a trike as well as rainbow baby Quinn carrying his rainbow toy. Baby Grace is flying free from the end of the family unit.

This image received a silver award.

The last image in Family category was one I had a lot of fun creating patterns with. I really love a pattern, they make me feel peaceful and calm. So when I was playing around with this image from Denise's maternity session I just loved the new shapes that were forming. Denise obviously looks incredible and then the pattern makes for that little extra interest. The icing on the cake for me was breaking the pattern just a teeeny bit by adding in her son Declan after he was born, making this image a "Before and After" maternity image and giving the eye a little treat - an easter egg if you like - for looking that little bit closer.

This image received a silver award.

I was announced once again as a finalist in Family category and I am so thrilled to have achieved this accomplishment for the second year in a row.

The next morning was the Newborn category, and my friend Claire sat nervously with me in the cold judging room awaiting our images to spin around in front of us.

So this is where things get a little bit tricky, because as I mentioned earlier, I want to enter some of the images from my winning portfolio into the national awards in August. So to hopefully keep a little sense of secrecy around them I will share just one of my winning images and keep the rest under wraps.

The image I want to share for now is one with a bit of comedy. This is baby Sonny and during his newborn session I asked if they would like to create an image where it looked like he was sitting on a shelf with some bears.

This is where things took a turn due to my kiwi accent. In New Zilind we pronouce Bears and Beers exactly the same way. It rhymes with ears no matter which one you are referring to. I have since found that Aussies say Bears and Be-iz.

So Sonny's Irish mum got that I was saying "bears" but his Irish Dad thought I was saying "Beers" and suggested maybe a Guinness on the shelf? I loved the "Mum's shelf and Dad's shelf" concept and we included not only the Guinness but also a XXXX Gold since Sonny was brewed in Brisbane!

This image scored a High Professional Practice.

The rest of my newborn photos I will be keeping under wraps for now, but rest assured you will see them soon!

The awards journey was a roller coaster of emotions (it always is!) and I don't think I could have managed my way through without the massive support of my own incredible family, my husband Travis who keeps me grounded when I get a little too "out-there" with my creative ideas and my girls Sophie and Charlotte who have the magical power to dissolve away all the stress and anxiety of the judging with a super squishy hug and a solid game of "Whats the time Mrs Wolf" in the garden.

Thank you to my support crew in the AIPP, particularly fellow photographers such as Selena who encouraged me to enter for the first time two years ago and got me hooked on the adrenaline rush, Claire who held my hand and fretted with me through both of the categories and Mark who recorded the video above of my category win for me. (By the way, they all had awesome results of their own as well!)

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