2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year // Second year in a row

Last week was huge. It started with a busy weekend shooting, followed by a mad dash to Sydney on Sunday afternoon for a very important meeting. That very important meeting was the official start of the judging process for the 2014 Epson AIPP ACT/NSW Professional Photography Awards.

It was Jeremy’s first time on the judging panel, and my second… a very important responsibility and a massive privilege to be a part of this exciting process. The Professional Photography Awards are a big, big deal in our industry.

I’ve copied this from a previous post, for those who might be interested in understanding more about how the Professional Photography Awards work.

Judging for ACT and NSW is combined, however there are separate ‘titles’ for each state. The judging is run across two days, and divided into various categories (portrait, wedding, family, illustrative, travel, landscape, etc). Each print is judged individually on it’s own merits, by a panel of five judges. Judging is public and also live-streamed. Prints are scored between 50 and 100. Prints scored between 80 and 89 receive Silver Awards (with 85-89 being a Silver Distinction) and prints over 90 receive Gold Awards (with 95-100 being a Gold Distinction). Depending on how the scores fall, judges can challenge a score, and many prints are subject to passionate discussion and are re-scored, resulting in an award. At the end of judging for each category, the top three aggregate scores over 320 points become finalists for the category. Their top four prints are then judged as ‘submissions’ in a separate process (also five judges, but privately), and the winner of the category is determined. At the end of all the print and category judging, there are further awards chosen for Emerging Photographer, Highest Scoring Print, and the biggest one of all: Professional Photographer of the Year. You have to be a category winner to be eligible for Professional Photographer of the Year.

Jeremy and I entered as well as being on the judging panel (but obviously we don’t judge our own or each other’s prints!). We both entered the family category, and I also entered the wedding category. We put an incredible amount of hard work into selecting and preparing our entries, and we are ever so grateful to our gorgeous families and couples for trusting us to be creative with them.

And this is the result! The exact moment when Jeremy found out he had won 2015 Epson AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year…

(Thank you to our lovely friend Paul Hoelen, for capturing the excitement!)

I knew Jeremy had it in the bag! His prints are unbelievably good.

I was lucky enough to be a finalist in not one, but two categories; 2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year, and 2015 AIPP ACT Wedding Photographer of the Year. I was absolutely thrilled to be standing alongside two of the industry’s very best – Kelly Tunney and Dan O’Day – as a wedding finalist. Kelly took out the title for the third time. We’re a tight little group in the ACT, and although we compete against each other, we’re also great friends and very supportive, and that is so, so important to all of us. There was a moment during the preparation process where I thought Dan and Kelly weren’t going to enter, and instead of being happy about that because it meant my chances of winning were higher, all I could think was that I would feel a hell of a lot more accomplished to be a finalist and lose to one of them. I know that probably sounds crazy, but that’s the truth! And I’m over the moon that it actually happened just like that!

In the Family Category Jeremy received 2 Gold, 1 Silver with Distinction and 2 Silvers. In the Family Category I received 1 Gold, 2 Silver with Distinction and 1 Silver. In the Wedding Category I received 1 Silver with Distinction and 3 Silvers. While we would love to share our images with you, we’ve decided to keep them mostly under wraps for now (although you can see sneaky glimpses of some of them in the pictures below!), until after the national awards which are held in Melbourne in October. After that, we’ll share everything properly; we promise!

Meanwhile, here are some pics of our pretty loot:

AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year, Jeremy Byrnes
AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year, Jeremy Byrnes
AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year, Jeremy Byrnes
AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year, Finalist Katie Kolenberg
AIPP ACT Wedding Photographer of the Year, Finalist Katie Kolenberg
AIPP ACT Family & Wedding Photographer of the Year, Finalist Katie Kolenberg

The Professional Photography Awards are an incredible opportunity. We use that opportunity to push ourselves as artists, to explore new ways of approaching our family sessions in order to create and produce images that are completely unique. We want to be the best we can be, and we will never stop striving for excellence!

Thank to you to the AIPP, and the tireless, hardworking people behind the scenes who create these opportunities for us and for the betterment of the photography industry in Australia. We are eternally grateful, and so in love with this crazy industry we’re a part of. 

Katie xo

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