2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year // A dream come true for us

In Melbourne on Monday October 19th, something absolutely incredible happened to us. Something that we’ve dreamt of, but totally didn’t expect.

Katie was awarded the extremely prestigious title of 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year. 

And Jeremy was a finalist in the same category.

Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year
Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year, Heartstory, ACT

We can now say with pride that when you book a family portrait session with Heartstory, you will be photographed by one (or two) of Australia’s top three family portrait photographers!!!

To stand amongst the cream of the Australian photography industry was the most exciting and amazing thing that’s happened to Katie in her professional career. It was just under 6 years ago that she left her comfortable and safe public service career and plunged headfirst into a new profession, and as a small business owner. In that time she has not only built a successful family portrait studio, but she has won so many awards for her photography that they no longer fit in an email signature block! She has risen to the top of her field so quickly, with no formal training in either photography or business, and she attributes it to nothing more than incredibly hard work, determination and commitment.

The award winning photographs that made up Katie’s winning submission were of real Canberra families that Katie has photographed in the last two years, captured and presented with her unique vision and creativity.

On the night of the awards dinner, Katie was completely shocked that she’d won and totally unprepared, but somehow she babbled her way through an acceptance speech. Later she realised that there were a lot of things she wish she’d had the composure to say, so together we recorded a little video message to make up for it. You can watch that here:

A quick explanation of the awards:

“The Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) is Australia’s pre-eminent professional photography event.   Open to photographers from all disciplines, it seeks to reward current Australian image making. Professional photographers from Australia and all over the world compete in a number of categories, and for the coveted title of “Professional Photographer of the Year”.  AIPP Members who participate in Canon AIPP APPA are able to accrue “award points” which count towards the achievement of Associate and Master status within AIPP.”

(From the AIPP APPA website)

This is the 39th year that APPA has been running. This year there were 648 entrants, with total of 2434 prints. The prints are judged publicly over three days by panels of some of Australia’s most well known and awarded photographers. Each entrant can only enter 4 prints, and if they’re hoping to win a category title, they must all be entered in the same category. The three entrants with the highest aggregate scores in each category become finalists. The submissions of each of the three finalists are then judged separately by a different panel in a closed room to determine the winner.

The ACT did incredibly well in the National awards this year! So it’s no longer a secret that some of the best photographers in Australia live right here in little old Canberra! I was thrilled to share the stage with Kelly Tunney, who is not only a dear friend, but the first woman to ever win 2015 AIPP Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year. And it’s also the first year that Canberra had two category winners, as well as another 4 photographers as finalists in various categories, including wedding and family.

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. 

And of course everyone wants to see the award winning images, so here they are:

Jeremy Byrnes, 2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year
Jeremy Byrnes, 2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year
Jeremy Byrnes, 2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year
Jeremy Byrnes, 2015 AIPP ACT Family Photographer of the Year

Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year
Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year
Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year
Katie Kolenberg, 2015 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year

 

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