So I'm officially an 'Award-winning photographer' now!

 

A week ago I arrived in Queenstown for the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography Awards. I said to my friend Emily Adamson that if I won a category I’d jump into the lake. Thinking that was way too ambitious I decided that I’d do it if I won a gold award instead... 

Nude Lake Wakatipu Wharf Jump

It was my first time entering so I didn’t know to expect. When my first image came up for judging my heart was pounding and I got a total shock when my first image was awarded the first gold of the category and even more surprised when my second image also got a gold. Out of 191 entries in the Portrait Classic category, there were only 4 golds awarded and I got 2 of them! This along with my third image getting a silver made me a finalist for the category. Unfortunately I didn’t win it, but big props to Jo Frances-Moore for taking it out! I also was awarded 3 Silvers and 3 Bronzes as well as being named an Associate of the NZIPP. With the totally  incredible and unexpected success of my prints there was no way I couldn’t jump naked. Thanks my friend Fergus Cahill for the photo.

A massive thanks to Mike Hillthanks so much for all your help through this process, it was so cool to have you print my images and I appreciate your eye and opinion always. Also a huge thanks to James Day & Jake Thomas for all the time you’ve invested into me these past couple of years, I appreciate it so much and am so grateful to have mentors & friends like you.

It has been an incredible ride in the years so far. Entering these awards has taught me so much and I have loved the entire process. I couldn't be happier with how I did, especially with my portrait entries. It has made me so pumped to shoot even better images at my future weddings and I can't wait to come back harder and faster for next year's awards. A big congrats to all the winners out there you are all incredible! :)


I've written the given award, final score, category and some of the judge's comments to the images below so you feel free to read those.

Gold Award - 93 - Portrait Classic Category Out of all 1200+ entries this image was made it into the top 10 highest scoring prints.  "Tell me what's wrong with it, I love picking holes in things but I struggled to see anything".  "Can somebody explain to me what he has got in front of him, that black thing, because I actually don't know what it is" "I wasn't staring down there" "He's holding something in front of him so perhaps we're not looking at his willy basically" "this says to me a lot about the photographer as well, the vision to have this shot, the timing and the placement, the positioning to be here and the commitment to create a shot like this is really significant, I also enjoy the humour that is coming through for me, you know there's a naked guy with a hat around his balls with a big smile on his face standing on this rocky precipice which would have been really difficult to get to, very physically challenging, yet he's presenting this absolute comfort in this moment, and this normality of being there which says volumes of his character without even having to speak" "King of the hill, this category is a no bullshit category, everything here has to be lined up and thought about, so not something where it's stitched together - which is fine, but this is a very pure category, pure image, set perfectly, printed perfectly, worked out, calculated, and it's got that fun element to it as well.

Gold Award - 93 - Portrait Classic Category
Out of all 1200+ entries this image was made it into the top 10 highest scoring prints.

 "Tell me what's wrong with it, I love picking holes in things but I struggled to see anything". 
"Can somebody explain to me what he has got in front of him, that black thing, because I actually don't know what it is"
"I wasn't staring down there"
"He's holding something in front of him so perhaps we're not looking at his willy basically"
"this says to me a lot about the photographer as well, the vision to have this shot, the timing and the placement, the positioning to be here and the commitment to create a shot like this is really significant, I also enjoy the humour that is coming through for me, you know there's a naked guy with a hat around his balls with a big smile on his face standing on this rocky precipice which would have been really difficult to get to, very physically challenging, yet he's presenting this absolute comfort in this moment, and this normality of being there which says volumes of his character without even having to speak"
"King of the hill, this category is a no bullshit category, everything here has to be lined up and thought about, so not something where it's stitched together - which is fine, but this is a very pure category, pure image, set perfectly, printed perfectly, worked out, calculated, and it's got that fun element to it as well.

Gold Award - 91 - Portrait Classic Category This is a triptych I shot of myself, my dad and granddad, I wanted to capture the similarity and evolution of our manscapes. It was very special for it to be awarded Gold. "awww, this is the classic portrait category and this is extremely beautiful control of lighting, there is storytelling here, there is fine art here, this is heirloom quality for this family, it is going to hang in a ... I feel either the aging of one man or the story of generations and it's all in one succinct beautiful package"

Gold Award - 91 - Portrait Classic Category
This is a triptych I shot of myself, my dad and granddad, I wanted to capture the similarity and evolution of our manscapes. It was very special for it to be awarded Gold.

"awww, this is the classic portrait category and this is extremely beautiful control of lighting, there is storytelling here, there is fine art here, this is heirloom quality for this family, it is going to hang in a ... I feel either the aging of one man or the story of generations and it's all in one succinct beautiful package"

Silver - 80 - Portrait Classic Category "This is something really different for me, which I haven't really seen a lot of, definitely gave me an emotional response and I loved the composition" "I really enjoy the contrast from the cool light of the flash to the warmth of the lights behind him, it has a strong initial impact"

Silver - 80 - Portrait Classic Category

"This is something really different for me, which I haven't really seen a lot of, definitely gave me an emotional response and I loved the composition"
"I really enjoy the contrast from the cool light of the flash to the warmth of the lights behind him, it has a strong initial impact"

Silver - 83 - Wedding Creative Category "this image is exploding with love, that feeling and that one single moment is so powerful... the beautiful droplets in the air, the expression on his face but most intensely how she feels, and you all can see and feel how she feels and the photographers captured it fantastically"

Silver - 83 - Wedding Creative Category

"this image is exploding with love, that feeling and that one single moment is so powerful... the beautiful droplets in the air, the expression on his face but most intensely how she feels, and you all can see and feel how she feels and the photographers captured it fantastically"

Silver - 80 - Wedding Creative Category "a very clever shot, awesome composition, so symmetrical, I was highly impressed"  "clever, dynamic, great use of design elements"  

Silver - 80 - Wedding Creative Category

"a very clever shot, awesome composition, so symmetrical, I was highly impressed" 
"clever, dynamic, great use of design elements"
 

Bronze - 78 - Wedding Classic Category  "imagine this is your wedding, that is the perfect portrait you want on your wall, it's a beautiful moment, done really well"

Bronze - 78 - Wedding Classic Category

 "imagine this is your wedding, that is the perfect portrait you want on your wall, it's a beautiful moment, done really well"

Bronze - 70 - Wedding Classic Category

Bronze - 70 - Wedding Classic Category

Bronze - 70 - Wedding Classic Category

Bronze - 70 - Wedding Classic Category