After a great night sleep last night, I have finally woken up to the reality of what has just happened to me over the weekend.   This dream that I have been living over the last couple of days is REAL.  It did happen.

On Monday night, I was so incredibly honoured and humbled to receive 2013 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year.

So where to start. My first thanks have to go to the AIPP.  I joined the AIPP as an emerging member about 4 or 5 years ago.  Over the last couple of months since THIS happened, I have been asked many many questions, for advice and tips on how to improve their work and progress in this over-saturated industry.   As a new photographer coming into this industry, the best possible advice I can give people, is to join the AIPP.  There are many reasons why, and I will share a few of them with you here.

1.  Like many of us, I joined this industry not only for the love of photography, but for the allure of work/life/family balance it offered.  The problem with this of course, like many photographers, I ended up working alone, in isolation.  The AIPP provides a platform for me to mix and meet with other photographers, and in particular, experienced photographers that have worked in this industry through good times and bad, and have survived to tell their story.   And it is the sharing of these stories that has helped immeasurably.

2.  The educational opportunities are wide and varied.   There are opportunities to learn from the old school and new school, to not just learn photography skills, but to learn business skills as well.  But the education doesn’t just stop there, for  in fact it is much wider and varied than that, drawing speakers from other creative fields that have equally influenced this journey of mine.  Perhaps importantly, I should add that the education doesn’t cost the earth..

3.  The Australian Professional Photography awards.  Whilst I would say that you don’t need to win awards to join the AIPP, it is from jumping in head first I have learned the most.   There is nothing easy about putting yourself in the position of being judged by your peers, but if you can honestly open yourself up to hearing and listening to critique, I promise you, you will reap the rewards in the end.  I hear a lot of people say that they will never do well, because their work doesn’t have the AIPP “look”.  Well I challenge you to describe what the AIPP “look” is, and then have a closer look at my work.

My next thanks has to go to the sponsors of this amazing event.  To the major sponsor, Canon – I’m Canon all the way baby. To Atkins Techicolour – photo processing services for photographers that want the best, for sponsoring the Family Category – thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lastly, to my clients, and in particular, those that are willing to entertain some of my crazy ideas.  Thankyou for just being you, and trusting me to tell your story.

So now to my winning portfolio

For those of you viewing this only online, you will have missed the full impact of this quirky series, so I wanted to show you the whole presentation.  Sadly, in this digital era, we forget about the presentation and it can add soooo much more to the story.   I just wanted to thank Framing Matters in Manuka, because they always go over and beyond the call of duty when matting my prints.

Just to answer a few more of the common questions I have been asked recently.

1.  What paper do I use to print my images onto?  Canson Photographique 310gsm It’s my favourite by a mile.  I use it for colour and black and white.

2. What lens do I use?  90% of my images are shot using the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM.   This lens is the fastest, most versatile lens on the market in my opinion, and that is exactly what I need when I am photographing fast moving children.  The other 10% of the time I will have my Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM on my camera, and infact this is the lens I used to shoot the iPhone image as this is a series of head shots, I didn’t want the wide angle to distort their faces.

3. What camera to do I use?  Canon 5D Mark 2.  Just about to upgrade to the 5D Mark 3 though.

4.  How do I come up with these ideas?  They are mostly inspired the personalities of my clients – I don’t do this on my own.  I also have 3 children, so I have learned how to draw out the personalities of these little people that I photograph through personal experience.

5. Who do I print through? Macquarie Edition.  Thanks yet again Stephen, for your exceptional care.  Every single last detail is taken care of for me, a true master of his craft.

6. Who matts my prints? Framing Matters, as mentioned above.

You can find my business facebook page HERE. And if you would like to follow my personal journey with iPhone images only, you can do so HERE.  I was recently featured in “The Canberra Times” for my iPhoneography HERE.  Please come and join me and let me know if you have any questions at all, and I would be more than happy to help out.