Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up 2012! Excited much?!?

Ok, well, I have so much to share with you guys, and it has been a long time coming but, yes, once again, I have been dealing with hackers!  grrrr!!  All is back up and running now though and I can share my exciting news with you!

Firstly though, I’d like to let you into my world for a little bit.  Most of you who know me and my work, know that I am very candid and honest about my life.  A lot of you know too that it has been a very rough journey for my family and I over the past 7 years or so.  For those who don’t know the story, here it is in a nutshell (and in no particular order)….

In the past 7 years, I have done ALL of the following:

  • given birth twice
  • gotten divorced
  • gotten married (for the 2nd time)
  • “retired” from photography
  • returned to Uni to study Bachelor of Human Services in Child and Family
  • opened an online store
  • opened a bricks and mortar store
  • been scammed (twice!) out of over $50k through our shop/EFTPOS machine
  • took a leave of absence from Uni
  • returned to photography
  • felt like an idiot for ever “leaving” photography in the first place
  • had my website hacked 3 times (and completely deleted twice!)
  • spent 6 months with the flood affected people of The Lockyer Valley to create a fundraising calendar for them
  • joined the AIPP (BEST thing I EVER did!)
  • entered the APPAs (Australian Professional Photography Awards) for the first and second times

Ok, so it has been a tough, tough journey.  But, through it all, I have always, for some reason, had you guys to bolster me and my family as each and every obstacle has been thrown at us.  And now, it seems, that the tide is starting to turn, there is a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel, and I am hoping like hell that it will mean good things for our family in the future.

I first picked up a camera in the year 2000.   So, if we deduct the 2 years that I stopped shooting to run our shop,  I guess that means it is my 10th anniversary this year! 🙂  I shot my first wedding in 2004, so I guess, I have been shooting on a full time, professional basis for about 6-7-ish years in total.  Until January last year, I have always worked on my own.  I taught myself photography, and have always kind of just fumbled through by reading lots of magazines, watching videos on Youtube and reading blogs/online tutorials to learn what I needed.

However, last January, after watching from “afar” for many years, I *finally* got the balls to submit my portfolio to and apply for membership with the AIPP (Australian Institute Of Professional Photography).  I almost feel silly for not doing it sooner, it has without doubt, been the best thing I have EVER done for me and my business and my family.

Through the AIPP, I have learned that through all of these years of working alone, I have (surprisingly!) been doing many things right!  I have learned how to fix the things I was doing wrong.  I have been given access to resources and learning tools that I never thought even existed, and I have been put in touch with people going through the very same issues, and obstacles in their businesses as I have.  I have been welcomed with open arms by literally hundreds of people, and this is probably the aspect that surprises me the most, as for some reason, I always thought that the AIPP was “elitist” and full of egos, and pompous arty farty types that thought the sun shone out of their proverbial you know whats!  How completely, and utterly wrong I was!

I finally, for the first time in my life, feel as though I truly fit in somewhere.  People who are just like me, with families, and many and varied backgrounds, working through their own demons and obstacles with a common goal – simply to build a business for their children and to seek acceptance from their peers.

Without banging on about it and putting you all to sleep, let me just summarise it like this – to me, the AIPP is just as important to my business now as my camera is.  Its that simple.

Ok, so through the AIPP, I discovered APPA;  the annual Australian Professional Photography Awards, and of course, the respective state awards, which in my state, we call the “QAPPAs” (which stands for Qld Professional Photography Awards, no idea where the extra “A” comes from tho! 😉 ) .  Now those who don’t enter, might see the awards as a big of an ego thing, and it is, to a certain degree.  However, to me, it is validation that what I am doing is right.  I enter in the hope that it will confirm to me that I *can* be up there with the best of them, even when I am sitting here in my PJs, screaming at kids and floundering over how to edit an image in the perfect way, it reminds me that I am moving in the right direction.

An extra bonus, that I never anticipated was the level it would raise my skills and creativity as a photographer to.  The APPAs (and QPPA), have pushed me to limits that I never thought were possible.  I am doing things now in my photography that I only ever dreamed of. I am trying things that I thought only the “greats” do!  Ok, so I’m not necessarily as successful at these things as said “greats” but at least I am trying them! 🙂

There is creativity coming from places I never knew existed within me, and ideas are really starting to flow where before I had to constantly “force” them to evolve.  My cogs seem to be always turning these days!

And so, last week was my third pilgrimage to the APPAs (in Melbourne this year), and 2nd time entering.  It is 4 days jampacked with judging, seminars, workshops and social events and is the highlight of the year in the Australian photography world. We photographers spend months preparing our images,  coming up with concepts, shooting, editing, printing etc.  It is crazy the amount of work that goes into it!

To cut a long story short, we are allowed to enter a maximum  of 4 prints., my 4 entered prints were awarded with the following scores: GOLD (93), Silver Distinction (86, and 85) and Silver (83). Giving me a total score of 347 for my four prints, which were entered into both the Family Category and Environmental Portraiture Category. Can you imagine my surprise when, at the Gala Dinner, my name was announced to be the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up for 2012?!! I am not sure how that happened but am so excited and humbled to accept the title as it is only the second time I have entered the awards! Amazeballs!!

Additionally, The scores that I received also gave me 5 credit points which means that in only 18 months of being an AIPP member I have now qualified as an Associate, with 3 points to go towards becoming a “Master”. I can’t actually use the title until I have been a member for 2 years, but is exciting all the same!

I had originally really wanted to enter all 4 of my prints into the Family Category and hoped for a chance to win it due to being runner up at Qld in March, but due to restrictions on the types of images you can enter in the category, I had to move one into the Portrait gallery.  When I did this, it broke my heart and crushed any hope I had of coming close to being named as a category winner, so I literally almost choked on my drink when they called my name!

The evening itself was such a grand affair and I just ADORED the ambience and atmosphere that the venue (The Plaza Ballroom, on Collins St) gave to the event.  It was even Live Streamed across the world so people everywhere could watch it as it unfolded.  How cool!

Soooo, it really has been an amazing week of making new friendships and being inspired by all of the awesome talent that our industry (and my new friends!), has to offer! And for me personally, and for my family, this year has been a wonderful way to bolster our business and allow us to hope for great things to come.

I can’t believe that I have two great titles to my name now – Runner Up Qld Professional Family Photographer Of The Year 2012Runner Up Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year 2012 – achieved my first ever GOLD award at APPA, AND qualified as an Associate with the AIPP, all within a few months!  Next year though, with your help, I hope to be able to remove those two words (runner up) from those titles!  I hope you are all with me, and backing Team Love!

So, I’d better share the images that I’ve been banging on about, I think!  If you’ve managed to read this far, you deserve a break from my prattling!

Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up

Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up


Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up

Australian Professional Creative Photographer Of The Year Runner Up

Oh, and just to show that its not all about hard work, here is a series of shots of me, hamming it up with the hilarious Mark Duffus (MD Photography) captured by my very generous mentor, Stephen Jones (Arana Photography)…

…and with my awesomely talented roomie, Alicia Adamopolous (Savvy Studios)

…and finally with both Stephen Jones and Alicia Adamopolous who both have helped me with advice and direction so much this year, and to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.

…and now back to Earth with a thud! I have a mountain of washing and editing to do! 😉


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  • Kylie Foley - Ok firstly congratulations on your amazing professional achievements.I actually watched 2 of your images being judged online and they were very well deserved.
    Secondly a bigger congratulations on your personally achievements which im sure involved the above also. You have been very busy in the last 7 years and im sure people would find that inspirational. you’ve been knocked down a few times, but shown great Aussie spirit by getting back up and into it ,which can only be commended.

    I hope you have great success in the future also….I enjoy your creative work.

    warm regards
    Kylie FoleyReplyCancel

    • tan - Thanks so very much Kylie, how kind of you to take the time to leave such encouraging words! It certainly has been a tough few years, but I am so thankful for my kids and hubby, they keep me focused on getting myself up and dusting myself off again and again. They are also my sole motivation for all of this, so I only hope to make them proud too. tan.x.ReplyCancel

  • Eva Van Strijp - Congratulations on the amazing photography, Tan! Can’t wait to get you shooting again for us 🙂ReplyCancel

    • tan - Thanks so much lovely lady! Speaking of that actually, I emailed Alice a number of times in regards to the shoot we were going to do for the new range but haven’t heard back – hope everything is going ok? xxReplyCancel

  • Janet Palmer - Congratulations again & again Tanya…
    So great to meet you and find out those images I was watching being judged (and personally LOVED) were yours!!ReplyCancel

    • tan - Thanks heaps Janet! I felt so rude at dinner when I went to sit with Alicia, I so hope you didn’t mind! I felt guilty about it all night, especially after begging you to let me sit there in the first place! It was an awesome night though wasn’t it? I haven’t had that much fun in ages! Also, I just realised that that gorgeous shot with the veil was yours! You were robbed my friend! I saw that judged at VPPY (online) and absolutely adored it! When I saw it at APPA I was certain it would be up there close to the golds. It is such a unique perspective, I really love it and it is one of the most memorable images of the awards for me! xxReplyCancel

  • Nicole Ramsay - Congratulations Tanya. Your images were we deserved of their awards!ReplyCancel

  • Awards fever time again… ‹ Photographer Tanya Love – 2012 Runner Up Australia Professional Creative Photographer of the Year and 2012 Runner Up Qld Professional Family Photographer Of The Year - […] that I had a pretty exciting time of the whole awards thing last year (have a read about it here: Last year’s APPA post), and I have been working so very, very hard as I hope to realise my dream and goal of bettering […]ReplyCancel

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