I am so happy to have been accepted into the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. For those that know me well this has been a goal of mine for a long time and has been an "itch' that just needed to be scratched!
I used to be involved in the AIPP community, via an affiliate membership with my employers at Canon Australia & Fujifilm. I would regularly attend the Canon APPA's, now the (Australian Professional Photography Awards) and other events as a representative for Canon. Those were the days, lots of fun and such a great community to be a part of.
Of course I also had aspirations to one day submit photographs into the AIPP State awards and onto the National awards, but never had much confidence in my own work. Sure I used to enter into non-professional competitions, but never really had much success especially after producing quite possibly the worst image even I had seen. The offending image was created in 1998 (if you were born then you may well have felt the Earth shake in disgust at the time of creation) and thankfully I no longer have the image, it really was a spectacular disaster!
But I have evolved, learned from past experiences and I am producing work that I can be proud of. So last year I entered the awards for the first time as an emerging member of the AIPP and was pleasantly surprised by receiving awards for my images. This is not an easy feat given the amount of photographers I used to speak with daily who were still trying to figure out the magic formula to producing awarded images. The judging can be harsh and blunt sometimes and what we see as a masterpiece can be deconstructed with ease by the long serving pros that are providing feedback on your image…but as has been said many times before, it is a journey and one that you will learn from.
Now I cannot say that I know that award winning formula! But there are some key points of advice that were given to me and what I would also strongly suggest for first time entrants to follow; and that is to watch past judging of the awards. These should still be available on the AIPP website.
Hearing the judges’ comments even on other peoples photograph’s, are critical to your State & National APPA journey. They provide valuable insight as to what makes a great photograph and why they are awarded at different levels. Of course those of you that are members can also look up the AIPP Journal magazine and other great resources.
So why join the AIPP? The AIPP is not just about the annual State & National awards, there are many events, education and benefits that come with being a member. It is of course best explained via their website here.
For me it is about the community of like-minded image makers, a bond that starts with the simple act of taking a photograph and also the recognition of producing a professional standard of work. Photography is so much more accessible these days, with iPhones now in most people’s pockets “everyone” is a photographer, being a member sends a clear message to your clients of your status as a professional in your industry.
Becoming a member of the AIPP is no easy task but the process is hugely rewarding, the certification program (to become a member) is regulated by the ACCC so there is significant merit in the accreditation process. “The AIPP continually monitors its ACCC certified accreditation requirements to ensure that the standard for accredited membership is appropriate for the profession of photography in 2017 and beyond.” This, in my opinion is a huge driver in keeping the standard of work at its highest level.
Whatever your goals are in photography, whether professional (as a member or non member of AIPP) or just someone who loves to take pictures, you are already a part of one the biggest communities in the world….so please, just keep taking and sharing pictures!
*I am not affiliated or paid by/ with any brands, stores or resellers. This is a blog representing my opinion only.
MAT BEETSON APP - 2019 AIPP Western Australian Nature Photographer of the Year