Photo Feedback

Gold Award by Graham Morgan in the nature category, 2016 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

I have yet to get four gold awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards. The best I have done is a gold with distinction, two golds and a silver with distinction, but every year, I pack away four gold prints and hope the judges agree with me.

They never have!

I realise I must sound as though I’m big noting myself here, and my apologies, but I wanted to show you that no matter how experienced you might appear, how many awards you’ve won in the past, entering photography competitions remains an important part of your development as a photographer.

My co-judges, David Oliver and Tony Hewitt, are also AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. They also enter APPA every year. And we have a little wager on the side with the lowest scoring photographer buying lunch for the other two.

As judges, we think it’s important to know what it feels like to win and to lose. We all know what it’s like to get an entry with no award. We also remember what it was like to get our first bronze and silver awards. And the excitement doesn’t change with experience.

We’re realistic that winning a category or the overall competition is a matter of luck because we have no control over how good other entries might be. However, we do judge our success by how many silver or gold awards we get. At our level, we expect to get silvers (unless we’re testing something different, which is shorthand for saying we didn’t even get a silver)!

But what about you? If you get bronze awards easily enough, then perhaps your challenge is to get four silvers? Getting lots of silvers? Then welcome to the club in trying to get lots of golds. And if you do find the secret, please remember to share it with me!

Entries into the 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 31 October 2018, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

Silver Award, Travel Category by Alph Leydon, 2016 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

Photography isn’t like a horse race where it’s (usually) very clear who comes first or second. Photography is subjective. The judges express an opinion. First or second is a matter of preference as much as anything else.

However, the good thing about photography competitions is you don’t have to get a place to be successful, you just need to earn a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on your level of experience.

This is the beauty of competitions that hand out awards because there’s no limit to how many can be given. If your photography reaches a standard, you get an award. It doesn’t matter if another photograph is better or not.

So, why should you enter a photography competition? Because it lets you know as objectively as possible if your work sits up the top or has some way to go. Getting one or more silver awards in the Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards is the collective opinion of three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. Earning a bronze shows you’re on the right track; scoring a gold means the judges are jealous!

Entries into the 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 31 October 2018, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

Castelnuova, Gold Award, 1995 Australian Professional Photography Awards. You can read about this image in Peter's new book, The New Tradition. Details on the website.

The most important award I ever received was coming second. It was back in 1995 when I aspired to produce great photographs like Doug Spowart, Rob Imhoff, Ken Redpath and John Whitfield-King. Of course I also admired the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn, but they were the international legends while Doug, Rob, Ken and John were the leading photographers in the AIPP.

And then at the end of the awards that year, I was standing on stage next to Tim Griffith who was the AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year. Was I bummed that I only came second? Hell, no! I was amazed that I was even on the same stage – that the judges put my photography in the same league.

However, second place wasn’t the real prize, it was the gold and silver awards for my four prints. Winning first or second is a preference and there’s only one of each, while gold, silver and bronze awards are a standard and there is no limit to how many will be handed out. It’s not up to the judges, it’s up to the entrants to reach that standard.

We all love receiving likes and hearts on Facebook and Instagram, but how does your work stack up in the real world? Earning a bronze award tells you you’re on the right track, a silver award is a real mark of achievement. And a gold award – I wish I knew how to get more of them myself!

Entries into the 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 31 October 2018, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

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