My whirlwind first APPAs ~ Australian Professional Photography Awards 2014

I was standing patiently at the back of the room when my first print was revealed, my heart started beating faster and hurting as it was pounding so hard. The 5 judges approached my first photographic print. I waited anxiously with fingers crossed, holding my breath as they each examined it closely then sat down and entered in their scores. “77, professional standard, next print” oh. Anti-climax. I loved that photo, why did they not love it? You only ever choose images you feel are worthy of an award (a score of 80+) so it is soul-crushing when the judges don’t see what you see. I just had to accept that I did not pick a strong enough print to stand up against the amazing competition in this category.

Travel Photography Canberra Queanbeyan

I moved on and waited anxiously. The next print of mine that came up was my favourite from Portugal – an amazing sunset, spectacular colours and a bold cross dividing the landscape of rooftops and satellite dishes.

Travel Photography Canberra Queanbeyan

It did not capture the judges the way I had hoped. Only 1 judged seemed interested and manage to convince the others that it was award worthy. It scraped above a silver at 81. Ah, a sigh of relief, my first official award at a national level!

My third print was my China photo. It had been the only image I had re-entered from the state awards where it had earned a Gold. I was not sure how these tough judges were going to score it at APPA. I was actually really worried they would not love it as much as the state judges. I stood shaking in the back of the room as the image came up. It was silent as the scores began to pop up on the screen….GOLD! And it had scored higher than at state. Not only that but there was a challenge! I could not believe they were wanting it to go even higher! Each of the judges started to speak about my image with so much passion and love, it was overwhelming. To have a Master in Photography speak so highly of an image that you created is surreal, especially when they see what you saw when you captured it. Happiness washed over me.


The final score was 97, a gold with distinction! This is an award that very few professional photographers manage to achieve in their lifetime, let alone just at the beginning of their career. Not only that, it was the highest scoring print overall in the Travel category for 2014!

But very quickly after my high, my last print popped up. It took the judges about 1 minute to score it and move onto the next print. It received a 78, just below silver award. Oh well. That’s the reality of these awards. I loved that image too but on the day it did not connect with any of the judges.

Travel Photography Canberra Queanbeyan

But I am grateful for this mix of experiences to learn from and help me grow as a photographer. It has motivated and encouraged me beyond belief and I can’t wait until next year!

If you have 6 minutes this is a short recording of my Gold Distinction award image being judged. 🙂


  • 17/09/2014 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Everyone needs to see your GD in print. The web just doesn’t do it justice. The detail is amazing! So stoked for you Lib you clever lady! Here’s to many more exciting Award events! Txxxx

    • lib
      18/09/2014 - 1:48 am | Permalink

      thanks so much Tracy! Can’t wait to do it all again with you next year 🙂

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