Pixels to Paper

Camera to eye. Shutter curtain lifts. Aperture stops down. Light bathes sensor. Pixels to hard drive. Adjustments are made. Data is saved. Printer is prepared. Ink droplets upon paper. Matt board is cut. Print is assembled. Labels are adhered. Print case is prepared. Prints are loaded into print case. Courier collects. Nerves set in for scores.

This is the usual (and very stressful) events to entering the Queensland Professional Photography Awards. I have been a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography since 2011 and being a member of the institute you are encouraged to enter the state and national awards. I was very scared to become a member of the AIPP, I didn’t have the confidence in my photography and I had witness a large amount of images that were just from another league in their beauty and craftsmanship. I honestly did not think I was anywhere good enough. So I was invited by a friend to witness the awards and the process of judging the prints and I was very intrigued by the process.

There are five judges sitting in a line in front of a large grey wall. This wall has a section cut out and replaced with a rotating box. This box is where the prints are placed upon. When the print turns the corner, the judges will walk up to the print, inspect the print, sit back down and then score the print. From there the print will score anywhere from 50-100, 50 being under professional practice, 100 being the highest score you can earn, thus being a Gold with Distinction.

(small note on scoring , 50 to 69 is under professional practice. 70 to 79 is professional practice, but not award standard. 80 to 84 is awarded a silver. 85 to 89 is awarded a silver with distinction. 90 to 94 is awarded a gold and a 95 to 100 is awarded the top prize of gold with distinction.)

After a print has earned a score, in some situations it can be challenged which a judge will then try and get the other judges to come up to another scoring range which if works will make the print score from a non award to an award or even a silver distinction to a gold. It is all a bit suspenseful and very interesting to watch what people see within a print. I was very intrigued and loved that you could be judged anonymously, which takes away some of the nerves of being known to a print that may have not scored highly.

After watching all of this I decided to enter.

So I worked on some images, bought myself a print case, printed and matted the prints and submitted them to the awards.

The very first print that I had entered scored an 88. I think my heart almost gave out when they were judging it. I did not expect to score that high, or even score within in the award range. I was so stoked!

Now 2 years on from that experience and I am just about to attend the QPPA 2013 awards next weekend. I am nervous as usual and hoping that my prints don’t fail. But alas the experience is an ever learning process that I am grateful for being apart of.

2011 QPPA & APPA

QPPA: 88 Silver with Distinction | APPA: 87 Silver with Distinction

QPPA: 80 Silver

2012 QPPA & APPA

QPPA: 81 Silver | APPA: 85 Silver with Distinction

QPPA: 83 Silver

QPPA: 85 Silver with Distinction | APPA: 80 Silver

All Images Copyrighted to Nina Dos Santos


One thought on “Pixels to Paper

  1. Having judged one or two of your images over the years, Nina; it is a delight to read such a good description of the judging process. Good luck this weekend.

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