I woke this morning still not quite believing the events of yesterday evening. I don’t for a second think my work is bad or anything, I just feel very honoured to be receiving this kind of an award against some genuinely incredible images. I’ve added a couple of blogs about these awards over the past few months as my pieces moved from round to round. Nothing really could have prepared me for last night though.

Although sad that we couldn’t all meet in person to laugh, drink and be merry, the Master Photographers Association did an awesome job at making an awards ceromony work on Zoom. Complete with pulling finalists cameras into a “room” to watch reactions, the evening ran quite quickly with little drag and only a couple of technical issues. For that, they need to be commended – the effort was clear for everyone to see.

Here was my “moment” 🤓

Yes, this is Alf! This shoot was for YouTube content and the final video is available on the channel here. This image was also used on client websites for “other work”.

To recap, I entered 16 images into this competition. As mentioned in previous posts, the images were judged within a process:

The areas being marked were:

  • Finished Product (40%)
  • RAW files (straight out of camera) (30%)
  • Post Processing (30%)

You’re marked out of 100 points on:

  • Impact
  • Creativity/Style
  • Composition
  • Presentation
  • Centre of Interest
  • Lighting
  • Colour
  • Technical Excellence
  • Photographic Technique
  • Storytelling/Subject

The process of the rounds were:

  1. In the prelim judging stage, a group of judges do a “first cull” – they essentially looked at the entered JPG under set conditions and selected what would be put in front of the Round 2/3 judging teams.
  2. RAW judging was based on the quality of the image out of the camera, as well as the similarity of the RAW to the final image. This section is judged on the quality of the processing afterwards, in theory regardless of the amount used.
  3. The print round is the last section, these judges won’t have seen the RAW files and they judge the finished piece independently of all other rounds. The print quality is also judged at this stage.

For each image scoring above 80, you recieve an international merit. For any image scoring above 85 (i think!), you then are added as a “finalist”. The highest score per category wins the “[category] photographer of the year” title.

Credit to Digitalab, my print partner who expertly printed my work to the point where it could win! Amazing work from them, here is some behind the scenes of my actual prints being printed at the lab:

The Results:

These were all of my entered images, and exactly what they received:

The judges comments for the winning image were:

“Brilliant post production techniques have elevated this expertly captured portrait into something rather special with faded background tones that really focus the viewers attention on the subject.”

In total of 16 entries there were:

  • 16 International Merits
  • 13 International Finalists
  • 1 category winner of Pet Photographer of the Year

I’ll receive a score breakdown soon, and I want to share this with you guys too in the hopes that it will help you to see these bits in your own work. Here is a link to that.

What a year 2020 has been. At least I won’t ever forget it!

Press Mentions:

  • BBC News: