Every year the best and the brightest in South Australian Photography gather together to decide the South Australian Professional Photographer of the Year. Later on in the year they follow it up with the Australian Professional Photography Awards. It is considered one of the most prestigious and rigorous competitions in the industry. Think of it like the Oscars - but for photography!
But how does it work? How do you enter? We get asked a tonne of questions here at the CCP, so in the lead up to the big event we thought we might take some time to create a handy-dandy frequently asked questions.
What is SAPPA?
SAPPA Stands for the South Australian Professional Photography Awards and is run by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (the AIPP). State awards are sponsored by Epson. It is held over two to three days mid way through the year. It is a live judging - meaning unlike other competitions you can come and see your work as it is judged and meet a bunch of the folks who enter. It is sometimes live streamed around the world. Judging is also anonymous, meaning that your name isn't attached to the work you put up as it is being judged and no one knows who made the work until the awards presentation at the end. The idea being that by removing the names it helps judges make unbiased decisions about your work.
Who Are the Judges?
Judges are picked from people who are awarded Associates and Masters awards through the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, past winners of the awards and industry leaders. They have gone through a rigorous judges training process that supports judges in giving clear constructive feedback about the photographs they will be seeing.
The SAPPAs and the APPAs are Australia's only competition judged from the print, meaning you are in complete control of how judges see your work. It also provides the only platform for alternative and traditional process photography. The SAPPAs aren't just about entering to win (although the kudos is pretty great!). As any past winner will tell you, it's more about the journey than winning awards.
People love the feedback at the SAPPAs as well as discovering where they are at professionally. Being the state awards there is often a little moment for a great comment on each piece of your work. The awards are a great hub to meet and greet all the industry's best as well as make new friends! It's said that the greatest hints and tips on how to make it in the photography world come from the networks made at APPA and SAPPA.
You can also volunteer for print handling, breakout and assisting roles to get a front and center view of all images and comments as they happen.
How Do I Enter?
Check out the Epson Professional Photography Awards website for all the rules and details. It can be overwhelming, but don't worry! We have plenty of events and people on hand here at the CCP to help. Please don't hesitate to ask us anything you need to know! We happen to have a bunch of AIPP Awards veterans working and studying right here at the CCP!
This year's entries close Thursday 7 June 2018
What should I choose to enter?
This is a hard question to answer, because there are so many different answers. First things first; make sure you read the rules of your category and that the images you have chosen comply. Secondly; what do you want to say? Imagine you have never seen your photograph before. What would someone say about it if they didn't know you or the stories behind your images? Images are only judged with captions in some categories and even still they are very short. So your image needs to speak for itself and really tell the story you want to tell. We highly recommend showing a bunch of people and asking for their honest opinions before you enter. Make a list of what they have said about that work and what their favourites were. Often you will find there are a few clear standouts that people love.
So I have entered... what now?
Hold your horses and wait till the 18th and 19th of June. Judging usually starts around 8am, so pop on down the Marden Senior College when your categories are being judged. The judging schedule usually gets released a few days out from the awards, so keep days as free as possible! There are plenty of social events and print judging to keep you occupied even when your work isn't being judged. Why not volunteer to check out the work up close and find out how it all works? Follow the link to nominate yourself as a volunteer
How do the awards get judged?
Here is the interesting bit! You can have a look at previous online judging at the AIPP Awards Youtube to see how it all works in action. There are five judges who each give a score between 60-100.
So what do the scores mean?
80 – 84 Silver award range.
85 – 89 Silver Distinction award range
90- 94 Gold Award range
95 – 100 Gold Distinction award range
These scoring ranges are for when a judge believes that the work goes beyond what we produce for clients every day. It's when they see something really special! The most common awards given out are Silver awards, meaning that the judges can see some room for improvement in the images but believe that the photographer has gone above what should be considered normal professional standard.
Gold awards are harder to get and many photographers can go years before they get one! These awards are reserved for those super special images that make the judges go "WOW!"
The words the judges are trained to think of when they are looking for gold images, goes something along the lines of "superior craft, imagination, innovation and skill" - so you often hear judges quoting those words when they talk about the images.
It gets a little bit more in depth than that, so if you want to read up on all the rules and find out more go to:
State of South Australia rules and awards information: http://stateawards.aipp.com.au/
National Awards rules and awards information: http://www.aippappa.com
We hope this entrée to the SAPPAs has demystified the What, Why, Who and When questions - now the rest is up to you! We strongly encourage you to enter, it really is all about the journey, personal growth and the people you meet. And of course it's great to receive awards, which CCP students have a habit of winning. We're here to help, and we hope to see you at SAPPA 2018.