Student Spotlight: Diana Fernie - AIPP South Australian Student Photographer of the Year

Every year the photographic industry gathers in South Australia with a portfolio of their best work, to compete for the title of South Australian  Professional Photographer of the Year.

Centre for Creative Photography students have a long standing history of winning big in the awards. Notably the last two years we have seen wildlife and diving photographer Diana Fernie - current CCP student - awarded the title of South Australian Student Photographer of the Year for both 2016 and 2017. Not only that but she was a finalist nationally for the Australian Student Photographer of the year in 2017. Boy are we proud of her!

She has kindly shared with us her winning portfolios and thoughts surrounding the awards process. 

Diana Fernie-5-EditB&W.png

Diana Fernie

SAIPP Student Photographer of the year 2016-17

CCP: What made you choose to enter the awards?

Diana: Entering the awards has helped me develop and discover me as a photographer. I knew what I loved to photograph and sometimes I nailed it, but now, when I look through the viewfinder, I check all the detail. What will make this image truly on the wall-able? Why? 


CCP: What made you choose to enter the APPAs and the SAPPAs?

Honestly? I had joined the AIPP as a student member and one day I got an email about the awards. All I remember reading was “You can’t…if you don’t”. Weird but it just triggered something in my head and I just went for it. Decision made, I terrified myself and had no idea why I had made that ridiculous decision. But I rarely change my mind.


CCP: Students often ask where to start networking and meeting working professionals. Have you made any industry connections through the awards process?

Diana: Yes! I have met many amazing photographers from South Australia and interstate. More importantly, these photographers have been so helpful, informative and kind. Initially I was nervous about ‘bothering’ people but that was in my own head. Everyone is there to support you and the AIPP committee are constantly coming up with ways to bring people together, whether its a drinks catch up, a weekend away or an event.


CCP: How does APPA and SAPPA differ from other awards processes and competitions?

Diana: The learning process. There are awards and competitions out there that just send you an email saying “sorry, you weren’t successful”. However SAPPA offers critique sessions for student members, separately from the critique nights for everyone before the awards so that you can improve or ditch your image - both for digital and print. Then you can watch the awards live or online and learn more than you can imagine!! This learning curve is seriously valuable and well worth every penny and stressful moment!


CCP: What has changed in your career since winning South Australia Student Photographer of the year and being a finalist for the Australian Student Photographer of the year?

It has kicked my butt and given me the vision to become a professional photographer. Winning Student Photographer of the Year is definitely not something to win more than twice - time to play with the big boys and girls!


For further information on entering the South Australian Professional Photography Awards visit

For more information on the Australian Professional Photography Awards visit


You can also check out our events page for any upcoming AIPP print critique nights and meetings!