NZIPP Conference Part 2: The Infocus Conference 2015

This years New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) conference in magical Queenstown had something for everyone, from the eyeball popping imagery of Alexia Sinclair to the gentle simplicity of Kristen Cook’s beautiful baby portraits and so much more in between.

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The speakers covered a variety of disciplines and in addition to the two mentioned above included the excellent Canadian business consultant powerhouse Corwin Hiebert,  Aussie wedding photographer Lucy Spartalis from ‘She takes pictures He makes films’  and NZ photographers Jason Naylor speaking about preparing for serendipity in wedding photography, Tony Carter who showcased his powerful environmental portraits of the community in Ohura, Jackie Ranken who shared images from her recent travels in Tibet and Paul Alsop talking about the techniques behind his incredible wet-plate photography.

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Kristen Cook with a slide from her beautiful ‘January Project’

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Jason Naylor from Wedo Photography kept us effortlessly entertained with his presentation.

Australian Portrait legend Robert Piccoli, and NZ commercial photographers Nick Tresidder and Leon Rose all ran workshops during the conference on various techniques of lighting and posing.

Robert Piccoli portrait photographer
Robert Piccoli demonstrates his style of portrait posing.

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This was the view from Rydges, where the conference was held … not too shabby!!

It was highly informative and inspiring but (as always) the best part of the conference was hanging out with old friends and kicking up our heels in the evening.  Always a good time!!  Waiheke was well represented this year with Alice Doig, Blair Quax, Michelle Hepburn and myself all enjoying the Queenstown hospitality.

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It’s always fun to hang out with my lovely and talented friend Jess Burges from Exposure Photographics in Keri Keri (If you are looking for a photographer in Northland, check her out!).  She, Alice and I had a friendly run in with the coppers one evening and wrangled them into posing with us beside one of my winning images from last year that was on display in the streets of Queenstown.

And then there was the gala dinner…

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Oh dear!! (Highly recommend a photobooth at your wedding by the way… so much fun!)

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That’s all folks!  Thanks for indulging my  holiday, oops I mean NZIPP Conference recap 😀

NZIPP Conference Part 1: The Epson Iris Awards 2015

NZIPP judge

This year was my fifth year as a judge for the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers (NZIPP) at the Epson Iris Awards which is always both exciting and terrifying…  standing before that room of eager photographers and having to pass judgement on their art is both a personal and professional challenge for me.

People love you if you rate their photography highly, but send some pretty hefty eye-daggers and scathing under the breath comments if you don’t (I know, because I sat in the audience for some of the judging) … and more often than not, photographers (myself included I’ll happily admit) are so close to their own artistic creations that they think it should ALL receive gold awards, so either way you can’t really win!

It definitely does not make you feel like the most popular person at the party!

Add to that the fact that they are now streaming the judging process live (and available for playback) and this means that anything that you say ‘can and will be held against you’ by a facebook lynch mob!  (sigh).  Still, despite this feeling of having a bit of a target on my back, I love the process of the Iris Awards and felt really proud to be a judge again this year, sitting among some incredibly experienced and knowledgeable judges who are at the top of their fields in both Australia and NZ.  It’s always exciting to see new images that have been lovingly created by the entrants every year, and an absolute honour to be one the judging team.

Congrats to those of you who did well (*backslap!*) and to those that didn’t do as well as you hoped, be open to the potential of taking on the judges comments and improving your work, but also remember that all art is highly subjective and if you love your images regardless of the judges comments, then let that be enough for you.  Hold your awards results loosely. x

(apols for bad screenshot from video)

I entered the awards myself again, as I do every year.  I was over the moon to receive a Gold Award for an image (described by one judge as ‘provocative’) of a feather frozen in ice that looked more than a little bit like something else rather feminine!  Well, you’ve got to stir the pot sometimes, aye?  Keeps it interesting.


Gold Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Gold Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards


Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Silver Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Silver Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards


Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Bronze Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Silver Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

Silver Award, NZIPP Epson Iris Awards

It’s always so tricky to figure out which images and categories to enter … I went a bit more arty with the creative wedding category this year and indulged in my love of slow shutter speeds and movement, and must admit that I thought the judges would rate them a bit higher than they did.  Just goes to show that judges don’t always know what they are talking about, aye..? 😉

Thanks to my lovely clients Sal and Dan, Sarah and Kieran, Miwako and Masatomo, and Natalia and Marc, also the Taiohi Exhibition subjects and my beautiful friend Willow who allows me to torture her with my lens year after year after year.

Feel free to leave a comment below!  I’d love to hear your thoughts x

2015 NZIPP Iris Awards and Conference is almost here…

Today I am in the air on my way to the 2015 New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers Iris Awards and Conference, which this year is being held in Queenstown (and according to some other NZIPPers who are already there is rather chilly so that might be a bit of a rude shock after a quite temperate week here on beautiful Waiheke!).

plane ride

The Island is pretty well represented this year at the conference with Waiheke photographers Blair Quax, Alice Doig, Michelle Hepburn and myself all making the journey down south to kick up our heels, ahem, I mean knuckle down to furthering our photographic prowess.

But before the conference begins, the Epson Iris Awards will be taking place.  This is always an exciting and exhausting few days.  This year I am on the judging panel again and am really looking forward to seeing the amazing images that I know will come before us.  If you have entered, the very best of luck…  it takes guts to have your work judged in a public arena like this one, so you are already a champion just for having the courage to do it.

Here’s the judging calendar…

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See ya there!

2015 Auckland Festival of Photography Exhibition, Taiohi.

Well this is a bit exciting!  I love me some stop motion time-lapsey stuff …  have a look at Lance and I installing my recent Taiohi Exhibition at the studio in Oneroa.

The exhibition was part of the 2015 Auckland Festival of Photography program and received great support from the community with our biggest opening night to date!  The students performed an informal waiata and haka to open the proceedings, which went down a treat…

Waiheke High School informal haka

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Taiohi was comprised of fifteen studio portraits of the local Piringakau Performing Arts group at Waiheke High School and was a mix of traditional and artistic portraiture printed on loose canvas and pegged onto wire around the studio walls.

It was so much fun to photograph these amazing ‘kids’ (aged between 15 – 17) and I felt really proud when one of the dads called the exhibition a taonga and said I had captured the essence and vitality of my subjects.

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Taiohi Exhibition at Emma Hughes Photography Studio

The exhibition was visited by over 130 people during the course of the 10 days it was showing.  The three images below emerged as favourites and provoked the most comment from those that visited…

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Taiohi Exhibiton by Emma Hughes_2

Special thanks to the very lovely Te Ao Marama Hau, the students teacher in their Piringakau Performing Arts class at Waiheke High whose organisational skills and all-round positive energy was invaluable.

Waiheke Marketplace Out and About page

Starting the year with a bang!

One of my images which scored a Gold at last year’s New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Iris Awards and helped place me as a finalist in the Illustrative Category has been selected as part of the submission to represent New Zealand in the 2015 World Photographic Cup!

Gold Award_NZIPP Epson Iris Awards 2014

Yippie! My image will stand alongside the work of some amazing New Zealand photographers including last year’s NZIPP Photographer of the Year Richard Wood, media darling Holly Spring, fellow Waiheke photographer Blair Quax and awesome wedding shooters Jake Thomas and Jason Naylor (and that’s just to name a few!).

This year there are 27 countries vying for the title so it’s pretty exciting! Cross your fingers for our NZ submission x

Gaia Rowntree Exhibition…

Next Sunday evening, on the 14th of December, I am excited to be hosting a one night only exhibition of the paintings and photography of local teen Gaia Rowntree at the Emma Hughes Photography Studio space in Oneroa. (106 Oceanview Rd, Oneroa.)

Gaia is fundraising to attend ACG Senior College in Auckland for her final year of school… the school was so impressed with her that she has received a half scholarship but still needs to find several thousands of dollars in order to attend so she and her family are working towards making her dream a reality through several different events including this exhibition.

Gaia Rountree exhibiton, hosted at the Emma Hughes Photography gallery

I’ve been really impressed by Gaia’s photography and think she has a fabulous future ahead of her.

Please come along for a glass of wine & nibbles, and to support this talented artist.  Sunday 14th, starts at 7pm.