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 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

taiohi photography exhibiton_5_

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.

taiohi photography exhibiton_1

taiohi photography exhibiton_2

taiohi photography exhibiton_3

taiohi photography exhibiton_4

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…

Taiohi Exhibiton by Emma Hughes_1

Taiohi Exhibiton by Emma Hughes_3

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

1+1=3: Patricia and Chris

Another lovely addition to my 1 + 1 = 3 series…. the stunning Trish from her wedding to Chris in 2010.



These two beautiful human beings produced this little guy!! What a cutie! x


See more from their wedding on Onetangi Beach HERE and HERE.  (Their reception was held at The Dunes, which is now called Venue Waiheke).

Taiohi: new exhibition opens tomorrow night!

There is an article in this weeks’ Waiheke Marketplace about my new exhibition, Taiohi, which opens at my studio tomorrow night (Thursday), 5pm – 7pm… come along if you can! x


I know it’s a bit tricky to read, so feel free to click HERE to read the article online…

Taiohi, Auckland Festival of Photography Exhibition.

One week to go until my new exhibition Taiohi opens here at the Emma Hughes Photography Gallery/Studio/Workspace!  I’m pretty excited and even more so because the wonderful subjects of my exhibition, school kids aged between 15 – 17, will be giving a short performance on the Opening Night… rumour has it there will be both a waiata and a haka to kick things off which is going to be AWESOME!!!!

taiohi photo exhibiton_1

There’s a wee article with some details about the shoots in the Waiheke Weekender this week … you can check it out here

waiheke weekender article

Exhibition opens at 5pm on Thursday the 4th June (performance planned for 5.30pm).  Come one, come all…  actually not too many or we won’t all fit!!  (Ahem).  Nah, just kidding… let’s see how many people we can squeeze in! :)

1 + 1 = 3

I thought I would interrupt all these gorgeous 2015 summer weddings on Waiheke by introducing a new blog segment I have been planning for ages: 1 + 1 = 3?  What?!  That’s right, you heard correctly; one plus one really does equal three when two beautiful people meet, fall in love, get married and … make babies!!!

Quite often my brides and grooms come back to me a year or two (or three or four) after their wedding day to capture portraits of their growing family and I LOVE seeing what my couples have ‘made’!  And now you can too…

The beautiful Renu…


combined with the handsome Vinay


equals… the scrumptious Shaan!!


I hope you enjoy this new blog segment as much as I do!!  You can see more photos from Renu and Vinay’s 2012 Cable Bay wedding HERE