Studio Fascino | The journey so far. AIPP AWARDS 2014.

The journey so far. AIPP AWARDS 2014.

September 16, 2014  •  5 Comments

What Glamour Photographers do for a Personal Project


The journey so far.


Back from the home of the big coat hanger and though I would write down some thoughts on my journey over the past few years. After a devastating event 3 years ago followed by debilitating sadness and depression, I decided to pick up my camera again after 20 years and  do the ‘365 of Grateful project’. The discipline of finding something you are grateful for to photograph each and every day lead me on a magical path back to my true passion.


This weekend past I entered 4 images into the Nation AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography). I am still a student, finishing my Diploma in December this year, and only the 2nd time I have entered the national awards. Last year I won silver with my 1st entry and was super excited, but I didn’t really know the importance and the standard of these awards.


This year, 2014, I was very aware and worked extra hard on researching the BIG name photographers who had won in the past. Going back through years and years awarded images to find out the secret ingredients that glamour photographers used and what went into each award image.


I put my head on the chopping block and entered my images into the Critique nights where I was told and i quote - “This image is a clear example of someone who has no photographic education or knowledge of how light works what so ever. There are so many things wrong with this image i wouldn’t even know where to start”


It was destroying and very confusing. I am very tough on myself and the only person i am completing with is the person I was yesterday, to try and be better and do better. 

But, after crying (I do that often, for good and bad!) and trying to make sense of it all, I went back to the drawing board. Started again, editing the images from scratch. Working for days at a time on a single image, leaving it to rest, then going back and looking at it again with fresh eyes. Hour and hours and hours of work.


I sent 2 images around to some of the absolute best in the industry to seek their feedback and make changes where needed. Wonderfully talented people like : William Long (2014 AIPP Queensland Commercial Photographer of the Year
2013 AIPP Australian Professional Commercial Photographer of the Year 2013, 2011, 2009, 2006, 2002, 1996 QLD AIPP Commercial Photographer of the Year), Matt Palmer (2014 AIPP Sports Photographer of the Year), and my wonderfully inspiring teachers & mentors Melissa Anderson & Lisa Zarri. (both previous winners at the AIPP).


The 4 images I presented I felt were the BEST 4 images I had produced. I was so very happy with the presentation and the printing done by PROLAB.


I flew down to Sydney with my little support crew (hubby and 2kids) and I was a complete anxious mess the day of the judging. It is the strangest feeling, like you are not actually in your own body. As you sit in one of 4 possible judging rooms, your senses are heightened, your pulse races and you feel physically ill as you wait for your image to be turned around by the print handlers wearing their white gloves, to face the judging panel of 5. Expertly trained Judges, with a wealth of experience and knowledge and chosen from the absolute best in the business.


You wait, check the big screen to see what is being judged in the other rooms, wait some more, not wanting to leave this exact spot incase it happens, then… it does. Like as if in slow motion, the time has come. The judges move off their chairs towards your image, moving in for a close look, a critique. To see your soul, laid bare, in front of them. It is as if your heart is going to jump out of your chest right there and then. They pause, look again, then take their seats, some quickly punch in the score to the small screen in front of them,…. others ponder, rub their chin, look to the left, rub their hands together,… then in it goes. Up on the big screen for all to see, the numbers come up, one by one. 82.(YAY) 74. (Eeeek) 82. 81. 85


WE HAVE A SILVER AWARD is announced, and the room claps with applause!

Fantasy Photography Gold CoastMegan Rizzo - Fantasy Photography Gold CoastStudio Fascino


The sheer excruciating relief. The weirdest feeling. You want to scream and run around the room, jump up and down and say “I did that!!, I made that!! That image came from my heart, my hard work!” “My hours and hours of working, wondering, amending, tweaking”

BUT you quietly step out of the room, find a spot try to do the simplest of tasks, Breath, and again, and another….and after a few minutes, say to yourself. I AM worthy. I AM proud.


THEN, you do it all over again. 4 times in total. I will never forget the moment I was waiting and watching the judging in room 3 and I see my next image come up on the screen for room 2. Oh god, which room was room 2, do I go to the left or the right? Quick!! Which way!! QUICKKKKK!! I go to the right and I hear a little voice saying “Mum! Here! Its your picture! in here!” My beautiful artist soul, 10 year old Luca, showing me the way. We stood held hands, and heard the words “WE HAVE A SILVER AWARD”


Fantasy Photography Gold CoastMegan Rizzo - Fantasy Photography Gold CoastStudio Fascino


Glamour Photographers


I wasn’t aware that minutes before my little support crew who had come in from Luna Park and sat quietly away from me, letting me ‘do my thing’ were now giving me kisses and hugs and congratulations. I am so blessed.


And each and every one of us who put our hearts on the line to enter these prestigious awards feels the same. I think that is the reason the words AIPP Family are spoken. It is true, you have an understanding of what each other does to get to this point and how each other feels, before, during and after.


Monday night rolls around. The GALA Awards EVENT. Sitting with my hubby Adam amongst 500 of the professions Best Photographers, seeing them step on stage and receive their Associate Status ribbons, Gold bar achievements, Masters Status Ribbons and category awards was wonderful. My hands were sore from clapping and cheeks sore from smiling. Wonderful, wonderful people. I was so very proud of them all. And the best part was….some of them said “Hello Megan”


To ALL the volunteers at the AIPP, the staff, judges and organisers, Thankyou. To the people who have been there when I needed your advice. Thankyou. To the award winners, for giving my inspiration, Thankyou. And to my little support crew, my family, Thankyou.

Megan xx

Glamour PhotographersMegan Rizzo - Fantasy Photography Gold CoastStudio Fascino


Thank you Megan....I now feel like I just maybe able to tackle this thing next year......thank you and congratulations xx
Beautifully said Megan, it is such a nerve racking experience, you explained how I was feeling perfectly...I only just this afternoon realised I could login and check the scores of my images, I missed seeing one of my images on the live feed viewing and only just found out this afternoon it got a Silver! I felt so excited for you as I watched your images being judged in the live feed at home, as I watched on 3 computers to try and listen to multiple rooms. Congratulations on all your awards xx I am still reeling at the moment from realising I have got my first Silver award!! Massive kudos for picking yourself up after the critique night and pulling it all together xx and yes I got a little teary reading this blog post xx
This award was so deserving Megan. I am so proud (& a little envious!) of your passion and true talent for something you love to do. I too cannot wait to celebrate with you! :)
Elle Vee(non-registered)
Congrats babe. Very exciting and well deserved. Much champagne at Oggy for sure xx
Kristie McK(non-registered)
Wonderfully written and heart felt!
You deserve everything my dear dear friend.
Can not wait to celebrate with you!
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