So proud to win the 2015 AIPP Australian Album of the Year!

I am so excited to announce that I won the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) Album of the Year with the wedding album I designed from Erin and Jeremy’s wedding. It first scored a Gold Distinction award with a score of 95 and two of the judges even gave it a score of 99! After winning the award for the first time in 2006 and coming runner up 6 times, it’s great to win it again in my home country.

As a strong believer and advocate for albums, I wanted to create an album that had never been attempted before. I visited the headquarters of GraphiStudio, my album manufacturer, in Italy in 2014 and was staggered by the choices and options for creating an album. When I was given a tour of the factory, I noticed a photograph printed on a throwaway piece of leather – it was something they were testing for their album covers. I asked if I could keep the sample knowing that I could use this concept in some way for a future album. Later in the year I called the US and Canadian Director of GraphiStudio, Maureen Neises and within minutes I was also speaking to the Italian marketing director, Dario Righetto and the actual CEO of GraphiStudio, Tullio Tramontina. I asked if they could produce a custom 16×16 inch album with a clear acrylic front cover, a custom weathered wooden spine and back cover, custom bronze hinging and if every page could be completely made of printed leather. The answer was a resounding yes (although they didn’t know how they could do it yet!)

I then needed to think of the perfect wedding to feature in the album. Erin and Jeremy were married in November 2014 at Melbourne’s historic Montsalvat. It was an old artist colony, which could be mistaken for a 14th century Scottish castle. Printing photographs on leather was already a creative risk so I thought I would produce the images in sepia to complement the romantic old school charm of the album. I will never forget the moment I saw the album for the first time. It wasn’t just an album…it was an experience. The theatre of turning 16”x16” champagne-colored, sepia printed leather pages was intoxicating. In a world where most people experience their photos with a swipe of a finger, the tactile nature of touching, smelling, and turning the leather pages as I witnessed a beautiful story unfold was breathtaking.

A huge thanks to the AIPP whom without I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thanks to the sponsors, judges, print handlers and all the AIPP staff for your tireless work. Thank you Erin and Jeremy for trusting me to photograph your beautiful wedding. You are gorgeous inside and out! A huge thanks to one my best friends Rocco Ancora from Capture to Print for your brilliant work on the images and to the Graphistudio team for being crazy, bold and skilled enough to produce an exquisite groundbreaking album.

Here are a few examples of the leather album…

Here are a handful of photographs from Erin and Jerermy’s Wedding…









We are living in the first digital generation where most people don’t print their photographs. It’s truly sad. History will have no record of this generation and future generations without printed photographs. Most people over the age of 12 living in a first world country own a cell phone which has a camera so everyone believes they’re a photographer. If everyone owned a microphone it wouldn’t mean that everyone could sing. I strongly recommend couples to hire an experienced professional to photograph their wedding and insist on a wedding album. Wedding photography is the only thing that appreciates in value after the wedding with every day and every death. Long after the flowers have died and the dress that is worn once and long after the last dance on the dance floor, the only thing will remain is your wedding photography. Digital images on a hard drive that will inevitably fail are not real until they’re printed. Your wedding album is part of your history and legacy. It is truly priceless!


16 thoughts on “So proud to win the 2015 AIPP Australian Album of the Year!

  1. Congratulations! I loved your work and the leather album! You captured love and joy, serenity, peace and many other feelings that were in the air.

  2. Wow. I’m a vegetarian and love animals (aka not a leather gal)…but even I have to admit this album looks fantastic! Your genius ways strike again. I also love how warm your b&w images are without being sepia. Gorgeous.

  3. I totally agree with you Jerry. Wedding photos are priceless, but mean nothing if they sit on a USB forever. We have to educate our clients on how important it is to have a printed album. Congratulation on such amazing work. You truly are a talented man. I wish I had even a little of what you have in terms of talent. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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One of my favorite images of recent times…

Yes, I’m trying to revitalize my blog. Check back in from time to time. I’d love to share some inspiration with you!

I’m so excited to share one of my favorite images of recent times. In an industry where most artistry is achieved after the photo has been taken there is nothing I love more than a photo that is simple but striking and achieved in-camera. I certainly use Photoshop to enhance my images but I prefer what I call “invisible” Photoshop. As in, what was done in post production is not evident. In this way the result is far more timeless and void of distracting elements that will almost certainly date. This photo, however, was created in-camera.

The bride, Sara, pictured below is a photographer and there is always that little added pressure that you are photographing someone with a more sophisticated palette.

I walked past the bride’s house and noticed a simple reflection of the white overcast sky against a silhouette of the groom who was walking next to me. I noticed that I could see through the silhouette of the groom and into the house. I thought, “How cool would it be to have the bride’s face montaged and merged into the groom’s face!” It would appear like an in-camera composite. It would be a perfect metaphor of when two people become one.

I asked the groom to stand in front of the window as I squatted down to see if I could get his clean silhouette against the overcast sky. The trees behind us were in my frame but I wanted to remove the distraction. Once you remove context from a shot, you enhance the mystery.

The groom needed to be higher off the ground so we found a little step ladder for the groom to stand on. All I needed to do was direct the bride who was inside the house and position her within the groom’s profile.

Here is a behind the scenes shot…

BTS shot reflection silhouette
Without a beautiful expression from the bride, the result would simply be a clever shot but I needed something more. I asked the bride to “say I love you” to the groom with her eyes. Her expression was perfect. You clearly see the love and respect that Sara has for Steve. Here is the result…

wedding silhouette reflection award winning

Nikon D4s
70-200mm VRII Lens shot at 195mm
1/320 sec
320 ISO

I love the way the shoulder of the groom could be mistaken for the bride’s shoulder. The groom’s hair could almost be mistaken for the bride’s hair. She is perfectly placed within the groom’s profile to complete the metaphor of when two souls become one.

I’m proud to say that this image came in first place in the Bride and Groom together category at the 2015 WPPI competition  beating over 350 images. As you may or may not know, Melissa and I took over as competition directors of the WPPI Print, Album and Filmmaking competition in 2014. A significant change we made was to disallow composites in the wedding and portrait divisions. Composites are certainly allowed and celebrated but must be entered in other divisions. So when the judges scored this print, there was no doubt that this was achieved in-camera. It certainly helped the judges to understand the degree of difficulty and vision required to achieve this image. A special thanks goes to the one and only Rocco Ancora from Capture to Print who completed my vision and brought the print to life.

If you appreciate and have learned from the example above, there are plenty more where that came from. I have been training photographers online for over seven years on my educational web site, the Ice Society. A new chapter is released every month with countless hours of wedding, portrait, fashion and boudoir shoots, tutorials, critiques and much more. There are a minimum of three “before and after” examples as pictured above featured on the Ice Society every month. As of June 2015 there are are a total of 90 chapters! So there are over 270 examples waiting for you.

A one year subscription usually costs $299 but I am happy to give you 50% off to celebrate the rebirth of my blog!

Click here to join for 50% off. Promo Code: blog150



19 thoughts on “One of my favorite images of recent times…

  1. Beautiful image!!!

    I’ve always wondered about the judging part – do the judges see the studio/photographer’s name when judging any particular image or is it a “blind judging”?

  2. Love your creativity! I would have never even thought to do something like this. Just one of the few things that separate the good from the great. BTW, love the behind the scenes shot!

  3. Esta foto, como tantas tuyas, reúne todas las cualidades de le expresión. Desde hace algunos meses te sigo en internet, por la web. blog y Facebook. He de decir que tu trabajo es admirable y tu visión de la fotografía de boda está en lo mas alto de la perfecta creatividad. Felicitaciones amigo!!

  4. Actually, Hockney is no longer Los Angeles based.’ He moved back to the UK, and his nvaite Yorkshire, some years ago, partly in protest at what he saw as draconian anti-smoking laws. He currently has a major exhibition of new work (Yorkshire landscapes) at the Royal Academy, London.

  5. You did a great job Dylan! If you can make someone who doesn’t even know this coulpe tear up and feel the joy and excitement of their day, then I can only imagine how you have made them feel!

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My WPPI 2014 Experience

Just wanted to give you an update about my 2014 WPPI experience this year and share my joy — especially with my family in Australia who often wonder what Melissa and I have been up to. As the new directors of the WPPI competition, Melissa Ghionis and I along with the WPPI team, have spent months preparing for the competition and we were excited to see our efforts come to life as we prepared our judges, chairmen and print handlers for the weekend’s competition. Saturday morning arrived and we were so proud to see the competition being run like a well oiled machine. There was a 27% increase in entries this year. Thanks to Jason Groupp, Lauren Wendle and the genius behind the software, Brad Kuhns, we saw everyone embrace the changes. As good as it was, we already know how to make it even better. By the time our competition commitments finished it was time for my “What Would Jerry do?” presentation on Saturday night. Thanks to our very own DJ, Chris Saraiva, Nikon and Westcott the night was a huge success with people dancing, learning and having fun for a perfect energetic start to a great convention. I chose people from the audience and photographed them while was I tethered to the projector so everyone could see every click of my camera. There was standing room only and the energy was electric.

Day 2 of judging was even smoother than Saturday. The crowds in the rooms were bigger as we finished judging all the categories. The last major award was decided by 9pm as Melissa and I finished the first phase of our experience.

Thanks to our amazing team including: Nelly Arruda, Chris Saraiva, Ryan Schembri, Rocco Ancora, Tanya Wilson, Tabitha and Miguel Clarke, Henry Aarvold, Marco and Liz Henry, Lisa and Devon, our Ice Light and Picpockets: World’s Best Photographs booths were set up in no time. The Ice Light was a favorite among attendees as was the Ice Pack which was showcased and sold at the show for the very first time.

I was all set to present my brand new platform program on Tuesday morning. 45 minutes before I was set to present, my Keynote crashed and deleted itself from my computer. A disaster for any presenter. Luckily I backed it up, restored it, jumped in the shower and arrived to a full house. I apologized for being a few minutes late and began my presentation. A day earlier at the tradeshow, a deaf man came up to me and talked to me through his interpreter. He thanked me for creating Picpockets for the iphone as he now can show his clients what he wants them to do and how to pose for him. He said it has changed his life and now is looking forward to a fruitful career despite his hearing impairment. It was a true highlight of the convention for me. I invited him to my platform class on Tuesday morning and welcomed his interpreters on stage so he could not only understand my presentation on Cropping, Composition and Creativity but see the images on screen and see and feel my energy. Let’s just say that I had a ball with the interpreter and found out to communicate some colorful words. I ended my presentation by showing a unique album I produced. The album received the highest score for the single photographer album category but ended up coming 3rd overall. By the end of the album slideshow, the audience erupted in applause and gave me a standing ovation. I had to hold back my tears. I have received standing ovations before when I end with some powerful words but never for simply sharing my work.

At the end of the tradeshow, Melissa and I filled in for Anie Zanazanian (who couldn’t make it) to present a master class on marketing.

By the end of day 2 of the trade show I proudly spoke at the Nikon booth a couple of times and Westcott as well.

We woke up early for Melissa’s master class in the morning on “Fearless Sales.” She presented an incredible program and made a difference to everyone in that room. She looked incredible too btw!

As the last day of the trade show was drawing near, I was putting the finishing touches to the awards night script as I was co-hosting it with none other than one of my best friends, Roberto Valenzuela.

After 2 months of dieting, I lost 10 kilos/22 pounds to fit into my wedding jacket for the awards night. One of the highlights of the night was to see Melissa also in her wedding dress. Wow, she looked even more beautiful than the day she wore it!

We finally started the awards night and Roberto and I had a ball as our natural chemistry as best friends was obvious and we presented people with their trophies. Many of my friends won awards that night including countless Australians! I was proud to win second place (behind Ryan Schembri) in the inaugural In Camera Artistry category. Even before the winners were announced the crowd erupted in applause in their support of a category that celebrates in camera craft.

Overall I received second place in the In Camera Artistry category, 3rd place in Wedding – Single photographer Album category, 12 silver awards, 5 silver distinction awards and 3 gold awards.

Another memorable moment was when I was presented with my Grandmaster of WPPI trophy by Melissa. There was a standing ovation for over a minute and it is a minute that I will remember for the rest of my life. The love and respect that I received from the audience was powerful. I asked members of the audience to stand if I had hugged them during the convention. Over half the audience stood up! In my speech I thanked Melissa and our relationship for being my true success. I went on to acknowledge the negativity and hate in our industry and how we all have a choice. “I choose to remain positive and I choose to love,” I said. Some of the last words I uttered on stage was “WPPI is back!” It truly is. If you missed the experience I sincerely hope to see you next year. To Jason Group, Lauren Wendle, Jacqueline Tobin, Moneer, Jessica, Jodi, Brad, Hillary and the entire WPPI staff…to your and our success! A huge thanks to my team (mentioned above) for your commitment and execution. Your friendship means the world to Melissa and I.

It was a pleasure to meet people for the very first time and to cultivate relationships for those we have met before.

Easily the most tiring but best week of our life. xxoo


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My 2012 Wedding Album of the Year…8 out of 10! My first wedding with the Nikon D3S

As I write this post, I am on a plane flying to Greece for a convention from Las Vegas at the end of another week at WPPI. The day after WPPI ended, Melissa and I finally got out of bed at 5:30pm. To say that WPPI takes a lot out of you would be an understatement. My week here was certainly filled with all kinds of events: I presented two platform programs, spoke for Nikon on three separate occasions, presented 11 demonstrations at my own Ice light/Ice Society booth, I was involved in two short films for the convention, I was a judge on the panel over two days in the print and award competition and sang with the FFB band after the Ignite presentation. Phew! It’s always the craziest time of the year but also my favourite week of the year. Melissa and I had the pleasure of meeting some of you for the first time and we loved seeing so many of our old friends, too!

But I have to say that I am so proud to be associated with WPPI. Their team is slick, professional and personable as well. I want to make sure that I give a huge thank you to Arlene Evans, George Varanakis and their wonderful team for yet another memorable show. For me, WPPI has always been about growth, education and family. A week at the convention really reinvigorates you creatively, sparks that passion for what you love to do and gives you strength for the rest of the year.

Melissa tirelessly spent months tackling logistics as we created our largest exhibit at the trade show as we officially launched the Ice Light this week. The Ice Light is a brand new continuous LED light source I invented and that Westcott created. Our booth featured three gorgeous models: Meleane and Anita were illuminating themselves as they walked around the convention and the stunning Lisa modeled at the booth as she posed and illuminated herself while photographers were able to practice shooting. We also had our largest team ever this year which included some of our closest friends: my former assistant, Sally Sargood; Gail and Nicole who are long time friends and veterans at our booth; a former workshop student, Michelle Campbell; Marco and Liz from Michigan who modeled for us in Paris; Mark and Tiffany who modeled for us and are our close friends in LA; and Tabitha and Miguel who are the sexiest Texans you will ever meet. Thank you guys! Melissa and I couldn’t have done it without you!

Each year, I use WPPI’s print and album competition to reinvent myself. It puts a deadline on my creativity as I challenge myself to produce unique albums and enter fresh prints each year. For this convention, I entered a total of five albums and one of them was easily the most ambitious and difficult album design in my career. I photographed about 20 weddings last year and I knew that I needed a wedding with that “X factor” to have a chance at taking the top honours in the Wedding Album of the Year competition. There was one wedding in particular that I felt had that perfect blend of story, family, emotion, ritual, glamour and the wow factor. The album design itself had to be different enough to make it a contender, though. I thought I would take a risk and create a polaroid collage creating a sense of movement in each spread. It makes a 2D image almost appear 3D. It was like creating a puzzle from the inside out with no knowledge of the final image. When I began creating it, I was in a creative zone like never before. Each image had to be placed individually and carefully. It took me six long days with very few interruptions to produce this album. Since all the images had to be placed into position one by one, a reasonable knowledge of Photoshop would be required. The problem is, I don’t know how to use Photoshop. So I called my good friend Andrew from Fundy Software. He created the base templates for the book and after a short tutorial, his software made it easy to bring my vision to life. It wouldn’t have been possible without Fundy software. Thank you Andrew!!! A huge thank you to Jessica Schembri as well who worked the images for me. (She offers tutorials on her retouching web site. Check it out!)

My inspiration for this design came from the master at polaroid collages, David Hockney, and also the double reflection you would see in a beveled mirror. This album design is truly one of my favourites and it is the most difficult design I have ever attempted.

This is the tenth year in a row that I have submitted an album in the Single Photographer category for Wedding Album of the Year, and I am excited to announce that the following album of Stella and Minh’s wedding (photographed in May 2011) won 1st place! This win marks the 8th time I have won the award in 10 years! I am so proud that I have won 15 out of the possible 30 top honours in the past 10 years. (Counting 1st, 2nd and 3rd places).

Win or lose, entering prints or albums into competition keeps you fresh, sharp and challenges you and others around you to always get better and improve their craft. I have always said that you don’t have to be the best. You just have to be better than last week.

I will be posting more of my WPPI entries here on my blog very soon, including an entire wedding album with images that were taken on an iPhone and presented without Photoshop. That album scored an 85 and I’m so proud of it. But don’t worry…that wedding was mainly shot with a Nikon D3S.

In the meantime, though, enjoy the winning entry in this year’s WPPI’s Wedding Album of the Year competition. By the way, this entire wedding is now being featured on my subscription based educational web site, the Ice Society If you are not a member, you can browse chapter 49 for free or if you’d like access to all of the chapters, you can join now for $100 off. Just use the promo code: icesale Enjoy!

Here are a few samples of the album. To see the entire album see the gallery below…


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