Sheree’s first competition entry brings reward and validation

Sheree, who is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP), runs a freelance operation in Cambridge that sees her focus mainly on family photography and weddings.

This year, she decided to enter the annual Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards, the country’s only professional photography competition.  She entered six images, and came away with a very creditable three bronze awards for three of them.

“I was thrilled,” she said. “Although I’ve been doing photography for years, this is the first competition I’ve entered.  I’m blown away to have won three awards.”

The competition attracts both national and international entrants. After selecting images taken during the preceding two years, entrants were required to submit them in a printed format that aligned exactly with specific criteria.

“We were judged on the printing as well as the image.”

Sheree entered her images under the wedding classic, and portrait classic categories.

Photography has been on Sheree’s radar since her amateur photographer mum provided her children with disposable cameras and sent them off to take pictures.  After taking modelling shots of her sister and cousin, then later studying photography at high school, her interest in the camera was well bedded in.

She went on to hone her skills over several years spent travelling, but knew she would always come back to it.

“I did a workshop while we were in London, and did an online Photography Institute course through award-winning photographer John Aitken, who is based in New Zealand. And I joined the NZIPP.”

When Sheree, husband Ben and sons Aidan and Callan, returned to Cambridge some 18 months ago, she decided to set herself up as a freelance photographer. She now does a lot of family and wedding photography, and finds a special joy in doing shoots that are as authentic and spontaneous as possible.

“Even where there are set groups of people I’m photographing, I like to get them to do something slightly out of the ordinary,” she said.  “I like to capture emotion in all its forms. My sons are also muses for a lot of my work.”

Sheree said she had found enormous benefit in being affiliated to NZIPP and through entering the competition.

“I would suggest that anyone interested in photography should do both.  The feedback is immensely valuable … I have grown so much through that.”

This might have been Sheree’s first time as a competition entrant, but she has every intention of doing it again. “Only this time, I’m going to aim for gold.”

Sheree’s images can be seen on her website (www.shereekershaw.com).

By Viv Posselt.

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