Hello Everyone,

I have some wonderful and exciting news; I have achieved my Associateship with the Master Photographers Association and what a whirlwind few days that has left me happy but exhausted!!

The panel was something very close to my heart; maternity and newborns but with a twist. I wanted to convey the myriad of emotions that surround this stage of a woman’s life and not all of them will be brimming with brightness. I spent many months perfecting the style of photography and post production that would be used for the panel. Part of a photographer’s progression when aiming for a qualification at this level is to really start to cement the style that will instantly place an image to them and it’s harder than it looks!!! This process started about three years ago and the learning that has taken place in that time is immense.

Tony, my Husband who has been a tower of strength to me, and I decided to make the trip to Newcastle early so we could settle ourselves in and take in a glimpse of this wonderful area.

There was also another good reason as the MPA holds its qualification and competition judging over consecutive days. The competition judging is done first and the initial stages are open so members can apply to attend and watch the judging take place. Tony and I thought this would be a great opportunity to observe and boy are we glad we did. I personally absorbed so much good advice from witnessing the judging first hand and to see how a panel of judges works together to get the right result for each and every image placed before them. I know it’s a long way to go but we both felt it was a real privilege to be able to watch the first stage of the judging process. Any images that received a Merit would be judged in private to then decide the winners and I must say I am very excited to see who the lucky winners are at the very prestigious awards dinner on 18th October. For anyone lucky enough to get an e-mail saying they are a finalist, be proud because your image has had to go a long way to get this accolade and they are not given lightly either!

So on day two my nerves were at their peak, this was it D-Day and part of me wanted it over and done with, the other part wanted to stay in the current status quo – as they say ignorance is bliss! I was called in and the relief when I was told I had attained my Associateship was indescribable. I had to gather my thoughts very quickly as the judges were wonderful in the advice they gave me, all of which will be taken on board as the next stage for my progression will definitely be my Fellowship.

I also want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those to mentored me. Kevin Pengelly when I started on my Associateship journey then the wonderful Emma Duggan and Kevin Wilson who’s advice has been invaluable, without all of you I would not be the photographer I am today, so thank you 🙂 I just want to give an extra shout out to Emma who stayed up with me until 3.45 am one morning whilst we went through each image prior to being sent to The Print Foundry for printing. She has been so committed to me and this whole process is really quite emotional and exhausting.

To my amazing clients; without you, your patience and understanding this panel would never have materialised xxx

To the MPA; thank you for an amazing couple of days and thank you for allowing Tony and I to witness the public judging. By the way those who don’t do it you are missing a trick and if you can spare the time next year then I highly recommend it. To the judges of my panel; thank you for all your valuable and insightful advice that will be used when I embark on my fellowship journey.

As for the panel you may be wondering why it is not visible? Well the nature of the panel is very personal and I want to respect all the people that agreed to take part. They have been kind enough to allow me to capture them and their little ones so I really must respect the privacy they are also entitled to. However, it’s not all bad as we are having an open day in February to celebrate 10 years of the studio in Heathfield so the panel will be displayed for one day only!!! If you want to see it then keep your eyes peeled for the date 🙂

So now it’s time to come down from the high of the last few days and get back to work. I am exhausted but very, very happy!!


Sarah AMPA