JUNE 2010 | by Aaron K, Executive Director

For this month's AIPA News column I am going to shamelessly plug the upcoming Image Nation photography conference.

Like last year's inaugural event Image Nation 2010 will be held at the Unitec campus in Auckland over the course of one weekend and feature twelve hour-long presentations by a varied selection of renowned professional photographers and industry insiders. However, this year, we have brought the date for Image Nation forward to June 26th & 27th. The change in date has been made because June is generally not as busy as October for commercial photographers, and so that the conference coincides with the Auckland Festival of Photography.

One of our ‘headliners' for Image Nation this time around is Australian-based Kiwi-expat Michael Hall. Many of you will be familiar with Michael's work as he has been a professional photographer for over twenty years. Throughout that time he has built a considerable reputation in Australia and internationally as both a fine art and commercial photographer. He was selected as ‘Photographer of the Year' in 2006 by the Federation of European Photographers. More recently, Michael was announced as a finalist in the Hasselblad Masters 2009.

Other speakers include Charles Howells, Simon Devitt, Tim White, Diederik van Heyningen, award-winning magazine designer Jenny Nicholls and globally recognised creative director Mike O'Sullivan. Note that this impressive list accounts for just over half of the 2010 all-star line-up. Five more industry heavyweights will be joining the speaking roster - including another, yet to be announced, high-profile Australian photographer.

Whether you're a photography student, an assistant, an emerging talent or a seasoned professional; you simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity to witness insightful presentations by these twelve knowledgeable and successful individuals. Learning from their experiences is a sure-fire way to fast-track your own photographic career.

This will be the most significant event on the AIPA calendar for 2010. Image Nation attendees can expect to be inspired, informed and entertained. Last year's event was a huge success - this year it will be even bigger and better.

For more Image Nation information and booking details please visit

Photo above © Julia Thorne

AUGUST 2010 | by Aaron K, Executive Director

In order to be successful you need to be constantly looking ahead, learning new skills, and preparing for the future through innovation and experimentation. That was one of the re-occurring themes at this year's Image Nation photography conference.

The photographic landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade. Shifting from analogue film to digital capture has revolutionised our industry; but that was just the beginning. There are numerous game-changing technologies on the horizon - CGI, the iPad and 3D for example - and the impact on our profession when they arrive will be unavoidable.

If you're operating a commercial photography business then it's simply a matter of ‘adapt or die'. This is nothing new of course - businesses have always had to keep abreast of the latest social, cultural and technical developments in order to survive and prosper. Nevertheless, the intensity and speed with which our marketplace is now changing is enough to make any professional photographer's head spin. When you're a sole trader it's hard enough juggling the shooting, production, marketing and financial maintenance roles. Preparing for the next ‘big thing' or learning how to effectively utilise new products and software is often overlooked, and as a result many photographers find themselves constantly playing catch-up.

Here at the AIPA we're doing what we can to help photographers stay ahead of the curve. One of the association's main strategies has always been to keep commercial shooters informed about new developments by disseminating relevant and timely information through a variety of channels. For a number of years now both the NZ Photographers forum and the AIPA Members' forum have proven to be effective in this capacity. More recently the AIPA Facebook page ( and Twitter page ( were created as a means to share the latest industry info with an even greater cross-section of the photographic community.

However, this approach is somewhat limited as it is entirely passive. So in the not to distant future the AIPA will be looking to provide more practical, hands-on support through the implementation of education initiatives - i.e. regular seminars and night classes. We'll be starting off small and closely monitoring each programme in order to ensure that we're delivering a service that meets the needs of today's pro photographers.

If you'd like to take advantage of these industry specific courses then I would definitely recommend joining the AIPA, as places will be strictly limited and members will have the opportunity to book first at discounted rates.

Photo above © James Madelin

OCTOBER 2010 | by Aaron K, Executive Director

We've been working on developing a number of new AIPA projects recently - part of our ongoing quest to advance the aims of the Association. One of those aims is to promote and cultivate public interest in photography both as an art form and a communication medium. With that in mind we have recently reworked the Image Nation website, turning it into a vehicle for showcasing exceptional concept driven photo essays (and multimedia presentations) by both established and up-and-coming New Zealand photographers. There will be a new feature uploaded every fortnight; a frequency that we hope will encourage viewers to visit the site on a regular basis. It will also continue to be used to promote the annual AIPA Image Nation photography conference, with updates about next year's event posted to the site blog as they come to hand.

Another project that we have been discussing behind-the-scenes for a number of years will finally see the light of day this October - the inaugural AIPA Portfolio Review. Over the course of a single day a small group of lucky photographers will sit down, one-on-one, with leading editorial and advertising photo buyers as they review and critique their portfolios (or websites). This is a unique and invaluable opportunity for the photographers involved to gain honest, critical feedback about their work from the people who really matter - i.e. highly regarded clients who are commissioning photography on a regular basis.

I expect that by the time this column sees the light of day the first workshop will have well and truly sold-out as the number of participants is strictly limited. However we do intend to hold more Portfolio Review events over the coming year, with each one focusing on different photographic specialities. Keep an eye on the AIPA website and facebook page for details. As always, AIPA members will have the opportunity to book first at discounted rates - so if you really want to take part I would suggest you join up.

There was actually another exciting AIPA initiative that I wanted to reveal this month, but unfortunately I've run out of space. I guess it'll have to wait until the next instalment. Until then, happy shooting!

Photo above © Amanda Reelick

NOVEMBER 2010 | by Aaron K, Executive Director

Well I think it would be fair to say that last month's AIPA Portfolio Review was a resounding success. Feedback received from the photographers and the reviewers who took part has been extremely positive, with everybody involved benefiting from the experience. The premise for the event was not only to help photographers develop better portfolios, but also to help them build relationships with potential photo buyers. This concept of building better relationships across different industry sectors is definitely an area we intend to explore further in the future. And, of course, given the obvious success of the initial Portfolio Review we have already started formulating plans for another session early in 2011. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Before the end of the year we have yet another new AIPA initiative that we're about to unleash. This time around we're shifting our focus to the other end of the photographic food chain - to our wonderful suppliers!

On Saturday December 4th the AIPA will be holding its first ever ‘GearFest' at Kingsize Studios in Grey Lynn, Auckland. As the name implies this event is all about the gear; photography gear to be precise. We've invited leading photographic suppliers and retailers to come along and show-off the latest and greatest cameras, lenses, flash guns, studio lights, printers, supplies and accessories. Basically, the AIPA GearFest is going to be an orgy of awesome photography stuff - where any photographer can come along and have a look and a play with some cool new equipment. There will be no entry fee whatsoever and free on-street parking, plus plenty of spot prizes and special ‘one-day-only' offers for those who attend.

Given how passionate photographers can be about their kit (some might say obsessive) I'm expecting this new AIPA event will be hugely popular. Even if you're not a professional shooter you're still more than welcome to come along and check it out. We'll be making sure that we have a good ‘community vibe' going on, so this should be a really fun day for all photo enthusiasts. And with the silly season fast approaching the GearFest is surely a great way to guarantee that you finish the year on a high - I mean, honestly, who doesn't like receiving new photographic gear for Christmas?

I look forward to seeing you there!

Photo above © Russell Meek