When you’re packing your bags to leave reality behind for a few days, it’s enough stress to remember enough pairs of socks and your toothbrush. But as I packed for my whirlwind trip to this year’s National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) in Santa Barbara, Calif., my mind was fixated on a week full of education and inspiration from some of the best photographers in the country. What I didn’t expect was to return with so much more than I could ever have hoped for my career and professional future.
At its core, NAPCP is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. Twice a year, the NAPCP hosts an international image competition where members can enter photographs in a number of categories. Some of my images have been recognized as part of this competition in the past, and this year, those images were considered for an even bigger award.
I was chosen as the NAPCP 2016 Photographer of the Year. I essentially have to keep pinching myself to make sure it’s true!
My winning photograph was featured on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, which in and of itself, was a thrilling, beautiful and humbling experience.
The award is based on several criteria: displaying a singular creative vision that inspires the NAPCP member community; professional integrity; consistently producing technically robust, magnificent work; NAPCP community involvement; and all-encompassing representation of the organization.
Before receiving the award, I sat in on a class taught by the 2015 Photographer of the Year, Jennifer Kapala. She asked all of her students to write down their goals for the year. I quickly jotted down my goal of becoming the Photographer of the Year, but scribbled it out. I figured it was something I would work toward; that it was out of my grasp this year.
Like I said: MIND BLOWN!
I’d love to take a moment to thank Alice and Kyu Park, founders of the NAPCP organization. I owe so much to them, for giving me goals that I didn’t even know I wanted and for showing me places in this business for which to strive. This was my first NAPCP retreat, and after attending, I have a renewed sense of urgency to strive to be better and do more.
There are so many names I could list here who have played such an important part of my journey: previous winners of this award who have reached out and gave me advice, mentors and friends. Above all, I’m grateful for every single one of my clients here in Alamogordo, NM and Clovis, NM who let me capture their lives and children in each and every session. Their trust is the biggest compliment I could ever receive.
The entire experience doesn’t quite seem real. To say it’s an honor would be the ultimate understatement. So, thank you. It has been an honor to be a part of the NAPCP, to capture some beautiful moments for families across the country, and meet so many artists dedicated to the beauty of child photography.