Aussie Photo Adventures

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24/06/2021 0

Looking up into canopy of recently burnt out forest. We added a blue filter to add a difference to the picture. Different from other photos […]



This rant is inspired by lame advice distributed by a stock picture library earlier today. It told us to research the latest trends in food photography and submit similar images to be successful.

That approach will only get you noticed by two-dimensional art buyers/directors at best. But, apply that approach to your competition photography, and you are will to be the photographer who inhabits the also ran region of the competition.

The trick is to stand out from the pack. It would be best if you researched what has gone before. Never enter images similar to last years or last weeks winners. I guarantee, if you do, you will not be a winner. Just as supplying copycat food images to a stock agency is guaranteed NOT to bring you big dollar sales.

This comes from a photographer who hasn’t won a single prize in a photography competition for 20 years. As it turns out, I haven’t entered one for that long either.

However, as a young photographer starting out, competitions largely kept me supplied with film, and to an extent, equipment. You see, as a 16-year-old, most of my free time was consumed by photography and the pursuit of competition prize money or product.

Without wanting to brag, I was pretty successful. I didn’t enter competitions for kids because the money was in adult comps. Some of these were in Australia, but most were international. Later, after turning professional, I transitioned to competitions for working photographers. Now chasing, not so much the money, but the street creds:)

Here is what I learned from competing. Firstly the stuff you learn is far more valuable than any prize. Secondly, doing what everyone else is doing will, without a dought, achieve nothing. Your work has to stand out. The easiest way to do this is to be different.

New and fresh is the term used most often. But here’s the catch. If you’re too far out there, you will also be disappointed. For example, Robyn and I crafted a semi-nude image of a woman for a national award. We were delighted with it and expected to do well. Disappointment followed. The judging panel marked the print harshly.

A couple of days later, a hugely successful and award-winning American photographer offered some advice at the awards dinner. It went like this. “Ian, your print should have been right up there with the winners. But do you know why it wasn’t?” Errr NO. “Well, I’ll tell you. You’re operating on the bleeding edge of competition photography; the only thing that happens on the bleeding edge is a lot of pain. So please take a look at the winners; understand where they’re at. And next year, try and work out where the judging panel will be compared to this year. Aim to be just ahead of the judge’s expectations, not miles ahead.”

That advice was some of the best I’ve ever received from anyone in photography. We worked hard and were very conscious of not being too creative for the following year.

That was the start of ten years of very successful competition for us. Oh, and as a footnote, the next year, three entries looked a whole lot like our unsuccessful bare-breasted women from the previous year. All three scored very highly.

So, to summarise, be different from your competition, but don’t get too far ahead or you’ll lose the judges. If you copy everyone else, disappointment will follow.


This is a great place to start.

The Australian Copyright Council.


Friday Foto Tips Tricks and Tutorials


If you haven’t already guessed, state borders will be “slammed shut” in an instant if  new outbreaks of Covid occur.

Certainly not the news I’d been waiting for:) But, then again, this isn’t news that we hadn’t expected.


Photo by Steve Johnson/upsplash

Ok, so I have my grumpy hat on today. And, I don’t mean to be offensive to our LBGTQ community or our ethnically diverse population. But today, I received an email note from one of our agencies.

It started G’day Ian, that tells me they are trying to convince me they are like me, an Ozzie. Then it proceeds to tell me that my submissions are not inclusive enough, and I must try to make future submissions more inclusive to the LBGTQ community by including more people from that community in my photos. But, it doesn’t stop there. It further informed me that my pictures lack people of colour, and BLM is very important in our marketing currently.

To be very clear, I’m not against any of the above, but please no that my pictures for this mob are almost exclusively devoid of humanity because my speciality with them is the environment. Secondly, when I visit their member’s resource site to see examples of what they mean, there are dozens of pictures of people displaying the pride flag and dressed in rainbow clothing.
But like the TV advertising, that’s not all folks. You also get pages of pictures of ethnically diverse people. People of colour, or more specifically, African Americans, missing are all the other shades of colour. For example, there are zero Asians and indeed no black Africans, for example, Congolese people.
My beef is, we seem to exclude a whole lot of humanity in our rush to be… what’s the term, woke.



We have an explanation HERE.

Coming soon

This space bought to you by Ian, as he is too lazy to produce the content on time to fill said space:)

RSS mildura weather

  • VIC Severe weather advice issued at 4:55am EDT
    Issued: Thursday at 4:55am EDT Description: Severe weather advice Summary: Severe Weather Warning (Damaging Winds) Central, East Gippsland, Mallee, South West, North Central, W & S Gippsland, Wimmera & North East
  • Current weather for Mildura at 9:00am EDT
    Temperature: 24.9°C Feels like: 22.7°C Dew point: 12.2°C Relative humidity: 45% Wind: N at 15 km/h, gusting to 20 km/h Rain: 0.0mm since 9am Pressure: 1006.5 hPa
  • Mildura weather forecast
    Thursday Thunderstorms 17°C - 35°C Friday Mostly sunny 14°C - 21°C Saturday Mostly sunny 7°C - 21°C Sunday Sunny 7°C - 25°C
  • Mallee weather
    Mildura weather radar Satellite cloud map


Excitations Photo Adventures, photography instructor, Ian Mckenzie

Learn a little more about our chief instructor, Ian McKenzie. That’s the old bloke above, we have a Q&A session with him. Just click on the picture.

There is a reason for the blank screen on the above video. You’re just going to have to press play to find out.

Friday Foto Tips


I’m not a lawyer and have zero qualifications to offer advice about legal matters. Which, as it turns out, is about the same level of expertise behind some of the idiots offering gems of advice on the world wide web.

But that isn’t what I want to talk about today. Instead, let’s look at the false advertising thing and photography. It doesn’t take long browsing photographers websites to realise that many of us… shall we say over-embellish the truth. A couple of recent examples. ” We have a team of in-house retouchers standing by to make you look your absolute best”, loosely translated means; I send my retouching jobs to India:) Or, “We have photographers in every state of Australia ready to serve you wherever you are” Translation:- PM me, and I’ll try and find a photographer for you:)

Now, we are told to “fake it till you make it”, but be careful; there can be consequences. I saw a news report recently, where a relatively small business made a similar claim on their website. Many would argue their proven misleading statements were less misleading than the above two examples. The result was a fine for misleading advertising running into several tens of thousands of dollars.

Just saying.

Moving to MeWe

The downsides to this is it costs us $$ to have business pages additional storage and a number of other things provided free by FB. Free that is if you don’t count giving FB the keys to your privacy:)

Our MeWe test space HERE


This week Aussie native plants:)