2018 Portrait Masters Awards

What is the Portrait Masters?

The Portrait Masters allows qualified entrants to gain international recognition by earning merit points toward official certifications at the Associate, Master, and Grand Master photographer levels. Photographers who qualify for accreditation are added to The Portrait Masters database and receive digital and printed documentation. 

“The Portrait Masters photo contest is more than just an outlet for photographers to be recognized for their beautiful photographs. It is a program that rewards their technical and aesthetic acumen with official certifications that are recognized internationally,” explains Sue Bryce, founder of Sue Bryce Education and co-founder of The Portrait Masters.

I entered two images into The Portrait Masters this year to start “getting my feet wet” and continuing my journey in print competitions. The goal of print competition is to better myself as an artist and receive feedback from industry experts. I am very new to image competition so I wasn’t expecting to win anything at all. Of course, it’s super exciting to receive recognition for the images entered and I knew I’d be delighted with anything. Awards were announced last night and I am so happy to share that of the two images I entered, one received a Silver Award and one received a Bronze Award!

Lira & Purple Flowers – Silver Award

I absolutely love this image and I created it specifically for me. When Penny’s Puppies were born into the Rescue Ranch each puppy got a “color” which was basically a little yarn around their necks to help us identify them and Lira’s color was purple. (Which also happens to be one of my favorite colors, and a color you see on her bow tie in the logo.)

I had spotted this patch of weeds in the yard with gorgeous purple flowers and knew it’s exactly where I wanted Lira. I also wanted her looking up at me because it’s the view I see most often of her. 

One of the first behaviors we work on with all puppies that come into rescue is “manding” which is basically an automatic sit that they default to whenever they want something. Lira really excels at asking for what she wants, lol, so I see this face a lot. 

I also knew I wanted soft even light and bokeh (blurry background) to give it a dream like, timeless quality. I love the way the final image turned out and it really is exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye. I have this image printed onto glass and hanging above my desk in the office bigger than life size Lira who is usually right at my feet with the same expression.

Lira at Sunset – Bronze Award

This is another image I had pictured in my head before I photographed it. After Lira’s purple flower photos, I was inspired to create the Weeds Project which pushed me to find beauty in what most people discard, which is really the lesson of dog rescue also. 

I spend a lot of time in the car driving foster dogs back and forth to the vet or headed to shoots or on my way to dog training and living out here in the country there is a lot of open pasture land which was absolutely filled with this gorgeous red clover. I was seeing it everywhere, but no where I could actually photograph it as it’s a bad idea to go traipsing about someone else’s cow pasture. I also immediately knew I wanted to have the sunset behind the flowers, so I needed a hill and open space behind it. 

Renee and I headed to dinner one night and I brought the camera and three dogs hoping to spot just the right spot full of red flowers and at the entrance to an access road for the power lines, we spotted some red clover. I jumped out of the car, Renee managed dogs, and I captured the images below. 

Close, and I liked these of Pop & Mikey, but still not exactly what I had my heart set on. We loaded up back into the car and started to cross over the bridge over I-20, and right there at the top of the ramp was the spot I needed. Storm clouds were coming so I needed to be quick to get the sunset and not just black grumpy clouds and I was just in time. 

You can see more about this image on a blog I created previously right here

What’s Next?

I’m looking forward to continuing to explore image competitions in the future, but what I am most passionate about is creating images like these for pet parents.

Do you have a vision in your head or something special about your dog that you want to hold onto forever? 


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