BIPP South East Photographer of the Year

Seeing some fantastic work and winning at the British Institute of  Professional Photography South East Awards 2014.


Michael Wharley winning at the BIPP SE Awards 2014

Michael Wharley winning at the BIPP SE Awards 2014

I had pleasure of tripping along to the annual British Institute of  Professional Photograph (BIPP) South East region awards last week.

This is an an annual event celebrating the quality and diversity of work within the BIPP’s membership in London and beyond.

There are with categories covering everything from commercial to fashion, to fine art, to wildlife, to wedding, to portrait photography and beyond.  

Quite apart from a pretty fine meal, and some excellent conversation in the company of other photographers, it was really fantastic to see the breadth and sophistication of fellow BIPP members’ work.

A welcome chance to appreciate other peoples’ eye for a shot, or technical skills.

Winning Gold and Photographer of the Year…


Echo ©Michael Wharley 2014

Having scored a bronze a few years back for a beauty image, I was hopeful of perhaps going one better with a silver this year;.

So I was over the moon to be awarded a Gold (one of only two on the day) in Fine Art, for the image ‘Echo’, above, not least because of some beautiful photos from others in the same category.

It was an image I shot for a personal project, so I’m especially proud of having conceived, shot and post produced it myself.

You can browse through the full list of awards and photos at the link here, which reveals the other bit of flabbergasting news from the day, that I was also named the BIPP South East Photographer of the Year 2014-15.

That was beyond my expectations; it’s a true privilege to have one’s work recognised by your peers in this way, and I can only say thank you to the BIPP, for ignoring the claims of other equally (if not more) talented members.

Of course, the next day I was straight back to shooting, and on my hands and knees painting backdrops – but with a smug glow to sustain me through my next bit of personal work…

11/11/2014 MW

Read about my Associateship Qualification with the BIPP

Gaining an Associateship in Advertising Photography with the BIPP

Taking a look at how (and why) I went through the demanding process of earning my Associateship in Advertising Photography, with the British Institute of Professional Photography.


Michael Wharley with BIPP CEO Chris Harper and judge Kevin Wilson

Me looking smug/delighted with BIPP CEO Chris Harper and judge Kevin Wilson

Last week, I took another small step along the road of improving as a photographer, by qualifying as an Associate in Advertising Photography with the British Institute of Professional Photography, otherwise known as BIPP.

I’ve been a member since I turned professional in May 2010, and BIPP does an ace job of broadly recognising, supporting and protecting the work and interests of UK photographers, running awards and lobbying for the sector, but also provides these qualifications.

Recognised as sort of kitemark of quality for clients, going for qualification means following strict criteria and providing a substantial portfolio of commissioned work, together with supporting information about yourself as a professional.   I reached Licentiate status back in February 2011, and have definitely benefited from wearing the LBIPP badge.

Developing as a Pro

Beyond being pro-badges, the tiered qualification structure also means that – in what’s a fairly solitary, self-employed profession – you can also engage in structured professional development.

So, as my skills and work have developed over the last few years, and my business has evolved, I wanted to push myself to the Associate Qualification in the field of Advertising, both to assess where my portfolio was lacking, to get guidance on where to improve, and – hopefully - to have those improvements recognised. 

Prepping the evidence

Prints & supporting evidence ready to go on assessment day

Prints & supporting evidence ready to go on assessment day

I had to prepare a hardcopy portfolio, but also a book of supporting information, displaying how and where my advertising photography work is used, and how it fulfils clients’ briefs.

Check out the magnum opus in e-format  below:

Assessment day…

The formal assessment at BIPP headquarters near Aylesbury, involved a nerve-jangling wait while assessors Kevin Wilson  and Bryn Griffiths, together with Chris Harper, considered and discussed the work, before calling me in to learn my fate.

Thankfully, they put me out of my misery straight away – it was the pass.

The takeaways

I left with a new ABIPP certificate and lovely, weighty, perspex ABIPP block for my client area, plus a metaphorical badge to reassure clients that my work meets high professional standards.

But, just as importantly, despite being time, money and effort-intensive, the process was hugely important, taking me out of the day to day grind of business, and helping me focus on what’s good about my work, and how I’ve developed since the LBIPP, but also what I want to focus on in the future and how to improve.

Fingers crossed, the jump to FBIPP won’t be too long coming…

MW 24/06/2014