Industry News

Dan O’Day Named Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year, and Other Big AIPP Winners We Know From WPPI

September 30, 2016

By RF Staff

And the award goes to...

The Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) recently announced its 2016 Professional Photography Award winners (APPA), and we couldn't be more pleased to see that several WPPI masters, members and speakers were honored, and deservedly so. Australian photographer Dan O'Day, who recently shared insight into his creativity at WRKSHP in Brooklyn and has wowed audiences at WPPI, was named AIPP's Wedding Photographer of the Year after submitting four very unique perspectives of wedding ceremonies, rituals and fanfare.


Photo © Dan O'Day

"I wanted to narrate the energy of this explosive wedding reception in Sydney," says O'Day of the image submission above. "The couple (Clair and Oliver) hired [Australian indie rock band] The Jezabels to surprise their guests at the reception. The guests were eating, then the curtain opened as golden flakes of glitter fell from the sky and Clair and Oliver had their first dance right in front of their favorite band. It was a fun and crazy night of rock music and explosions of color and cocktails. It just wasn't possible to deliver the full energy of this night in one frame, so I decided to get creative." And that creativity definitely paid off for the 40-year-old photographer, who also submitted the following three images that helped seal his win:


"Seven Sleeps"—a Jewish tradition—photographed in Sydney, Australia. Photo © Dan O'Day



"A Groom Looks On"—Yonkers, New York. Photo © Dan O'Day


"The Bedeking"—a highly emotional Jewish tradition. Photographed in Melbourne, Australia. Photo © Dan O'Day

Photographer Jerry Ghionis, who with his wife Melissa runs WPPI's Print Competition and who himself is a WPPI Grandmaster, won AIPP's Album of the Year and Fashion Photographer of the Year awards.

"I have spent a lot of time lately doing fashion shoots to grow and reinvent myself and have very much enjoyed the process," Ghionis says. "We set two months aside this year so that I could spend quality time on my craft. I have been entering the APPA awards for over 15 years ever since I joined the AIPP and it was always in the wedding category. But this year I decided to enter the fashion category for the very first time. So winning the 2016 AIPP Australian Fashion Photographer of the Year is validation that hard work, persistence and reinvention really does pay off. It has been years since I’ve spent quality time in the studio and it was so nice to return to my roots."


Jerry Ghionis, Winner, Fashion Photographer of the Year, AIPP. Photo © Jerry Ghionis



Jerry Ghionis, Winner, Fashion Photographer of the Year, AIPP. Photo © Jerry Ghionis



Jerry Ghionis, Winner, Fashion Photographer of the Year, AIPP. Photo © Jerry Ghionis


Jerry Ghionis, Winner, Album of the Year, AIPP. Photo © Jerry Ghionis

Ghionis credits both AIPP and WPPI in having a hand in shaping his career: "What I love about competition is that it puts a due date on my creativity. I am forced to think outside the box and enter an image or an album that is unique and an expansion of my work and creativity.  If there were no competitions, I arguably would be solely focused on my day-to-day work."

Photographer and WPPI member Luke Edmonson was thrilled for his dad, WPPI Triple Master David Edmonson, who was named AIPP's Overseas Photographer of the Year (an honor Luke received in 2014.) "WPPI is what connected my dad and I to AIPP; they didn’t always allow for international or overseas members up until three or four years ago, but then they started allowing them because of top talent coming out of Australia and AIPP—Jerry Ghionis, Rocco AncoraTony Hewitt, Ryan Schembri and so many more—who learned so much from attending WPPI. They want to inspire their membership with what’s going on in the world."


Photo © David Edmonson



Photo © David Edmonson


Overall winner Lisa Saad, who was named Photographer of the Year and Advertising Photographer of the Year, is also a WPPI Master and has 29 years experience and 200+ awards to her credit (both in Australia and abroad) for her commissioned and conceptual personal work. She explains that being a part of WPPI helps relate to her success at AIPP. "I get to explore a range of opinions and critiques that is invaluable," Saad says, "especially when entering images into a new arena where I find opinions on my work help validate (or not) that I am creating within the correct path of my chosen vision at the time. Because WPPI is before my state and national awards, I am able to hone my skills even more and also set goals for achievements that I carry throughout the year."


This image depicts the unyielding pressures and heaviness of urban life and what it takes to succeed. Photo © Lisa Saad

For a complete list of winners, visit