Amber Griffin, a self-described “portrait photographer through and through”, recently took out the title of New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography [NZIPP] Professional Photographer of the Year 2023 at The Iris Professional Photography Awards.
Her broad portfolio of portraits also secured her the title of NZ Professional Portrait Open Photographer of the Year at the awards night, and she was a finalist for NZIPP Commercial Photographer of the Year.
In total, Griffin was awarded four Gold Awards, one with distinction and five Silver Awards, one with distinction.
Griffin told the Times-Age that for her entry this year, she intentionally broadened her subject matter to offer a more diverse portfolio of not only dancers but also creative portraits.
Meanwhile, the addition of an ‘Animal Category’ has now spurred a new passion for creating animal portraits.
“The Iris Awards are a big deal in the professional photographic community, so their looming deadline is on my mind all year round,” Griffin said.
“I try to use real client work as much as possible but, this year, I also decided to create a few pieces, especially for the awards.
“A huge amount of mental energy and planning goes into each piece, and my process tends to be ‘just keep trying and working it through until something great finally appears’.
“It is very easy to go too far with editing imagery, so the trick is to learn restraint and know when to stop.”
Griffin said she’s never looked back since taking a photography paper in the first year of her design degree at Massey University.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always been inherently interested in ‘image-making’ in some form, but it was the magic of analogue photography, quickly followed by the endless possibilities of the digital realm, that really stole my heart,” Griffin said.
Being recognised for her work at a prestigious professional level has reinvigorated Griffin’s love for photography, she said, while also fuelling her fire to serve her clients with a renewed creative passion.