Frequently Asked Questions

Start here with some FAQs we see time and time again. Feel free to send your questions to so they can be added to this page and help a fellow entrant. All for one and one for all! 



How does the State Awards and APPA amalgamation work? Do I need to enter twice, once for each comp?

This year, for a multitude of reasons, the AIPP Epson State awards have been amalgamated into our national awards, APPA. We are calling this event "APPA + State Awards".
Whilst is it disappointing that the State Awards are not able to run in each individual state and territory, the fantastic news is, entrants now pay only ONE ENTRY FEE yet they compete in TWO AWARDS. Entrants prepare ONE set of prints, yet they are competing for titles at TWO levels: state and national.
All entries will be publicly judged and scored once only, however, state and national PPY sessions will run to determine overall winners. These PPY sessions are closed to the public to preserve the surprise of who wins what.
One fee, one set of entries = competing in two awards. Way more bang for your entry buck!


I heard the APPA + State Awards Event has been deferred - is this true? 

Yes, unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made on August 6th 2021 to defer the live judging of our awards until March 4th - 7th 2022. You can read the statement of deferment here.

The live judging event has been deferred but the awards are, however, currently open for entry NOW. Entries close on Wednesday 10th November 2021.


When will the awards run?

The awards will now run from Friday 4th March - Monday 7th March 2022, inclusive. The awards will run in South Melbourne, at Sunstudios.


How can I volunteer at APPA + AIPP Epson State Awards?

We're looking for energetic, enthusiastic, eager people to volunteer their time at APPA. This is a rewarding experience with a great team of people and training is provided on-site, with no prior experience necessary. Read more and sign up HERE.

Please note that volunteer positions are limited and being a volunteer or a judge is currently the only way to attend the live judging in-person thanks to on-going covid restrictions. If you are keen to join us in person, volunteering is your ticket. Complete the google form to register your interest today. 


Can I watch the judging in-person in Melbourne?

Our event is usually free and open to the general public to attend. However, again due to covid-restrictions and our desire to keep people as safe as possible, in March 2022 the live judging event will now be a closed event, with limited personnel on site.

IF this position changes, we will make an announcement immediately so that those who wish to attend in person are able to do so.


Will the judging be livestreamed?

YES, we will be providing a free livestream feed so that entrants from all over the world can watch the live judging online. More information about where to access this content will be released as the awards begin.

Please note that, due to a very tight schedule, the live-judging will not stop should we experience any technical difficulties with the livestream feed. In this way, some live-judging may not feature online.


Obviously covid is a huge factor surrounding this awards event. What measures does the AIPP have in place to deal with covid factors?

There’s been a great deal of “pivoting” in pulling this event together and keeping our entrants and members safe is the utmost priority. For now, the biggest and most unfortunate safety measure we have in place is the cancelling of the live audience who usually join us for the judging. If things change before March and we have the capacity for the live audience, we will announce this immediately.
Judges, volunteers, Committee members and staff will be onsite for the live judging. Standard covid practices for running an event will be place such as QR check in codes, the use of masks and hand sanitiser and enforced density limits to comply with social distancing requirements.
In terms of entry, we have allowed entrants an extended open period of eight weeks this year (it’s usually four weeks) to cope with covid impacts. Further, entrants have three and a half months after entry to print, mat and post their entries for live judging, which is also an extended period of time.
We remain hopeful that as the weather improves and vaccination numbers rise, covid restrictions will ease.




I am a first-time AIPP member entrant, can you explain the process?

Firstly - welcome! We're delighted to have you on board as a print awards entrant!
Head to our dedicated page to help out first timers. 


I am signed up to AIPP as a General Member but I am a professional photographer running my own business. How many entries can I enter into APPA + State Awards?

You have three choices here:
1) Enter as an AIPP General Member. Your entry fees are cheaper and you can enter nine entries in total to the comp. You can enter a maximum of three prints per print category. You complete for the AIPP Achievement Award at state and national level (you cannot win a category, nor the Professional Photographer of the Year award).
2) Enter as a a non-member Professional Photographer. Entry fees are more expensive but you can enter up to four prints per print category, you can win print categories and you will compete for the Professional Photographer of the Year Award at state and national levels.
3) Apply to be an AIPP Accredited Member before the awards. If accepted as an Accredited Member you will pay mid-point entry fees (cheaper than non-member professional photographer fees) whilst competing for Professional Photographer of the Year at state and national level. As an Accredited Member, you are also eligible for Merit Points and to earn the achievements of Associate, Master and Grand Master. Contact our Admin Team today if you are interested in applying to be an AIPP Accredited Photographer at

Do I need to print images for the awards?

Yes you do - that's what makes our awards different and special - we celebrate the art of the printed image.

If you need assistance printing your images prior to entry, please reach out to your State Coordinator for relevant print lab suggestions in your area. Keep your eyes peeled on the AIPP Events page as Print Critiques and Print Workshops will feature before entries close - these activities offer a wealth of information to those new to printing.


What is a print critique?

A print critique is held in your local state before APPA + State Awards. A print critique gives you an opportunity to receive feedback on your images before entering them into the awards - they are invaluable events! The AIPP events page lists these events as they become available - print critiques are currently running so check the events page out and book your tickets!


Do I have to do online registration or just send in physical versions of my entries?

You must complete an online entry for all entries. This online entry is the back bone of the awards system and images uploaded are used in live streaming of the awards and in promoting winning entries after the awards are complete.

The awards are currently open for entry HERE. 

I am a Licentiate Accredited Professional Photographer - how do I access my discounted print entry fees?

As a Licentiate who has been an Accredited Professional Photographer with the AIPP for 15 + years, you receive a discount on any printed images you enter into APPA + State Awards.
To receive this discount, you must select "Licentiate Accredited Professional Photographer" under Member Type under the "My Profile" tab in the online entry portal.
The discounted pricing of $50 per print will ONLY be applied if you correctly select your Licentiate member type.


I am currently a student, but my studies conclude at the end of this calendar year. Given the live judging of the entries takes place in 2022, what entrant type should I select when I enter?

Even though the images are not being live judged until March 2022, these are the 2021 APPA + State Awards. The entry open period is from September 15th – November 10th 2021. Please enter the awards as a student as that is your current entrant type during the entries open period.

What is a print case? Do I need one to enter the awards? Where can I purchase one? 

Short answers: a print case is used to send your physical prints into the live judging and you definitely need one to participate in the awards (some exemptions apply for students and overseas entrants). We have two types of cases on offer - a professional level print case and a more budget friendly option.
Please head to the Rules to read all about print cases under their dedicated tab and for links to purchase.


How do participants protect several prints from rubbing against each other in the AIPP Cases?

The professional AIPP cases come with everything you need to pack and protect your prints. Each professional case has reusable foam inserts that can slide between the prints to protect them from each other. These cases also have adjustable straps that secure the case. It’s important for entrants to realise that professional standard cases do not require extra packaging or tape – adding these items adds time at our end as we unpack your work. Extra packaging materials are very rarely returned to the entrant, again due to the time it takes to re-wrap everything.
You may require some bubble wrap as a protective measure if you choose to use our cheaper print case option. In this case, these materials will be returned to you.

Why do I have to provide my original capture files?

We need these files for the scrutineering process we have in place to protect the integrity of our awards. You can read more about scrutineering in our Rules under Core Rules & Fine Print.
Your original capture files must be uploaded to Dropbox by Wednesday 16th February 2022 by 5pm AEDT. You can read more about this step under the How To Enter tab in the Rules.


What is the requirement for the minimum size of my image?

The visible image must be at least 25cms on the longest side. It is recommended to print the image slightly larger so when the matting is attached the longest edge is still at least 25cms. Prints that are smaller than 25cms on the longest side will be disqualified and will not be refunded. We don't want to be in the position of delivering this bad news - please read and follow the Image Presentation Requirements very carefully under the Rules.


Are entrants mostly matting their artworks or are they just gluing them to the boards? 

Both options are acceptable in our competition, that being to mat your artwork behind a window mount OR to flush mount to the board itself. Most entries in our competition are matted with a window mount. Further details about mounting and matting can be found in the rules under Image Presentation requirements.


How soon will we know whether event has enough participants to go ahead? I have read that should the event be cancelled, you would refund the AIPP fees but printing and matting costs add up. When would be the best time to print my work?

In order to be financially viable, APPA + State Awards has a minimum amount of entries it must receive. As soon as we reach this target number and the event is confirmed, we will make an announcement so all entrants know they can begin the printing and matting process.
Unfortunately, many photographers love to leave entering our comp until the very last day (we receive up to 50% of our entries in the last 48 hours the comp is open) so we will probably not know if we have secured our minimum target numbers until November 10th when entries close at 5pm. If we have the confirmed number sooner than this date, we will announce it loud and proud!


What is the maximum amount of prints I can enter into any one category?

Print Categories:
Accredited Members / Non-Member Professionals / Members of Reciprocal Organisations / Overseas Entrants may enter a maximum of FOUR entries per print category.
General Members / Student Members / Non-Member Students may enter a maximum of THREE entries per print category.

Book / Album / Alternative & Historical Processes Categories:
All entrants can enter a maximum of four entries into each of these categories.

If I don’t enter 4 images, can I win the category?

If you don't enter 4 prints into the one category you can't win the category. Categories can only be won by an accredited member or non-member professional photographer that enters 4 prints into the one category. Read more under Entry Fees and Core Rules: Must Read in the Rules. 

If I enter a photo book or album, can this be sent in the print case with prints or does it need to be shipped separately?

If the photo book or album fits in the print case then yes, send in together, but if it doesn’t make sure it is packed well in a box that we can ship back to you.

Does my entry fee include the return postage?

Yes. Yay!


Should I print my print labels in colour or black and white?

Please print your labels in colour.


Where can I find the terms and conditions of entry into the awards?

There are two sections of the APPA + State Awards rules that are essential reading for any entrant: Core Rules and Fine Print. We’ve tried to pull attention to these sections by throwing a caps lock “MUST READ!” in there!
The terms and conditions of awards entry are listed under Fine Print: MUST READ!
Please note that when you enter the awards, you are agreeing to all terms and conditions as listed. It is essential due diligence for any entrant that the terms and conditions have been read and understood before entry.


After I pay, can I go back into the online entry portal to edit my images or add more images to the competition?

NO you cannot. When you pay, the system will lock - your entries are accepted and no more changes can be made. Please do not make payment until you are SURE that:
* You will not need to make any further edits to the image file
* Your image has been entered into the correct category (and subcategory where relevant)
* You do not have any other entries you wish to enter into the competition.
If you do need to make changes after you have made payment, these will need to be made manually by AIPP staff. Please email to make this request.


How do you decide in which category to enter a photograph if it fits into more than one? For example, a photo might fit into the Documentary, Family, and Newborn categories. How do I decide which of these categories to enter it into?

Category selection is a big decision the entrant has to make – selecting the correct category for your image is very important to make sure your image receives the best score it can and to make sure your image receives relevant feedback. When deciding category you must have a very thorough understanding of the individual category rules to make sure your image meets all criteria of the category. If your image meets the rules, it then becomes a personal preference. Think about where you want your work to fit – do you want to be known as / work as a newborn or family photographer? Then enter these categories. If you want to be more journalistic in your work / career, it may serve you better to sit in the Documentary category.
If you are new to APPA, it could be beneficial to head to YouTube and google “AIPP APPA”. This will lead you to past competition judging. You could look at some categories you are interested in entering and see what type of work has sat in these categories before, as well as hearing what has appealed to judges in different categories. This type of research prior to entry is invaluable.
Another place to get help with category selection is via a print or image critique. Here AIPP judges will review your images prior to competition entry and give you feedback about how the image can be improved. Category suggestions may be made if the judges think your image would be better suited in another category.
It’s important to note that category selection is the responsibility of the entrant – ultimately it is the entrant’s choice and they must stand by their choice. The Awards Committee do not have the time / resources to suggest category choices for individual entries.


Can an image that's previously been entered in state or APPA be entered either as part of a print series/diptych/triptych etc.

No. Images previously entered into any AIPP print awards are ineligible to appear as a part of a print series / diptych / triptych.
Composite photographers may use elements in an image that have previously featured in a print awards entry, however, these should be supporting elements only, not the main subject.




Where can I get the quick version of what changes have been made to the rules?

Have a look under the Major Rule Changes in 2021 tab on the Rules page - this will give you a dot point version of important changes you need to know. It's super important you read the entire rules document though to make sure you have a full understanding of all rules for the 2021 awards event.


What happened to the two-year rule?

Due to feedback received from previous entrants, combined with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Awards Committee, with the support of the AIPP National Board, made the decision to abolish the two-year rule. All entries must now have been created in the 21st century - on or after January 1st 2000.


Wondering if the 21st century rule change will continue for further APPAs or is it just for this year?

Please select your “best of the best” that you wish to enter into APPA 2021 according to the 2021 rules. We cannot say what rule changes will be made for APPA 2022 until after APPA 2021 concludes.


Can I outsource my post-production and editing for my awards entries?

No, you cannot. This is a major change to our previous rules. APPA + State Awards entries must have all editing and post-production work completed by the entrant themselves. You can read more about this under Core Rules, Section 5, Creation.


For the Family Category, what is the definition of “Immediate Family?”

The definition of an immediate family member includes:

de facto partner
sibling, or
child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the individual's spouse or de facto partner
This definition includes step-relations, for example, step-parents and step-children.

This definition, along with other important definitions, is listed under Fine Print in the Rules. We recommend you ensure you have read the 2021 APPA Rules thoroughly before entry as significant changes have been made.


I would like to know more about the corrective and creative edit subcategories, especially within the Portrait category. What is and isn't allowed in regards to retouching?

This year, three sub-categories have been introduced as per feedback received after APPA 2019 concluded. These subcategories are Authentic Edit, Corrective Edit and Creative Edit. You can read all about each subcategory under Core Rules in sections 6, 7 and 8.
As a “cheat sheet”, it might help to think about the subcategories in this way:
Authentic essentially means “straight out of camera” or “as shot”. Very few edits are allowable in the authentic subcategory.
Corrective aligns very closely with single capture images (straight out of camera / as shot) with a little added leeway in that some elements that were used to capture the image (for example, a dog lead in a pet photograph or a thumb / hand in a photograph of a newborn – both used to keep the subject safe) may be removed, as long as the intent of the image is preserved.
Creative edit means – go nuts! Any and all edits are acceptable within this subcategory.
In terms of the Portrait category, if you have re-touched an image beyond what is stated as allowable in the Corrective subcategory (minor cloning / face swaps / removal of elements used to capture the image safely), please enter it into the Creative subcategory. If in doubt that you may have pushed an edit too far, please select the Creative category.

I have an Authentic Edit image but the category I want to enter has only Corrective Edit and Creative Edit categories - what do I do?

Authentic Edit images are, in simple definition, images that are straight out of camera with only very minor post-processing adjustments or edits. Corrective Edit images are the same, however, in Corrective Edit, you can, so long as the intent of the image is preserved, retouch or remove dog leads, hands and other such elements involved in the production of the image.
Therefore, with this distinction in mind, if Authentic Edit is not an available sub-category, please select Corrective Edit for your image entry.
You can read more about the three types of sub-category under Core Rules: Must Read.


How different is different when it comes to submitting portrait entries? Can I submit a high key version and low key version for example? Can I submit a portrait of a couple and then feature one person from that couple in a different entry? Can the same subject be entered if their clothing / background / setting / crop is different?

This question is addressed within the Core Rules under Section 4 – Subject.
The rules state:
“A primary purpose of the awards is to judge and reward visually impactful images and excellence in craft. Whilst the same subject may be used across multiple submissions, it is a requirement of entry that entrants submit images that are significantly different visually. If the same subject is used, it must be an entirely different capture and involve entirely different treatment eg styling, wardrobe, posing, lighting etc”.
Whilst we acknowledge that Covid and its related lockdowns and restrictions have made it difficult to shoot new and different material for some photographers, we have extended the “two year rule” to help accommodate these effects of the pandemic. Photographers are now welcome to use back catalogues dating to January 1st 2000 when determining APPA + State Awards entries.


Are you allowed to incorporate old/antique photos that were NOT originally photographed by you but have been “re-photographed” by you (think Maggie Taylor who uses antique portraits of people as her main subject and creates a story around them) to be used in your image as either a supporting or main element?

You are allowed to have re-photographed an existing work that isn't yours as a supporting element or background ONLY, it must not be the main focus or subject of the entry. You can read more about this in under Core Rules, Section 8, Creative Edit.


This year the Pet / Animal category has, for the first time, allowed images of wild animals to be submitted. Does this mean photographs of wild animals are allowable in Nature AND Pet / Animal categories?

Yes, it does. However, it is suggested you consider carefully the types of images that do well in each category and that you note the different parameters of each category too. Wild animals may feature within Pet / Animal where they will be competing against images within a creative subcategory that have been highly manipulated and are more artistic than documentary in style. Wild animal images within the Nature category must be authentic captures with no constraint, control or baiting of the animal within the image.




Are Photographic Books and Albums different names for the same thing? 

No, they are not. For the purposes of this competition an Album is defined as any bound collection of photos of a personal nature, commissioned by a client, or for private viewing – most commonly, event and portrait photography. A Photographic Book, however, is defined as any bound collection of photos created, printed or published specifically for public viewing. It does not include publications commissioned by individuals for private enjoyment (e.g. albums). You can read more about books and albums under their relevant tabs in the rules.


Can an image that's previously been entered in state or APPA appear in a book or album?

Yes. Books and albums can take years to create and, as such, parts of these books and albums may have been entered before as single print entries. In the context of creating a bigger book / album project, images that have featured as single print entries in a previous print awards may feature. Please note that the majority of the book / album content should be unseen work.


Can something that’s submitted as a new/unseen print entry also appear within a book or album entry at the same APPA?

Yes. You may have single unseen-before images entered into the competition at the same time the same unseen image features in a book or album.


Are we allowed to upload the final cover image of our book or album into the online entry system and then continue working on / refining our book or album content until it is printed and posted in 2022? 

For books and albums, yes this is correct, mainly because it is impossible to police otherwise. It is preferred however, that with the extended opening period, entrants submit their digital file of the front cover and have the bulk of the book or album ready for entry at this time.
Please note that, in terms of print entries, the digital image of your print entries submitted into the online system MUST match the physical print that is submitted into the awards. Once you pay for your entries in the awards system you CANNOT make any further changes to the digital file as the system locks.




What are the judges looking for?

Please visit 'Judging / Scoring / Determining Winners' under the Rules to learn more about what AIPP judges will be looking for during APPA + AIPP Epson State Awards.
You can also jump on to YouTube and search "AIPP APPA" to watch judging from previous years. This will give you an idea of how our judging works and what our judges look for and reward in each category.


When will we know the judging schedule?

We can't advise the judging schedule until after the close of entries. Once we know the number of entries in each category then the judging schedule will be announced by email and on social media. Expect this announcement at the start of 2022.


After judging, how to I find my scores?

Find your scores by clicking here.


After the awards have taken place, how long until I get my print case returned to me?

After the awards are completed they are sent to the post office the following day. Your case should be returned to you by Wednesday 3rd November. Please contact if you have not received your print case by this date.


When and where will the winners of APPA + State Awards be announced?

Because this competition is an amalgamation of two awards events, the results will be revealed at different times.

The APPA results - the national competition - will be revealed on Tuesday 8th March (the day after live judging concludes) at a fabulous Presentation Night at Spice Market, Melbourne. Tickets to this event are on sale now and cost $100 each. Read more and purchase your tickets here.

The State Awards Results will be revealed in each state at State Presentation Nights. This gives people who cannot travel to APPA the chance to attend a local event to hear about their home state's winners. State Presentation Nights will be added to the AIPP Event Calendar. 


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