A Gold Award-winning Family portrait

**UPDATE**This is a really exciting update as at December 2023: My image is representing in Team New Zealand for the World Photographic Cup 2024! I can't believe I'm even writing that. New Zealand nominated 21 images to 'compete' at the WPC which is being judged during December and early January 2024. Team New Zealand entered my A Royal Family portrait into the Illustrative Portrait category. I've had to sit on the news since October so I'm pretty chuffed that it's out in the world now. The finalists are announced at the end of January and the awards are held in Texas in April.

A Royal Family portrait was a dream portrait commissioned by Dairne (right hand, brown suit) as part of her 50th birthday celebrations. She wanted to mix up the gender roles for a family portrait that was a bit different and we were inspired by Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums characters.

This project was a collaboration between stylist Daisy Marcuzzi, who did an incredible job sourcing these vintage outfits, hair and makeup artist Amy McLennan, who made everyone comfortable and in character, and of course Dairne’s family who all agreed to the style of this shoot! Dairne’s 12 year old son Raffy almost steals the show dressed as the Margot character (in the striped dress).

This portrait was shot on a Sony a7m4, lit with two Elinchrom lights, against a perfect pink backdrop at Courtenay Studios in Wellington. Thanks to James Gilberd at Courtenay Studios for his support, and for having the perfect pink paper backdrop for my shoot. The biggest challenge of project managing this shoot was sourcing a bird, and I have a new appreciation for the craft of taxidermy and the community of collectors in Wellington.

In August I won my first gold award at the NZIPP Iris Photo Awards, in Christchurch in the family category. This week I learned that the portrait has also won second place in the inaugural Capture Magazine awards' People & Portrait category. The competition was open to Australian and New Zealander professional photographers. I'm really thrilled that the image is being recognised, now internationally!

A huge thank you to Dairne and her whānau for trusting me to capture their family in a special, really fun way. I love that this portrait feels like a hybrid of a family photo and a movie poster: A Royal cinematic portrait.

Our stylist Daisy holding the precious bird (right)

My two light setup for the studio portrait, taken at Courtenay Studios

Maeve assists by courageously carrying the precious bird cargo with me to the studio. Puffin and Spur-Winged Plover courtesy of The Intrepid Hotel and Puffin Bar.

Hair and makeup artist Amy McLennan does a last minute beard trim on George