Industry News

Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Winners Announcement 

September 27, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

The ballroom of the Arizona Grand Resort bristled with excitement at this year’s Awards & Accreditation Ceremony on opening night of The Portrait Masters Conference. Everyone wanted to know who would be in the top twenty, who would take the top prizes, and who would ascend the ranks of accreditation. For all who attended, the Awards Ceremony was a feast for the eyes. For those with skin in the game, it was even more thrilling.    

Minneapolis photographer Richard Leonard Schultz took 3rd place in the Movement Category and was one of just two to take the stage and receive a ribbon and medal to commemorate achieving his Masters (pictured below). When he heard his name, “All of the stress of the three previous months unraveled around my chest and melted away, leaving nothing but gratitude in its wake. I’m so thankful for those who helped and challenged me.”

His statement perfectly expresses the intensity and emotion that accompanies the Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Program. Thousands of photographers around the world enter hoping to be recognized in a category top twenty. Each year, they compete against themselves to be better than the previous year, working their way toward the accreditation that proves their work is at a high professional standard. The revelatory moments for how they have measured up to their goals can be fraught with anxiety, elation, and more. 

Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Director Richard Wood stands beside two newly accredited Master Photographers — Richard Leonard Schultz and Jeanie Lewis — at the Portrait Masters Awards Ceremony. ©Dana Gibbons, SpotMyPhotos

Before announcing the winners, Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Director Richard Wood encouraged everyone in attendance, saying that entering awards competitions “has been one of the most useful things for me in advancing my work.” Judge Michele Celentano mirrored that statement, saying that year after year, judges are continually, “blown away by the level [entrants] have risen to. It’s extraordinary.” She went on with the encouragement, “Those of you who are not so happy and think it could have been better, keep trying. Don’t give up. Keep entering because it keeps making you better.” 

Now, we are happy to recognize and congratulate those who took prizes as category winners and accreditation earners. 

Category Winners 

In each of the three rounds of The Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation, a panel of five judges reviews every image, awarding them points. The average of these points determines if they have won bronze, silver, or gold merits. The highest-scoring image in each category is awarded $1,000 and a trophy. The highest-scoring image overall receives an additional $1,000 and another trophy. In the slideshow above, you can see all of the category winning images in the order they appear listed below. 

This round’s category winners are: 

Congratulations to all category winners on your achievement. 

See all the beautiful images that made top twenty in each category in the Awards Gallery

Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Judge Michele Celentano gives a new Associate her medal. ©Dana Gibbons, SpotMyPhotos

Newly Acquired Accreditations 

As explained above, all entries into The Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation program have the potential to receive bronze, silver, and gold merits.

Those who earn these badges begin or continue to tally these points toward earning a greater professional distinction, that of Associate, Master, or Fellow Accreditation. To earn an Associate, one must earn 25 points. To earn a Master, one must have received at least 50 points, two silver merits and no scores below a bronze in the previous two rounds. To earn a Fellow, one must have received ten silvers and must already be a Master. Both Masters and Fellows are confirmed by a comprehensive portfolio review of all submissions. Each round the rules are updated before the start date, so all entrants are encouraged to read the rules again before submitting. 

The new accreditation earners, listed below, hail from the countries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Singapore, and thirteen different U.S. states. 

One New Fellow 

Five New Masters 

33 New Associates 

Congratulations to all those who have attained a new accreditation. View all TPM accredited photographers in the Accreditation Directory

Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Director Richard Wood stands beside all the newly accredited Associate Photographers who were at the Awards Ceremony. ©Dana Gibbons, SpotMyPhotos

What’s Next for Awards & Accreditation 

The dates for the next round of submissions have not yet been announced, so stay tuned. Many are hoping there will be another Awards Ceremony when TPM joins up with WPPI in March. As conference-goer Kathleen Dylan said about the ceremony, “I love this format, and I hope it comes back in Vegas, but we don’t know what will come, so let’s appreciate the moment.” The ceremony was certainly full of many beautiful moments to appreciate. As for what’s to come, we won’t be in suspense for long. With TPM at WPPI being just six months away, more information is sure to be coming out very soon.

Awards & Accreditation

Painterly Portraits

The Imagination Series

Creative Portrait Series

Artistic Lighting for Maternity Portraiture – by Lola Melani

The Ultimate Lighting Course