I have been named 2010 Master Photographer of the Year by the Professional Photographers of Iowa.  I received this honor and several other awards at the Professional Photographers of Iowa annual convention and print competition in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month.      

In addition to the trophy for being named Master Photographer of the Year, I also received a Judge’s Choice Award from David Humphrey, a Judge’s Choice Award from Tina Timmons, the Fuji Masterpiece Award, three Distinguished Print Awards, First Place for Indoor Portrait of a Woman, Second Place for Indoor Portrait of a Woman, and an Honorable Mention for Indoor Portrait of a Woman.   

I am truly honored by these awards. It is because of my awesome client-friends and supporters that I have been able to do really creative things which have won many awards for me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without their trust in me and their respect for my creative process which ultimately creates these award winning prints.   

About the 2010 Print Awards   

I have been entering professional photography print competition for most of my 25 year photography career. For the print competition each year, photographers select four images to have presented in front of a panel of judges. If an image is successful at the state level, it typically advances to the national level judging for awards that count toward a Master of Photography and other awards.   

I earned my Master of Photography in 2007 from entering images mostly from client sessions. It was important to me to challenge myself at each photo session and to know my daily work was good enough to score well in the print competition. The images which earned the top honors for 2010 started out as self assignments just to entertain me.  I loved it so much that I have developed a portrait line I now offer called ‘Characters.’ It quickly became evident that I should use them for print competition as well.  Part of the requirement for print competition is that the images are titled. From my perspective that’s usually the hardest part, but the titles actually helped me design the images.  


Garden Nymph  

This was my first image ever to score a perfect 100! I was at the convention trade show when I received the news of this image’s score. My highest score prior to this was an 85 many years ago, so I was speechless! This image also earned a Judge’s Choice Award from David Humphrey, the Fuji Masterpiece Award, Distinguished Print Award, and First Place for Indoor Portrait of a woman.    

This image’s working title was Plant Girl. The model, Kelsey, applied twenty colors of makeup on her own face. I worked four hours just on her costume. Her head piece was three feet tall, and we even decorated her shoes. I made the four foot grape vine ball from wild vines from my yard. Not much of that actually shows in the final image selection but it is in the details that make the image so captivating to look at. There was about 15 total hours involved in creating this image. 

Kelsey, from The Art of Smart, also did the make up and hair for my other “Characters” images. 



















Queen of the Summer Night

Natalie was my chemo nurse in 2006. I was attempting to work on a collage image about my cancer experience that I wanted to use her eyes in. I never did finish the collage but I got beautiful images of Natalie. The photographs turned out to be a wonderful gift from me to her instead. 



This was my second image to score a perfect 100! I was pretty stunned by the news. I was in a seminar at the time this image came up for judging.  It is so unusual to have such a score that I was pretty much in shock getting a second one. To give you some perspective on this, there were only four images with a score of 100 out of over 400 image submissions.

My cousin Emily was the perfect model for this! I found most of the costuming at Mall of America. The eyelashes that took three hours for Kelsey to make are the centerpiece, and they are actual fake eyelashes with a lot of gold leafing. I did not add them by using the computer. Emily suffered through the discomfort or wearing them and her eyes were very irritated. She was an amazing model! Eight hours of work went into the shooting day alone and she was still happy.















Clay O Patra

I just love that title. We called her Clay Girl for a while, but her true identity became apparent when the inspiration piece, the necklace was chosen. I used two kinds of clay donated by a nice potter friend and when it dried she had to really scrub it off! Aubree the model said, “It is exciting to be the canvas.”






The next step for these four images is the international competition in January 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.

Categories : Awards


  1. Jennifer Sagar says:

    Congratulations Barb! How exciting! It doesn’t surprise me however. I love the portraits, they are so unique and artistic. Again, congratulations! Thanks for sharing this announcement!

    Jennifer Sagar

  2. Tina Smith says:

    Oh Barb! These are truly magnificent. Congratulations on the awards! Keep having fun:)

  3. missy says:

    Barb that is terrific!!!!!! congrats! they are really cool keep it up 🙂

  4. Barb Gordon says:

    Thanks! Go to http://barbgordonphotocoach.com/blog/free-articles and you will also be on my e-newsletter mailing list that way. You will find out all of the topics available.

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