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The Guild of Photographers Awards

The Guild of Photographers Awards

Tensions have been building over the last couple of weeks, as the prestigious Guild of Photographers Award ceremony drew ever closer. The Awards take place every year, and each year the quality of images just gets better and better. Hence the nerves!

Finally, the time had come to make my way to the majestic Crewe Hall – a Jacobean mansion set within the beautiful Cheshire countryside, which was to be the usual setting for the Awards. The Awards themselves are the main part of the show, but the event itself also includes; workshops, print competitions and a trade show. Oh, and a dinner.

After walking around the tradeshow and talking to the smiling exhibitors it was time to go into the Print Competition, where I was greeted by very serious faces, intently listening. The print competition is as much an education as it is its own event. As I sat and listened to the judge’s critique the stunning prints presented before them, I thought ‘I stand no chance’!

My nerves started to kick in as the images were whittled down to just a handful. At this stage it becomes quite ruthless, the judges focusing on the small details (which are perhaps even MORE important). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw both my images in the final four line up. The other two images were stunning; a B&W closeup portrait of a woman’s face, utilising her hands to strike a pose – beautiful and very graphic and the other image, a lone dark tree surrounded by pure white snow… breathtaking!

I was genuinely happy to be in the running and I thought ‘that’s it, I’m 3rd and 4th’. The judges knowing better, then withdrew the lone tree from the running…! And, after some deliberation, they also withdrew the graphical portrait. OMG!
So that meant I had two images fighting for 1st place. But which would win?! Again the judges deliberated and, after what felt like an eternity, the head-judge asked the other judges to stand beside the image they thought deserved the top spot. All bar one judge stood alongside my female portrait, a clear winner. To be honest, I didn’t really care which was 1st or 2nd, it was just an honour to have both my images making it that far.

Below you can see the winning images with the judges (and my beaming smile).



After the print competition, it was time to get my glad rags on ready for the BIG award ceremony. Being on such a high I could have glided into the Awards. The dinner was delicious, only surpassed by the company. We played ‘Who am I?’ on our table, which was such a giggle.

Then it was down to business – the Awards themselves. Each genre produced gorgeous images, which we each got a preview of through a beautifully produced book, courtesy of Loxley Colour. I watched eagerly as my peers went up to receive their deserved awards. In each genre you have; Runner-up, Image of the Year & Photography of the Year. I had four images nominated for Image of the Year in the Newborn & Maternity genre and one in the Classical Portraiture genre. As I sat waiting, I heard them call the Newborn & Maternity category… The words “and the winner is” rang in my ears as they announced “SARAH WILKES” I couldn’t believe it – what a wonderful day!!! 

My winning image is below 🙂



Throughout the year, all images submitted are scored, those scores are then collated and the highest score goes on to be crowned Photographer of the Year. As I stated before, the quality this year was outstanding with so many amazing images scoring really high – so the title could have been anyone’s.

My good friend Siân Shipley was called as runner-up, and just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better… they announced ‘ME’ as the Photographer of the Year! No, this weekend could not have gotten any better!


My achievements from this weekend

Image of the Year – Newborn & Maternity – Winner
Photographer of the Year – Newborn and Baby – Winner
Photographer Of The Year – People – Fifth place
Print Competition First & Second Place
The Photographers Bar Newborn & Baby Category
The Photographers Bar People Category
International Top 10 Newborn & Babies
International Top 10 People



I had previously won Newborn & Baby Photographer of the Year in 2015, but after having taken a year off, I was pleased to have reclaimed my title.
As you may well be aware I don’t just do Maternity and Newborn photography, I also love producing Fine-Art Child Portraits, so if you would like me to create something special for you in any of those genres, please do get in touch.

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