Becoming a professional photographer, is not about finding a new job, its about discovering a whole new way of life. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as a mentor is the influence I can have on another. Witnessing the developing potential  of a gifted photographer, is rather a privilege. In fact you as a photographer might believe you have the best job in town, I as your mentor believe I have a great job too – You!  So many of the photographers we meet believe they are still within their first strides, when actually they are creativity further ahead than they think.  This was Robin, an exceptional photographer, a hard worker with a dream to become a professional photographer living a whole new way of life. Was it a walk in the park? Nope!  Did he have a few dark days? Sure. If you want something so passionately some days it simply hurts, this is often when we take control, guide, advise and encourage and help you see the potential – your potential

We can only have an impact though if you listen, you’re willing to learn, adapt and implement all of the guidance you are given. You have to have an appetite for knowledge, you have to have the ambition to succeed and to be a winner.  Winning being a winner is down to talent of course and the courage to push boundaries. Giving yourself permission to! And also being encouraged, really encouraged.  I wanted this so badly for Robin because he deserves it. He listened and went out of his way to create a business and an image portfolio that he could be incredibly proud of.

I have been privileged to encourage Robin Goodlad, helping him find himself and the photographer he was to become, with his style and his approach which is simply beautiful.  The impact you can have on other, on what they achieve is why we do what we do. Building people firstly and business secondly, everyday. If you don’t build the person, the business will never become strong. We start with you first, then all of the elements required to become the best you can be too.

What did we encourage :
Be you, don’t produce what you think you should produce, create from how you feel
Enter awards, the right awards. The awards that are the right platform for your photography
Be bold enough to gift yourself the chance to win by entering ( even if its just a secret you share with yourself or Aspire – be bold, nobody will ever know unless you tell them)
To never give up when the going gets tough, toughen up, work harder, market smarter and listen to the mentors – They know you better than you know yourself

Why enter and why develop, why become an artisan of photography. Because it could simply be the making of what you were always destined to be!

Robin Goodlad’s own words and thoughts

1-Why The Pink Lady,® Food Photographer of the Year Awards? Why do they matter to you?

Photography and food are two of my favourite things, so for me it is the perfect synergy. I love cooking and was fortunate enough to be a contestant on BBC Masterchef a few years ago and I did consider it as a career option. Photography has however always had more of a draw for me. Being able therefore to articulate the flavour and excitement you get when presented with food in front of you in a photograph is a challenge I really enjoy. Food photography is incredibly diverse and as well as the detailed portraits of food, I also enjoy focusing upon the people behind the food, and the landscape in which the food is grown or reared.

As the biggest international food photography competition with entries from all over the world, this is the one that really matters.

2-How did you pick the categories?

I chose the categories based upon the images I had which fitted well, but also those which I am passionate about, such as food in the field, which ties in well with my love of landscape photography. I felt it was worthwhile to enter the perhaps less obvious categories as well, where the possibility of success might be higher and where diverse images can really shine.

3- Did you ever dream of doing so well?

Not at all, with over 7000 entries form around the world, and being relatively new to food photography, I didn’t even expect to get shortlisted last year, never mind be a category winner. This year I was placed third in Food in the Field, which was incredible. To have reached this far is a huge honour

4- What does it mean to you now and for your future?

Having success in this or in any major competition is an enormous boost to a photographers confidence, it provides validation for your work, credibility amongst peers, and shows you are on the right track. I can proudly say I am a professional food photographer, with competition success under my belt, and whatever work I carry out, this is always in my mind, and many clients often comment having seen feeds in the media. It has of course also generated extra work based in reputation, and I am hopeful I can continue this this year perhaps with more success! Confidence and self belief however are by far the biggest benefits.

If you too believe you might, you could do. If you want to discover you, learn more about all the possibilities of you, why don’t you register now, right now  with Catherine Connor, you might just help you channel you inner ” Robin Goodlad” Everything is possible for everybody.

The Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year awards could become a real inspiration for you and all you could achieve. Take a peek at all the categories that you too could enter – why not?

You can view all the finalists here /

Words by Catherine Connor and Robin Goodlad

Image by Robin Goodlad

You can also join Robin on Aspire’s new landscape photography course -