Why should photographers enter awards and competitions?
Why do photography awards matter? That is a question I have contemplated over the past few years. For me, entering photography competitions is an opportunity to have my images seen across the industry and within the photography community as well as featured in press and online. Entering competitions allows me to really engage myself in the creative process and push my limits with both creativity and technique. Some photography competitions offer cash prizes or gear to winners, which is always nice, but what I benefit most from is receiving valuable feedback about my submitted images that I can learn from and improve my craft.
Being accredited is a personal achievement and goal I have set for myself, not just for personal validation but to show my clients that my work and level of service are of the highest industry standard. Through the accreditation and awards process I am also able to push myself to master my craft and measure my progress against other professional portrait photographers.
Recently my mentor, Sue Bryce, started an awards and accreditation program called The Portrait Masters with the purpose of recognizing international portrait photographers at a professional industry standard and earn merit points toward official certifications at the Associate, Master and Grand Master levels. Entries are judged by a panel of world renowned judges who have all earned top recognition within their field and have participated as photographers and judges in the most prestigious photography competitions across the globe.
Prior to last year I had never entered an awards or accreditation program. I felt fear that my work would not measure up and that I was not good enough. I had no idea what to expect and the entry process seemed so daunting and overwhelming, but once I found the courage to try there was no turning back. The feedback I receive from the professional judges is wonderful and through the process I am learning so much more about how to create images that are meaningful, tell a story and connect with the viewer. I am learning how to master my technique in both lighting and retouching and I have seen the quality of my images improve as a result. I am so proud to have earned accreditation at the Associate level in The Portrait Masters program and look forward to continuing the journey and encourage other photographers to find the courage to enter awards and accreditation programs as well.