Up for Discussion – Competitions
During this last week I received an email from Mike who does the blog Brooklyn Bystander and he wanted to tell me about a competition that he had heard about. You all know that I have decided it was time I actually entered some and he saw this one and thought I might be interested in it. I do love how you guys send me things, my email is never boring. So thank you Mike for sending it to me and adding the words “maybe it could be a good topic for a post?” and I thought it would be perfect for today.
Competitions for photography are everywhere, and there are all different types. Some will help your career while others will more just help you boost your confidence. None of them are wrong, or ones that you should consider entering, however I thought today we could discuss competitions. Look at what I’ve heard, what I’ve experienced and how some work.
I don’t have a lot of experience with competitions, partially because I never feel my work is good enough, and also I don’t really know where they are. I’ve entered some national ones and done okay, but I have tended to shy away from them. There is always that voice in my head that says things like, “if you enter you will be smashed”, “no one will think your work is any good”, “people will look at it and thing it is so amateurish”. I know, I know I shouldn’t listen to that voice, but it is so hard some times. I think also my experience of entering work into competitions in camera clubs has left me feeling very vulnerable, it was not a good experience. So I have to get past that.
So once you build up the confidence to enter, there is the next thing what do you enter and what competitions do you enter. The competitions I want to enter fall under two different types, there are the Photography ones, and the Art ones. Photography competitions can be local, state, national or international. There are ones in your local paper, and I know there are ones on the internet everywhere as well. This is where you have to start thinking about what sort of competitions they are. If you want to build your reputation and be considered an award winning photographer, then you probably need to think about the competition. If you want to start off little, finding small competitions is good.
I am looking for more of the national and international competitions. I have gone from being to scared to thinking it is time I just jumped in there and see how I wash up. I am a member of the AIPP which is Australia’s professional photography organisation. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it, but they run competitions. I’ve stayed away from them because they are expensive, but if you are successful, then you can add that to your CV and it could help you in your career. They have the Canon AIPP Australian Photographer of the Year every year. I don’t think you have to be a member. It is judged by a panel of judges and ultimately that is going to be the best sort of competition. I’m not saying the ones where you get your family and friends, or followers to vote for you aren’t good, but then those come down to who has the most people to vote for them.
I would suggest you look for competitions that have a judging panel and check out who the judges are. See what sort of work they do. No point sending in a traditional style landscape if all the judges do really weird things to theirs. You need to find judges that you think will like your work.
Art competitions are completely different in some ways. If you find a photography competition that is being run by an art institution, for example Monash Gallery of Art has a competition coming up, the Bowness Prize and how it works is very different to, say, the one the AIPP run. With the one by the AIPP every images is considered, but in an art photography competition, they sort of aren’t. You enter the competition, and your image is considered by a panel, but they also want an artist statement and you have to know what your work is about. That panel consider every image and then they select, I don’t know, they probably accept about 50 images. The next stage is an exhibition of those images. You have to have the image framed and ready to hang. Once they are all hung then the judges make their decisions as to who will win it. I enter these, but haven’t been accepted yet, and the goal at this stage is just to be accepted for the exhibition then I can add it to my CV.
There are competitions everywhere, I guess we just have to find them. The competition Mike told me about was one he found in a Photography Magazine. It is Life in Colour and is open to international photographers. I am so glad Mike told me about this. One thing to be careful about when you enter competitions, always read the fine print. Make sure you know what they are going to do with your images and what you agree to when you enter them.
One of my favourite photographers, Peter Eastway has written an ebook on competitions and if you are serious about entering them it could be worth your while getting it. Here is the link, How to Win Photo Competitions.
I have done some stuff to my website and started a blog on it, though not like this one, this will always be my main blog. The blog on that is more a news one, and it means I can post any time about information or things I find out about, so if you know of any competitions that you think people might be interested in then I can post them there, I will add a link to it on this blog, but if you want to check it out for now here is the link, News blog. It is only for what is happening.
Do you have experience with competitions? Have you wanted to enter some, but are afraid to? Why? What competitions do you know about? Do you think competitions are good or a waste of time? If you have entered them, how have you gone? Were you happy with the experience?
The images in this post today are ones that I have entered in competitions, or ones that I would consider entering.
These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.
I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way. Please address your comment and advice to Stacy.
Feel free to respond or reply to other comments. It would be good to generate some discussion.
If you have a topic that you would like discussed, or a problem you need help with then please send me an email and we will see if we can do a post about it.
A gallery of the images for you.