Time to Win Some Photography Awards. Why I Even Bother Trying to Play This Frustrating Game

It’s that time of year again where I sit back, look through all the work I have produced over the past year and try to select images to enter into photography awards.

It’s difficult and frustrating. I normally end up being super critical and kick myself that my work isn’t up to scratch – and then a pile of images similar to the ones I reject end up having everyone go bananas over, with numerous awards given to them. Ironically, stuff that I would have simply deleted because I don’t like it, invariably grabs the attention of judges. Bah.

The idea of awards is to showcase the depth of talent and skill of the photographer, so it annoys me when someone enters a bunch of very similar images that all do well. I love to see photographers who push the envelope and do a range of different things. It may be within the same category like weddings or landscape but I like to see individual photographers showing off all their skills rather than honing in on a niche.

Controversy reigns supreme as photographers work to the letter of the law regarding the rules, rather than the spirit of the competition. Photoshop skills become more important than photographic skills. Snide comments, bitchiness and anonymous posts on Twitter encourage, enliven and enrage. It’s a circus.

Do clients care? I doubt it.
Does it improve my work? Possibly.
Is it worth the time and expense? Maybe.

So why bother?

As a solo photographer I work in a bubble. I think my work is great. Entering competitions is my way to benchmark my work. See how it stacks up against the best of the best. So it’s time to select work for three competitions. The International Pano Awards, The NSW Professional Photography Awards and for me the big one is the APPAs (The Australian Professional Photography Awards).

This year I have got a shortlist to sort through consisting of landscapes, wedding photography, portraits, architectural photos and other commercial work. Time to take a big breath and jump in the deep end.


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