HOW TO WIN PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITIONS
This rant is inspired by lame advice distributed by a stock picture library earlier today. It told us to research the latest trends in food photography and submit similar images to be successful.
That approach will only get you noticed by two-dimensional art buyers/directors at best. But, apply that approach to your competition photography, and you are will to be the photographer who inhabits the also ran region of the competition.
The trick is to stand out from the pack. It would be best if you researched what has gone before. Never enter images similar to last years or last weeks winners. I guarantee, if you do, you will not be a winner. Just as supplying copycat food images to a stock agency is guaranteed NOT to bring you big dollar sales.
This comes from a photographer who hasn’t won a single prize in a photography competition for 20 years. As it turns out, I haven’t entered one for that long either.
However, as a young photographer starting out, competitions largely kept me supplied with film, and to an extent, equipment. You see, as a 16-year-old, most of my free time was consumed by photography and the pursuit of competition prize money or product.
Without wanting to brag, I was pretty successful. I didn’t enter competitions for kids because the money was in adult comps. Some of these were in Australia, but most were international. Later, after turning professional, I transitioned to competitions for working photographers. Now chasing, not so much the money, but the street creds:)
Here is what I learned from competing. Firstly the stuff you learn is far more valuable than any prize. Secondly, doing what everyone else is doing will, without a dought, achieve nothing. Your work has to stand out. The easiest way to do this is to be different.
New and fresh is the term used most often. But here’s the catch. If you’re too far out there, you will also be disappointed. For example, Robyn and I crafted a semi-nude image of a woman for a national award. We were delighted with it and expected to do well. Disappointment followed. The judging panel marked the print harshly.
A couple of days later, a hugely successful and award-winning American photographer offered some advice at the awards dinner. It went like this. “Ian, your print should have been right up there with the winners. But do you know why it wasn’t?” Errr NO. “Well, I’ll tell you. You’re operating on the bleeding edge of competition photography; the only thing that happens on the bleeding edge is a lot of pain. So please take a look at the winners; understand where they’re at. And next year, try and work out where the judging panel will be compared to this year. Aim to be just ahead of the judge’s expectations, not miles ahead.”
That advice was some of the best I’ve ever received from anyone in photography. We worked hard and were very conscious of not being too creative for the following year.
That was the start of ten years of very successful competition for us. Oh, and as a footnote, the next year, three entries looked a whole lot like our unsuccessful bare-breasted women from the previous year. All three scored very highly.
So, to summarise, be different from your competition, but don’t get too far ahead or you’ll lose the judges. If you copy everyone else, disappointment will follow.
LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT AUSSIE COPYRIGHT
This is a great place to start.
Friday Foto Tips Tricks and Tutorials
If you haven’t already guessed, state borders will be “slammed shut” in an instant if new outbreaks of Covid occur.
Certainly not the news I’d been waiting for:) But, then again, this isn’t news that we hadn’t expected.
SOMETIMES I WONDER!!!
Photo by Steve Johnson/upsplash
Ok, so I have my grumpy hat on today. And, I don’t mean to be offensive to our LBGTQ community or our ethnically diverse population. But today, I received an email note from one of our agencies.
It started G’day Ian, that tells me they are trying to convince me they are like me, an Ozzie. Then it proceeds to tell me that my submissions are not inclusive enough, and I must try to make future submissions more inclusive to the LBGTQ community by including more people from that community in my photos. But, it doesn’t stop there. It further informed me that my pictures lack people of colour, and BLM is very important in our marketing currently.
To be very clear, I’m not against any of the above, but please no that my pictures for this mob are almost exclusively devoid of humanity because my speciality with them is the environment. Secondly, when I visit their member’s resource site to see examples of what they mean, there are dozens of pictures of people displaying the pride flag and dressed in rainbow clothing.
But like the TV advertising, that’s not all folks. You also get pages of pictures of ethnically diverse people. People of colour, or more specifically, African Americans, missing are all the other shades of colour. For example, there are zero Asians and indeed no black Africans, for example, Congolese people.
My beef is, we seem to exclude a whole lot of humanity in our rush to be… what’s the term, woke.
A DSLR AND A MIRRORLESS CAMERA WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
We have an explanation HERE.
This space bought to you by Ian, as he is too lazy to produce the content on time to fill said space:)