My Thoughts on Photography Contests...


Photography is a subjective art. No matter the photographer, composition, or subject, there will always be someone out there who absolutely hates the shot and there will also be someone who loves it.  So who's correct? The answer is simple... Neither.

Who are you actually taking photos for? Every time I go out and shoot, I do it for myself. I do it because I absolutely love photography and don't care if everyone loves or hates my work. When a client asks me to shoot something for them, they are hiring me based on my work so it only makes sense for me to shoot the way I always do. 

A few years ago an anonymous person posted several world-renown photographs on Flickr to see how people reacted. Review after review bashed the composition, subject matter, etc. It just goes to show you that photography is completely subjective to everyone. Be proud of what you shoot. If you are happy with the photographs you post online, that's all that matters. Find your niche and go for it! You will only get better over time and shouldn't need the approval of another photographer to continue shooting.

Think about it this way: You take an incredible macro shot of some flowers and decide to send it in to a contest, but the judge can't stand macros so your shot doesn't even end up in the top 50. Does that mean your shot was bad? Absolutely not.

The biggest problem with photography contests are how often a new photographer gets discouraged and stops shooting based on what some anonymous user says online. My point is loosing/winning a photography contests shouldn't matter as long as you love what you shoot. 

One more example: If you hand a camera to the top 10 known photographers in the world and give them all the same subject, every shot will come out different. If you put them in order of best to worse, you are going to tell one of the top 10 photographers in the world that their shot was the worst of the group.