I've entered a few, and enjoyed some success. In the early days I didn't get anywhere at all, but kept plugging away realising that my standard wasn't good enough or my photograph not unique in any way. My first success came from Coast Magazine. There were 4 categories, each based on the British Coastline, so I entered a photograph into each. For three of the categories I tried hard to second guess what the judges would be looking for, in the last, I thought what the hell, I'll put in a shot I like.
Excitement grew when I received an email to say that shot had been shortlisted and the overall winner would be revealed in the March issue of the magazine. Three months to forget all about it, but when the magazine dropped through the letterbox the tension and excitement was running high. I eventually got to the right page to find my photo spread right across - top spot!
|Mist over Arnside Knott|
Overall winner of the Coast Magazine photography competition 2009
Competition success rate is low, and at times can be frustrating. When I see other winning entries it is usually obvious why they won, then on some competitions I think 'What?' But that's all part of the excitement. Part of what encourages me to enter more. Competition is good. Although I rarely go out with any particular competition in mind I do try harder because of them, exploring subjects more, searching for that extra something, and in most cases I end up reprocessing my photograph. But here's the key part for me, I don't want to compromise my ideals, I no longer try to second guess the judges. If they don't like my photograph, then they don't like it - I'll pause to contemplate, but if I still believe in the image and another appropriate competition comes along I will try it again (and have done with some success). Here's a shot that didn't make it in a recent competition. A nostalgic shot for me what I enjoyed shooting and processing, bringing back memories of a Monstera plant we had at home, fondly referred to as the Monster.
|Monstera Delicosia - The Monster|
Unsuccessful competition entry
At the presentation for Coast magazine the manager from Corbis told me that the second place image was a great photo, but they see 20 similar shots of that same view every day. Winning shots are generally unique, different from the rest. Competition has certainly pushed me harder and raised the level of my game, and it is great fun taking part.