Photography can sometimes be a lonely job. You sit at your computer all day, editing photos, emailing clients, and posting on social media. If you are like me, you may be your own worst critic. Sitting at your desk staring at your images, you may sometimes wonder…Are they good? I know I have wondered that and still sometimes wonder that. Confidence in your art can be a tricky thing.
So we look to others for validation. Seek out other opinions. Hoping someone else will like our images and tell us so. Right?
That is where image contests come in. You see a blog hosting a contest and want to enter that image you just took that gave you chills. But how do you know if it is good enough? You have to take a leap of faith, a risk, put yourself out there and hope that your image will be seen in the same way you saw it. It’s hard. It’s scary. But what it does is help you learn and grow as a photographer. And every photographer out there, no matter where they are in their business, can always learn and grow.
I remember my first image contest that I entered. I had this image of my niece who is beyond cute. She is standing on the beach in a pink tutu and nothing else, staring out into the ocean. I thought it was the cutest thing ever. I was in the beginning stages of my photography journey, still learning. And if I am being completely honest, I probably wasn’t even shooting on manual! I had so much to learn! But I loved this image and a blog that I followed and respected was having an image contest. I had never entered a contest before and thought why not! I was scared. I wanted them to like my image as much as I did and I also wanted to get some sort of validation for my work. Something to help me know if I was on the right track, if I was viewing my art the same way as a peer would view it. Was it good?
So I entered the contest and my image was one of the top two! I was so excited! I am not one to usually shout from the roof tops that something I was doing was in a contest. You kind of feel like you are pimping yourself out and I didn’t really want to do that. But I was in the top two and now needed votes. So I told anyone that would listen that my image could use their vote. I told strangers, friends, family and I watch as all those people voted. It felt amazing!! But then the competition side set in and things got a little, well, competitive. I hated it! I didn’t want any part in that part of the competition. I just wanted people to like my image. I ended up writing the blog owner and telling her to take me out of it. I explained that I already felt like a winner because my image was chosen as a finalist and that I was happy with that. And I honestly was! The fact that a well-known blog picked my image made me ecstatic! All I really needed was just someone else in the industry giving me a nod. Someone to just say, “good job.”
I didn’t win that contest but in my heart I won. It helped me realize that I was doing something good, something I loved and my photos were well received. I continued to push myself and continue to learn and grow and be even better. I gained a little bit of confidence which was good, but I remained humble and realized that one contest does not a brilliant photographer make! 🙂
I shared this story with you to let you know that I understand that entering contests can be a risk. But to let you know that its a risk worth taking to help you become a better photographer. It isn’t really about the praise or the prizes, although those are great :). It is about helping you become confident, learn and grow in your photography.
Seniorologie hosts weekly image contests where you can show off a recent image that you are proud of, seasonal instagram contests where you can share a fall, winter, spring or summer inspired photo and one big image contest a year where you can enter your best work. These are all geared to help you as senior photographers grow in the your art. I love seeing your work! It inspires me everyday! Keep entering those images and know that you are doing a great job!
The Seniorologie Fall Senior Instagram Contest is going on right now! The finalists for the month of October are below. Congratulations to Coco Laine Photography, Sarah Modene Photography, Anne Schillings Photography and Clara Bella Photography!! We will pick four more finalists for the month of November so if you haven’t entered, please do so by posting a fall image of a senior that you took recently to your instagram. Make sure to tag @seniorologie AND use the hashtag #seniorologiefallsenior so I will see all the photos entered. The top four from October below and the top four from November will be chosen and then the fans will vote on their absolute favorite. The winning Fall image will be featured at the top of the Seniorologie blog!
If you are thinking about entering the Seniorologie Fall Senior Instagram Contest, remember these tips:
Be confident and put your images out there! Even if you are like me and you don’t win, you will grow as a photographer each time you enter a contest and put your work out there for others to see! Ask for advice or a private critique if you are interested in finding out how to improve an image. Enter again because sometimes it is just that there are so many great images that they all can’t possibly be chosen. Whatever you do, don’t be discouraged but rather continue to push yourself as a photographer. Each time we shoot, we only get better!
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