Despite being a professional photographer for several years and photographing hundreds of families and babies, I didn’t enter any awards or seek qualification for my photography…
For the past couple of years I’ve been a member of 2 renowned photography associations, the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers and the Guild of Professional Photographers. Every time I was in a conversation with any of the many judges, they’d give me a wee nudge and tell me I should be entering….and every time I came away with the intention but never quite got around to actually doing it.
It took me long enough to decide which organisations to join, let alone anything else!! Why? you might ask…well because not all are “created equal”.
In terms of competition and qualification I I wanted a diverse judging panel with good ethics. I needed to be confident that their standards are high, that the judges are skilled and successful photographers themselves…photographers whose work I admire, respect and aspire to. And well sadly that isn’t always the case. To the outsider looking in these differences aren’t apparent, so it can be difficult to know that there is any difference…but believe me there is!
So a couple of years ago I joined the SWPP then last year the Guild….but still despite paying my monthly membership fees, I still didn’t bother to enter for anything.
But why not?
Well previously there were 2 main stumbling blocks…the biggest one being time. My focus is always my clients, and I just never had the extra time it takes to prepare images for competition and/or to put a panel together for qualification.
The other thing is that I’ve seen so many photographers win awards for images that are a direct copy of someone else’s image and often a totally different genre and style to what they actually shoot for their clients…and that just never sat quite right for me; I think if you are using awards and qualifications as part of your marketing, then you are potentially misleading prospective clients and doing them a massive disservice. You may as well call yourself award winning for that swimming badge you earned when you were 5! And don’t even get me started on “newborn safety accreditation” (I’ll come to that another day!!)
So why start now?
Well after much nagging from my mentors I’ve decided it’s time to stick my head above the parapet….this lockdown has given me the extra time so I’ve no excuse! But I’ve not shot anything new or anything different. Each month I’ve just trawled through client galleries and personal work that was shot for fun or for my own family memories and I’ve picked out a couple of favourites. I’ve popped them in and hoped for the best.