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Roger_Williams
06-17-2011, 06:28 PM
This is the first time I've entered IPC and I did get one Loan:D but the other 3 did not even merit :eek:. I actually thought I had a good chance at all four meriting. Anyway, I have a couple of questions from those of you who are "in the know". At IPC do you get a numerical score, i.e. 79 if they don't merit or is it simply merit vs non-merit? Also, I know that even an image that is not merit worthy can be a sellable image but if 75% of my competition images (esp. the ones I thought were the best) are not merit worthy, what does that say about the quality of my photography?:confused::o I'm on a wild emotional roller coaster ride today.

KellyLynne2010
06-17-2011, 06:31 PM
"emotional roller coaster", im there with you, but with no merits, no loan. This was my first time also. My hopes were very high because I had quite a few masters tell me my chances were great. But I still feel the ride was worth it, i look at things differently now.

Sarah_Johnston
06-17-2011, 06:44 PM
Roger-Honey, I understand the rollercoaster thing completely! IPC does not do numerical scores. It would take FOREVER to assign scores and argue categories with over 4000 images to judge. Non merit images can be VERY sellable. I sent in 4 with seals I thought all had a great chance of going Loan- none did. Part of the issue is we, as the makers, get emotionally involved in our images. The judges do not. They don't know the story behind each one or the work we put into them. They are impartial and judge it solely on its own merit. SO what does it say about your photography? It says that for THAT panel it was not Merit worthy but it can still be quite sellable. If you order critiques when you enter IPC a judge will sit with each image and help guide you as to what you can work on to help you improve for competition. That in turn, I think, helps your daily work become even MORE sellable. AT least that is how it has worked for me. I am proud of you for putting yourself out there. I think that is a rough first step. Once you do it tho it starts a wonderful journey of discovery and growth. Congratulations on that first step!

ps- I know Masters of Photography that entered and did not Merit a single image this year- so you are doing better than they did!

JohnHeckler
06-17-2011, 08:51 PM
What Sarah is saying is a really important thing to keep in mind, imho, when it comes to PPA competition. Maybe I am taking some liberty here in what she is saying, but that is to say ... keep in mind one's emotions play significantly into how we "see" am image. When you are dealing with clients, emotions WIN over technical aspects pretty much ALL of the time unless you have managed to completely destroy an image. So, when you produce images that evoke emotion from your clients, you will sell and be successful no doubt.

That is why so many sales strategies emphasize selling on emotions, maximizing the sales process to take advantage of those emotions, etc.

When it comes to PPA competition, emotions play into an image only if it is an emotion that can be common to anyone and everyone looking at it (ie cancer patient, 911 imagery, things like that). Other than that, the impact comes largely from other elements of the image. AND, you are talking about judges who are photographers themselves, have taken and seen similar images on a daily basis for the most part, so the standard of what is a great image is significantly higher than it is with our day to day clients.

So, when you enter competition, you are putting your work before a group of folks who are holding you to higher standards than your typical client. And this will improve the quality of your work over time and, at least for me, that is the primary reason to enter competition. Your clients reap the benefits and even if they don't consciously know they are getting a higher quality product, subconsciously I think they will "see" it over time.

Michael
06-18-2011, 01:51 AM
Keep in mind that the merit is not a confirmation of a salable image. What a "merit" means is that the image is worthy of being included in the members pursuit of the Master of Photography degree. When you accumulate 13 or more print merits you have earned enough print merits for the degree, you need only 12 other merits to complete the degree requirements. I think we all have seen images that are highly salable, but less than merit quality. Unfortunately we have also seen merited images with no salable possibilities. It is easy to get the two confused. When the judges look at the work during the judging, they are looking at the image and the twelve elements and asking themselves, "is this Master quality work?" then they vote accordingly. For those who received merits and loan images, congratulations, this means that your work was judged usingnthe high standards of the PPA "Master of Photography" degree. No small feat. For those who did not, please continue to participate in the competition, your carreer will thank you for it in the future. It is a proven fact that PPA competition WILL make you a better photographer.

Angela_Lawson
06-18-2011, 02:05 AM
Roger and Kelly - I'm right there with you - with no merits and first time out. I feel that roller coaster too. I didn't actually have high hopes for 2, but kinda thought 2 might merit (at least had my fingers crossed). But I do agree with the others, I know that my work is sellable. I have my CPP to thank for that confidence. So, while disappointed, I'm not going to let it keep me down. Neither should either of you. We'll just go out and work harder for next year!

pete_rezac
06-18-2011, 02:27 PM
Roger, Kelly, and Angela - I'm right there with all of you too. This was the second year that I participated ( and will continue to in the future). I was fortunate to merit a print last year, but not so fortunate this year :-(. I too had some high hopes for a couple of images, but I'll patiently wait for the critiques and use that advice for improving my day to day work and apply it on my images for next years competition.

I know that I'm looking forward to seeing all the amazing work in New Orleans and how inspiring it is to see all the prints on display. It just blows me away every time I walk the exhibits at IUSA.

Roger congrats on a Loan! What a great accomplishment!

Joe_Campanellie
06-18-2011, 04:04 PM
I think I'm the poster child for Michael's comment..."you career will thank you for it in the future". I got pretty frustrated at competition at one point and almost quit. Egos are easily bruised. But I'm a hard head and kept at it. Used competition to push myself and to discover what I was truely passionate about. In the end for me it all worked out and the rewards have been incredible.

I think the important thing to realize is that print competition is an educational process. A process that takes time. So...don't give up. Like many have said...the main thing is to participate and put yourself out there.

Keith_A_Howe
06-18-2011, 05:33 PM
This is going to sound arrogant to start, but please read the whole thing. I do have a point.

I have -
over 120 print merits
3 PPA degrees
Imaging Excellence Award and Imaging Excellence bar
4 POTY Awards including DIamond and just earned a 5th POTY at IPC this week
Grand Imaging Award
13 Kodak Gallery Awards
8 Fuji Masterpiece Awards
When we remodeled our studio 4 years ago we donated 47 state and regional trophies to charity, I still have a box of about 30 plaques in the basement
Being as humble as I can, I still have to admit I have done well in print competition. BUT! I entered 4 YEARS before I ever got a single merit. If I had given up because it was too expensive ( and it was way way more excpensive when we were paying $50 for a custom printed 16x20, $100 or more per print for an artist and then $35 per print for competition mounting). Or if I had given up because I didn't get any merits the first couple years, I would have never recieved any of the awards listed above. My work would never have appeared on the cover of The Professional Photographer magazine, numerous times at Epcot or traveled to Korea. I would have never gained all the education I picked up along the way and I would have lost literally hundreds of marketing opportunities to promote myself to the public.

If a merit was as easy as send in your entry fee and you will automatically get some merits, or as easy as pull a couple prints off the wall and get merits, nobody would value them because everybody could have as many as they wanted. Education costs money and print competition is cheaper now then it's ever been. If the merit was easy and cheap you wouldn't appreciate it. The more effort it takes to achieve the more meaning it has once you get it. When I "failed" the first three times around, I still gained an education and I didn't give up.


Keith

Louise_St_Romain
06-18-2011, 06:16 PM
something that I'm sure someone has mentioned is that when you enter, order the critique as well .. I find that I actually learn more from the critique of the images that didn't do well than from the ones that did. I'm looking forward to the critique of this year's entries, hopefully I can apply what I learn and do better next year. :)

Stephanie_Millner
06-18-2011, 06:46 PM
So, this is weird, because I sort of had the entire fun of print comp conflated into about 4 years. (I know, i know... not "entire"... but a good range.)

The first year I entered, nothing merited. In fact, I remember Keith telling me that one of my prints "would have gone Loan, but it was just too darn sharp". And the only one that hurt really was the print of MY dog, because she's gorgeous and obviously those judges are blind if they don't see that. (It's probably a good thing I don't have human babies.) In state, one print merited of 6 - and it scored a 75 at regionals. So I sent in a case of unsealed prints - and that went pretty much stated above. I was pretty crushed, I gotta admit.

So the next year, I worked a LOT. I mean, a LOT. Entered 6 prints into state comp, and 5 of 6 merited, with pretty good scores. I picked the 4 highest-scoring of the 5 merits and sent em' to regionals... and only 1 sealed (which was the lowest score of the 4 from state comp). So I sent the same case to IPC figuring "different judges". I was THRILLED to find out that not only did I get another merit, but it was accepted into the Showcase book.

Then last year rolls around... and we moved to Rome, so I could no longer send prints to a state convention. I sent my print case to regionals via those idiots at PosteItaliane... and to this day, I have not seen that print case. It never made it there. Rushing, I ordered 4 new prints (copies of the ones in that regionals case), and had them shipped directly from Bay Photo to my dad's house. He affixed the labels, sent them off for me... and all four went Loan. Diamond POTY in only my 3rd year of comp was a bit surprising - I'm sure I reacted rather weirdly to the news, and (you know who you are)... sorry about all the obscenities.

So this year, I had major performance anxiety. There was NO way I could live up to that again this year. (and don't worry... I didn't!) So I was determined to enter travel photography... but kept falling back on pet prints.

And I REALLY didn't want to enter pet prints, because people seriously sent me email upon email, and IMs, and phone calls... probably 20 people last year. Telling me "oh, well, pets are easy to merit." Or other lovely backhanded compliments like "well, that must have been a FANTASTIC print, because...." (And yes, Bay's great at printing. Not the point.) Eventually, I just said that I'm a pet photographer, and I should enter what I show clients.

Finally decided to enter more client images (and one of Erin's cat, because I like him) and went with more pets. All 4 sealed at regionals. But I have to admit, I was actually bummed out at the results of a Bronze POTY this year (even with a showcase)... because really, it just "seemed so easy" last year. At least I have all the print merits for my Masters (and all from client and client-style work)

That's why I'm saying I had the weird experience of sort of an entire life-cycle of print comp really really compressed into 4 years. But really glad I didn't give up, because at 25 with an easily crushed ego, I could have.

GregYager
06-18-2011, 08:16 PM
At least I have all the print merits for my Masters (and all from client and client-style work)



This is what makes your accomplishment really impressive.

Oh, and anyone that says it's easy to merit with pet portraits has obviously not photographed very many pets.

Joe_Campanellie
06-18-2011, 10:48 PM
Greg...you need to try avian images. All you need is a good taxidermist :)

GregYager
06-18-2011, 11:16 PM
Greg...you need to try avian images. All you need is a good taxidermist :)

I'll leave that trick to Keith and his Mountain lions :)

Rick_Massarini
06-19-2011, 01:14 AM
Keith's mountain lion image is an example of a judge giving someone a merit for not getting eaten...:rolleyes:

Sarah_Johnston
06-19-2011, 03:08 AM
Hmmm Taxidermy. Joe- between that and the zoo I may catch you yet! LOL
Stephanie- I will be right there with you with the Bronze. Are you coming over for IUSA this year?

Joe_Campanellie
06-19-2011, 04:34 AM
Keith's mountain lion image is an example of a judge giving someone a merit for not getting eaten...:rolleyes:

Yeah...I've mentioned wanting to photograph grizzly and polar bears or maybe a trip to Africa. But my wife has a problem going to places where "you" are seen as a food source by your subjects.

Joe_Campanellie
06-19-2011, 04:39 AM
Hmmm Taxidermy. Joe- between that and the zoo I may catch you yet! LOL
Stephanie- I will be right there with you with the Bronze. Are you coming over for IUSA this year?

Life sure is funny in the way it has of pointing you in the right direction. What began as just an exercise to de-stress and get away from the studio sure has snowballed for me...! But I sure ain't complaining.

Stephanie_Millner
06-19-2011, 08:16 AM
Stephanie- I will be right there with you with the Bronze. Are you coming over for IUSA this year?

Congrats Sarah! I'm not sure yet, but most likely. I still need enough "other" merits, but I'm also supposed to be in a wedding for a friend 4 weeks before. Need to prioritize and, of course, see if I can get those service/speaking merits.

Tss1203
06-19-2011, 01:27 PM
those are pretty impressive results, Steff!

lfrancescon
06-19-2011, 02:38 PM
My name is Lisa and I have been a lurker for years. I've been following the CPP and competition threads closely for a long time now; and I have to say, this thread made my heart soar this morning.

I too have been on a rollercoaster ride these past few days. Thanks to those of you who shared their success stories - I'm ready to pick myself up and move forward.

Congrats to those of you who merited and had loan prints!

Lisa

Joe_Campanellie
06-19-2011, 03:19 PM
Steff...how many more service/speaking merits do you need?

Joe_Campanellie
06-19-2011, 03:31 PM
From my own experience I didn't get off to a very good start either. Competition by it's very nature is pretty darn intimidating. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and possibly get your ego good and bruised. My first state competition was a disaster and I walked away wondering why in the heck anyone would want to do this.

But, I got a lot of encouragement from people like Jeff Lubin and Ed Pierce in my early days. Guess they saw something. Maybe a diamond in the rough :) So...I kept at it and learned everything I could. I didn't give up. Print competition is an educational process. It takes time and nothing of value comes easy. In the end I have taken several journeys along the way. This last path I have taken allowed me to find my true passion in life. Not for everyone but I just love avian photography.

And the rewards have been tremendous. In the last three years 11 out of 12 images have gone loan. Two Kodak Elite Awards, and earning ASP Fellowship was an incredible experience from beginning to end. Not saying this to brag. I never thought these things were possible either. But during this journey I also had to learn to believe in myself. And when I didn't...my wife was right there to give me a good swift kick in the butt to get my attention. It's just amazing what you can achieve when you allow yourself to dream and find your passion in this life.

Just don't give up. You just never know what's around that next corner.

Stephanie_Millner
06-19-2011, 03:34 PM
Joe - 2 or 3 really.

Joe_Campanellie
06-19-2011, 03:41 PM
Must be something you can do. I know it's hard with you being in Rome. What about a PPA sponsored class of some kind? That would get you 2 merits I think.

Is there any kind of International group there? You might be able to approach them. Just thinking out loud. maybe someone else has some ideas. I know if you were in the states it would be doable. Little harder where you are.

Maye a PPA article on pet photography.

Angela_Lawson
06-19-2011, 07:12 PM
Thanks to Keith, and everyone else who has put themselves out there to help those of us who are feeling a little disappointed this year. And you are right Keith, if it was easy, everyone who took a picture would be entering and getting their masters. I feel better now, as I did when I went for my CPP and didn't make it the first time around. It made me work harder, and that is what I plan to do now. Just needed that little bit of a pep-talk. Thanks again everyone!

Chris_Paulis
06-21-2011, 05:01 PM
Like others who have already written, I entered images in the competition for the first time this year; and I was heartbroken to learn that none earned a merit. Thanks to those more experienced folks who shared your similar stories along with encouragement! I wish I had requested critiques on my images... I'm not sure how I'll learn from the experience without that feedback!

Keith_A_Howe
06-21-2011, 05:09 PM
I'm not sure how I'll learn from the experience without that feedback!

Do like Kelly did
http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/showthread.php?t=22759
and start a new thread with your images. There are several affiliate jjudges who regularly post on here, who would be glad to give you feedback.

Keith

Roger_Williams
06-21-2011, 05:54 PM
Like others who have already written, I entered images in the competition for the first time this year; and I was heartbroken to learn that none earned a merit. Thanks to those more experienced folks who shared your similar stories along with encouragement! I wish I had requested critiques on my images... I'm not sure how I'll learn from the experience without that feedback!

The other thing you can do is enter your State Association print comp and go and sit while the judging is going on. You will get to hear comments on a lot of images.

Tss1203
06-21-2011, 06:01 PM
Best thing I did was order the critique last year(and this year!). I highly suggest it for everyone!

GregYager
06-21-2011, 06:22 PM
Chris, do as Keith said and start a thread with the images posted there. Great advice always follows.

Our state association is having a competition next month that will be broadcast via webinars and it's open to out of state contestants. Only $5 per image to enter. May be worth looking into. Www.kyppa.com

Rick_Massarini
06-21-2011, 09:04 PM
... my wife has a problem going to places where "you" are seen as a food source by your subjects.

Joe, It's interesting that your wife has such concern for your well being. If I remember correctly, Keith's wife made a gift of sending him on a trip to photograph Wolves and Mountain Lions... hmmm... Keith buddy - do you have a lot of life insurance ???

Keith_A_Howe
06-21-2011, 09:24 PM
My wife sent me on a trip to photograph scenery and old buildings. Didn't tell her about the mountain lions until it was too late. She said "oh well I guess maybe you only had to run faster then Jeff"

Keith

Linda_Gregory
06-21-2011, 09:51 PM
My wife sent me on a trip to photograph scenery and old buildings. Didn't tell her about the mountain lions until it was too late. She said "oh well I guess maybe you only had to run faster then Jeff"

Keith

Yeah, and...doesn't he smell like Bunny?

PortiaS
06-21-2011, 09:57 PM
This is also my first year of entering competition! I got 2 seals out of 4 in the district competition (does that count as merits?) and the same two also merited in the IPC (one Loan, one general), I am thrilled! I consider this as well as getting my CPP a great learning experience. There were photos I liked for my own artistic reasons but did not merit or even got accepted by the CPP judges (I had to enter my portfolio twice), and talking to the judge afterwards by opting to get feedback was also worth it, I got to see it from a more objective viewpoint. There is still a long way to go to get a degree, but at least I am starting to now after 4 years in the business of opening my studio. Thanks for the words of wisdom from those already got their degrees!

GregYager
06-21-2011, 10:21 PM
Portia, the seals you received at District meant you were guaranteed merits at IPC. The fact that one of them went Loan means you received an extra merit for a total of 3 merits.

JohnHeckler
06-22-2011, 02:11 AM
Portia, the seals you received at District meant you were guaranteed merits at IPC. The fact that one of them went Loan means you received an extra merit for a total of 3 merits.

And just to be extra clear, district seals don't count as merits until you send them on to IPC, which also has to be the immediate IPC following your district comp.

Any sealed prints from a district are guaranteed a merit at IPC and are in consideration of the loan collection (best of the merited prints).

TracyeGibson
06-22-2011, 02:54 PM
OK, I guess I am one of the wierd ones on here. First year print comp: POTY Platinum (also entered EI and had 2 merit but haven't entered since), second year: 2 merit, one loan, this year (my third): 2 merit, one loan, which means I will be getting my Masters in N.O. HOWEVER...I still don't consider myself (or won't once I get it) a 'Master Photographer'. I see it more as a "Master of Print Competition". Does that make sense? Just because I am smart enough to get 'real' Masters to look at my work and tell me what to tweak so my prints do well doesn't make me a Master. I WILL say that 'because' I have done so well so quickly, it makes me work harder to try to get better! That being said, I have nothing I consider 'ready' for my state competition this weekend and will probably wait until regionals to enter anything. :(

BTW, Steff, I think there were some online courses you could take that you earned 1/2 a merit for per class. Can't remember what it was though.

GregYager
06-23-2011, 04:01 AM
The 6 month learning pass for webinars gets you 1.5 merits.

Stephanie_Millner
06-23-2011, 08:49 AM
That's unfortunate, because you used to be able to get a full 2 from there.

TracyeGibson
06-23-2011, 12:42 PM
They've really cracked down on merits lately. Use to be able to earn 2 speaking at local guilds. Now it is only 1.

Joe_Campanellie
06-23-2011, 01:38 PM
My wife sent me on a trip to photograph scenery and old buildings. Didn't tell her about the mountain lions until it was too late. She said "oh well I guess maybe you only had to run faster then Jeff"

Keith

I think that's why Jim Chagares and Dennis Hammon invited me to Yellowstone. They figured I was slower than them. Anything that chased us would get to me first and they would be safe.

GregYager
06-23-2011, 01:52 PM
Steff, I think the learning pass was 3 merits but it was for a year. They dropped it to 6 months and made it 1.5. Is the local guild thing a recent change? I received 2 merits in March for speaking at a local affiliate.

Christine_Walsh-Newton
06-23-2011, 02:18 PM
Local affiliates generally give 1 or 2 merits for speaking, depending on their size, usually. They are allocated a certain number of merits per year, depending on the number of members they have. I think the number of PPA members has something to do with the calculation, but I'm not sure. So, if you speak for a smaller group, you're not likely to get 2 merits.

The online webinars are 1/2 merit each or 1.5 merits for the 6 month pass, although you will have to wait until the end of the 6 months for it to show on your record. If you're trying to get in merits by the Oct 31 deadline (for degree to be awarded at IUSA), then you'll have more success paying for the webinars as you go.

Keith_A_Howe
06-23-2011, 02:18 PM
I think the number of merits depends on whether it is a chapter or just an affilaite. In order for an affiliate association to also be a chapter they have to have a certain percentage of membership who are also PPA members. Then they have unlimited numbers of merits per year that they can present. A regular association does not have to meet the quota of PPA membership but then they only get a set allotment of merits per year. The exception is their one designated annual meeting - like a convention - where they have unlimited merits and they do not count against the allotment. So if an association has monthly meetings and does not have chapter status, they may not have enough merits available to give 2 merits at each program. But they still may present two merits at their annual convention. On the other hand if an association only has a couple events each year, they will have enoiugh merits to presnt two to every speaker without using up the allotment. So the number of merits you recieve is kinda up to the association, with the provision that they have to follow PPA guidlines on the number of hours of programing and the type of event. Also an individual can only earn a certain number of merits from a particular association in one calendar year. I think that number is two but I'm probably wrong. I know when I speak and judge I usually get one speaking and one service merit, while someone who is just judging or just speaking at the same event may receive two of the appropiate type. That's not because the assoc. is trying to short me. It's beacuse they can only give me so many in a year. So make sure the number of merits you will recieve is spelled out in the contract. I think I heard somewhere that chapter associations are being phased out, but I could be wrong about that. Its been a lot of years since I was on a board of directors for an affiliate and so I haven't needed to stay up to date on this stuff. Some of it may have changed. Hope this helps.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-23-2011, 02:19 PM
Christine was posting as I was typing, didn't mean to step on her toes.
Keith

Christine_Walsh-Newton
06-23-2011, 02:20 PM
Not at all Keith - no worries! Actually, you had more accurate info than I did...

Edited to add: Regarding Keith's suggestion about making sure the merits are spelled out in the contract - I think I've been a speaker at 6 or 7 events and I've only had a contract twice. Once was for an affiliate and once was for a state convention. Most of the time when I asked for a contract from a local, they didn't do them. Not sure what's up with that - I'd like to see a PPA guideline for that if at all possible. A couple of the locals took months to get my merits requested. The one that gave me a contract actually requested the merits in advance and they showed on my record a few weeks before the event.

ChontelleBrown
06-23-2011, 02:36 PM
You will find the information on local affiliate merits here. It changed from 2 to 1 merit in Jan or Feb.

http://www.ppa.com/pdfs/local_merit_chart_2011.pdf

All of the merit information is listed under Community>PPA Affilitates>Affiliate Resources

Chontelle

Keith_A_Howe
06-23-2011, 02:40 PM
. Most of the time when I asked for a contract from a local, they didn't do them.

I have run into that a few times. I just tell them that I really need something in writing before I turn away other business for those dates and could they please just send me something informal on their association letterhead outlining our agreement and signed by a board member. I've never had anyone refuse but if they did I think I would walk away.

Keith

Joe_Campanellie
06-23-2011, 03:01 PM
Contracts are the best...for both parties. That way everything is in writing and all parties know exactly what is expected of them so far as fees, merits, and accomodations. Ran into that last night at out state meeting when rooms had not been booked for the judges because of miscommunication.

At the very least something in writing like Keith suggested.

Christine_Walsh-Newton
06-23-2011, 03:21 PM
You will find the information on local affiliate merits here. It changed from 2 to 1 merit in Jan or Feb.

http://www.ppa.com/pdfs/local_merit_chart_2011.pdf

All of the merit information is listed under Community>PPA Affilitates>Affiliate Resources

Chontelle

Thanks for the link, I didn't know it had officially changed. Some of mine were 8 hours, so that must be why I got 2 for those.

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 02:13 PM
This is going to sound arrogant to start, but please read the whole thing. I do have a point.

I have -
over 120 print merits
3 PPA degrees
Imaging Excellence Award and Imaging Excellence bar
4 POTY Awards including DIamond and just earned a 5th POTY at IPC this week
Grand Imaging Award
13 Kodak Gallery Awards
8 Fuji Masterpiece Awards
When we remodeled our studio 4 years ago we donated 47 state and regional trophies to charity, I still have a box of about 30 plaques in the basement
Being as humble as I can, I still have to admit I have done well in print competition. BUT! I entered 4 YEARS before I ever got a single merit. If I had given up because it was too expensive ( and it was way way more excpensive when we were paying $50 for a custom printed 16x20, $100 or more per print for an artist and then $35 per print for competition mounting). Or if I had given up because I didn't get any merits the first couple years, I would have never recieved any of the awards listed above. My work would never have appeared on the cover of The Professional Photographer magazine, numerous times at Epcot or traveled to Korea. I would have never gained all the education I picked up along the way and I would have lost literally hundreds of marketing opportunities to promote myself to the public.

If a merit was as easy as send in your entry fee and you will automatically get some merits, or as easy as pull a couple prints off the wall and get merits, nobody would value them because everybody could have as many as they wanted. Education costs money and print competition is cheaper now then it's ever been. If the merit was easy and cheap you wouldn't appreciate it. The more effort it takes to achieve the more meaning it has once you get it. When I "failed" the first three times around, I still gained an education and I didn't give up.


Keith

Great advise Keith, 100% spot on! This is true in most anything you do in life.