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Thread: Why do you or don't you compete?
01-19-2009, 03:18 PM #21
Well I will throw out why I DO NOT compete in print competition in order for people to understand my point of view on the subject as well as how we (TriCoast) feel on the subject.
I completely and totally respect Masters and Merit Program however in the situation which TriCoast which was built from the ground up that was based on teamwork first and not individual achievement.
I earned my Craftsman Degree this year and honestly I felt empty and nervous inside due to I was not standing beside Cody (the Orig. other half of TriCoast) When I was out speaking and teaching he was working on keeping the business alive at home, so who's award is it in my mind? Cody is not an employee someone to hire to answer the phones but more a partnership and teamwork which runs the TriCoast company, so for me to receive something that he also helped earn seems quite empty to me.
Same goes for my Master's degree. I have never entered a print and most likely never will due to what I stated above. Cody and I work together and if it is not Cody it is Jordan or Suzy or an artist from TriCoast. I feel if I see the light, place the couple in it, hold the reflector/wireless flash/video light on the subject, then Cody or Suzy or Jordan takes the actual image - well who's photograph is it?
The correct answer is its a TRICOAST photograph not a Mike Fulton's or Cody Clinton's or Jordan Chan's photograph. So for me to stand up there and get print merits on photographs which we all helped earn for me is quite stuck up and self centered and at minimum very disrespectful to everyone else in the business.
I am very honored to have my Craftsman and I feel a Master's Degree and print completion is something one should strive for to assist them in being a better photographer, its just TriCoast is more than just a name brand to me, it is a set of photographers all having weakness which the others cover up with their strengths so unless they make a Masters for all of us at the same time I do not see me ever competing in a print competition. I am not going to even get into the unethical aspects I have personally seen when traveling the states/regional speaking that is completely another thread but also reassures that I have made the correct choice in not entering prints.
Again no disrespect, I actually hold a Master's Degree and most who hold the degree in great respect which is why I will not get the award.
Last edited by Mike_Fulton; 01-19-2009 at 03:21 PM.
01-19-2009, 04:08 PM #22
I have entered print competition in the past and will do so again. The main reason is because I know it will improve my work. I'm also very goal oriented; I need to have something to work towards. I will be getting my Craftsman soon and the next goal will be Masters. And...I just wanna wear one of those cute little necklaces.....although I know absolutely nothing about what all the things on them mean.
I anticipate that entering print comp will be a long pull for me. I have no local folks here who can help me select images, nor give me feelback on the work that needs to be done on a particular image. I have no idea what I need to start entering print comp (like a print case?), I have no idea where to enter when I actually have a couple of images to enter.
I guess what I am suggesting is perhaps a print comp manual? Or a webinar on print comp? Something for those of us who are in rather isolated areas and can't easily get to the help and feeback enjoyed by folks who are surrounded by others who have already gone that route. I will be posting images here for help with them too.
Karen Linsley, Cr.Photog., CPP
Now Blogging! http://imageangels.com/blog/
Avatar photo by Michael Imus
01-19-2009, 04:13 PM #23
I am not a competitive person, but would like to compete for the learning aspect. The reason I have not yet done so is money (or lack thereof ).Photographing bridles, not bridals.
01-19-2009, 05:16 PM #24
Pa. has two competitions a year. One is the annual 16X20 competition at the convention in April. I think you said you want to attend the convention. I strongly suggest planning on sitting in the judging room so you can watch the judging process.
At our two day October meeting we have an 8x10 competition. It is a great way to get your feet wet and see how you do. It is less structured than the annual competition and cheap too.
Regardless of whether or not you have a competition in mind I suggest that you make a hard drive folder for potential competition images. Every time you have an image you really like save a copy of the file there. Let me know when you have questions.
01-19-2009, 07:46 PM #25
This has become a very interesting discussion and one I would like to see continue. Can it possibly be moved to another thread? I have a real interest in continuing to get input about why or why not people enter and would like to keep this thread just for that - just stating your viewpoint with no right or wrong, agreement or disagrement about it. Can we keep this thread as more of a poll then a discussion and move this very interesting conversation to a thread of it's own? Thanks.
KeithKeith A. Howe
01-19-2009, 08:36 PM #26
OK, someone think of a thread title and I can move em'.Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
Meritage House of Photography
If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com
01-19-2009, 09:25 PM #27
I have read many of the responses and thought I would put in my 2 cents as to why I don't compete more.
#1 Print competition guidelines has nothing to do with what my clients like or will buy. The whole judging process is not based on what the client likes, but what some person or group of people came up with as the 12 elements of a merit print. Whatever! When prints are being judged on what is the best print for the client then I will enter prints.
#2 I don't really care about the peer recognition as much as I care about the client referrals. I think print competition is nothing but trying to get that pat on the back from your peers. I want to provide my clients with the best possible work I can so I can get their referrals.
I absolutly HATE when you enter a print and the judges say "This is a great print for the client and I am sure they loved it, but it isn't right for competition" Someone want to explain to me why a portrait my client spent hundreds of dollars on and is priceless to them, is not print competition worthy?
#3 It is my understanding that when you enter prints for consideration of the CPP that those prints are judged according to whether or not they are great images for the client. So that tells me print judging for CPP is completely different then regular print competition judging. I think all print competition should be judged like the CPP prints are judged.
#4 The cost of entering prints is ridiculous!!!! Just having the prints made is enough. Even at $30 a print that is alot of money per year. Then if you want to enter it in nationals, the price is nuts! No thank you I got other things I would rather spend my money on that will benefit my studio better.
When PPA changes their philosophy on print competition to be that more in line with the clients then I will enter more. Until then I enter only the album category. Which is actual clients albums. I want to be judged on my actual client work and not something my clients would never spend a dime on.
I plan to take my CPP exam this year and send in my clients work for judging. But I have no desire to get my Masters or anythng else that is based solely on peer recognition and nothing to do with client work. My peers are not paying my bills, my clients buying my portraits is what is paying my bills.
I know I am sure to upset a few by my comments. That is not my intent. I have been on the print committee of my local PPA for going on 3 years now. I am very involved in the process. I see and hear first hand how some of the awards are decided on by our annual judges. Two years ago one of our prestigous awards was given to a print because all the MALE judges (there were no female judges) love the models clevege. Sorry but that just really upset me. They gave a award to someone because of cleveage and nothing else!
In my local PPA affilate we are having problems with people entering print competition also. I think the biggest problem for most right now is the cost. I know I don't want to spend the money on it. I can't do a darn thing with those 16x20's after print competiton. I am surely not going to display them on my studio walls. I don't want my clients buying 16x20's. Right now all I am displaying is 24x36 and that is what I am selling. So if I started displaying those 16x20 print competition prints, guess what I will sell. Yup, 16x20. I will be taking a pay cut. Sorry I can't let that happen.
Maybe if we were justing entering 8x10's or 11x14's it wouldn't be a big deal to just throw away that print and the money it cost to print it. But 16x20's are more costly.
Have I learned a lot from being on the print committee?
Oh heck yes. I learned that some of the best images I have seen, haven't gotten the scores they deserved.
Another comment I hate to hear from the judges is this in regards to a wedding portrait "Would have been a good shot if it wasn't shot in the afternoon, they should have taken the photograph later in the day." Well we can't always pick the perfect time of day to take the brides portraits now can we? We have to go by the timeline the bride gives us. The judges don't even take any of that into consideration. They think we all just hire models for everything print competition related. Again, I say whatever!
As you can see I have some pretty heated feelings about print competition. I swear though I am not trying to cause any issues with my response to this. I just wanted to give Keith the bare truth from someone with no holds bar.
01-19-2009, 10:56 PM #28
Arlyn DeBruyckere Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
- Central MN
Why I DON'T Enter
and got one response. While I am thankful for the detailed response it made no sense to me. Maybe I'm just too uneducated to understand but I do know that if I followed the suggestions in Keith's post the client would walk away. I've entered competitions, I've ordered the critiques - they didn't make any sense. I've scored a couple of 80's, all of them on things I just tossed in to fill the 4 items. Many of the prints I've seen at conventions that scored above 80 I would be embarrassed to show. The rules just don't work for me so I putting my energy into things that produce positive results for me.Arlyn DeBruyckere
01-20-2009, 01:27 AM #29
Okay, Keith... short and simple.
I enter prints in competition because it requires me to work harder to create something better. Every day. My clients deserve my best, and if I can make client work merit, then I've won.
Oh, and I kinda like the accolades.
It would be interesting to see a Master of "X" (fill in the blank with a specialty) - be it portrait, wedding, etc. to see, for example, portrait photographers earn a Masters Degree, Portraits (versus a subject we don't necessarily make our living with)
01-20-2009, 04:15 AM #30
I compete for a few reasons.
1) Started as something I felt that I kind of had to do. Not sure why, but just out of obligation. Peer pressure I guess.
2) Found the actual print competition judging totally exhilarating, although if you explain to any sane person that you sit in a dark room for 8 hours watching 5 people talk about other people's work... they look at you like you're nuts. (Liz and I bring food and coffee. It's like going to a movie.)
3) I have found I am awful at sports and thus needed a hobby I was better at. All hobbies are expensive. Print comp is the cost of doing business.
4) My work has gotten infinitely better in the last year, thanks to watching other critiques and print comps. Great learning tool. And in my case, since I decided I was going to make a client image merit this year, my sales have directly correlated to print competition, so it's all in how you apply yourself. (We'll see how that goes.)
5) Bragging rights for clients. And by the way, I sold a duplicate competition print of a landscape from last year to a wedding client. So yeah, there's life after the print case. I posted about a blue ribbon from state last year and had clients calling me to come see it. Oddly enough, they read my blog. Who knew?
6) I like to see what everyone else is doing so I can be different. Or try some new cool technique and adopt it into the repertoire.
7) I get to see fuzzy puppy pictures! (obviously this reason is of utmost importance to me.)