Why Do You or Don't You Compete - Discussion
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  1. #1
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    Default Why Do You or Don't You Compete - Discussion

    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.
    Why not have all three of you get your Masters together? Consider this so that each of you individually don't have to rely on each other's weaknesses in order to produce a wonderful product for your clients, it's a more efficient concept in your business. With the teaching credentials you have for your many followers, it worries me that mediocrity for success is not necessarily the best thing to teach an industry that is well below the poverty level - which, if I'm reading your message right, seems like what you are suggesting. Please understand, I have all the admiration for you and what you three have been doing based on the current trends in photography, but will that be enough to help the others when those trends change? I've seen it time and time again, where photographers jump on a trend bandwagon only to fall victim to not being able to adapt to the new trends simply because they never developed the necesary skills to adapt. We're starting to see a lot of photographers having troubles transitioning from the PJ style over to the "Fashion style" in weddings, just like many could not go from the "formal style" over to PJ.

    Competition encourages photographers to figure out how others are able to be successful. It is, indeed, a strong study tool that can only make our association's members stronger
    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?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  2. #2
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    Thanks for your insight Michael it means a lot. Can you give me a better understanding on how each of us could do it together when every image has each of us in it? I just do not feel ethical entering a print that is not 100% my own just as entering a group album that has all three of us but yet a paid custom album designer to design the album. To me the album design is a HUGE part of the album, more than the photos in many cases, especially if the designer did some PS to the images to match the overall look and feel of the album. So who should get the merit? Again I just do not feel it is ethical for me to enter something I did not have 100% in creating.

    Maybe I am just reading too much into the concept of print comp but I have seen over and over again these past two years speaking people care more about themselves in print comp than the professional aspects of photography. I choose OUR PPA over MY PPA its just what I have seen so far and with my business makeup print comp simply does not suit us very well. Again I have respect for those who do it, however print comp just does not seem right for us as a whole group. I hope you understand, I personally could care less about any metals around my neck, any awards or anything else that brings individuality to myself. I care more about the other members of TriCoast and the clients which we serve and that includes other photographers when we speak/teach. To me those are the people that really matter not the metals I individually have around my neck.

    My entire life has been giving back to others, be it as a CSI Officer working horrible scenes and hiding my feeling to protect the victims or sharing my knowledge as a photographer in the areas of lighting, it is no different. I simply get inspired by others - giving back is all I know and what makes me tick not the individual awards which comes with it. If I happen to get an award by helping others I will take it and be proud of the award (as with my Craftsman) but I do not feel reaching for an individual goal before helping others is what I am about.

    Again you have much more education on the subject so I am very open to any advise you have to give (as well as anyone else on the forum)
    Last edited by Mike_Fulton; 01-19-2009 at 07:10 PM.
    Mike Fulton, Putting this after his name to make people happy
    Weddings {} Blog {} Wireless Flash Workshops/Products {} Seniors





  3. #3

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    I'm adding my journey to this but I'm going through several rewrites...

    Mike hang on a sec, you might find my journey a bit entertaining.
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC
    marcbenjamin.com

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    I think your idea of "Collaborative effort" in the wedding albums is a very good point. One the PEC should strongly look into (probably more than anything else).

    But for now, I think all three of you can enter separate albums each year with a reasonable amount of certainty that all three of you will see successes at the same time. All of your work is that good and I think the cost factor would not ve prohibitive because of the electronic submissions!
    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?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    Default well...

    " I care more about the other members of TriCoast and the clients which we serve and that includes other photographers when we speak/teach. To me those are the people that really matter not the metals I individually have around my neck."

    Interesting concept....others above self. The reason for the concept? It makes you feel good, so what you're doing, you're doing for yourself. Funny how that works.....I'm not putting down the concept, it's very noble. It's also fantasy land to think that we don't do things for ourselves. We'd be very unhealthy if that was all we did. One of my favorite quotes...."there is no "I" in team, there in one in win, give me the ball" Michael Jordan. It's the individuals working together that makes a great team. Not recognizing the individual accomplishments doesn't make the team any better. Just a few thoughts....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan_Lawrence View Post
    " I care more about the other members of TriCoast and the clients which we serve and that includes other photographers when we speak/teach. To me those are the people that really matter not the metals I individually have around my neck."

    Interesting concept....others above self. The reason for the concept? It makes you feel good, so what you're doing, you're doing for yourself. Funny how that works.....I'm not putting down the concept, it's very noble. It's also fantasy land to think that we don't do things for ourselves. We'd be very unhealthy if that was all we did. One of my favorite quotes...."there is no "I" in team, there in one in win, give me the ball" Michael Jordan. It's the individuals working together that makes a great team. Not recognizing the individual accomplishments doesn't make the team any better. Just a few thoughts....
    I guess what I am trying to say is I trust the other members of TriCoast to take care of me when needed as they trust me to take care of them. Have I gotten burned by this "Concept" in the past, HECK YES time and time again, however a while back I was watching Pastor Joel Osteen of the Lakewood Church in Houston Texas, not for his message I am not one that follows his church but more to the fact Joel is a person who is a master teacher one that can get his thoughts across to 1000's clearly and effectively and as a teacher in the photography world I know I could learn from him in this area. He is a "master" at public speaking and someone I respect for that aspect. So while studying Joel one night he was going on about having a goal, setting yourself up with the right team and trusting that team, even though others will try and bring you down, do not worry about them, trust your team and stay on track of the goal. I could not agree with him more. There will ALWAYS be haters, the more popular you get the more haters will show up, by changing your values due to the haters you only set yourself up for failure. Teamwork is the key to TriCoast plain and simply, I make it no secret I am BY FAR the worst photographer in the group but I have the largest mouth so I am the public speaker I value our teamwork over everything else, if there is something I want to do but the team does not then I do not do it, even though I am the "boss" and we all move on from there. If I can help others my life is complete and I die a happy person. I know many other great photographers and leaders of the PPA have not been a Master Photographer and I feel they did an amazing job, Jack R. comes to mind. While some will say he is a lesser of a leader for not having that Master Degree, I feel those people are the hatters I just talked about and really do not understand or know who Jack is and how he truly helps out others. Jack as the President of the PPA lead us into many new areas and I know on this forum brought it in many ways up to date (as Michael Gan is still doing) Jack has ALWAYS been helpful to me even when we did not agree on the same subject, he was always professional and ethical. To me he was a great leader of the PPA the degrees he has or does not have makes no difference to me its the attitude and the ethics and the actions one takes that measure up a leader and Jack has all good ones.

    I simply prefer to give as much as I can for FREE without asking for anything in return its just what makes me tick! I guess if I was Michael Jordan maybe things are different but since I am just some smuck with a camera I think I will stay how I am doing things for now

    Again I am not trying to disrespect the Merits program I praise it in many ways it just happens to not be for us at this time.
    Last edited by Mike_Fulton; 01-19-2009 at 11:32 PM.
    Mike Fulton, Putting this after his name to make people happy
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  7. #7
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    Mike,
    I understand your concerns regarding protecting your team. I have had a partnership in a commercial real estate development company for 27 years and I think for a partnership to be successful it is very much like a marriage. Every decision I believe should be based on what is best for the relationship/business and that may or may not include degrees/designations. From all appearances you have a successful business and partnership those do not come easy and are worthy of protecting. By the way I enjoyed the class that you and Cody did at ImagingUSA.
    Kindest regards,
    Greg
    Greg Haag, CPP

  8. #8
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    Default Why ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlyn_DeBruyckere View Post
    I have to echo so much what Charity said. A few weeks ago I posted
    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.
    Hi Arlyn;

    Do you own any of the General Collection or Loan Collection Books ? If so, do you dislike the images in there ? Have you ever heard a saying "you must first know the rules in order to break them". Once a photographer becomes a Master they are no longer forced to submit a 20X16 or 16X20. At that point a lot of Masters spread their wings, and try new things.

    999 times out of 1,000 a photographer who progresses and keeps doing better and better in competition also continues to improve with client work. You said you would be embarassed to show a lot of merit images. Do you have any examples of the type images you are referring to ?

  9. #9
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    I'm sorry, Keith. I know you would like to have this just be about comments and no responses, but I can't let this slide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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.
    I don't buy it. The fact that your clients will buy prints which would do poorly in competition does not mean that they would not buy merit worthy photographs, given the opportunity. But the truth of the matter is that many clients will buy inferior photographs simply because their loved ones are in them. However, and this is a big however, when you show that work to someone who does not know or care about anyone in the image, which image do you think is going to market better for you? The one the client bought, or the best image of the session?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    #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 think you are missing the point of print competition. Perhaps to some photographers (none of whom I've heard admit it), print competition is about getting "that pat on the back from your peers." But almost everyone I've spoken to on the subject believes it's about learning to make the best possible images, both for us as artists and for our clients. A great many clients will happily purchase poorly posed and composed images, so long as there are identifiable faces of people they love in the image. What separates professionals from Deb off the street who bought herself "a great camera" is our ability to provide more than that. On demand. Consistently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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?
    For the reasons already stated. Most portrait clients think that any image of people they care about that is in focus and correctly exposed is "great". Of course, this means that most anyone off the street that buys a modern camera is able to make "great" photographs, because by and large, the cameras can do that much on auto. I don't know about you, but I want to provide more to my clients than what they will settle for, because they don't know better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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!
    I can't help but think that this is a gross oversimplification, or your local affiliate is run in an incredibly unprofessional manner. If awards were REALLY given "because of cleavage and nothing else" there would be an incredible influx of nude female images, by all of these photographers eager to "get a pat on the back from their peers." I don't know why you had an all-male jury; in NH we are really good at getting a great, well qualified panel with a nice mix of men and women. But even given an all male jury, if this was a real competition with at least some affiliate jurors or those trying to be affiliate jurors, there was a little more going for the photograph than mammary glands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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.
    Well, there are techniques one can employ to create flattering light regardless of time of day. If people elect not to utilize them, they are shortchanging their clients, and do not deserve to be rewarded, IMO. Part of what separates professionals from wannabes is that wannabes are hapless in the face of adverse conditions, and professionals employ techniques to make better images. I'm sorry, but images with raccoon eyes shouldn't merit, even if you can find someone to give you money for them. The bar NEEDS to be higher than that.

    I can't say I'm thrilled by the expense of print competition, but the fact of the matter is that for me, it is an investment in the future of my studio as much as paying for a class or seminar is. The thing is, it's not really THAT expensive; a full case is less than the margin on a single 24x30. It's hard to imagine not being able to spare that much over the course of an entire year to invest in improving one's craft.
    Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr. Photog, A.C. Ph., CPP Liaison, PPCC Judge

  10. #10
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    I kinda crack up at the "expensive to enter print competition". If any of you competed even ten years ago, you all know what I'm talking about: "back in the film days"... My bill for a print comptition quality image from the now defunct Alfa Color lab was about $165 PER 16x20! On the average, I entered 10 various images per year to determine which would be the best for the final PPA competition. Now that is expensive!
    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?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

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