Why Do You or Don't You Compete - Discussion - Page 2
Page 2 of 15 FirstFirst 123412 ... LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 142
  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    38

    Default Why I DON'T Enter

    Quote Originally Posted by D._Craig_Flory View Post
    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 ?
    Yes I have loan collection books. I've also been on the print team a half dozen times - usually photographing or editing the photos for the web. I don't have permission to post these images that I still have on my computer. If you want some examples check http://www.mnppa.com - three of the images on that first page (if they don't change) scored more than 80 but I would have thrown out. Another example - a photo of a Lady Slipper (MN State flower) that was hanging on the wall was suggested by Master Photographer as having possibilities if someone worked with it a bunch. Playing with it in Photoshop, using liquify and water colors until it was barely recognizable as a Lady Slipper but certainly didn't look like a photograph. I tossed it in as a last image because of the time we put into it. I figured it would score less than 70 - it scored 83. Guess which version hangs on the wall...

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default

    if I followed the suggestions in Keith's post the client would walk away.
    Um, how do you know that?


    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)
    I would too. I have a problem with photographers who got there merits on scenery and tell their portrait clients they are Masters. Its probably where you hear the statement from others "I know 'such and such', M. Photog. and he /she have incredibly mediocre work".

    Look, a Masters degree is not a license for you to be proclaimed an artist. It's a learning tool to "Master" what you do. Get it?
    Last edited by Michael_Gan; 01-21-2009 at 02:14 AM.
    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

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,321

    Default

    Okay, I'm sorry to hijack, Keith, but I couldn't help myself... and Charity, we're clearly on two very opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to comp, but I respectfully wanted to put my 2 cents in...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    When prints are being judged on what is the best print for the client then I will enter prints.
    But that's not what competition is necessarily about, really. It's about finding the best of the best of the best. We should be striving to make all of our client work the best of the best of the best. Now, this is coming from someone who makes their living on "bread & butter" images... lots of high-key white, lots of "regular" kids, etc. My clients aren't stunning models, and my images aren't necessarily the most inventive and creative things you've ever seen. BUT, the difference is that I strive to take a regular client in a regular setting and do it incredibly well. If I can tell a story - any kind of story - in my images, then I've done well, my client will love them, and they'll probably do well in competition. Who says you can't take the last 10 minutes of your session and do something "different"? You've already gotten the "safe" shots in the can, so why not stretch yourself for 10 minutes and see what happens?


    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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 very respectfully and wholehartedly disagree with this statement. I'm glad you said it, because I think there are lots of folks who agree with you. I, however, am on the other side of this fence. I want to provide my clients with the best possible work as well, and I do that by stretching myself and competition helps me do that. The ribbons and medals are a bonus for me.

    I used to show horses when I was younger - I loved it. I loved to enter that ring and strut my stuff - to have a goal to work towards. I loved to have that blue ribbon hung on the bridle because for me it was evidence that I had accomplished a goal. It's the competitive spirit in me that pushes me.

    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?
    Your client spent money on it because it has an emotional connection for THEM - whether it was technically sound or not, whether it actually told a story or not. It's their child, their family, their dog, their wedding day, whatever... it already has an emotional tie because it's their life. You set that same image infront of 6 strangers and it needs to tell them something about that person's life to have any impact. I think it's the same with any image you use as a sample in your studio - it should have impact, right? Do you hang just any ole portrait on the wall as a sample? No. You pour through your images and find just the right one. What decision making process did you go through to choose THAT image to display?


    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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.
    The CPP process REQUIRES that you use client images for submission. It's a qualification process to ensure that you're capable of the primary functions of our profession. A Master's degree, or comp in general, is a process to reward those who go above and beyond "capable".

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    Then if you want to enter it in nationals, the price is nuts!
    Keep in mind that PPA is a not-for-profit organization. They make no money on your print fees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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!
    Haha... at least there was a clear point of focus in the image. And probably impact, I'm sure. Sorry, I'm a chick and even I have to say that if it were executed well, then it probably deserved it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charity_Reed View Post
    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.
    How about a 'brag wall'? It doesn't have to be a primary wall in your primary selling area - but what about in your shooting room or somewhere else? Clients like knowing their photographer is doing well. I've given some of my comp prints to the clients. It's not a 'traditional' portrait, but they love it.


    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?
    True, but when you're looking for the best of the best of the best, then that's what you should enter. Maybe the goal should be "how creative and interesting can I get at noon?" Marc Benjamin posted a wedding image not that long ago that he did with infrared and a fisheye... at noon (or maybe 1:00) that was incredible. I'll be surprised if that doesn't go loan. It's all about the mindset and what you can do with it.
    [/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlyn_DeBruyckere View Post
    if I followed the suggestions in Keith's post the client would walk away.
    I'm curious to know why? I think the suggestions Keith made would tell an incredible story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea_Chapelo View Post
    Did I mention I have very pushy friends
    yes, you do! And see what it's done for you??

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    9,214

    Default Do both !!!

    This is to address all the naysayers. Get into the habit of "creating a few extra images". On portrait sessions, and weddings, get into the habit of creating some images for competition or to just satisfy your creative urges. If a client balks just tell them it is costing them nothing extra and you are just satisfying your artistic side. If a Mom says you are backing up too far and her child(ren) will be too small just say she doesn't need to to order from those but ... if she ends up liking them she may place orders from them. Not only could you end up with a merit image but by trying something different or expecially by allowing a lot more room around subjects you may just get a big wall portrait sale. You will not get an order for a 30" X 24" from a close up but could with room allowed.

    Start creating extra images for competition and / or creative artistic urges ... you will like it. Once you start you may find that your clients do like other styles you were not creating. Do up some samples finished a different way too.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hudson, NH
    Posts
    6,047

    Default

    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

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default

    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

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Moderator note:

    I've cross posted Arlyn and Charity's posts so that people visiting this discussion don't go go crazy trying to figure out what we're talking about.
    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

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    1,789

    Default

    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?


    Oh heck yes. I learned that some of the best images I have seen, haven't gotten the scores they deserved.



    You will have a completely different attitude, and a much better product for your clients, when you finally figure these out.

    I really am pulling for you.
    ____________________
    Dave Cisco M.Photog, Cr., CPP, F-TPPA

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    1,789

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_Gan View Post
    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!
    You will feel so much better when I tell you that I spent almost $1000 on the third-to-last print case I submitted before getting my Masters......and wound up with a high print score of 77. A very expensive lesson that throwing money at prints was no guarantee of a merit.
    ____________________
    Dave Cisco M.Photog, Cr., CPP, F-TPPA

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    New Orleans, LA.
    Posts
    3,561

    Default

    Heather and Mark,

    I think that the two of you have answered most of the issues brought up in an outstanding manner. I'm one of the biggest proponents of the PPA International Judging, and I couldn't have answered those issues more succinctly.

    The only thing I can add is my standard comment - if you really want to know what goes on during print competition, and if you want to have one of the greatest educational experiences that you can get, why not join in and become a volunteer print handler at the annual PPA International Judging. Spend a whole week at the International Judging (instead of an hour or two at your local or a few minutes at your guild) listening to the best of the best judging all those incredible images submitted by some of the finest photographers in the world, and I'll bet that your impression of print competition will take a drastic turn. You won't find any images hanging there just because of "cleavage", and you'll learn more in a week than you can in a year anywhere else. Hey, Heather is gonna be there with us this year - and she's gonna be a whole lot better when she leaves the judging than when she arrived at the judging - so look out next year!!!

    Just my humble opinion, of course...
    The best way to gain for yourself is to give OF yourself.
    - - - So get out there and volunteer for something ...


    Rick Massarini, M. Photog., Cr., CPP., F-PPLA
    PPLA Past President; 97th Recipient PPA Directors Award
    ASP SouthWest District Rep. & ASP Convention Booth Chairman


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Live Chat is closed