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 06:10 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

  4. #4
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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....

  6. #6
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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 10:32 PM.
    Mike Fulton, Putting this after his name to make people happy
    Weddings {} Blog {} Wireless Flash Workshops/Products {} Seniors





  7. #7
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    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.

    C

  8. #8
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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

  9. #9
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    Default Why I DON'T Enter

    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.

    #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.

    cut

    C
    I have to echo so much what Charity said. A few weeks ago I posted
    http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/...ad.php?t=15189

    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.

  10. #10
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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 ?

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