PPA President’s message: Don’t be satisfied

Audrey Wancket by © Jamie Hayes

Push your limits

If I ever become satisfied with where I am, I’ll know it’s time to retire. I set goals and when I reach one, I set another. Some goals are financial, others are skills-based.

This year I’ve set a goal to enter the artist category in PPA’s International Photographic Competition. I have always competed in the portrait category, where I feel safe and can do well. But this year I have challenged myself to take control of the butterflies and put myself out there. What is there to lose? Nothing. What is there to gain? Everything. If I don’t merit, I’ll be challenged to learn more and to grow as a digital artist. Perhaps one day I’ll even set a goal to earn a master artist degree. But for now my goal is to merit or to hang an image in this category.

So there it is: my goal in writing for all PPA members to see. Not just jotted down in my personal journal. Not just spoken to my closest friends and peers.

What is your goal this year? Without risk, there is no reward.

This will be the first year members can enter images in the IPC wedding category and earn merits toward the new master of wedding photography degree. Wedding photographers make up a large percentage of PPA members, and it will be fun to watch them grow through the pursuit of this degree.

One member I spoke with at Imaging USA in January is wedding photographer Danielle Magnuson. After viewing the print exhibition at Imaging USA, she’s planning to enter images in the new wedding category. Dani hopes that entering her images into competition and receiving critiques will benefit her work. And that’s her biggest motivation.

I recommended she watch PPA videos and webinars available online to learn more about IPC. “The Twelve Elements of a Merit Image” video featuring Michael Timmons, M.Photog.M.Artist.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, for example, conveys the standards used to evaluate images.

Another member I spoke with at Imaging USA was Tom Muñoz, M.Photog.Cr. He’s been photographing weddings since he assisted his father as a young boy and has found much success in photographic competition. He’s excited about the new wedding category in IPC and the master of wedding photography degree. He hopes the new category will inspire wedding photographers not just to push themselves in competition but to push themselves in all areas of capturing each wedding story. He thinks some photographers have been hesitant to enter wedding candids into IPC’s photographic open category because they believe such images don’t score well compared to studio portraits and fantasy composites. A great wedding photographer is someone who can make magic out of nothing, find the beauty in every situation, and tell the story well, no matter the location, weather, or time of day, Tom said. He isn’t doing wedding photography for himself; he’s photographing for his client. Entering images into the IPC wedding category and working toward the master of wedding photography degree are goals Tom is setting for himself over the next few years.

I’m excited to watch the wedding category image competition and see how Dani, Tom, and other competitors grow through the education it provides.  

Audrey Wancket is a portrait photographer and the 2019-2020 PPA president.