Entering in photography challenges – why you should!
Since I started the Donna Hay challenge – that has since changed to a more generic challenge – there is one thing I couldn’t help but noticing. There are tons of people that react enthusiastically to the concept or the particular challenge but when it comes to actually participating the number of entries is not always so big. And don’t get me wrong, I sure understand why you can’t find time or why you can’t find the right props or why it’s simply not convenient. And I have a confession to make too ; if I think about how many photography challenges I entered in my lifetime I can say there were only two to date. Not counting my own challenge ofcourse as that would be cheating.
The first challenge I entered was for wedding photographer of the year 2010 (in the Netherlands) and guess what? I won that challenge!!! Now if anything, that should have prompted me to compete more but it didn’t.
I can sometimes get very insecure about my own photos. I hesitate endlessly when it comes to participating in challenges or contests. I think my photos will be the laughing stock of the judges and at best be mediocre. So I go through my photos and decline one after the other for entering. And end up not doing it at all. And then by the time the winners are revealed I think – mildly surprised – that I wouldn’t have looked too bad among those entries. But by then it’s too late.
I entered in the pink lady food photographer contest last year. Didn’t win anything but it was still a good exercise in trying to look at your own shots through someone else’s eyes. But because I am sure a lot of you have similar self doubts I thought I give you some reasons why it’s a good thing to enter these challenges. And might make me do it too!
- It will get you out of your comfort zone. Let’s face it; given the opportunity, people do tend to stay within certain safe limits. You follow a set pattern that works for you but sometimes it is refreshing to try something you would have never done otherwise.
- It might teach you something new
- It gives you the change to get your work out there and in front of other people. If anything, it will get you extra exposure.
- Because a contest or challenge usually has a theme or some rules to follow it is also interesting to see what other contestants come up with. Looking at it from a different angle is always interesting I think.
- If entering in a blog related challenge such as DMBLGIT or our own photo challenge it will get your blog out there and get you more traffic. Maybe not so important if your blog has been existing for a while but certainly a good thing when you’re new to blogging. And everyone needs traffic.
- It might also give you the confidence boost you need. That’s not to say that not winning will be demotivating! Even the act of selecting your photo or preparing your shot can make you feel better about yourself.
- It’s a great learning experience. Wether you’re a seasoned photographer or a newbie you can always learn something new and if you have no idea where to start there are always people available that are willing to help.
- Practice, practice, practice… As with anything in life, the saying; practice makes perfect, is simply true. You can’t expect to be brilliant on your first try (although that’s what we all want right?) It takes skills and knowledge to get to that next level and by entering challenges or giving yourself a challenge you get the necessary practice to do just that. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!