The ever evolving photography industry vastly changes on a day to day basis. How do we stay ahead? How do we rise above the other photographers around us? What makes us grow? The answer to these questions and so many other questions is Print Competition.
I have been asked why I enter Print Competition. It can be misleading and make one think you are competing against other photographers. That is not the case. Yes I am a photographer that creates art pieces for my clients but I am also a print competitor, it just runs through my blood. I enter print competitions because I know how much I learn and grow, improving my everyday work for my clients. By setting goals, reaching beyond what I think I am capable of and either failing or conquering.
If we don't set goals for ourselves... how do we grow? Have you reached a point of knowing everything and being the best you can be? I hope I never think I am too good or don't have any more room to grow. When we fail at something, that is when we actually grow the most! Learn from the mistakes that were made along the way, adjust and grow. These make the moments of conquering something so much more sweet.
I believe, naturally as humans we grow in everything we do after doing time after time. I also believe 100% that print competition has pushed me harder than anything I have done in life. Pushing me mentally and emotionally. Improving my client work beyond what I could have imagined. It is a process that you have to learn, then you learn to love it. The 12 Elements that make a merit image you don't just learn over night it takes years of entering. Eventually I started seeing the 12 elements when I clicked the shutter. I was no longer trying to turn client work into print competition images... I was shooting my client work like competition images. Every single year I learn something. Do you think this keeps me ahead of the game? Absolutely!
Take a little look below. I am a little embarrassed to show this but it is amazing to me the difference.
The color relationship portrait of the sisters photographed and entered into one of my first print competitions in 2004. Soft, green skin tones, no detail in the shadows, bad lighting no kicker light, no presentation, horrible composition and I could keep going. You don't know everything when you jump into print competition with both feet in. 13 years later entering state level, district level and international level every year. Black and white mother daughter relationship portrait all 12 elements are there. Scored 100 at the district level and will be featured in the PPA Loan Collection Book. See a difference?
I will be doing a small blog series on Print Competition and my journey. I believe so much in it and how it has made me the photographer I am today. One of my longterm goals that I have set is to be a role model and mentor for the artists out there striving to become better. I have many photographers in my life that I have met along my journey who I owe so much to. There is not a more humbling feeling than when someone you have helped or taught succeeds and conquers one of their goals.
If you would like to follow this blog series and learn more about Print Competition visit The Power of Print Competition Series and watch for the next blog post
Christie Newell M.Photog., Cr. CPP
If you are a photographer and you want to improve and work towards your Master of Photography Degree leave me a comment. I would love to help you get started on your journey.