Yearly I participate in 5-7 different photography competitions. Since there are hundreds of competitions going on all the time around the world I try to select the ones that I think might be a good fit for my images. But why do I spend money on competing in my own profession? Is it for fame, prizes, money, exposure, networks, connections? I’m sure there is something from all of those elements but the most important thing is that competing in photography will push me to be better.
Competitions make me become better and creates extra value
For each competition I always try to create something original either as my own project or as a client project if possible. Own project are perfect for the opportunity to freely test new ideas and concepts, but working with open-minded clients works even better. After all, competitions are also a platform to show the world what possibilities there are when creating memorable images. Succeeding in the competitions creates also extra value for the client by bringing more attention to the work and the story behind it. Even though it is painful, allowing photography experts to judge my work makes me become better. It pushes me to create, pushes me out of my own comfort zone, makes me research and study other winning pictures and many more things. So mainly competitions are my way to refine my own art, even transform my own style or the view how I look the photography industry.
It is not about the fame and prizes, it is about YOU
If you think only about the fame and prizes then your money will go to waste. However, when you select the competitions carefully and manage to succeed in them, there are numerous possibilities it might open up for you. For me competitions are almost like a part of my yearly marketing plan, using successful images to get more exposure for my work. However, doing well in a competition is not enough; afterwards it is your job to try to make sure that people know about your success, as you cannot rely on the press releases of the people organizing the competitions. It is your job to tell the world that you have done something special, however awkward it feels (especially for a Finn!).
During past years I’ve done fairly well, getting several Finalist nominations, Honourable mentions, and also some medals -this year even a golden one! Seeing which images do well show me the way to go, and images that failed to impress the judges are the reason to try harder next time. Trying to beat myself (and others) in the next competition forces me to keep coming up with original concepts and evolve instead of sticking with what I already know.
Below you can find a short list of the competitions I take part yearly. For me these are the most prestigious competitions, so I know that I will compete against the worlds best photographers in every category, and knowing this is something that makes me show my A game 😀
So the main reason I take part of these competitions is ME. My dreams and goals I try to achieve by pushing myself into creating more original art.
FEP Photographer of the Year
The aim of this competition is to help promote the photographic profession and to raise the level of professional standards. It is intended to give just recognition to those who work in this sector according to the highest levels of quality and professionalism.
The International Photography Awards™ conducts an annual competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today.
International Color Awards is the leading international award honoring color photography. A global platform and channel for photographers to show their work to important key industry tastemakers.
Photography Masters Contest
The International Photography Masters Contest conducts an annual photography competition for professional on a global level, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today.
THE “PRIX DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE, PARIS” (PX3) STRIVES TO PROMOTE THE APPRECIATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY, TO DISCOVER EMERGING TALENT, AND TO INTRODUCE PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO THE ARTISTIC COMMUNITY OF PARIS.
Lens Culture portrait awards
LensCulture Portrait Awards is annual competition to discover the very best contemporary portrait photography from all cultures around the world. We believe portraits are the most fundamental type of photograph — helping people to understand and celebrate human connections on a universal level.