What’s The Purpose Of Entering A Photo Contest?

Sometimes it seems like it takes more effort than it’s worth. Not only do you have to keep up with your regular business and client work, but then you have to add in creating specialty images to enter into photo contests too? Is it really worth it?

Yes.

A photo contest ultimately does three things for you.

1. It boosts your confidence. Nothing can put a smile on your face more than being recognized by your peers. When they recognize your photographic talent, you know you’ve accomplished quite a bit in your career.

2. It educates you. Taking photographs for clients is completely different than taking photographs for awards. You look at things differently, put new perspectives on your subject matter, and learn more about the true art of photography.

3. It proves your expertise. When you market your photography, your client judges you based on your images and your marketing materials. When you add “award winning” in, it changes the dynamics. Your client instantly knows you’ve been recognized outside of the typical business world, and others appreciate what you do as well.

Win a few awards, and your business can easily become more professional, more saleable – which means you can charge more for what you do.

If you enter a local contest, you can list “award winner”.

If you enter an international contest, you can list “international award winner”.

With just a couple of wins behind you, you could quickly improve your status by becoming an “International Award Winning Photographer”.

And you could win some pretty cool prizes along the way too.

Here’s a look at contests happening right now.

2nd Annual Great Outdoors Photo Contest 2011

Have a chance to show off what you can create in nature, and have a chance at winning a week long Polar Bear Adventure.

The Photo Contest

Browse through this blog to find a variety of contests and photography competitions from around the world. They have different categories – portrait, sport, travel, etc – so you should be able to find something corresponding to your interests.

31st Annual Spring Photography Contest

Winning photographs will be published in the November 2011 issue of Photographer’s Forum Magazine, and exhibited at Brooks Institute Gallery. [Read more…]

Is Digital Cheaper Than Film?

What’s one of the most common misconceptions in the photographic industry today?

Digital is cheaper than film

At first glance, it sounds correct.

With a film camera, every time you capture an image, it costs you money. You have to buy the film, you have to develop the film, and you have to print the image on to paper. When we were shooting film, we found it pretty accurate to assume total costs for one image was $1.

But with digital, every time you capture an image it’s essentially free. You place the card into your computer, download it, put it online or a CD/DVD, and usually only print the images you are paid for.

So it seems like digital is cheaper than film. But the problem with that assumption is you are looking at output only. The real cost comes at the front end, or with the cameras and technology itself.

I read a great article over on Digital Work Flow, The State of Business for the Digital Photographer Preparing for 2011. In it states:

Today a basic digital set of two professional SLRs, several lenses, dedicated flashes, laptop, desktop computer, card reader, memory cards, color management and processing software, monitor, printers, storage and back up storage, will cost approximately $20,000 to $80,000 or more.

Comparatively, a basic film system would likely cost under $20,000 and would likely remain current and functional for 10 years or longer.

So here is the comparison:

$20,000/10 years = $2,000/year average cost if you’re shooting film
$50,000/5 years = $10,000/year average cost for digital

And if you’ve been in the industry for a while, you know how quickly you replace your equipment. My daughter received a point and shoot for Christmas that is more powerful than the professional camera we were shooting with 5 years ago.

Total costs need to calculate everything. It’s unrealistic to charge a client a few dollars for a print because it only cost you a dollar or two to print it out. You still have to pay for your equipment, plus other expenses like rent, salary, phone, Internet, marketing, etc. And for your experience as a photographer and as an artist.

The only way to charge what you are truly worth is to educate your potential clients on what it takes to be a professional photographer, and how to tell the difference between you and an amateur trying to make a quick buck. Will they be in business a year from now? Who knows? [We’ve had clients come back to us 8, 10, even 12 years later for prints because they know we are here.]